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Arts dialogue - Kosuke Ikeda and Alicia KingBookmark

Learning area: The Arts
Year level: Year 9, Year 10
Country: Japan

This learning sequence examines the visual arts collaboration between Australia and the Asia region through the artworks of Kosuke Ikeda and Alicia King.

Students will gain insight into the intercultural impact on the creation of artworks. They are provided the opportunity to study and interpret Kosuke Ikeda's Ecology and art after 3.11, a work based on an interest in environmental phenomena of energy and natural disaster, and Alicia King's series of works for an Asialink residency titled Shifters, which looks at ideas of transformation, metamorphosis and transcendence through human symbiosis with technology.

Key inquiry questions

  • Why is it important to exchange artistic ideas within the Asia region?
  • How can the design elements of an exhibition catalogue be manipulated to highlight an artist's response to a theme?
  • How does visual art transcend cultural borders?


Arts ResidencyAsialink Residency Program

 

Acknowledgements

Image: Asialink

Related resources

Activity 1: Dialogue and exchange through art

In this activity, you will learn about Asialink's Residency Program and explore the work of an Australian artist.

Key inquiry question: Why is it important to exchange artistic ideas within the Asia region?

About art residencies

  1. Read the notes below about the Asialink Residency Program.

    ArtsResidency

  2. View some of the 15 ‪‬‬‬‬‬‬Arts videos showing artists involved in the Asialink Residency Program talking about their work.
  3. As a class, discuss the relevance of this programme and the impact residencies can have on artists and their creativity.
  4. You will note from watching the artist videos that each of the artworks created during a cultural exchange has a focus on a theme such as the environment, gender or freedom. Identify as a class some of the key themes explored in the artist videos.
  5. Create a concept map for each theme and write down some of the key concepts within each of them.
  6. Discuss how the artists have chosen to portray these themes in their artworks and whether you identify with any of their messages.
  7. View the notes, photo and video about Alicia King.
  8. Discuss with your group the nature of her work and why she represents her ideas in this way.
  9. Look at the ‪‪‪‬‬‬‬Alicia King website and explore other examples of her artworks. Read her Arts Hub interview at ‪‬‬‬‬Alicia King: Asialink and discuss with your group why her artwork is important as an exchange of ideas and philosophies with Japanese artists.

Asialink Arts Residency Program

Each year the ‪‬‬‬‬‬Asialink Arts Residency Program  sends approximately 30 Australian writers, performers, artists and arts managers on residencies in Asia. Since its inception in 1991, the programme has sent more than 680 people to host organisations in over 20 countries.

The grant of up to $12,000 for three months goes towards travel, living and project expenses, and affords recipients the opportunity for in-depth research, stimulating cultural exchanges, international collaboration and uninterrupted time for creativity.

Through residencies, exhibitions, writers' tours, exchange projects and workshops Asialink Arts has worked with 21 countries in Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the beginning

The Australia Council initiated the Visual Arts Residency Program in Asia in 1989 and two residencies took place in Thailand and Malaysia. In 1991, Asialink took over the organisation of the residencies and has expanded the program to include up to ten residencies in each artform (Visual Arts, Writing, Performing Arts, Arts Management) per year.

Painters have developed calligraphy skills in Beijing; video artists have mixed with youthful colleagues in Seoul; and metal smiths, potters and puppet makers have worked in workshops across the region. Most have held exhibitions, given talks, exchanged ideas and developed new work as part of their experience.

Christopher Coblis and Janet Meaney

Left: Christopher Cobilis (WA), 2012 performing arts resident. MOVE Theatre, Taipei. Featuring Force Quit, Photo: Fredrick Liu.
Right: Janet Meaney (ACT), 2012 visual arts resident, 1. Shanthiroad, Bangalore, In the Midst (still of performance)

What occurs during a residency?

Asialink Arts residencies are professional development opportunities rather than distinct project grants. Each artist is offered a specific amount of funding and initial contacts in the host country. It is then up to the individual to make as much of the experience as possible and to plan and manage their own programme.

Key attributes for the residency are the ability to cope with sometimes unusual or difficult situations and to work successfully in a challenging environment while maintaining good working relationships with the artists of the host country.

Intercultural skills

The resident’s interest in the host country and an understanding of its customs and cultures are important. Researching the country of interest is essential and language skills are an advantage. It is recommended that successful applicants undertake language lessons prior to departure.xxxxx

More about Alicia's work

Alicia King and Shifters

In 2011–12, Alicia King produced a series of works for an Asialink residency entitled ShiftersShifters  engaged with ideas of transformation, metamorphosis and transcendence through human symbiosis with technology. It simultaneously questions the relationship of technology to cultural self-expression. 

The forehead of a disembodied man inflates and morphs as if via telekinesis, as a fluid organic form appears to grow from beneath his skin.

In an era in which modification of the body is scientifically and biomedically altering ideas of what it means to be human in a technologically mediated world, Shifters explores the uniquely Japanese underground 'bagel head' trend of manipulating the body through saline infusion.

