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air for everyone | 2012

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale
Tsunan Area, Niigata Prefecture, Japan
July 29-September 17, 2012

Ann Hamilton · air for everyone


Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
metalworker's house in Tanaka


In Echigo Tsumari, one feels the thickness of melted snow running, filling heavily laden channels, snaking down the mountain, carrying in its flow the urgency of growth and the brevity of summer, a harbinger of preparations for the long and fiercely cold winter on the other side. Alongside the industriousness of the cities, the fecund landscape hums with movement and sound. How heavily the silence of a vacant house or building weighs in the smaller communities, where it carves a zone untouched by cultivation or care.

Hearing is how we touch at a distance. Sound travels, we feel something from the outside enter the interior and everything is changed. Words spoken, music played, the sound of a city or a forest; sound is motion, is change, is life. When a small flap covering the opening of a reed instrument or a vocal chord opens and closes, a sound is created. The sound of breath or a rustling motion in a surrounding stillness signals something is alive. While the pressure of touch is something you can feel and an instrument is something you can point to and name, sound draws our attention, it is everywhere and nowhere at once. 

The work of this work is the cultivation of this attention; it is a form of listening. 

The Dragon kiln, once alive with fire, is now possessed by the hollow of its interior. Its volume is not an emptiness but is the fullness of possibility. It is a succession of chambers that ascends and descends the mountain. Like the earth, it waits. It is dark; the plants that grow inside have no color. Damaged by the earthquake and now unsafe for occupation, the kiln is plugged with reed-inlaid firewood. The smoke holes and arched doorways are closed to light but open to breath. Air sounds the top of the mountain when the parachutes fall, when the small metal bells they carry sound, when the community gathers and together breathes their singular volumes into its collective cavity. 

Together this is a cloud of sound. 

The metalworker's house, previously closed and unoccupied, is newly opened to air and light. The wind's shadow presence sounds chimes hidden behind paper walls where paper bird wings flap flap in mechanized tethered place. The metal workers repurposed wooden tool handles connect by rope and pulley along the house's center beam to wall mounted accordions; when pulled, the bellows drone the cacophony of a single note on the inhale and a reciprocal note in the exhale. And to the side on the first floor, a foot-operated tuning table sounds open reeds in the hands of visitors, and above, in the work room, the ornithopter - in parts - hovers in a spastic mechanically driven motion above the found gift of the metalworker: the air in metal silhouette. 

Air passes in and out - the Dragon Kiln at the top of the mountain and the metalworker's house at the foot of the mountain. Sing. 

A making
A call
A summons


Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
entrance parachutes



Ann Hamilton · air for everyone





repurposed tool handles connect via pulley and rope to wall mounted accordion bellows



Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
upper story



Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
upper story workroom with ornithopter parts



Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
cut metal silhouette found during the renovation of the house





Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
foot-operated tuning table and open reeds





Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
Dehua kiln brought by Cai-Qiang from Quanzhou, China, dedicated as the Dragon Museum of Contemporary Art



Ann Hamilton · air for everyone
the kiln sounds by blowing into tubes connected to reed-inlaid wood piles





Ann Hamilton · air for everyone



parachutes sound a small metal bell as they fill with air and fall


For more information about the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, please click here.

Photo credit: Art Front Gallery / Miyuki Inoue / Ann Hamilton Studio


Toshio Kondo, Art Front Gallery
Ayako Oki, Art Front Gallery
Cai Guo-Qiang, Director and Curator, Dragon Museum of Contemporary Art
Masatoshi Tatsumi, Project Director, Cai Guo-Qiang Studio
Takahisa Araki, Videographer
Miyuki Inoue, Volunteer  
Takuma Ono, Volunteer
Ryoji Iedokoro, Architect                                      
Emi Inoue, Translator and Project Assistant
Daisuke Murayama, Ceramicist
Toshitatsu Munakata, Paper Airplane
Takashi Shiga, Gardener
Kazuo Yamada, Wood Craftsman

For the full project credits, please click here.
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