Report on Hojo Reading Clug vol. 2

ESSAYPosted : November 22, 2018

Report on the Hojo reading club
The 2nd round: from 18:00 on Sunday 16 September 2018
Venue: "Bunjiro", Tokamachi-city community centre
Number of participant: 10

The 2nd round of Hojo reading club was held on the previous day of the last day of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale.
Presentation by a critique kicked off as we started to enjoy coffee from local cafe.
After the presentation is over, participants shared their own views to share the bok.
Many of the participants in this session quoted from the text which implied the power of writing by the author, Hiroshi Hara. Let me share some of the comments.

The reason why the concept of "community" sounds empty is because the production is eliminated from the house no matter how hard we try to draw a town plan in this contemporary period. The potential of nature which will triger production doesn't appear to the planning. Villagers in the square with a windmill must have discussed how to share wind and water which helped shape the community. Wind can become an enemy or take your side in desert. We received the lecture of wind by Dr Ahmadian who studied geology. (from page 132)

People don't necessary choose to live in the stable natural environment. Rather, they often live in a place on equilibrium state, which for others, hard to understand why living such place. They cling onto a slim possibility, maximize its potential and find an alternative way to make the best use of it. They put up with disadvantages, transformed them into conditions to engage the community and thus the place is set on the equilibrium state. That is why we could talk about a village as an object even we don't know about relationship of such society. (from page 147)

Three types of square. I have introduced three different types of a square. The typical square formed under Christianity, Medina Square and Square Cuevas. These three types define contradictions that would emerge in respective community and present solutions. The central authority and rituals representing the central power at Christian Square, isolation from family and free trade at Median Square, Segmentation of community and transformation of segments into family and Square Cueves. (from page 50)

The latter half of the session was allocated to a special short lecture by Fram Kitagawa.
He introduced Hara's activities including the investivation of villages, architectural projects in early years and other representing buildings he designed. He then move onto stories of their time together in the past and art festival. He talked about four cores of the redevelopment plan of the region (art festival, flower road, discover something good, and making hub facilities), and history of the art festival (mergers of villages and planning to engage local villages), and how they visited villages together in Echigo-Tsumari, drawing experience of village investigation Hara conducted elsewhere, and how they involved the local carpenter, Fumio Tanaka when investigating the old minka house.
We learnt that Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is an art festival which took advice from professionals in different fields broadly in planning twenty years ago.

Before the book reading club, more than half the participants actually walked around the city.
It was an unusual experience of walking in the centre of city as if Hara conducted the village investigation and learnt about villaged across the world appeared in the book.

By Yoshie Miwa

【The fourth round】
◯Date and Time: 19:00 (door opens at 18:45) on Thursday 29 November 2018.
◯Assigned book: "Minzokugaku no tabi" by Tsuneichi Miyamoto (Kodansha Gakujutsu Bunko)……asto (close to the front gate of Tokamachi High School (91-1 Nishi, Fukuromachi, Tokamachi-city)
※Please ensure to check the venue (as it is different from usual place).

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