Engaging ideas of transformation, metamorphosis and transcendence through human symbiosis with technology, Shifters simultaneously questions the relationship of technology to cultural self-expression.

Shifters was filmed on location in Tokyo, with members of Tokyo's body-modification subcultures, with whom the artist met during her residency at Tokyo Wonder Site.

Shifters was generously supported by Asialink; the Australia Council for the Arts; and Arts Tasmania.
Artist and Director: Alicia King
Camera: Tobias Memmott
Technical assistant: Asami
Model: Omi
Special thanks: Ryoichi 'Keroppy' Maeda
Location: Tokyo, Japan, 2012.

Adapted from the ‪‪‬‬‬‬‬Asialink Arts Residency website

Acknowledgements

Text: adapted from artsHub, 2012, ‪‪‬‬Alicia King: Asialink
Image: Alicia King and her piece, ‪‪‪‬‬Animorphs courtesy of Alicia King
Video: Shifters – Alicia King – ‪‬‬‬‬‬‬Vimeo Standard Licence

Activity 2: Exhibition catalogue

In this activity, you will design and make an exhibition catalogue either as a printed booklet or an online catalogue for either Alicia King's or Kosuke Ikeda's artwork created during their Asialink residency.

Key inquiry question: How can the design elements of an exhibition catalogue be manipulated to highlight an artist’s response to a theme?

  1. Read the notes about Kosuke Ikeda.
  2. Discuss with your group the nature of his work and why he represents his ideas in this way.
  3. Look at the ‪‬‬‬‬Kosuke Ikeda website  and explore other examples of his artworks.
  4. Discuss with your group why his artwork is important as an exchange of ideas and philosophies with Australian artists.
  5. You are now going to use the ‪‪‪‬‬‬‬Visible Thinking Routine called ‪‬‬‬‬‬‬Step Inside to discuss as a group how Kosuke Ikeda has used his artworks to respond to the Japanese earthquake in 2011 and the devastating aftermath and how Alicia King represents the future of technology.
  6. You will step inside the skin of the artists and use their artwork and knowledge gained during this module to identify what they were thinking when they created the artwork. Make notes during your discussion as these will help you to frame the structure of your exhibition catalogue. Consider these questions:
    • What does the artist perceive about the theme they have explored in their artwork?
    • What knowledge or beliefs do you think the artist brings to their artwork?
    • What do you think the artist cares about?
  7. Select your focus artist. Develop a rationale for your exhibition. The rationale should outline what you want to say or represent by the exhibition, why it is important to examine this concept within contemporary society and how the concept is relevant to global understanding, particularly its pertinence to Australia and countries in Asia.
  8. Include digital images of the artworks and document the details of each as per a catalogue genre, for example, date of construction, materials used, style, and the artists' ideas for the artworks.
  9. Develop an artist's statement and/or an artist interview (or both) answering the four questions:
    • How does their artwork represent the concept of the exhibition?
    • What reason did the artist have for their choice of materials and what techniques of construction did they use?
    • Who influenced the ideas and styles that exemplify their artwork?
    • How does the work provide understanding of an intercultural exchange of ideas?
  10. Design a template for the layout of text, images or videos.
  11. Look at catalogues from other exhibitions for suggestions on how you can communicate your ideas more clearly. Select colours and typeface that exemplify your ideas.
  12. Acknowledge and reference your information sources at the back of the catalogue.
  13. Share your exhibition catalogues, critically asses their visual impact and discuss the most powerful representations.

More about Kosuke's work

Experimental energy

Tokyo Art-Power Plant (2011) is a collaborative project involving a range of techniques and devices for providing non-nuclear and non-fossil fuel power generation: human energy, and wind, water and solar power.

Presented as a 'laboratory for experimental power generation', the final iteration of the work featured performances by voice artist Fuyuki Yamakawa (who incorporates pulsing light bulbs generated by his heartbeat into his set) and experimental musician Atsuhiro Ito (with his 'optron' fluorescent lighting musical instrument).

The show was powered with alternative energy. The flickering bulbs and the waning sound of electric guitars are stark reminders about the fragility of energy generation and the invisibility, and environmental impact, of more commonly used energy sources.

In the lead-up to his solo exhibition, ‪‪‬‬Melbourne Art-Power Plant at RMIT's project Space Gallery, Kosuke Ikeda guides us through his open studio, where we see his works in progress.

Acknowledgements

Text: Dr Kristen Sharp, RMIT University, Notes from artist talk, RMIT University, June 2012 – Courtesy of Asialink

Activity 3: Creating a themed exhibition

In this activity, you will create an online exhibition of artists from Australia and the Asia region and show how art can transcend cultural borders.

Key inquiry question: How does visual art transcend cultural borders?

