In Yamaguchi city Yamaguchi Prefecture, after passing the Yuta hot-spring area crowded with hotels, you will come across an open space all of sudden. Over the green carpet of the grass, you will find three of small, medium and large waves. That is Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM). You can’t help asking yourself why there is such a building in the middle of nowhere.
According to a spokesman, Yamaguchi city has the smallest population amongst the prefectural capitals, but now it has this brand new culture center which pursues the new creative value of arts and information as a platform which shares media technology.
It opened in October 2003. This outlandish building, designed by Arata Isozaki & Associates, consists of three, small, medium and large waves, and each wave has different functions.
The largest wave on the left is Studio A. This is a theater type of space but seats are movable, so you can use it as a huge space as well. They don’t call it ‘hall’ but ‘studio’ because it is also a place for creations.
The middle wave of the building is a foyer but also an entrance. It is a wellhole surrounded by the glassed-in patio. There is a grand staircase in the center and it can also be used as audience seats or a stage. When I visited there, there was an event using it as audience seats. If you walk up this grand staircase, you will find Studio B, which is for multipurpose use such as exhibitions or lectures, and Studio C, which screens films, and a lab for supporting creative activities.
The small wave on the left is Yamaguchi City Central Library that is open-plan and has vaulted ceiling.
It is sophisticated but relaxing that makes you feel you can spend hours and hours here.
Also, Italian restaurant is attached.
YCAM doesn’t only show the existing outstanding works but also invites artists for the productions during their stay. This creates a new flow that the works created in YCAM are sent out around the world.
Media Art is relatively new genre and still unfamiliar. Therefore there are not many opportunities to be exposed to them. YCAM holds workshops of Media Arts in order for anyone to enjoy this seemingly complicated subject.
YCAM is not for some limited people but for anyone to enjoy it freely as a part of their lives. For example, you can see exhibitions while you visit the library, have restaurant’s gelato in the patio, or lie down on the grass after taking part in workshops.
It’s an awesome public place that makes you say, “I wish there were such a place around my area!”, so you should definitely visit there even if you’ve never visited Yamaguchi. I believe you will find the ideal place where arts and people coexist.
Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media
Closed: Tuesday (If Tuesday is a holiday, then Wednesday), Winter holiday season (Dec. 29-Jan.3)
Address: 7-7 Nakazono-cho, Yamaguchi
Text: Yuko Matono
Translation: Yuki Furusho