Director's Note 001
At the Racetrack August 1, 2001

It was on April 2, 2001 when Cai Guo Qiang discovered the Obihiro racetrack. Back then, I was really concerned about the exhibition space for Demeter. I had some ideas but, however, had not come to any conclusions. The exhibition space was a very important issue as I was planning site-oriented installations.
I ofcourse knew that Obihiro had a racetrack. But I had never considered it as an exhibition space since I thought it had horse races all year round. After we had formally met the mayor, we went up to the lobby of the City municipal office where you can look over the city. Cai pointed out the racetrack and asked everyone what it was. Someone said, "Oh, it's a racetrack ," and we decided to go over there.
So we happened to visit there and it had a strange atmosphere. Passing through the stand where racing papers were sold, the booth for tipsters, and gate, we came to the enormous stands. There was no one there. We thought it must be closed that day, but something looked strange. There was a room called the "Fan Room" where several men were watching TV with their eyes glued to the screen. It seemed that they were watching a horserace being held somewhere else.
A little confused, I went to the stable area to the west. There was no one there around the mansard- style stables. We finally found some people and went up to them. There were five horses and a man well past middle age. There was a young couple, who seemed like his son and daughter-in- law, taking care of horses, with three children playing nearby. The horses were "Banba," huge work horses that are mixed with Breton horses.
When asked if these were the only horses, the old man said, "Yes, there were about seven hundred horses several days ago. But they were all sent to Asahikawa. We are also moving away from here."
Listening to his explanation, I started to understand the situation. There is no regular racing here any more. They only have the "Banei racing" in the winter, which is unique to Hokkaido. These people were horse trainers and they and their families move around in Hokkaido with their horses. "Gypsy racing;" I was wondering about their lives and I saw their sincere smiles, common among nomads.
Then, those Banba eyes! The horses stared at me with wide-open eyes as if seeing right through me. Horses are strange creatures. Especially facing those enormous Banbas, I felt something divine. As I walked further into the stable, everyone there already realized that this landscape had some mysterious power. Everyone from Obihiro who were there with us seemed to be recalling the days from the past. It was a rather barren sight with snow left on the ground, but this place had some reminders from Obihiro in the old days. I understood the feeling even though I was not from Obihiro. What was this overpowering feeling of nostalgia? At that point, I decided to develop Demeter at this site. (Written by Serizawa Takashi)