Vol.11 Sound system for the Kankaku Museum in Iwadeyama-cho in Tamatsukuri County, Miyagi Prefecture


Sound system for the Kankaku Museum in Iwadeyama-cho in Tamatsukuri County, Miyagi Prefecture

- A toy box which is a feast for the five senses -
Sound system for the Kankaku Museum in Iwadeyama-cho in Tamatsukuri County, Miyagi Prefecture

Kankaku Museum in Iwadeyama-cho in Tamatsukuri County, Miyagi Prefecture

A touch on your palm,A smell which tickles your nose,Blinding darkness, followed by dazzling light,Sound in your ears.

Our five senses are excellent "sensors," though people in the modern world neglect and dull them.

Relax and enhance your five senses,and you will find the sky more beautiful than you thought before.


A profile of sound

The exhibits at the Kankaku Museum are pieces of contemporary art which may seem somewhat recondite. It is impossible to understand their true meaning at first glance. The various objects and spaces in the museum are "devices" designed by artists to awake individual visitors' five senses. Variations in light, fragrance and sound are all dedicated to hands-on sensuous experience. Direct exposure to these devices will rouse parts of your senses which have lain dormant.


(MP3 2,063KB)

How well do you know the darkness of the dark and the brilliance of the light?
How often are you aware of the whispering of the grass and scent of the wind?
In modern society, we can easily obtain a wide variety of information through communication equipment and computers. On the other hand, we have largely neglected our five senses as essential conduits of information.

Located along a local line which connects Sendai, the gateway to the Tohoku region of Japan, and the Naruko hot-spring resort, Iwadeyama-cho is a small rural town of the type that is seen throughout Japan. The town is surrounded by a range of faraway mountains against an uninterrupted skyline. Visitors to the town find a warm welcome in this extraordinary museum.
It is neither a museum where you can "see" objects of art, nor a concert hall where you can "listen" to music. Rather, it is a museum where you are intended to "feel" sensations using all five senses.
As you step into the museum through the entrance which surrounds a round plaza, you will find yourself beginning to thaw. Inside, there is a fragrance reminiscent of a flower garden. From behind a large gear which rises to the ceiling comes the sound of a toy instrument which may perhaps remind you of something you played with when you were a child. The first "Dialog Zone" is an introductory space where visitors are encouraged to pay attention to their own five senses. Through exposure to the fragrance and the art in this zone, visitors are brought into touch with the spirit and the sensibilities of the artists who have created it.

The passage to the next zone is a spine-tingling space beyond a black curtain known as the "Dark Forest" -- a world of complete darkness.
In daily life, there is some light even in the darkest night, though such light is very subtle. This zone, however, is pitch black with no light and you cannot see even your hands. As you walk holding on to the handrail, your senses, to which you normally pay little attention, gradually sharpen. The feel of the wall against your hand... A few rays of light...
A mysterious sound and a sweet smell wafting in from somewhere... Nothing is visible but you obtain a lot of information just by using hands, ears, and nose. This is no doubt quite a novel experience for you.

Leaving the Dark Forest, you have another surprise. The instant you draw the black curtain aside, you are blinded by dazzling sunlight. You will probably feel as if you were inside a kaleidoscope. The sunlight is amplified by glass and mirrors. How powerful the sunlight is!
After passing through another dark passage, you will find yourself in the relaxing "Monologue Zone." This space is designed to refresh your senses. Here, you can enjoy spotlights ranging over white sand with accompanying sound; listen to sound synchronized with ripples on water; and attempt to lie in a waterless lacquered pool.
Another mysterious space, the "Fragrant Forest" has nine pillars made of 100,000 handmade paper strings. If you stand beside one of the hollows in these pillars your imagination will be inspired by soft sounds garnered from the town's rich natural surroundings and aromas selected to suit the sounds.
When you emerge from the museum and look up the sky after this exciting experience with your senses, you will be better able to appreciate the air, the color of the clouds and many other things which you may have taken for granted up till now.

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