Rethinking of MA: Space-Time 2020 10.20.2020

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The interdisciplinary “MA: Space-Time in Japan” exhibition, curated by renowned architect, Arata Isozaki, presented Japanese artistic culture through the unifying concept of MA found in painting, photography, theater, performance, music, sculpture, architecture and daily life in Japan. While the presentation of this concept defies simple explanation in translation, the explanation according to Western logic made explicit an implicit indigenous notion of order and orientation found in the simultaneity of time and space. First presented in Paris in 1978 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, it then traveled to New York, Houston, Chicago, Stockholm and Helsinki. In the year 2000, the exhibition was finally held in Tokyo under the multiple titles “MA- Twenty Years on” and “IKI – Espace-Temps du Japan.”

Today in 2020, notions of time and space have been disrupted by COVID-19 with shifts to virtual communication and work on global-local levels, fundamentally questioning notions of MA: Space-Time and offering opportunities for its re-interpretation. How do physical local contexts connect with the global contexts based on time zones rather than actual travel and distances between Japan and the world? How does our current situation relate to MA: Space-Time in our day to day activities between these virtual and physical situations?

Beyond the physical world, the importance of space as a place to gather has been diminished and architects are being forced to re-examine it from new angles. With architecture as a starting point, the discussion will touch on space and time as the intersection of experience with implications for other fields as well.

On Tuesday, October 20, Japan House Los Angeles will hold a conversation rethinking about this important notion to understand Japanese culture. The discussion will be led by Hitoshi Abe (UCLA), Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (Harvard University), and MC’d by Ken Tadashi Oshima (University of Washington).