Go, see, and feel the world of art
File.34 "Wharf Workshop 2020"
Miyuki Inoue (Magcal Editorial Department)
"Wakabacho Wharf" is an arts center in Wakabacho, Yokohama, run by playwright and director Makoto Sato. Here, artists active in various parts of Japan and neighboring Asian cities such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. will meet, talk and learn from each other, create, and spread to the world. We are aiming to create a <wharf> for transmitting. The “Wharf Workshop” is one such initiative, where young people from various countries gather every summer to create while living a communal life.
* Click here for the report of Wharf Workshop 2018!
* Click here for the report of Wharf Workshop 2019!
In 2020, Mr. Sato's envisioned <Wharf> project was scheduled to begin in earnest. However, it is the corona misfortune that engulfed the world. What happened to the wharf workshop? And what is the current status of <Wharf> where young people from Asia gathered?
In mid-March 2021, I visited Wakabacho Wharf and interviewed Makoto Sato.
“For myself, I think it is necessary to think about ``corona'' and ``disaster'' separately. Corona is just one of the ``triggers''. However, the various problems that surfaced this time could have happened with other triggers.
What I thought was the most important thing in such a situation was "don't stop". It would be difficult to operate as a rented theater or lodging facility, but we didn't want to close the facility, so we opened up the first floor and developed a vacant lot project. I feel that through the process of connecting with the local people and going through trial and error together, I was able to see guidelines for future activities. That is, 'I want to do it regardless of the scale.'"
* Click here for the report of the vacant lot project!
Challenge of “Wharf Workshop 2020”
“I think the most important element of the performing arts is people moving—in other words, moving out of their own homes and gathering together. For example, it would be impossible to have a training camp with 15 people, but what could be done with 4 to 5 people?So, this time, we will invite four people, mainly those who participated in past wharf workshops, to stay and work. In the evening, we connected online with China and Singapore and exchanged information with past workshop participants.”
On March 14th (Sun), the results were announced as the “Wharf Workshop 2020 Special Project”.
Until now, I have been creating based on Mr. Sato's text, but this time I was given only the concept of "1 table 2 chairs / isolation". On the stage there is one table, two chairs, and four artists. While changing their combinations, each group of two performed 20 minutes, totaling 3 works of about 60 minutes.
“I feel that the scale has become very small, but I think that this is an opportunity for theater. Then, theater is a fundamental means of expression and does not necessarily require a theater.It can be performed even with a small number of people, and it can be performed even if technology such as lighting and sound is abolished.It is necessary to reconsider the economic way of thinking so far. Yes, but in that regard, things have certainly changed with the advent of crowdfunding, etc. For example, two or three people can create a work that can be taken anywhere, and tour the country through a network of small theaters. If such a style of activity can be established, artists and audiences alike will no longer need to have bases in the city.”
Conception of a small international festival
“And another idea is to create a small festival in the area.
I would like to organize an international festival when people can move around. It's not the traditional large-scale workshop, but rather an enlarged version of a dockside workshop with small face-to-face encounters. This image was born from our ongoing exchanges with nearby art facilities since last year. Publish your results. I would like to create a new style that makes people think, 'This is why I created the place Wakabacho Wharf.'"