Artist: Astsuko Mochida
Location: Zou-no-hana Park, Zou-no-hana Terrace, Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama, Japan
Year: 2021
Researcher: N/A

The “Steps” project is a personal continuous artistic endeavor by Atsuko Mochida, stemming from her contemplation of large-scale installations. She observed the objective fact that art pieces are often disposed as waste after exhibitions. Therefore, starting in 2013, she began conceptualizing temporary and sustainable installation art practices using materials about “scaffold single pipe”. The first project under the title“Steps” was initiated in a zero-budget exhibition titled “Metallic pipes and Haruka's Room( ハルカさんの部屋と金属パイプ)”.Atsuko Mochida and her friends borrowed discarded scaffold single pipe materials from a local construction store, and through techniques such as interweaving, overlapping, and assembly, they completed the construction of the first staircase installation within the house. Since then, the exhibition implementation funds for the “Steps” project have been covered by the exhibition organizers. The “Steps” project at the Zou-no-Hana Park in 2019 was initiated as part of the “Futurescape Project” on Zou-No-Hana Terrace.The relationship between artwork and local culture: how the particularities of a locality produce a unique dialogue within an artwork? How the artwork brings together human being’s common needs with the very specific forms of that locality? Atsuko Mochida’s “Steps” installation is located adjacent to a promenade within Zou-no-Hana Park in Yokohama. The promenade, was rebuilt in 2002 using abandoned Yamashita RinkōLine railway tracks(山下臨港線プロムナード). It connects Zou-No-Hana Terrace and Yamashita Park and was originally designed for freight purposes. Today, it has transformed into a beloved scenic pedestrian pathway, serving as a significant architectural landmark that highlights Yokohama’s scale and historical importance as a port city.

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"Regarding the specific contributions of the “Steps” project at the ZOU-NO-HANA Terrace, it is challenging to clearly define them due to the project’s temporary nature and limited visitor survey data. However, from the perspective of the “FUTURESCAPE PROJECT”, at the ZOU-NO-HANA Terrace in Yokohama, it can be recognized that the “Steps” project has provided valuable experimental experiences in creating an artistic leisure space. Additionally, the annual “FUTURESCAPE PROJECT” at the ZOU-NO-HANA Terrace has contributed to the practical benefits of promoting cultural diversity in the Yokohama area.Ms.Okoshi(大越さん), the curator of the “Steps” project, emphasized that Atsuko Mochida’s “Steps” project, with its imposing installation structure, evokes a sense of the extraordinary while highlighting issues of safety and publicness. He noted that the “Steps” project, adaptable to different regions such as Western Europe and Japan, may employ varying implementation strategies in accordance with distinct policy frameworks. Therefore, he considers this mobile project itself to be a significant achievement.

Atsuko Mochida's “Steps” project was awarded the 2021 Terrada Art Award. As the head of the Terrada Art Award and the artistic director of the Aichi Triennale 2022, as well as the director of the Mori Art Museum, she pointed out that the uncertainty and non-productivity inherent in the “Steps” staircase installation within the Terada Warehouse will offer viewers a novel artistic experience, potentially breaking free from the limitations of appreciating art solely through online means since the outbreak of the pandemic.To date,Atsuko Mochida’s “Steps” project has been briefly exhibited at various art venues, including the Shigakogen Roman Museum, Sapporo International Art Festival 2020, and Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art (2013). The Osaka City Museum of Modern Art (MASK) incorporated Atsuko Mochida’s latest “Steps” installation in September 2023 as a permanent piece in their collection, making it accessible to the public. These “Steps” installations provide specific audience groups with interactive climbing experiences during designated time periods. Preliminary art reviews from the official websites of the Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art (越後妻有里山現代美術館)and Shigakogen Roman Museum(山ノ内町立志賀高原ロマン美術館) suggest that Atsuko Mochida’s “Steps” project, as a dialogical public art piece, offers viewers new spatial perspectives and viewing angles for appreciating the scenery.

Atsuko Mochida's motivation in creating “Steps” often revolves around establishing new perspectives on public spaces. Climbers are required to sign a safety-related commitment before preparing to ascend the “Steps” staircase installation. According to Atsuko Mochida’s verbal description, climbers typically sign voluntarily to experience entirely new view. This initiative not only provides viewers with novel ways to engage with art but also influences their perceptual framework of artistic works to a certain extent. ArtTank founder Toshiro Kondo(近藤俊郎) has commented on Atsuko Mochida’s work, aiming to generate a new magnetic field from the relationship between the work and existing architectural spaces or its interaction with the audience. He emphasizes that “place” is a critical factor in Atsuko Mochida’s works, which continuously challenge new possibilities within different environments.ArtTank, established by Toshiro Kondo, is an organization dedicated to supporting contemporary artists and engaging in collaborative endeavors with them. They steadfastly focus on the value generated prior to the creation of artistic works, including the thinking, dynamic practices, and other values produced during the creative process."

Progress Agency