The Grassland in the Teahouse | 茶室の草原

An installation-cum-interactive performance space
Jan 2006, Tokyo

drawings and photos of performance space

drawings and photos of performance space

A Japanese-Mongolian experiential cultural cross between sight, sound, space and a mystical legend.

“If the Sea can fit into a small Seashell, then certainly, the Steppes can fit into a Teahouse. For it has been said, the humble Teahouse can contain the entire universe”

Inspired by Junichiro Tanizaki’s [In Praise of Shadows] in which the mastery of relativity in spatial dynamics in the design of the austere “Chashitsu” (Japanese Teahouse) enables the entire universe to be contained within a mere 1.75jou (2.9m2), as passing through the “Nijiri guchi” (A small 0.66m x 0.66m square opening in the wall positioned deliberately lower than a standing person, obliging him to stoop down before entering, which incidentally is an act of humility) enables the normally small chashitsu interior space to feel much larger than it really is in relative terms, likening it to stepping into the whole wide universe. While Okakura Kakuzo’s [Book of Tea] in which the stoic intricacies of “Sadou” (Tea ceremony) emulate spiritual preparation towards the appreciation of the “Wabi-sabi” (Wisdom in natural simplicity) way of life; a rural genteelity emerging from the shadows.

The Grassland in the Teahouse is an installation-cum-interactive performance space that responds to the hand movement of a “Morin Khuur” (Mongolian Horsehead fiddle) player where the performer controls his own theatrical space with his music, creating an instantaneous spectacle that embraces both Japanese and Mongolian cultures and reveals real-time sound and motion theatrics. From the OUTside, it will look like a Japanese Teahouse, on the INside one can revel in a sea of stars. There is a subtle tongue-in-cheek here, for indeed, there is no sea in Mongolia and no star-filled sky in Tokyo. It is a dynamic fusion of two landscapes; a magical illusion of the miniature world of the HORSE in the TEACUP.

 “A nomadic horse lost in the city.
 A tale of shifting landscapes:
 from silent expansive grassplains to cacophonous urban din.
 from star-filled night skies to deep blue sea.
 Journey ends in the solace of shadows.
 The Japanese teahouse
 gentle haven to ruffled spirits.
 Sea in Seashell,
 Horse in Teacup.
 Curiosity Miniaturized Worlds.
 Magic of Shadows.”


小間茶室 の中にある大草原。
茶碗 の中にいる馬。

「茶室の草原」という作品は 馬頭琴演奏家の両手の動きで反応する 舞台とインスタレーションの兼用空間演出表現である。すなわち、演奏家が馬頭琴を弾きながら 刺激的な光景を形成する という日本とモンゴル文化の影響を受けたインタラクテイブ空間演出である。この瞬間に現れる音響的な空間は 全て演奏家の巧い操作で表現するスペクタクルのである。外から観る殻は座敷っぽい茶室であり、中は 海で映っている満天の星空に 陶酔すること。海のないモンゴルと満天の星空のない東京に対して、確かに皮肉なことだが、これは 二つのダイナミックの統合したフュージョン・ランドスケープである。二つの世界が茶室で相互して、どのぐらい外へ透過するのか、どのぐらい中へ透過するのか、現実的な隠喩。これは 唯神秘的な幻想、奇妙なミニアチュア世界の 茶室の草原。陰影の朦朧から 浮かんでくる光景を想像力で完成させ、”茶碗にいる馬” の物語に耳を澄ますこと。

 静かで広大な草原から 耳障りな大都市へ
 満天の星空から 深い青海へ
 旅が陰影の温もりで 終わらせる。