Living Room

Artist: Jun Kitazawa
Location: Kitamoto City, Japan
Year: 2015
Researcher: Jun Kitazawa

Japan’s capital, Tokyo’s population has majorly increased during the rapid economic growth. The government built a lot of public housing complex in the suburban area. This area was known for having a modern lifestyle, yet due to the age of the population the whole area has closed down. Jun Kitazawa focused on this problem that is a concern for every part of today’s society in Japan. “Living Room” is project started in Saitama prefecture transforming the Kitamoto complex into ‘another public space’. During the process Kitazawa aimed to obscure the boundary between public and private.

The project was structured like this; firstly, place carpets in the empty stores, visit neighbours and collect unwanted furniture. The collected items are placed on the carpets transforming the space into a ‘living room’ and open for the public. Once the room is filled the ‘living room’ changes into a place for an exchange. The exchange with locals changes the scenery of the room . Because ”Living Room “ has an unusual look; what should be inside is placed on the outside the local people have showed curiosity and excitement. Day after day, “Living Room” became a regular activity for the local people.

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“Art lives within our everyday life”. The development of the project depends on the participants’ exchange of goods. This type of public art questions the new ways of thinking what ‘public’ means. Kitazawa has completed this project after five years, and now “Living Room” is happening in five areas around Japan and spreading widely to the kingdom of Nepal.

‘Process’ is the most important and interesting point to talk about in this “Living Room” project. Artist is not the only producer but the participation from the local people creates the outcome. Kitazawa has proposed a simple structure where all materials are gathered within the local areas; the use of empty stores and exchange of goods. The existence of both economic activity and the private living room attracted people’s interests. Through communication “Living Room” has been created.

In the “Living Room” some kind of community has formed. The space was not only to have a rest but it became an importance space for sharing stories. Such as young students, people with disabilities, parents who are having trouble raising their children, elderly people and immigrants come and talk about their worries. “Living Room” was the place for hope and trying to face the reality of today’s society. “Living Room” has been recognized by a social welfare as a place to learn about the self, which helps to find places for each person to belong.

“Kitamoto Vitamin” was begun in 2008 established by Sumiko Kumakura the professor of Tokyo University of the Arts and curator, Tsukasa Mori . They wanted to create “a large scale artwork that it is not limited to outdoors but rather a community-based art , which develops the community”. In 2010 Kitamoto Vitamin collaborated with three groups of artists and unused building spaces. Kitazawa was one of the members and “Living Room” was his idea. From the 6th of March 2010, two weeks before the opening of Kitamoto Vitamin Kitazawa’s project was opened to the public. He closed “Living Room” when the event finished, but reopened in August 2010. The local government of Kitamoto sponsored “Living Room” at that time and it was becoming a significant part of the local residents’ everyday lives. Even after Kitamoto Vitamin the local people have formed a management team and self-funded the project for four years.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency