“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-Beach based contemporary artist Gabriel Delponte traverses 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 serves as a courier of information from place to place and from generation to generation. The Bridge Me Japan project allows a global audience to communicate with Delponte online through an interactive manner. Bridge Me Japan will culminate in a documentary film about transference and cultural communication.

WHERE

Starting from the city of Fujisawa, Japan, Delponte travels to the south through the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, to the southernmost island chain of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. Then, he continues his journey across the Japanese archipelago to the island of Hokkaido and to isolated northern islands of Etorofu-to. This Island also call 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. 

The Symbol of the Peace City of Fujisawa.

Fujisawa makes much of Peace and International Exchanges. In June 1982, Fujisawa made a Declaration for Peace and the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, which was based on the citizen’s desire for peace. In addition, Fujisawa started a sister-city relationship and cultural exchange  with Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.A. in 1959. 

WHEN

Date of departure: September 5, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Place of departure: In front of new City Hall building of Fujisawa City

WHY

Motivation for the project is center around three major areas: Communication, Adaptation, 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 center 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 globalised 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.

These three pillars (adaptation, communication, evolution) can not be one with out the other. 

HOW

STOP TIME CAPSULE TRAILER: Semi.(cicada)

For Bridge Me Japan, Delponte has designed and built an ultra light-weight efficient trailer that is attached to his bicycle. The trailer is representative of a time capsule, a gathering site for information and material about a particular moment of history while supported by various sophisticated technological communication devices and necessary gear for the trip.

The trailer is bound to Delponte and his travel by simple construction, pulled behind a fully manual mode of transportation, the bicycle. The trailer bears the Japanese symbol for Peace.

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

WHAT

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

THE LETTER PROJECT

During his journey, Delponte solicits hand-written letters from individuals to be read to individuals in different generations at subsequent stops. These hand-written letters evoke a timeless communication strategy at its most basic, but with a special theme: to encourage communications between generations. Delponte acts 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.

DOCUMENTARY FILM

Bridge Me Japan is documented. After the trip, the footage will be edited into a documentary film and also for video installation developing a narrative about transference and cultural communication.

PROJECT PRESENTED BY:

Device, image, behaviour, 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 along with the kind sponsor from companies with material/gear and the needed technology, to develop necessary custom gear and for the filming and sound equipment. 

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. Contact Bridge Me Japan at gabrieldelponte@gmail.com.