In 1964, Genpei Akasegawa, the avant-garde artist who was a member of Hi-Red Center, created a sculptural piece
called Canned Universe (aka Cosmic Can) in the following manner: 1) Opening a can of crabmeat. 2) Eating up
the content. 3) Removing the paper label and glue it on the inner side of the can. 4) Re-sealing the can with solder.
By converting the inside and the outside, he succeeded in conceptually sealing the whole universe into the can.
Japanese solipsist philosopher Hitoshi Nagai points out this piece illustrates very well the world before language
that is defined by only subjective perceptions; if people were all cans, only "my" can would be inside out, enclosing
the whole "world," while others are just normal cans whose contents simply do not exist because "I" cannot perceive
them. In this sense, it can be said that the piece represents Akasegawa's subjective universe.
Inspired by this metaphor, I organize a workshop where each participant is to bring their favorite canned food and
make their own version of Canned Universe with it, exploring what juxtaposing the resulting cans in the same
space-time would possibly mean.
1. Workshop at blanClass, Yokohama, 2012
Participants: Mariko Hato, Fumio Inoue, Reiko Kinoshita, Haruo Kobayashi, Junichi Kojima, Shigeru Matsui, Hiroaki Morita, Hajime Nariai, Naoki Nomoto, Naoim Oguchi, Hagoromo Okamoto, Ari Okubo, Nayuta Otani, Yuko Ozawa, Natsumi Sakamoto, Barbara Signer, Yoko Washio
Workshop views photographed by Kosuke Hatano, blanClass
2. Installation at Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, 2013, as part of Antigravity, curated by Yoko Nose
Sixteen sealed empty cans with their original paper labels glued inside (dimensions variable), 2 posters (103 x 72.8 cm each), HD video (25 minutes; filmed by Kosuke Hatano; featuring Yohsuke Tsuchiya and Naoki Yoshida)
Installation views photographed by Keizo Kioku
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