Aoi Yamanouchi

End of Summer: Absorbing Oregon in August

Matt Jay's August residency program brings Japanese artists to Oregon to work and connect

By BRIAN LIBBY

Yale Union’s End of Summer artist residency concluded on Sunday with open artist’s studios for the six Japanese artists who participated in the program in August. Throughout the massive old building’s three floors, each of the visiting artists seemed to stake out a different corner.

Filmmaker Shu Isaka made use of Yale Union’s cavernous basement, for example, where catwalks extend over a subterranean creek that peeks through the surface. In Isaka’s mockumentary, called “Sprout” and made during the residency, the unique circle-and-squares layout of the nearby Ladd’s Addition neighborhood and the primal geology of Mount St. Helens (which the artists visited earlier this month) combine to provide evidence of some cosmic plan—a disaster or revelation waiting to happen.

A still from Shu Osaka’s film, “Sprout,” made in Oregon during the End of Summer residency/Photo by Brian Libby

Isaka’s film felt like a way of coping with the fact that Oregon and Japan are united by their seismically active zones. The landscape in its beauty and violence always rules.

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