Volume 9

Surrounded by artists’ books of all shapes, sizes and types, Pepper’s Project not only agreed to take part in the project, but also completed their page there and then!

Pepper's collage team


ready for the next person!

Yamanote days

I have now embarked on a tour of Tokyo.

My guide is a map from the back of a gallery postcard, with all the labels surgically removed.

map debris

My starting point is every station on the Yamanote railway line.

map book

I’ve been doing it for 2 days now, and I’m halfway round. I don’t know where the map will take me, but there’s always something interesting to be found at the other end…

Update: this became the Sites of Potentiality: Yamanote Line project.

City Canal Tour

Having excused myself early from the last segment of Johnny Hillwalker’s walking tour of Kyoto, I made a (not so) quick dash over to the Shimogamo Shrine to meet artist Markuz Wernli Saitô.

The last time we’d met was on the Kamo Obashi bridge when, having randomly followed a link from this article, and discovering the momentarium website I thought it would be great to invite Markuz to be a starting point for the Peer-to-Peer Sketchbooks project.

This time, however, was to be much more involved…

Wednesdays in Markuz’s programme are city canal tour days where “surprises and wet feet are guaranteed”. Well, I certainly got both, starting with performing the opening ceremony!

A condensed version of the tour can be viewed here http://momentarium.org/service/popup/1025.html (Quicktime format), but the actual event lasted about 2 hours.

canalside futon clips

It was fascinating to peer into people’s gardens from what was effectively ground level, and there were some nice little discoveries within the limbo territory of the canal itself: sights, sounds and smells.

Mostly the people we saw did a double-take but recovered enough to give us a friendly “konnichiwa” or “kombanwa”. There were a few quality encounters though, such as the woman throwing food across the canal and two fences to a dog in a garden on the other side, and The Guy in the Red T-Shirt.

The Guy in the Red T-Shirt

I didn’t catch his name, but he just sort of appeared alongside the canal on his bike. After a brief introductory chat with Markuz, he left his bike propped up at the side and came down to join us. …but only for a few seconds before he started sprinting down the canal path!

He reappeared some time later completely out of breath and stopped to chat some more. We saw him a few more times after that as he cycled over various bridges and gave us a friendly wave. I wonder if he ever got back in touch with Markuz later by email?


I’m very much intrigued by how encounters like this can be documented. I was repeatedly amazed by the fact that, in Japan, Markuz has been able to leave his video camera set up on a tripod on the other side of busy bridges and in railway stations etc unattended and without fear that it would get stolen. How would you manage this in the UK or elsewhere? Some sort of hidden camera? An entourage of beefy cameramen?

Is there some other way of documenting the process besides video? Does the record need to be visual and time-based?

Maybe a more comforting way to regard my dozens of mosquito bites is as some form of alternative documentary record…

Volume 17

This week I was due to meet up with a friend in Kyoto on Saturday, but I altered my plans so I could meet up with momentarium Markuz Wernli Saitô.

hostel baggage

This involved arriving a day early and spending the night in a youth hostel… and then oversleeping the next morning, trekking back to the station, faffing around trying to find a locker big enough for my bags, trekking to a different station and then arriving at Kamo Obashi Bridge 10 minutes after the scheduled bridge-sit was supposed to end.

Fortunately there was something of a crowd there and so I was still able to meet Markuz to invite him to take part in the project.

Markuz Wernli Saitô

Hopefully I will make it back to Kyoto next week to properly take part in one of the activities.

Volume 23

Last week I entered the strange, strange world of Megumi Ishibashi.

This is a world where large, contorted, fibre-glass figures leave flight trails that arch across the sky or
struggle to escape from the arse-holes of technicoloured fish.

megumi ishibashi, flying seven, amabiki 2006

We built a new language and then we talked about studio spaces, art outside the gallery and residencies.

It was fun; I gave her a sketchbook.

megumi ishibashi

I hope she likes it…

light snack

Volume 7

On September 23rd I visited Ono Garou for the first time.

ono garou stairs

It was in the basement of this dilapidated apartment block in Ginza that we came across Junichi Saito and a masterfully executed presentation of a single piece of sculpture in an awkward corner under the stairs. Pure theatre, excellent!

saito junichi

And so Volume 7 has been left in the (white cotton-gloved) hands of Saito-san, ready to begin its journey…

volume 7

Volume 2

Yesterday I completed page 2a and so today I posted Volume 2 to the next artists: Karin and Reuben at Springhill Institute.

posting vol2

Volume 0

A few pages from Volume 0 compiled at the Peer-to-Peer Sketchbooks launch party.

Peer-to-Peer Project Launch

A few images from the launch of the the Peer-to-Peer Sketchbooks project.

[photos by Nikki Pugh, Makoto Shindo and Karin Kihlberg]

introduction to the Peer-to-Peer Sketchbooks Project

sketchbook pages

Working with Springhill Institute I will develop a creative strategy for investigating an artistic landscape. This will initially involve the design and hand production of a series of books of ‘blank pages’ to which artists will be invited to contribute a fragment of their current work. Each participant will then be asked to pass the book on to an artist of their choice for completion of the next page. In this way, the process of gathering these contributions will result in a sort of highly subjective cartography that maps out the current terrain of specific individuals and also the links between a progression of artists.

The journey of each book will be logged here and it is hoped that the final contributor to each volume will then return the book to me.

In the first instance I will make 26 books each with 26 blank pages. In addition to starting trails here in the UK, I will also take several books with me when I go to Japan in September. Here they will act as a means to develop existing relationships and also to initiate new ones.

To signify the start of the collation process, we hosted a one-night event at Springhill Institute in which artists were invited to leave their mark on blank pages that will then be compiled to form the first volume.

work in progress

Peer-to-Peer Sketchbooks is funded by Springhill Institute through the Springhill Project support, 2006.

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