Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Kamakura Platform

Outside the abandoned Kenchouji temple in Kamakura-by-the-sea, I am seated on an extraordinary piece of "land art." It is a tatami-covered six foot square platform which has a cozy opening for my legs. The rocks around the platform create an eerie microclimate: a layer of green summer foliage floating just below the more normal autumnal red foliage. I came here this morning with Kyoco Taniyama, a Tokyo sculptor, and Femke Bjir, a Dutch architect, to meet the land-artist Ken Kageyama. We found him seated on the platform in a zen robe in front of a hi-tech laptop, and he invited us to join him.
Ken call the platform "Here and Now," since it is intended to create a unique ephemeral experience each time. His most famous ephemeral art was a giant heap of blue chopsticks in the entranceway of the Fuji bank in Tokyo. He explained how he and his disciples collected used chopsticks from restaurants, washed them, painted them blue, tied them into pentagons with rubber bands, and flung them together. Because of the fire code in Tokyo, the stack had to be dismantled every night, and recreated every morning.
Femke, Kyoko and then walk to the town of Kamakura, stopping at the beach to watch surfers catching waves. After a root vegetable lunch, we visit a popular shrine that has a 1,200 year old Gingko tree.
Back in Tokyo, I have a wonderful dinner with Yu Serizawa at Aso, which is an extremely trendy and imaginative Italian restaurant. Yu is a phenomena in Japan: she used a board game, Dilemma, to teach top corporate executives how to deal with embarrassing situations in the West, served as a liaison for Japanese delegates to the Davos economic summit, and now has organized the World High Tech Summit in Kyoto. She also serves as Mr. Mori’s international advisor. After meeting her in New York, she was extraordinarily helpful in arranging the access I needed with Japanese executives for my book, The Big Picture. We discuss the transformation of Hollywood into a child-based, global entertainment economy.