Sleeping by hibernation

AIAV, Yamaguchi, Japan

34°14'45.41"N, 131°14'38.06E

Feb.5 - Mar.20

During my stay in Akiyoshidai, Yamaguchi, I pondered an idea of transplanting a living space into caves that exist all over this region. I was exploring an idea about a cave as a living space, intentions of ancient people to live in a cave that reminds us of the ancient time and the associating ruins and artifacts.

Through interviews and conversations with active cavers, a biologist, a geologist, and anthropologist, I acquired the way of exploration and wander in caves that number over 450 and I found out a few specific caves appropriate for my project.

Among these experts, I came across an experienced researcher Mr. Takehiko Haikawa. Soon after we had a brief conversation, he suggested me a couple of caves out of numerous caves.
It was like a journey to visit accommodations, a cave with comfortable space, a cave with a great view from the entrance and a cave covered by mud that was made out of volcanic substances... At the end of this journey, Mr. Haikawa took me to an entrance of a cave that holds a shrine for a water god. The entrance was protected by a dried grass rope associating with Shinto’s or local believes. This place used to have water sprung from the ground and the local people used the water for irrigation and the cave for storage/refrigerator. The cave no longer holds much water anymore and only the methodical winter festival and rituals remained there.

I was intrigued by the functions of the cave as a tool that played an important role for the local people. I commuted to the cave as my sleeping space and spent nights there for one month. I spent my time in the darkness of the cave and stayed with bats in an area where thousands of bats found out for their hibernation by using their senses to detect water stream, cave formation and the temperature under the complete darkness.

Although I documented my experiences in the cave in my journal and pictures, I was feeling uncomfortable to spend my time for documentations and I didn’t want the documentation to become more important than the time that I experienced.

At the middle of my project, I got interested in dealing with future and I decided to utilize my photo documentations as tarot cards to play with ideas about future and to read it.

I use them as a tool to read future though I never know the true meanings of the cards and at the same time I use them as a tool to remind myself of my experiences.