During 1th- 17th February, we were working in Yokohama, Japan at BankART studio, on a residency. Throughout our time we tried to engage with the city. Our way of doing this became about getting to know people, through conversation, and finding spaces that were more informal, that allowed us to engage with a variety of different people living in Yokohama. Our project as a whole – throughout the short time we were there – became less about learning about Japanese culture and more about getting to know a city in a different way, by asking locals where is good to meet people and then going there. We wanted to investigate how can you get to know a place, and how can you feel part of it in such a short time? How can you get a sense of what different communities live there? What builds a sense of place?
Towards the end of the week we decided to have a party and invite all of the people that we’d met in Yokohama to come along.The party was not only a celebration of the people we’d met, and their contribution to our time in Japan, but also to see if it was possible to create a sense of community, if only temporarily. A party also seemed like a good way to mark the end of our time in Japan.
The party lasted for 45 minutes. We supplied a few drinks (8 cans of beer, 1 bottle of Sake, 1 bottle of Shoju, orange juice, cola, nibbles, 45 minutes of music and a 1 minute speech.
We chose to use only a small area of the studio, using tape to mark out the party area. This was to define the space of the party, to make it a place that was different to just being in the gallery. We added a small doorway for people to walk through when they arrived. We wanted to be clear that this was a party and not just free drinks in a gallery. The small space was also to reflect the amount of guests that we had invited.
Although we had many invites displayed in the space, we only gave them to or invited about 15 people. We did not advertise the party outside of the area in which it was held, and only invited people that we genuinely felt we had got to know.
It was also a chance to bring people from Yokohama, the community that we had been trying to engage with, into the gallery space. In our work we often try to ask people to enter a gallery/art space, people who would perhaps not usually engage with art or performance in this way, to encourage people to perhaps take a risk, or try something different. The party provided a relaxed and informal setting for this to happen.