Booking Void Inn MATSUNOYAMA

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2009

Mt. Amamizu, Niigata, Japan

37°2'23.53"N, 138°33'50.57"E

Jul.7 - Sept.15

This work was produced utilizing a deserted snow store house in the Daigonji highlands located halfway up Mt.Amamizu, which is 800 meters above sea level. Much snow remain on the slope facing northeast, and at the foot, a very strong framework of snow store house has been left. In former days, people used to keep vegetables, rice and liquor in the snow. They also used to cut frozen snow for storage or for medical use. In Daigonji district, this old custom was transformed into joyful events for those who currently live in urban cities and go back to their hometown during summer holidays. The snow store house is now functioning as a stage for village festival. I have a unique experience of living and sleeping in this snow store house. Later, I planned to put twice as much snow as that used in the festival on the framework in order to offer it as an inn that gradually changes its shapes by subterranean heat, air temperature and visitors’ body temperature. Snow creates layers by the works of its own weight and heat; it forms new shapes and begins to dissolve with the mixture of various heats. During an art festival sponsored by the village, the newly adapted snow store house was exhibited as the Snow Store House Inn to reserve a space that did not exist yesterday.

Such jobs as putting enormous insulating seats over huge amounts of snow exceeding 15 meters high and digging tunnels up to the framework required much manpower from local people. Thanks to their cooperative ability through farming and their wisdom acquired from navigation skill in heavy snowfall areas, this project manifested a variety of their techniques on how to live harmoniously with snow. The most major comment from visitors is that they were under the illusion of coming out to a totally different place even though they just got out of the inn after a short while. Since I spent most of the time inside, I could not clearly share this feeling, however after walking around the space where seasons and climate are artificially “transferred”, I came to realize that our concept of time might be just our impression of the intersection of all kinds of “motions”. Our predecessors might have taught each one of us, who travels in space dominated by calendar, that we sometimes need to bind seasons and grasp several layers of time all at once.