2021, an year of un/usual - EU・ジャパンフェスト日本委員会

2021, an year of un/usual

Soichiro Mihara

As we enter the year 2022, we continue to be concerned about the effects of the pandemic.

However, as an artist, I am still doing what I can, but I have also been making experimental proposals that are unique to this situation, and quirky and unique projects have emerged. 

In the midst of this year, Yukiko Shikata, an independent curator with whom I have often planned interesting things, recommended me for this grant, and I was very grateful to be selected. Now I can move forward without hesitation.

Although I can’t say it out loud, I was inappropriately curious about how this situation would change my artistic experience. It’s not so much that the whole thing is moving to the next phase, but art started to include what is recognized as outside of it (YES, it’s always so). I took a closer look at online media, as many other artists do, and tried my hand at workshops and performances, including the development of my work. We live in an age where individuals can set up a 24/7 live streaming system.

The online lecture environment has also given me many opportunities to talk about my creative activities. It was a year of energetic activities, from lectures for children to universities, and my first international conference presentation. As I write this, I am preparing for my next exhibition at the end of the month.


So 2021 is over, let’s take a look back at what I have done in 2021. First one was in Ise City in early spring. It was a residency called “Creators’ work-ation,” which was open call to the public by the city. I was fortunate enough to be selected from among a very diverse group of artists involved in the arts and culture, and I was able to enjoy a relaxing stay for ten days. I was interested in the material cycle and was fascinated by the daily morning and evening Omisatsuri festivals held with contrasting frequency along with the Sengu shrine, so I did some research on that. I visited more than 100 shrines as much as I could in my spare time, making early morning prayers on time every day. After that, I spent the rest of May and June experimenting with online media and working with engineers to create a system for an online exhibition to be held at the end of the fiscal year. In August, I participated in the Nippon Festival, which was held at the same time as the Olympics.and just like the main festival, it was held without an audience, and the actual exhibition space was hastily turned into a studio for online contents, and the exhibition took the form of video distribution. After that, I flew to the remote island of Tsushima for the Tsushima Art Fantasia, which I have been participating in continuously for the past five years. Taking advantage of the proximity to the sea, I created a work in which I cooked salt from seawater. The best part of this project is that there are many artists from Korea participating, which is an opportunity for a rich exchange of ideas that can only happen in a borderline culture, but like last year, the artists from overseas were not able to make it. In September was spent in the mountains of Yoshino, Nara, working on a new project called MINDTRAIL.


With the availability of excellent wood in Yoshino, I made tetrahedron-structured wooden modules on site and scattered them dotted the area. The month of October was filled with workshops at universities and online, and while I almost ran out of material for three lectures in a row, I was able to give lectures, set up performances, and most importantly, bake homemade madeleines and discuss them over a cup of linden herb tea, as I am currently working on a fragrance piece. Even if you are familiar with his (Marcel Proust’s) famous novel, ” Search of Lost Time”, you may not have actually tried it. Since November, I have been working on a new work that deals with air, including its fragrance. Before that, at the end of the year, I was invited to an exchange exhibition between Gwangju, Korea and Tenjinyama Studio in Sapporo, where I created my first new work completely remotely with only instructions. I sent the air of each venue in a Ziploc bag for the number of days of the exhibition, and created a work that communicated the air of each place. My consciousness is now focused on “air”. At the end of January, the work will be shown at the KYOTOSTEAM competition exhibition. In February, the Criss Crossing Ecologies exhibition will start touring in Seinäjoki, Finland, and I am glad to see that the works I have sent overseas will continue to circulate now that travel is restricted. And in March, the last month of the fiscal year, I will end the year with an online exhibition of a blank project that I started after March 11, 2011. 

It’s not over yet, but I want to finish the year in good spirits.

Workshop kit

In the next year, I would like to proceed with a renewed focus on overseas activities while also paying attention to the spread of the new coronavirus infection. I am in talks for a residency in Italy in early summer, and I hope to visit Finland for the ongoing traveling exhibition if the timing is right. The situation is still in flux, but I feel fortunate to have my work somewhere in the world and to have been invited to participate. One of my goals for next year is to compile my past activities into a collection of works. As another axis, I would like to obtain a meteorologist certification. (I write it down where others can see it!) I have been consciously dealing with the elements of air, material circulation, and energy for the past few years in particular, and I would like to refine I have been conscientiously dealing with the elements of air, material circulation, and energy for the past few years in particular, and I would like to refine my perspective of looking at this planet to the objective level of scientific forecasting, rather than the predictions of an artist. Fortunately when I get that, then I will consider the next step.


Artist Support Project #TuneUpforECoC: Supported Artist

(*Written in January 2022)