Koganecho Area Management Center ✕ Artist
The NPO Koganecho Area Management Center started in 2009 with the vision of "urban development through art." What kind of efforts have been made to revitalize the Koganecho area after the simultaneous exposure of illegal brothels? We interviewed Shingo Yamano, the secretary general, and Risa Tsunegi, an artist participating in the artist-in-residence program.
A former entertainment district turned into an art town
Until a few years ago when the NPO Koganecho Area Management Center (KAMC) was established, the area around Koganecho was known as an entertainment district. About 250 special restaurants for the purpose of prostitution were lined up along the elevated tracks between Koganecho Station and Hinodecho Station on the Keihin Electric Express Railway, and the deterioration of the living environment had become a major problem. In 2005, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police carried out the “bye-bye operation” to crack down on special restaurants. KAMC Executive Director Shingo Yamano looks back on those days.
“Although the 2005 raids were successful, many empty houses were built and the area was almost ruined. It seems that the beginning was to use the vacant houses while improving the image of the town in that direction.”
Originally, Mr. Yamano was in the business of creating exhibitions using places that were not exhibition spaces. I visited Koganecho in 2008 as a person in charge of an art event planned as a stepping stone to revitalize the town. The art festival "Koganecho Bazaar 2008" will be held in the "town center" of the Koganecho area, such as studios newly built under elevated tracks and vacant shops on the main street. The success of this event led to the birth of KAMC in 2009.
Utilize an empty house as a place for creation and exhibition
artist in residence
"Scary", "Dangerous". In order to "revitalize" the area where such an image was rooted, it was essential to not only clean up the town, but also improve the image by removing the old impression.
"I knew it wouldn't be easy, and I thought it would take time. When I first started, people would break the glass if they knew it was our facility. It was such a scary area." So, at first, artists wouldn't come unless we asked them to."
"Artist in Residence (hereafter referred to as AIR)" has been a mainstay of KAMC's activities since the establishment of KAMC. As the environment in the town has improved, the number of participants has increased, and currently about 50 groups of artists are always participating. Risa Tsuneki, an artist who has been participating since 2018 and works on three-dimensional works, talks about the appeal of AIR.
“Compared to Tokyo, the cost is lower, and there is a large studio that you can use when you need it. Having the same artists around you is also a big factor. Since I participated in the Koganecho Bazaar in 2019, my exchanges with other artists have deepened. I received it... We have that kind of connection."
You can see that not only exchanges between artists but also communication with local people are spreading.
Community circles that artists have connected with nature
"Urban development through art" may sound abstract, but KAMC's activities have produced solid results step by step. We asked Mr. Yamano what kind of impact art has on people in towns and regions.
“For example, before creating a work, the artists do a lot of research on the area. , The artists are connected to the community... I feel that the artists are naturally building relationships that are out of our reach.Of course, there is the impact that art has on the community, I think there is also the influence that artists have on the town.”
On the other hand, Mr. Tsuneki hesitates, saying that he does not feel that he is playing a part in town development. Mr. Yamano continues:
“There is no need for artists to think about what they should do to create a town.
New challenges in the corona crisis and the future of Koganecho
In response to the situation where overseas artists cannot visit Japan due to the influence of the new coronavirus infection, in 2020, we will also challenge "remote production". While communicating online, we challenged a new form of production in which artists in Koganecho give shape to the works of overseas artists. Mr. Tsuneki, who participated in the remote production, said, "Even if the work is completed, it feels like a virtual work to me. I can't even see the finished work. I'm the type to create something, so it was very new," he recalls.
Twelve years have passed since the establishment of KAMC, and the Koganecho area has been regenerated to the point where children can now be seen running around, even though it has been affected by the corona disaster. In Mr. Yamano's head, it seems that ideas for the next initiative are spreading.
“Not only our industry, but also theaters, movie theaters, restaurants and lodging industries have been damaged by the corona disaster.There are many such facilities in the neighborhood. I'm thinking hard now that I want to come up with a direction that I can work on.When I founded the NPO, I think that the picture I drew of what I would like this town to look like in 10 years is pretty much like that. So, once again, I would like to draw a picture for the next 10 years and move on.”
Koganecho Bazaar Director
Born in 1950 in Fukuoka Prefecture. In 1971, he graduated from the School of Copperplate Engraving at Bigakko. Since the 1970s, he has been active as an artist based in Fukuoka. He also presides over the IAF Art Laboratory and plans exhibitions. Since 1990, he has been producing the art exhibition “Museum City Tenjin” using the town. Since then, he has been working on many art projects and workshops under the theme of "Town and Art". In 2005, he served as a curator at the Yokohama Triennale 2005.
Born in Gunma Prefecture in 1982. Lives in Kanagawa Prefecture. Studied painting at Chelsea College, University of the Arts London and completed MFA at Glasgow College of Art in 2009. Major exhibitions include 2020 and 2019 "Koganecho Bazaar" (Kanagawa), 2019 "Causality and synchronicity" The Container (Tokyo), "OUT OF BOUNDS" Bloc Projects (UK).
Koganecho Bazaar 2021 ー How to make side by side
The theme of this 14th Koganecho Bazaar is "How to make a side-by-side". By public offering or recommendation
12 selected guest artists and 29 artists participating in Koganecho AIR will create works in Koganecho.
We will have an exhibition.
Date: October 1st (Friday) to 31st (Sunday), 2021 [Total 27 days] Closed on Mondays
Venue: Keikyu Line "Hinodecho Station" / "Koganecho Station" under the elevated studio, surrounding studios, local shops,
Outdoor open space, etc.
Organizer: Koganecho Area Management Center/Hatsuko/Hinode Town Environmental Purification Promotion Council
Artist in Residence (AIR)
The Koganecho AIR is open to people who are active in the creative field, regardless of nationality or genre.
We provide a place for research and announcements. From September 1st, we are looking for residents from November onwards.
(Deadline for applications is September 30)
Koganecho Area Management Center Website
Showcase Gallery Koganecho Area Management Center Collaboration Project
Risa Tsuneki Exhibition
Dates: Saturday, September 25, 2021 to Sunday, December 12, 2021
Closed: 9/27, 10/25, 11/22
Price: Viewing is free
Venue: Yokohama Citizen's Gallery Azamino Entrance Lobby