PEOPLEText: Noriko Ishimizu

By the way, has mirukusouko + The Coconuts changed its members since it was formed in 2009?

Miyazaki: One person leaves and another does. The original member is now only me.

Has something changed since two members of the The Coconuts joined?

Miyazaki: Having The Coconuts expanded the scope of production,such as an aspect of the characteristics and preference, more than before. Also, using colors in artworks is one of the changes. mirukusouko dealt with the hard-idea themes, mechanics, substance and physical properties, so there were many obsessive works for using colors. Since there is a painter in The Coconuts, our artworks became colorful after having them join us. Now that we have a musician, we can edit audio as well.

I would like to ask about the venues for your exhibits. mirukusouko + The Coconuts tend to have exhibits at places that are not museums and galleries.

Miyazaki: We rarely do exhibits at places so-called galleries. Almost none, right? Lol.

Sakagawa: What about 3331, 3331 Arts Chiyoda?

Miyazaki: 3331 is a gallery, but it was originally school.

Matsumoto: It is a place renovated from something, so it feels a bit different from a typical gallery.

Miyazaki: There are many things that are difficult to handle in the gallery due to the characteristic of our individual productions. Therefore, we came into the result of creating our own space in Hacchobori which is our working studio and exhibition space “milkyeast.”

In particular, what do you find so difficult in your artwork?

Miyazaki: Such as using water for artworks, taking too long to carry things in and setting up, and things that must be made on the spot.

Matsumoto: We have members who prefer places with a wide range of
tolerances, such as drilling holes in the floor or in the wall. We make artworks that incorporate places. But also since the mirukusouko era, we have been also making places. For example, when renovating our studio, our floor was not in a condition that we can create artworks. So we broke it down and poured concrete on the floor. “Creating artworks from places” and conversely “making a place from work” are both considered as important activities for us.

How did things go for the case of AAIC?

Miyazaki: AAIC has a condition of using a cube, so we abstract the condition once and formulate a concept, and then we came up with very specific tasks such as passing electricity in the process of making. When we launched our own space, we had to build knowledge and resources to refurbish the space since it was a very shabby place. So we felt like our experience came in very useful.

Sakagawa: He already said it earlier, but the floor was so dented when we launched the space.

Matsumoto: That’s right. It was so dented. lol. We wouldn’t be able to use it as a work area unless we make it flat. So the experiences, including how to get the floor horizontal, was reflected in the production for AAIC.

Such work seems very craftsmanlike, isn’t it?

Miyazaki: Yes, I do feel like we have a craftsman in our team.

Matsumoto: We do feel it so. Especially with the fact of each member has the expertise of electricity, videography, editorial design, civil engineering technology, architecture, sound and landscaping.

How were those skills used for the AAIC artwork?

Miyazaki: For example, since we could use the floor space in any way we wanted…

Sakagawa: We decided to raise the whole floor and put a small device, which is supposed to go under the floor, and the wires through.

Miyazaki: It was great for us to have members who can handle electricity as well as processing a cube physically. Each member has their own interests in the technical part, but particularly, Sakagawa is interested in infrastructure.

Matsumoto: It is more like an artist has acquired the skills as a craftsman, rather than a craftman became an artist since he went through a path of becoming an electrical engineer for wanting to handle electricity in his work,
Also, Shinozaki has knowledge of architecture. So once I received the drawing of the cube, he is the one who mostly designed the cube considering the conditions such as how much space that would need between rafters supporting the cube.

Well, so fine to call as an artistic unit that does production work as a main thing rather than an engineer group?

Matsumoto: Yes. Production is our main thing.

Nishihama: We are aiming for a Renaissance vibe.

Like a medieval guild?

Miyazaki: That’s right. And also the part that the artists and the engineers are inseparable.

Nishihama: Leonardo da Vinci is also a technician. If we say that we are like him, it’s too cool to say so, though.

Matsumoto: Aren’t you overvaluing us too much?

Everyone: LOL.

But if you work as a technician, will your approach be different?

Matsumoto: I consider an approach that includes technology in the concept, not to interpret the highly abstract concept and put that into technology. I think the way that things are made and are generated is inseparable from technology, so I am consciously working on how to extract it as a concept.

Miyazaki: That is also a concept as a group.

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