Atsuko Arai

“My work revolves around the idea of reality and how we perceive it, i.e. the things we see and our interpretations of them. Plus the idea that what surrounds an event is more than just interpretation. By bringing together the perceptions of different individuals, it’s possible to create another reality (or not as the case may be). I develop my ideas on this basis, adapting them to different mediums and materials. In my most recent projects I have carried out a series of workshops, interviews and activities in order to capture the interpretations we build up around us.

In the project “My Famous people” (2006, Japan) I tried to reveal, through a workshop conducted with local children, the personal stories that are normally obscured by day to day life. During the workshop the children identified their local heroes or the people they liked most and then used them as the inspiration for their artwork. The material produced in the workshop took many forms: magazine covers, public monuments and a video of a popular television programme. The children’s famous people featured in all of them. The aim was to show that, in a different context, normal everyday people could become famous.

Travel has also been a vehicle for developing my ideas. The work I did in Barcelona and Bogota “Memories of Bogotá … I miss a city I have never visited” deals with a non-existent city based on Bogota. It’s like an imaginary journey drawn from the accounts of Colombians and citizens of Bogotá who are resident in Barcelona. The similarities between the two cities and memories are at the heart of the project.

In my latest work “When in Hong Kong do as Hong Kongees do!?” I worked with real and stereotypical views of Hong Kong; I also examined the integration of other cultures. I presented it as the account of a journey between the imagination and a real city full of magic.

Although in this globalized world there is a lot of information everywhere, in each place it has a different enviroment and context. Going to another place automatically makes me see things from another point of view. I go around using my imagination, wanting see where people live. My journey between objectivity and fiction goes on.”

– Atsuko Arai, 2007