Koichiro Yamamoto

Japanese | English


Rumorous "speech balloons" emerged in the area from the shopping street to Ikuta Park.

I visited the shops again and again and heard so many things, which culminated in those completely non-fiction rumors. They were about: the character of a shop manager; something private; something funny; something that makes you feel connected to the shop; and all sorts of other things. Also featured were rumors about the town blown-up to an enormous scale on billboards and a banner which would wake up sleepy commuters on the train.

his project was conceived for the purpose of fostering more communication in the community, to enliven the town and to make the town more attractive, a place which everyone feels influenced by.

I spent time listening to conversations in each shop. Things that shop managers and keepers felt happy about recently, something they are proud of, their hobbies, their troubles... these everyday matters were printed on speech-balloon-shaped boards and put up on the shop front.

I heard the manager here is soooo good at golf.
They were saying such and such person working part time here has lost a bit of weight recently.
I heard that the manager here is a newly wed.

Everybody must have something he or she is proud of, something they want to tell everybody but are too shy or embarrassed to talk about. For example, bragging about one's children.
They are taken from daily conversation and made into the language of rumors.

The town is illuminated with rumors, enhancing the atmosphere of the local summer festival. Having looked at those "rumors", passers-by feel more familiar with or curious about the shop and trigger conversations or even new relationships.

It might not be visible in numbers or figures, but the impression one gets in those moments are burnt in ones mind forever, and from time to time, they will find themselves thinking "I feel like going there again" or "I wonder how the son of that shop-owner is doing?"
Some might say it is more effective than pointless advertisements.

Speech balloons on shop fronts, which drew so much of attention, are not pieces of art. Enormous speech balloon shaped billboards and banners that surprised commuters on the train are not pieces of art either. They are just posters, billboards and banners.

That is why many people questioned "Are they art?". Let me reiterate, they are not pieces of art. However, they are art. And actually they are proper art.

Let us think of a beautiful painting. When we see an amazingly beautiful painting, we are moved. We are so fascinated that we cannot leave that painting. As one of the roles or functions of art, "being moved" can be singled out. This has been the case historically as well. So, how can Rumors in Noborito Project be art? The answer is in our hearts.

"It's kinda embarrassing to see things about me put up like that.. but yeah, it's nice" - a feeling like that.

"Oh, I didn't know that the manager of this shop was like that. It must be a nice place." - you feel much more connected to the shop. A feeling like that.

Within each of us, something is born - quietly, one after another.

Speech balloons are only provisional forms, and its effect is not too different from the one we get in looking at a beautiful painting in the sense that they are both moving. One might say it is even more impressive and stays more profoundly in one's memories.

From "somebody else's business" to "my business".

Elements of individual citizens are directly treated as the subject matter of artistic activity, making them feel they are part of the project. It will transform their feeling of "somebody else's business" into that of "my business", functioning as a trigger to open their hearts. Moreover, it is simply fun.

It is even more fun to see it contributing to the start of new conversations, new relationships and making existing relationships even deeper.

It is an amazing thing to see a tiny change of feeling in each individual that can bloom into a feeling of family, town, society and the world.

If my activities can contribute to this end, I am happy. If they have, then it does not even matter if they are art or not.

koichiro yamamoto 2007