Slippages and Gaps

In a nutshell, the concept of a modern bridge is to erase its own existence. An ideal bridge is one that does not make you feel as though you are on a bridge when you drive over in a car. It is simply “an extension of the road.” (Bridges and Japanese People, p.53, Iwanami Shinsho)

As can be seen in this booklet, the project Sendai in Progress unfolds by first starting an action and then looking ahead based on reactions to the initial actions.

This laid-back attitude of building the project little by little via interactions with local people brings a sense of comfort. It makes me think that this project’s way of unfolding—an artist meets people, thinks a great deal by interacting with the situation, and then creates something—is the natural flow of human activity that we have had since ancient times, before “efficiency” came to be prioritized. On the other hand, “projects” in our contemporary society are considered carefully before taking action, with goals set firmly and all effort directed toward realizing those goals. With a local government actively involved in Sendai in Progress, it is natural that things do not move forward without clearly showing evidence, efficiency, and rationale beforehand. This can be seen in the way that the project is progressing.

This slippage in the way that “project” is understood exists in the understanding of “bridge” also. For instance, in literature, a bridge is a symbol for connecting two worlds or two divided areas. What significance does this project’s bridge—one that takes us toward the ocean, something that brought more damage than blessings during the Great East Japan Earthquake—hold for our everyday lives? Discovering how to deal with this question may indeed be one of the goals of Sendai in Progress.


KAI Kenji, Artistic Director, sendai mediatheque