"A contemporary artist’s cycling journey, north to south, in Japan in search of communication."

ABSTRACT

In the 17th century Japanese poet Basho set out on foot across the country, composing haiku as nature and humanity along his path inspired and provoked him. During his Bridge Me Japan project, Argentinian born, Miami-based contemporary artist Gabriel Delponte will traverse Japan by bicycle, embracing ancient and modern technological methods of communication and collapsing barriers between seemingly isolated and drifting cultural systems. Through interactions with inhabitants, Delponte will serve as a courier of information from place to place and from generation to generation. The Bridge Me Japan project will allow a global audience to communicate with Delponte online through an interactive website. Bridge Me Japan will culminate in a documentary film about transference and cultural communication.


Gabriel Delponte

WHERE

Traveling from the northern to southern regions of Japan, Delponte will commence his Bridge Me Japan journey in the isolated northern islands of Etorofu-to, Japan. From there the journey will continue across the Japanese archipelago, traversing isolated islands of Japan and the adjacent South Kuril Islands where Japanese people have lived for generations despite the Russian Federation being granted sovereignty after World War II. These islands and three others, Kunashiri-to, Shikotan-to, and Habomai-shoto are known in Japan as the Northern Territories and are accessed through Russia. Once cycling through these islands, Delponte will then continue through the four largest islands of Japan, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, to the southern most island chain of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa.

WHEN

Delponte’s travels in the Bridge Me Japan project will take place in during a one-year period, with commencement currently targeted for February 2014.

WHAT

In addition to Delponte’s face-to-face interactions, Bridge Me Japan includes three other communication elements: the “Letter Project”, an interactive website, and a documentary film.

  • THE LETTER PROJECT

    During his journey, Delponte will solicit hand-written letters from individuals to be read to individuals in different generations at subsequent stops. These hand-written letters will evoke a timeless communication strategy at its most basic, but with a special theme: to encourage communications between generations. Delponte will act as a courier as did the “hikyaku”, the messengers for centuries in Japan. The Letter Project has a capacity to transcend the complex barriers built between generations with the rise of electronic communications technologies, which have served to isolate older generations.

  • ONLINE INTERACTION

    The Bridge Me Japan website will function as a site for the Online Openhouse Communicator (OOC) by way of an interactive media journal. Functioning as an interactive website, the OOC will have the capacity to connect individuals along the way and building a constant flow of interactive communications and a new online community. At the this site, the experience of the trip will be manifested via daily uploading of Delponte’s trip journal including facts about the particular places of each stop and imagery of the landscape and its people and open forums for comments, interactive map- building and a platform for haiku and poetry. The site will revolve around the following areas of activation: Letter Project, Open House Communicator (real time online forum), Stop Time Capsule, New Routes and Mapping and the Documentary Film.

    The site will act as a funnel for communications. Ideas will be filtered and organized through a structure to promote and enhance communications.

  • DOCUMENTARY FILM

    Bridge Me Japan will be documented with video and Delponte’s narration. After the trip, the footage will culminate in a documentary film in a projected ten episodes of 90 minutes each, developing a narrative about transference and cultural communication.


Bridge Me Japan

HOW

  • STOP TIME CAPSULE TRAILER:

    • For Bridge Me Japan, Delponte has designed and will build an ultra light-weight solar energy efficient trailer that will be attached to his bicycle. This specialized design includes customized solar panels that allow for recharging of audio-visual equipment.

    • The trailer is representative of a time capsule, a gathering site for information and material about a particular moment of history. Though supporting various sophisticated technological communication devices, the trailer is bound to Delponte and his travel by simple construction, pulled behind a fully manual mode of transportation, the bicycle.

    • The trailer will bear the Japanese symbol for Peace.

    • Bridge Me Japan will explore how and what kinds of communication and interaction are essential for survival and efficiency in the context of being exposed on the road for one year as a courier, exposing basic truths about human interaction.

WHY

Motivation for the project is centered around three major areas: Communication, Adaption, and Evolution.

  • COMMUNICATION

    • Contemporary society is more dependent and accessible to communication than ever before due to the development of digital technologies. Yet on many levels, this medium is broken by new unexpected barriers, leading to a desire to return to basic structures and ancient methods of communication.

    • Reacting to an urgent issue in contemporary Japanese society, Bridge Me Japan attempts to create links between dramatically widening gaps of relativity and cultural mores between generations, gaps that are created by both rapid development of technological communication strategies and a major diaspora of Japanese youth crowding urban centers and emptying the rural regions.

    • Beginning with inter-personal communication, Bridge Me Japan builds bridges of communication through interactive social media in real time, and finally through the wider distributive structure of the documentary film.

  • ADAPTATION

    • Bridge Me Japan attempts to serve as a means to reach a level where the communication with environment becomes crucial in order to survive, adapt and transition between the most basic to the most sophisticated communication strategies practiced today.

    • This phase of the project also considers ancient and modern strategies of adaptation distinct to human experience, where cultural, mental and social environments may pose a greater challenge to adaptation than to a change in physical environment.

  • EVOLUTION

    • This phase of the project considers the possibility of a re-structured community and methods of globalized communication that are able to transcend national, generational, cultural, language based, and geographical borders.

    • As a bridge between cultures, generations, and methods of communication, Bridge Me Japan contributes to a salient understanding of what it is to exist in contemporary society today.

  • PROJECT PRESENTED BY:

    • Device, image, behavior, performance, sculpture, music, architecture, writing, interactive networks...

  • PROJECT SUPPORT AND FUNDING

    • The initial support for the Bridge Me Japan project has come from the efforts of Mr. Delponte and from other individuals who have donated their time and talents to assist him in his development of the project. Future funding as well as in-kind contributions will be sought from individuals, companies and foundations. Contributions will also be accepted online at the Bridge Me Japan website.


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