Prehistory of Sapporo 2 Project

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About Sapporo2

The snow in Sapporo 2 is beautiful

Kamiel Verschuren

The first snow marks a new beginning, fresh, beautiful and white.
It comes for free and covers all.
Things are hidden and others revealed.
Shapes disappear and forms become one large landscape.
All movements become tracks, leading back and forwards within the same line, overlapping others in time, and time becomes visible in an instant.

All becomes white, unwritten surfaces or physical suggestions.

The snow is democratic, and falls on top of everything and everyone.
It comes for free and belongs to no one.

The snow allows for cultural development.
It will fall again next year, and the year after, offering possibilities and experiments to fail and progress.

The snow only lasts for a short period of time before returning to the clouds in the sky.
The clouds become rain, melting snow, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans turning to gas.
It is there but for a moment.

If our reality would be made of snow, we could rethink ourselves every season,
and all statements will eventually disappear.

A new context for creative engagement

Sapporo 2 is an open idea, an imaginary place, intended as a corresponding reality to the city of Sapporo. A parallel world to which everyone is invited to participate in the process of its creation, to write its narrative and reconsider our daily lives. In this world many things might look familiar or alike but nothing is solely its appearance. All things and activities could be explored for their artistic potential.

Sapporo 2 is also the project title of a future art manifestation set in the winter landscape of Sapporo.
Its intentions are to develop a stronger, independent artistic community. The process is to stimulate collaborations between artists and other cultural producers. The aim is to realize innovative projects engaged in the unique urban and social conditions of this snow city. These collaborative projects are not only necessary to experience the strength of collective activity, they will also help redefine or develop a new context for artistic practices.

Furthermore, this seems to be a necessity, even though the city of Sapporo is a large city (the largest city in Hokkaido, with over 2 million inhabitants, a museum for contemporary arts, galleries, universities and a few artists initiatives) the artistic climate is not very lively and possibly declining. Artists are often leaving the city to find their future careers elsewhere due to a lack of context. Anyone having a chance to work in Japan or abroad often does so and do not return to bring back their experience or implant their new found network to create this context. Another reason is that the active artists in Sapporo mostly operate as individuals, aiming at a private career imbedded in the isolated art world. Not only does this sustain the fictional competitive hierarchy, it also makes them dependent on the power structure of the art market and the fluctuating economy that provides most of the financial means for culture in Japan. This current situation makes it difficult to provide finances and continuity for the initiatives and cultural organizations to plan, maintain or even upgrade their activities.

How can we create strength, discourse and a lively artistic context to engage with the city and its community?

Snowfall is specific to the city of Sapporo and its urban and social conditions. Each year the city is covered with a white surface of frozen water that touches and engages everyone. Thousands of jobs, machines and logistics are involved to remove the snow from the streets, squares and parks. Year after year all this energy, activity and its financial implications have no other purpose then mere displacement, until now.
Could all this be different? Could the snow become an artistic material instead of waste? Can the displacement become an act of creation? A collective act of the community? A new artistic context?

2006. Kamiel Verschuren

Sapporo2 day_a new holiday for Sapporo

January 1st, 2010_Kamiel Verschuren

The Sapporo 2 project investigates possibilities to create a new annual cultural snow festival for the city of Sapporo.

The final aim of the project is to create a new holiday on the second day of snowfall, Sapporo 2-day, a day on which all inhabitants are free from work, school or household, free to collectively experience their city as one very large urban snow sculpture.

Previous to Sapporo 2-day, everyone goes to school, to work as if it were an ordinary weekday, taking the bus, car or subway. But instead of going to class or to the office, all inhabitants of Sapporo will collectively clean the city of snow and by doing so create all kinds of sculptures and objects, supported by artists of the city and abroad.

Each year again and again, as the first snow falls, Sapporo 2-day is celebrated. This urban festival comes to life as a true cultural celebration for all communities. Each year one can learn from what one has done the previous year, from others, from what one has seen and remembers.

It allows individual statements, to address personal issues, as it allows collective projects. It offers the people of Sapporo a way to express and question themselves.

The festival as a whole also expresses the level of vitality of its inhabitants.

The whole city becomes one very big snow festival.

The Projects' Report by Kamiel Verschuren

You can see KV's works(pdf). For whole of programmes, go to "ARCHIVES"

KV Report 2006-2009 KV Report 2010

The future of Sapporo_hyperspace sapporo2

You can see all of the text from "Hyper Space Sapporo2"

Slide show about "Hyper space Sapporo2(2009)"