Imaginary landscapes: The real and the possible

This Symposium addresses environmental issues of special interest to the public. Please feel free to join.

Please click here for the full program.

YouTube Live

Date & Hours: Saturday, February 27, 2016, 13:00 – 17:00
Venue: Nanzenji, Kyoto (Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city) ( → Access)
Host: The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Notes: Admission free, children welcome
Language: Japanese/English (with simultaneous translation)
Please be aware that we will stream this symposium live to YouTube Live in both
Japanese and English.

How do we see the places in which we live? And how can we reimagine them?

Japan is a famously urbanized society, replete with seductive imagery of modern life. Yet, like all industrial societies, Japan is still dependent on rural places, and on a complex network of plans an infrastructures―roads, power stations, dams, canals, and cables―built to make rural resources available to urban populations. These structures surround and support the everyday lives of urban people, yet they remain curiously out-of-mind and out-of-sight.

At the same time, rural places are increasingly abandoned, forests grow thick, old roads are no longer travelled. Rural towns grow lonely and derelict, like ruins, even as so many ideal images of Japan continue to draw from the rural past, which survives as if it w ere a vast collective unconscious.

This symposium invites five distinguished photographers and curators, all students of contemporary landscapes and landscape change, to help us see what is and imagine what might be.

In discussing their work and their goals, they ask us to see what actually exists, because how we see our places has a lot to do with how we see ourselves. And without seeing ourselves, it is impossible to imagine what we might become.

Contact: The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Public Relations Subunit
457-4 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8047 JAPAN
Open 8:30 – 17:00 on weekdays


  1. 13:00 – 13:05
  2. Opening Remarks Tetsuzo YASUNARI, Director-General, RIHN

  3. 13:05 – 13:10
  4. Objectives of the Symposium Kenichi ABE, Professor, RIHN

  5. 13:10 – 13:40
  6. Keynote Address Daniel NILES, Associate Professor, RIHN

     Imaginary landscapes: The real and the possible

  7. 13:40 – 14:20
  8. Presentation by Panelists

    Presentation 1 Toshio SHIBATA, Photographer

     Borrowing a place

    Presentation 2 Taishi HIROKAWA, Photographer

     The landscape of accomplished factt

  9. 14:20 – 14:35
  10. Break

  11. 14:35 – 15:35
  12. Presentation by Panelists

    Presentation 3 Hiroyasu YAMAUCHI, Curator of Rias Ark Museum of Art

     Disaster and landscape

    Presentation 4  Masahiro SEKIGUCHI, Art Front Gallery

     Spaces for transformation: The Echigo-Tsumari Project

    Presentation 5  Chieko KITADE, Curator, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

     The exhibition as a landscape woven by artist and viewer: The role of art museums

  13. 15:35 – 15:45
  14. Break

  15. 15:45 – 16:55
  16. Panel and public discussion


    Ken-ichi ABE, Moderator

  17. 16:55 – 17:00
  18. Closing Daniel NILES