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November 16th 1989. I am 8, and I am at my family’s house in Tokyo. For once, my father is at home earlier than usual. The TV shows stupid commercials of tooth brush and kinder’s chocolate. Suddenly, it changes to the news program. The lady with a heavy make-up, who usually has a flat voice, looks disrupted by what she is about to announce. I do not really listen. My father tells my mother to join him to see what is going on. She comes out from the kitchen with her hands still wet. Then, I just hear my father saying, “Hooray. The wall is finally down”.
I never forgot this image. Although I didn’t know anything about the wall, the Cold War and the past, something was changing, something was over. I could feel the silent excitement from the adults around me. And the image of people on the small screen, crying, laughing, hugging each other stayed in my mind.
Few weeks later, my father comes back home from a business trip. He gives me a piece of a painted concrete.
He says : “you see, until today, the World was divided in two : you had people in the East, and people in the West. Both sides were claiming to have the Utopia on its side. And in the middle, you had people like us, suffering. I am born in the middle of this situation; you are born in the middle of this too. But now, that’s over. From now on, we will have something else, an other World, perhaps a better World.”
I still have the piece of the Berlin Mauer today. For me who was living Japan at that time, I didn’t notice any change in my life. Was I too young to see it? Was I too far from the Wall?
Do we have a better World today? Did we succeed to build the Utopia we dreamed about? Or is this just another World, nor worse, nor better?
The word Utopia is a catchall, a concept easy to be used, flexible, and today washed out of its real meaning. But I strongly believe that the Human being has always tried to shape out its own Utopia through Art in the past : the cave painting by the prehistoric man, the Birth Of Venus of Botticelli, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso, the Fountain of Duchamps, Jeff koons with the Italian porn-star Cicciolina, Murakmi and the super-flat, and even Yayoi Kusama with her dots, for me, they all talk about the same thing : “What World do we dream about? What is our Utopia?” And there is me, in my level, trying to question about the same thing, and try to build my Utopia.
But I am not a thinker. I don’t have a tangible idea of things I do, I can not process Utopia like Yona Friedman does, or others. I like to play with the concept, use it as a watermark, and keep it in the background when I make things gropingly. I try to shape out possibilities, tactics, map concepts, but blindly, by experimenting, like a researcher in a lab, or a cartographer in his ship, by just doing.
If all my attempts to answer are subjective, I stay focused on “What is my better World? My own Utopia?”