Director's Note 002
Looking Up at the Sky April 1, 2002

Every time I visit the horserace track, I am amazed how large and how high the Tokachi sky is. There is an expression, "Tokachi Bare (Clear Sunny Day)." The vast field used for practice running racehorses spreads without anything to interrupt the vision, and on a sunny day, the high, blue sky forms a canopy over the landscape.

It is also beautiful with clouds. I am struck by the white, dazzlingly bright, summer clouds, moving slowly in the sky. I sometimes have lost track of time and myself watching autumn sunsets that changed the color of the sky every minute. I have loved to look up at the sky and follow the clouds ever since I was a child. Now, I stand on a racehorse track and am overwhelmed by this nostalgic sensation. I want to lie down, looking up into the sky forever and ever.

At the end of last August at the track, Cai Guo Chiang said something profoundly interesting. "When I show my works in Europe and America, I can't help but think of society. But when I come back to Japan, I don't know why but I think of the universe." Tokachi is the closest place in Japan to the universe. In the film version of Contact (starring Jodie Foster), originally written by Carl Sagan, a device to contact intelligent organisms outside of the earth was placed in Tokachi and played an important role.

In fact, Taiki is one of the test sites for a "stratosphere platform" project and there is a future plan for a space base. Stable weather and extensive space make Tokachi an excellent site for experimentation of space development.

There have been many strange coincidences in the process of creating Demeter. Yoko Ono told us that she wants to create a contemporary version of her previous work about the sky. Marco Casagrande and Sami Rintala told me, upon our meeting in Obihiro, that the color of the Obihiro sky is so similar to Helsinki's. They continued that there is only one country between Hokkaido and Finland. From there, ideas for their extraordinary and very attractive project of crossing the Eurasian continent by car, collecting objects, began. Everyone seemed to be inspired by the sky.

Yes, that's right. Let's look up in the sky. Looking up in the sky is what is really needed now. I repeatedly feel so, especially after September 11th , 2001. All the talks I had with the artists about sky took place before September 11th, yet, their antenna might have been catching something in the air. I think we are now at the time to look up in the sky and ask ourselves what we have been doing, what we are doing, and what we are trying to do.

John Lennon sang...

There's no heaven.
It's easy if you try.
No hell below us.
Above us, only sky.
Imagine all the people living for today.
(John Lennon "Imagine")

We should look up at John's sky.
I hope that Demeter becomes a device to look up into the sky.

(Written by Serizawa Takashi)