25/4/2011 - From Tatsuhiko Murata

From Tatsuhiko Murata*
Vice President, Res Artis
Co-director, Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo

First, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your sympathy and support of the people of Japan who recently experienced hardships resulting from the earthquake calamity, the 3.11 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. After the disaster, I have received many messages and e-mails from artists and friends. In particular, the encouragement we have received from Res Artis colleagues has given us tremendous courage and motivation to aid our recovery. I would like to thank everyone for their support.

One of the biggest earthquakes ever in human history still continues to affect us with frequent aftershocks and uncertainty about the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Despite this lingering state of anxiety, we are in a definite process of returning to normal life, but with new perspectives on how to make meaningful developments.

While residency programs in Japan have managed to sustain their operations**, it is true that there is a growing tendency since the earthquake to review our life styles and social systems which aimed at economic convenience. I would like, therefore, to work on creating opportunities to think together about a better society, and how we can apply “the power of art” through artist in residency activities. The power of art was disappointingly so ineffective in the shadow of such a huge natural disaster. However, I have a strong belief in art and its role in reviving our society and creating a new future.

Artist residencies are valuable as places for dialogue about the society in which we live. Artist in residencies exist in many different forms, from organizations run with public money provided by governments, to small scale grass-roots initiatives established and led by artists. In order to promote originality, build cooperative relationships and develop collaborative projects effectively, it is my wish to grasp the actual conditions of the 300 or more diverse member organizations which make up the Res Artis network, their respective localities, scale of activities, nature of independence, content of programs, and sources of funding. By making shared issues more visible, and through the deepening of dialogues between residencies of similar scales and working methods about mutually shared problems, I believe it will become possible to find solutions for encourage future activities and strengthen the possibilities for development.

I also feel it is important to concentrate on small-scale activity centers which surely occupy a large number of the Res Artis network. I want to bring attention to artist-led autonomous centers which, while providing free creative spaces, also bring new approaches to and perspectives on society different from those offered by the worlds of politics and business. These organizations or 'micro residencies', exist as 'mechanisms' or 'tools' serving society. They can also serve to give mutual aid when we are faced with such disasters or adverse change, bringing clearer meaning to the network. Through repeated discussions between members, I believe we can play a part in the creation of a new society.

Finally, again, I would like to thank you for your warm support and wishing all of you every success and prosperity.

* Tatsuhiko Murata
as Res Artis, from 2011 Vice President, 2007 Board Member,
2002 General Member as Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, www.youkobo.co.jp

** We recommend that you may check information about the current situation of residency programs following the earthquake in Japan.

Letters from the Board

4/7/2011 - Leena Vuotovesi
25/4/2011 - Tatsuhiko Murata
1/11/2010 - Mario Caro
6/10/2010 - Mario Caro
4/1/2010 - Mario Caro
18/12/2010 - Maro Caro
5/3/2008 - Maria Tuerlings
7/4/2008 - Rudolf Brünger
4/11/2006 - Clayton Campbell