The Setouchi Triennale or Setouchi International Art Festival is an international modern art festival that takes place on the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, which separates the main island and Shikoku island of Japan. First held in 2010, this festival that takes place once every three years was made to bring back vitality to the islands of the Seto Inland Sea that have been losing their activeness and unique culture due to the aging populations there.
There is an extremely large amount of artwork that is on display throughout the islands of the Seto Inland Sea and it is near impossible to include all of them in this article. So I have chosen one piece from each of the 14 locations (mostly islands) that are a part of the Setouchi Triennale 2016 from the perspective of a digital artist.
Naoshima Pavilion (Artwork No. 005)
The Naoshima Pavilion is a large landmark on Naoshima designed by Sou Fujimoto that is located right off the shore and at night, this piece turns into a magical looking object that has the lightness and buoyancy of a mirage.
Was du liebst, bring dich auch zum weinen (Artwork No. 022)
I’m not sure how accurate this translation is, but the title of this work roughly translates to “the things you love, also make you cry.” This work turned an abandoned house into a restaurant filled with camouflage print, stripes, and polka dots. This seemingly other-dimensional restaurant itself is a work of art.
Equipose (Artwork No. 050)
This piece made by the artist Harumi Yukutake features over 10,000 pieces of handmade mirror glass. With the sunlight hitting the installation at different angles throughout the day, this piece changes its appearance at every second and when the wind shakes the pieces of glass, the entire space is filled with an otherworldly light.
Walking Ark (Artwork No. 065)
This piece made by Keisuke Yamaguchi was inspired by the story of Noah and the Ark. The four mountains on the ark are attempting to walk across the ocean. This represents the ark going out towards the ocean in an attempt to stop any calamity from occurring.
Voyage through the Void (Artwork No. 074)
This piece is based on a boat that came to the Seto Inland Sea in old times. This piece is extremely interesting as the lights installed change according to the sounds of the waves that it picks up.
Blue Sky Aquarium (Artwork No. 115)
This installation is located in a dormitory and was named Blue Sky Aquarium because it attempts to bring the world underwater up to the world on land. This work features crying mermaids, shipwrecks, and numerous sea creatures.
Inujima “Art House Project” C-Art House / “Ether” (Artwork No. 124)
The C-Art House located on a hill that looks over the Seto Inland Sea is a 200-year-old building that has been renovated into an art gallery. This installation is made from a leveling string that has been tied throughout the indoor space.
Stratums (Artwork No. 132)
This installation directed by Tanya Preminger was made by piling up granite dirt frequently found in Kagawa prefecture. The mound covered by grass is approximately 6.5 meters high. This interactive installation allows visitors to climb up the hill to enjoy the beautiful view of the Seto Inland Sea from the top.
Sora-Ami: Knitting the Sky (Artwork No. 142)
This exhibit was put up as a result of the fish net knitting workshops that took place in various places on the mainland during the spring. This exhibit allows people to enjoy the changing nature of the ocean seen through the vertically installed nets.
Takamijima Project / Journey of rust (Artwork No. 150)
This piece located on an empty space that overlooks the sea is made from no longer used metal objects including various electronics and daily items. The surfaces of the objects that have been polished cause the sunlight to reflect off the many surfaces creating an unusual feel to the ship-shaped installation.
Project for Awashima (Artwork No. 161)
This installation is located in the building that used to be Awashima Kindergarten. The monotone space that has been created through bending nonsystematic lines represent the space that small children used to occupy. The non-organic nature of the space brings forth various emotions in the viewer.
Unsinkable Ship (Artwork No. 165)
This piece is made from fishing nets, floats, and various other everyday objects that remind the viewer of schools of fish and the swirling waves in the ocean. The floats made by the people of the island along with elementary and middle school students is breathtaking as it is placed in this enormous indoor space and provide the viewer with a deeper meaning of the installation.
Liminal Air ~core~ (Artwork No. 171)
The City of Takamatsu serves as the entrance into these islands that are part of the international art festival. These two colorful installations that are located at Takamatsu Port are partly covered in glass that reflects the port, sea, and buildings that surround the area, and the tower changes its appearance according to where and when you look at it from.
Chinu – the Black Sea Bream of Uno (Artwork No. 182)
This installation has been made from empty cans, PET bottles, and other trash that have been collected from households around the island. This exhibit was actually created for the first Art Festival that took place three years ago, but it has been retouched to be once again put on exhibit for the 2016 festival.
If you are planning to visit Setouchi Triennale 2016, I highly suggest getting the 3-season passport. The passports are available for 5,000 yen each for adults, and 3,500 yen for high school students. It would usually cost over 25,000 yen in order to visit all of the locations so these passports are extremely cost efficient.
The spring season is already over but the summer season goes on from July 18th to September 4th, and the fall season goes on from October 8th to November 6th. The 3-season passport is valid throughout the entire year.
If you have any interest in modern art and/or the wonderful islands of the Seto Inland Sea, the Setouchi Triennale would make the perfect vacation. Why not tour around the islands of the Seto Inland Sea to enjoy the culture of these islands and various works of art made by artists all around the world?