Shinobu Akimoto: Backyard

Video Installation

February 22 – March 29, 2003

Project Description

For a few years already, Shinobu Akimoto has been surrendering to the inevitable blurring of borders between her artistic activities and daily life. Firstly she worked as a secretary (Secretary Project, 1996-2000) then further she explored art as “lifestyle” with two projects (Making Living/Living Making, 1998; IKEA Living Project Series, 1999-2001). She also worked in collaboration with an association dedicated to the well-being of domestic rabbits, bringing their activities into the art scene (The House Rabbit Society Project Series, 1997-1999).

This time she adopts the position of a video and photo amateur, documenting her family garden in Japan. These images seductively propose an almost idyllic vision of this quiet place where one may wish to be. The minute examination of the environment and the slow observation of animal behavior invite the viewer to contemplate. However, this contemplation is soon disturbed by a fundamental question: what is the difference between these images and similar ones taken by an amateur? And why do we consider them as art? As Germaine Koh said1: “In this age of ready technology and information, the difference between recognized professional authority (of the artist, for instance) and the devotion of amateurs has never been smaller — or more crucial, in some ways.”

[1] in an essay on Akimoto’s work published by YYZ Artists’ Outlet.