  1. Read the notes about Kosuke Ikeda and Alicia King.
  2. As a class, discuss how their artworks provide a global perspective that transcends the borders or identities of countries. You may wish to consider the following:
    • How can images overcome the language barrier?
    • What does the observer bring to the artwork?
    • How can this affect the observer's interpretation of the visual image?
  3. Explore the catalogues of past exhibitions, particularly those featuring contemporary artists of Asia. For example, examine the artists and artworks of ‪‪‬‬The ‬‬Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery. Each state and territory art gallery has an exhibition of Asian artists that you can access.
  4. Find artists who are of Asian descent who choose to live in Australia and those of Australian descent who choose to live in Asia.
  5. Examine the artworks of these artists and the reasons they live where they do. 
  6. As a group, discuss how the artworks of these artists retain elements of their adopted country, and elements of their country of origin.
  7. Refer back to the artwork themes identified in"Activity 1.
  8. Add any themes you think may have been missed which are relevant to today's world.
  9. Explore the key concepts inherent within the themes.
  10. Break into groups of five and choose a theme that will be the focus of your exhibition.
  11. Research selected artists from Asia and Australia who represent your selected theme.
  12. Collaborate with each other to make sure there is a balanced representation of male and female artists and those who use 2-D and 3-D forms. Include digital images of the artworks and document the details of each as per a catalogue genre, for example, date of construction, materials used, style, and artists' ideas for the artworks.
  13. As a group, use your researched information on artists and their artworks to develop an artist's statement and/or an artist interview answering the four questions:
    • How does their artwork represent the concept of the exhibition?
    • What reason did the artist have for their choice of materials and what techniques of construction did they use?
    • Who influenced the ideas/styles that exemplify their artwork?
    • How does the work provide understanding of an intercultural exchange of ideas?
  14. Once each group member has collected the necessary information, curate the exhibition by assembling the artists under the different focuses of the concept.
  15. Refer to the concept map you and your group developed to write the rationale for your exhibition. This means there may be up to three sections within the exhibition and each needs a small explanation about how the artists and their artworks are related.
  16. Assemble the order of the artworks in the exhibition and design a template for the layout of text/images/videos. Look at catalogues of other exhibitions from the ‪‬‬Gallery of New South Wales website for suggestions on how you can communicate your ideas more clearly. Select colours and typeface that exemplify your ideas.
  17. Include a map of Asia and pinpoint where each of the artists comes from. Acknowledge and reference your information sources at the back of the catalogue.

Activity 4: Reflection

To conclude this learning sequence, present your exhibition to the rest of the class, explaining why you chose the artists and their artworks, and how they exemplify the 'concept' of your group:

  • Articulate the process you and your group used to develop your ideas and how your exhibition represents intercultural understanding.
  • Once all exhibitions have been presented, discuss as a class which were the most successful and the least successful elements of each exhibition.
  • Complete the activity by identifying ways of improving the look and effectiveness of the exhibitions.

This learning sequence provides teachers with the opportunity to discuss with students the importance of artistic exchanges of ideas and philosophies through arts-based residencies hosted and supported by Asialink. The learning sequence focuses on Alicia King's and Kosuke Ikeda's residencies and how they used their artworks to portray concepts and issues pertinent to the societies and times in which we live.

Activity 1: Dialogue and exchange through art

As an Arts (Visual Arts) module, the teaching and learning framework incorporates knowledge, understanding, and skills integrated within making and responding activities. It is important that students orientate to the content through questioning. Students use this knowledge to develop ideas and options for creating and constructing their ideas into conceptual representations. Their selection of artworks should demonstrate their perspectives of different intercultural understandings.

In this activity students explore the Asialink Residency Program, Alicia King and her art works. They become familiar with this contemporary artist through her background, and through questioning establish what they already know about themes used as a focus for artworks.

Activity 2: Exhibition catalogue

In this activity students examine the works of Kosuke Ikeda that convey explicit meaning through symbolic/metaphoric codes. They use the Visible Thinking Routine,‪‪‬‬‬‬Step Inside, to display a deeper understanding of the artist's viewpoints.

Further information about these routines can be accessed at ‪‬‬Visible Thinking.

They conclude the activity by designing either a print or online catalogue for either Alicia King or Kosuke Ikeda. Once completed, these are shared with other class members and critically assessed.

Activity 3: Creating a 'Themed exhibition

Using websites and exhibitions of contemporary artists from the Asia region, students look at a range of artists particularly those who exhibited at the ‪‪‬‬Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery. They investigate Australian artists who live in the Asia region and Australian artists of Asian heritage to discover how their artworks reflect elements of different cultures and explore universal themes.

They complete the activity by creating an exhibition focusing on a theme and including artists from Australia and the Asia region.

Activity 4: Reflection

Students conclude the learning sequence by presenting their exhibitions and critically assessing their effectiveness both visually and with regard to supporting the exhibition theme. It is important that students discuss ways to improve their work and that this activity is conducted in a respectful way.

Useful websites


It is recommended that teachers preview websites to ensure they are suitable for their students prior to use in class. Content accessed via these links is not owned or controlled by the Asia Education Foundation and is subject to the terms of use of the associated website.

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