Studio Visit: Yuka Otani
Date: Tuesday, May 31st
Studio Discussion Synopsis:
During her studio visit Yuka Otani presented the preliminary work for two upcoming projects.
The first project, a continuation of her investigation of sugar glass, departs from her prior vessel work. In this project, Yuka has teamed up with Papabubble Specialty Confectionary to produce shards of crystal clear sugar-glass. Visually this candy convincingly resembles broken glass but is strawberry flavored and edible. Yuka uses this project to challenge her viewer to experience glass in a way apart from the typical sensory experience. Instead of relying only on your eyes or hands the viewer must use their mouth and taste buds to fully experience this glass.
The sugar glass is sharp and potentially dangerous for the consumer. The group discussed what it means to invite an audience to eat glass and the various connotations of the plastic zip-top bag packaging for the sugar-glass shards. While Yuka primarily intends the packaging to be minimal and non-invasive, some participants felt the bags were in common with the packaging of illicit drugs and the typeface related to high-end cosmetics. The viewer/consumer experience may change dramatically based on the context and presentation of the sugar-glass, each with its own challenges and boons. The shards may appear as a generous artistic offering presented in a take-away pile in a museum or gallery context, or priced per each as a high-end confection at a specialty store or featured as a clever design object at a contemporary design retailer. In an upcoming exhibition of glass artists, Yuka will be offering the sugar-glass shards to exhibit goers as a performative sculpture.
Presentation was discussed as a way to promote personal experience.
Yuka is interested in designing ephemera that will connect the audience with the sensual experience of her artwork.
The other project Yuka is involved with is in its preliminary stages, but will also utilize ephemera to discuss and promote a personal experience. She has an upcoming residency at Watarase Art Project in Japan near the site of the Ashio copper mining disaster, which resulted in the acidification of an adjacent river. While in residence, Yuka plans to discuss with local residents their experiences with the polluted river and with water in general. Some of the anecdotal information that she gathers may be integrated as text into postcards that will be offered to the patrons of the Watarase Art Project exhibition space. The group discussed the appearance and presentation of the project as well as a new text work relating to Hōjōki or “The Ten Foot Square Hut” written in 1212 by Kamo no Chōmei. “The Ten Foot Square Hut” describes disasters that befall the residents of Kyoto in the middle ages paired with an intimate description of a personal dwelling. This text seems to be a framework for Yuka to engage the personal of her audience experience within a conversation on disaster.
Addendum: Yuka Otani at Papabubble