We recently spent several days in Tokyo before we started the Basho Tohoku Tour followed by walking the Kumano Kodo’s Nakahechi route on the Kii-Peninsula in Honshu. I spent some time during those five days walking around the bar district in Shinkjuku, which is where our hotel in Tokyo was located; as well as traveling around the different wards of Tokyo on the very crowded but extremely effective JR Yamanote loop line. Tokyo is an ever-changing, decentralized postmodern city of patchwork neighbourhoods with a long history of being a photographed city, often explored in terms of the tense relationship between tradition and modernity. The photos after 1945 were usually published in the form of photobooks. Two examples are Toshio Yamane’s color photographs of the waterfront of Tokyo Bay, taken on 4×5 film during the 1980s entitled Front (1991) and Shinichirō Kobayashi’s photographs of the construction works of Tokyo Bay taken throughout the 1980s in Tokyo Bay Side (1991)
As a visitor I could only photo the urban surface of this ever changing city –ie., the streets, people and architecture–which is what Nguan, the Singapore photographer, did with his Shibuya project (2010) of the peoples scramble at the intersection—the in front of Shibuya station, sometimes known as the Hachikō diagonal crossing. My idea was to be a flaneur for several days either by getting lost in Shinjuku or using the Situationist drifting strategy. The former was easy to do as Shinjuku Station is a large subway and railway hub is a labyrinth consisting of over 40 exits, two major department stores and many of the other conveniences and advertising associated with Tokyo subway stations
Whilst on the train I endeavoured to make photos of the city though the window when I was able to. The Big Echo photo below was made whilst we were on our way to the Shinagawa station to visit photography exhibitions at the Tokyo Art Photography (TOP) Museum. The standout exhibition was that of Homma Takashi entitled Revolution 9, which used rooms as if they were pinhole cameras — the blurb says “using the city to shoot the city”.
I was unable to make many urban photos through the train windows whilst in Tokyo as both the monorail from Haneda airport and the trains on the Yamanote loop line were extremely crowded and it was usually standing room only. There was little space by the window amidst a continual flow of people walking on and off the trains at the various stations on the loop line.
In the light of the recent attacks to, and hacks of, two of my WordPress websites –ie., Thoughtfactory and Mallee Routes — I have been looking at Square Space for the Walking Adelaide project. The project has basically outgrown Posthaven’s simple blog format that I have been using up to now. Outgrown in the sense that the Walking Adelaide project needs galleries, a blog and text in the form of some critical writing about the city, modernity and photography.
The Posthaven blog replaced an early poodlewalks blog on a free WordPress blog –that I used when I was living in Adelaide’s CBD That old WordPress blog was deleted when poodlewalks was upgraded into its own website, after we’d shifted to living in Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. The poodlewalks in Adelaide’s CBD stopped and they only took place in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Turning to Posthaven plugged the gap.
Rather than building another WordPress website to develop the Walking Adelaide project I turned to Square Space. Turned in the sense of playing around with a demo template to see whether it would be suitable for the project. The upside of Square Space is that they have the responsibility for blocking the hacks, rather than me. The downside is that they charge $16 per month for the template and hosting when I already hosting my own websites.
From there I drove a little way up Gap Rd into the Ranges, stopped, then looked back from the eastern edge of the Ranges across the Murray Plains. This was once Mallee country.
This scoped picture looks to be a possibility for some b+w photos using the 5×7 Cambo monorail. This was the camera I was using to photograph with in the 1980s when I lived in Adelaide. Then I entered the Mt Lofty Ranges via Mt Pleasant and Palmer from Adelaide I didn’t really explore the eastern side of the Ranges, or the relationship between the Ranges and the Murraylands or plains. The key problem that I will face in exploring this possibility is the strong winds — the sou’ easterlies and the sou’ westerlies — that make large format photography difficult, if nigh on impossible.
The Coral Street Art Space is not planned to be a permanent art gallery with its own curator, as is the case in Goolwa with its South Coast Regional Art Centre and Signal Point, or the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery at Murray Bridge or Fabrik at Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. The Victor Harbor Council is way behind its neighbouring regional councils in investing in the arts and culture–especially compared to Alexandrina Council, which successfully runs a popular yearly Just Add Water cultural and art festival. The Coral Street Art Space is a temporary stop gap, and it is designed to eventually become a multipurpose art space. I assume that this means that Victor Harbor will be without a permanent art gallery for the visual arts.
I have increasingly been turning towards the layers of history in my project orientated photography of the present. The presence of history in the present is a complex relationship, and in exploring it I have come face to face with the historical, foundational narratives in Australia.
These colonial setter narratives contribute to the creation of national myth of heroic solo-endeavour and human tragedy within a ‘harsh’, intractable and unforgiving environment in which only the bravest and boldest could survive.
For instance, the western historiography of heroic exploration in colonial Australia is generally understood within the grand narrative of struggling heroically against adversity’ in the search for more land for further settler expansion and settlement.
This is a fundamental part of colonial occupation and imperial expansion premised on the elimination of the aboriginal people and the wholesale appropriation of their land. The primary motive for elimination is access to territory. Territoriality is settler colonialism’s specific, irreducible element.