Shoji Kato (b. 1969 JP/US)
Rauma City Library 16.8. – 28.10.2006
Even in this age of advanced technology, we often find pleasure and comfort in tactile stimulation, and are touched by personal connections where the mind and body experiences are integrated.
This project involved photographic documentation of the bookshelves of a hundred and two individuals in Rauma. (The bookshelves show the histories of the owners - tokens of what she/he has been interested, learned, stimulated, influenced and inspired, or the absence of these experiences).
Kato met the people who were closely related to each other by following their relationships as a sociological fieldwork. This process is parallel to what he calls “following path, or En, of the relationships”. (En is a Japanese term for causational relationship in the world where there is no disconnection) Kato started this "investigation" with three people as one can find their code numbers as A, B and C in the accompanied map for the installation. People were asked to introduce others with whom they share common interests and values for the next linkages (these linkages can be found as lines in the map).
The black and white images of individual bookshelves (mounted on MDF boards, in size of 45cm x 60cm, front and back side have identical images) were placed above the existing bookshelves of the city library in the order of the relatedness between the individuals as a diagram. Through the installation, the contrast of two types of systematic organizations of the books are presented –the librarian scientific system and the organic one.
With various information and forms of the bookshelves documented in each images, this work suggests the relationship of individual interest and a collective mental landscape. The questions of the influential interdependency in the evolving phenomenon between individuals and the culture, and of the notion of boundaries around us were raised.
Shoji Kato lives and works in New York and in Helsinki.