Being Inspired by Teru Miyamoto’s novella Phantom Lights, in which the main character grieves for her ex-husband’s death in front of the sea of Oku-Noto, this installation provides a ceremonial space that allows visitors to grieve through creating new narrative and action together. Grief does take numerous forms and ways; this installation touches upon the complicated process of grieving.
It consists of two parts; the first part is a reflection station, where visitors can contemplate their lost one through writing. In return of the writing, they can choose a piece of old cloth to tie on the second part: the structure. Depending on where the visitors stand, the structure can be like a full circle or wavy form mimicking the shape of the tide. The shape is a physical metaphor of how transformable grief is.
Those thin cloths to be given to the visitors will be collected all over Japan in advance, and are in fact clothes of the deceased, donated by their family and friends. This gesture of hanging old cloths is derived from the tradition of Sakiori, which is a woven fabric produced in Northern Japan during seasonal cold periods. Sakiori is produced from worn-out material and garments, which are torn thinly and woven tightly into sakiori textiles for new use. Through this collective action of structure making (and grieving), these clothes are given new meaning. So as life, it is no longer the same if we understand what death is.
Inside the station, a simple yet private writing corner will be set up. There are 2 questions on the writing note: When she/he/it died, I was…/ I want to tell she/he/it that… Visitors can contemplate their lost one through writing. The ritualistic atmosphere will be further intensified with music. In return of their writing, they can choose a piece of old cloth to tie on the second part: the structure. The note will then be collected and displayed inside the station throughout the period.
Sakiori is a traditional woven fabric produced in Northern Japan during seasonal cold periods. Cotton was a rare product in the Edo Era, to prolong the fabric’s useful life, people re-used the cherish clothing as materials. Sakiori is produced from worn-out cloth and garments, which are torn thinly and woven tightly into sakiori textiles for multiple uses.