Shimbashi Ice-Walkers

Mike Grist Japan, People / Culture Leave a Comment

I saw something cool while passing through Shimbashi station last week on my way to work.

Two suited older foreigners, a guy and a woman, were unloading big blocks of ice from white polystyrene crates outside the JR exit, then tying them up with string. I figured it was some kind of art thing, and I like art, and had time before my next class, so decided to join the small crowd of onlookers and see what would happen next.

After they got done tying, the woman and some J-helpers gathered around to help the guy hoist his ice onto his back.

After it was hoisted, he took off walking.

Then the woman followed, dragging hers. I guess it was heavy, and maybe she didn’t want to get wet.

They walked around like that for a bit.

I tracked the woman for a while, and asked her what it was all about. She told me the stones were from Switzerland, and they were Artists for Activism. She pointed at their sign, which said ‘Artists for Activism’. I asked her what she was active for, perhaps Global Warming, but she didn’t seem to really know, and suggested I talk to one of the J-dudes organizing.

I went over to him, he spoke good English, and he gave me a flyer, which said ‘Artists for Activism’ also. The dates and places for the other events were shown on a way zoomed-out Google maps graphic, unlabeled, so there was no way to know exactly where the events would be. How very mystique/modern/cool, I thought. Also infuriating- because no way to track down other events.

I asked him what the Activism was for, but he didn’t seem to know either. I suppose it doesn’t matter that much with this kind of thing.

Anyway- I couldn’t stay to watch the whole performance, but I could get an idea of what they were doing. They had chalked out a white circle on the floor, and every time a stone melted loose, they took it over and put it on the line. I don’t what that meant either.

I love random art like this. I love modern art. Anything that makes not much sense but is innovative and shows me something I’ve never seen before- I’m a fan.


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