I was invited to an artist-in-residence program at an artist-run space called ‘Algarden’ in Boras, Sweden, and lived and worked there from February to April 2007. It continuously snowed in Boras a few days after my arrival but I wasn’t used to it since I had come from Osaka, where the weather is mild in the winter. The sky was gray and the people described it as a typical winter color for Sweden. I had decided to create a work of something specific to this location based on my personal theme ‘sight’ during my stay there.
Whenever I am in a middle of a journey or starting to live in a new town, my first day always begins with an encounter with a ‘sight/object’ that I had never seen before. And as time goes by, I gain experiences related to the new ‘sight/object’ and eventually the relationship between it and me changes. I imagine it is similar to meeting a new person. As soon as I arrived in Algarden, I started taking photographs of everything I saw, with my compact digital camera. I took shots of snow-covered grass, water surfaces, signs, supermarket shelves, dinner table settings, and so on. I took around 150 photos every day. Everything I saw was interesting to me as a foreigner, and I wanted to remember every single sight. I ended up taking about one thousand photos during my stay there.
I planned to have an exhibition at Algarden at the end of my stay, and wanted to exhibit my photos as a ‘gift’ from me to the audience local residents who are familiar with the scenes in my photos. I then came up with the idea to show each photo in the form of a paper airplane. I used an antique metal mold to cut paper airplanes out of the prints. Each print had a different photo, so that it formed an airplane of a unique pattern. I specially selected three hundreds photos from one thousand, and created three hundreds paper airplanes. Then I used strings to hang them from the ceiling in the gallery and created my installation. The title of the work ‘Sightseeing’ has two meanings; the audience will share the memory of my journey, the time and sight that I experienced, and the audience will experience ‘seeing’ my ‘sight’, i.e., the world from my view. The work was finally realized the moment when local audiences looked at the scenes that I had seen from my foreigner’s perspective.