Japanese project explores unconventional arts

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A cut scene from video work "Nightless" by Japanese artist Yuichiro Tamura, which gathers images available on Google Street View.

The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam is organizing a contemporary art project aimed at encouraging alternative methods in art creations.

"Skylines with Flying People" will include open studios, exhibitions, performances and artist talks, the foundation said in a press release.

The open studios, to be launched December 21, will allow the 12 participating artists eight Vietnamese, three Japanese and one American to present works in progress and discuss their aspirations for future works with visitors.

All participating artists took up residence at the foundation on December 4 and will remain there through the projects completion on January 6 of next year.

Open studios are popular worldwide, but not in Vietnam.

To create the open studios, Japanese architect Tsuneo Noda has renovated the current structures at the foundation, 27 Quang Trung Street, Hanoi, after asking the artists to describe their "dream" studios.

Each studio is covered with wooden pallets and expected to inspire the artists and motivate visitors to talk about Vietnam's contemporary art scene.

One of them, "Information Center," will serve as the office for curators and a public space for all visitors. In the "Media Lab," artists will shoot the videos and photos together with visitors, explaining to them the editing process. The "Sewing Factory" will see the detailed making of sculptural dresses and a series of uniforms for different contexts.

"Mobile Gallery" is a more special studio, made from a transformed three-wheeler which will tour the capital city.

People can visit the studios at any time between 10 a.m and 10 p.m. seven days a week starting December 21.

The project will also three exhibitions.

In "Measuring the World," set to open on December 12, Nguyen Huy An, Yuichiro Tamura, Kumpei Miyata reinterpret the world, using commonplace means and materials in unfamiliar ways.

An recreates the Keangnam Hanoi Tower, the Vietnam's tallest skyscraper, by folding pieces of paper into simple shapes and stacking them.

Miyata will share his one-month long journey from Japan to Sweden via 18 countries with a video installation entitled, "I'm sorry for being late," while Tamura will present the award-winning road movie "Nightless," which utilizes images available online at the Street View function on Google.

Also on December 12, "Utopia," an installation by Vietnamese artist Tuan Mami will be open, in which he spreads 100 kg of unhusked rice across the floor of the foundation's library and then covers it with thick sheet of glass.

It is a part of his on-going project "Untouched Paradise," which teases visitors with an untouchable glimpse paradise. The artist addresses Hanoi's elder mothers, who tend to be looking forward to a better future but regretting their past at the same time.

The third exhibition, "Flying Skylines," will open on December 22 for the artists to exhibit their final or works in progress which they have created during their stay at the studios.

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