Go with the flow – and enjoy the art

Look out any south-facing window at Rakuten Crimson House, our Tokyo headquarters, and you’re greeted with broad view over the winding Tamagawa River, one of the major waterways that flow into Tokyo Bay. Look down – this weekend, at least – and you’ll notice dozens of magenta-colored flags dotted over the north bank of the river. These flags mark the locations of artworks in Tokyo Art Flow, a new art event co-organized by Rakuten that continues through July 31. For those who can’t make it to Tokyo, Rakuten.Today presents some of the highlights:

Swiss artists Lang & Baumann have created a dynamic mural, Beautiful Bridges #2, on one of the pylons supporting National Route 246 as it spans the river.

120“We used bright, high-contrast colors in this vertical pattern to give the idea of three-dimensionality in this low, confined space,” Sabina Lang told us. Apparently, the mural is only temporary – it will be removed soon after the event concludes – but visitors keen to see it made permanent will be invited to express those wishes via a questionnaire available at the site. And, if there’s enough of them, those wishes might just come true.

151Meanwhile, architects Makoto Tonjiri and Ai Yoshida, from Suppose Design Office, have created a kind of living room-as-bubble on the river bank. Tonjiri explained that the objective of Air Stone, as the piece is titled, is to create a space that “feels like it is outside, but is actually inside.”161 Visitors are able to slip inside the space, which is kept inflated by two large fans, via a zippered door. “Going inside is like going back to your childhood,” Tonjiri said. 197

Artist Kyoto Takahashi has also made a number of works for the event. Slooooow Poem is just like its title suggests: a poem projected on the side of a building so slowly – one Japanese character at a time – that it will take the entire event to project it all. It’s a collaboration with the poet group oblaat.203A second of Takahashi’s works, called You Ring the Bell, also involves bathing a building in light. When passersby ring a bell set up in front of Futakotamagawa Station, the entire facade of the neighboring Tamagawa Takashimaya Shopping Center instantly turns pink.247As these two boys were delighted to discover…249

Tokyo Art Flow is organized by the Tokyo Art Flow 00 Executive Committee, which includes Setagaya City along with several universities, citizens’ groups and private companies, including Rakuten. For further information see the official website.


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