Monthly Archives: May 2009

Has Time Become Space?

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  spiderman 

       “Has time become space?” Dr. Mary Ann Doane began with the words. There was a lecture organized by Chukyo University at Science Hall in Nagoya City Science Museum yesterday. Dr. Doane, the professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University in the U.S, talked about the spatilization of time at the lecture.

     Actually I could hardly get the picture during the lecture because I’ve never studied the philosophies on time and space argued by Kant, Bergson, and James. However, it was quite interesting that she compared these three visual arts: digital arts, movies, and trailers to explain the spatilization of time. What she used as examples for the theme were a picture taken by Hiroshi Sugimoto, a Taiwanese film named Goodbye, Dragon Inn, and two movie trailers of Spiderman and Gangs of New York.

theaters

      First of all, Dr. Doane showed the audience a trailer of Spiderman without any explanations. And then she showed a black and white photo taken by Hiroshi Sugimoto, the photographer. It was one of his works, a series “Theaters”. Sugimoto took the photo by long exposure during a film at an old movie theater. As a result, the photo has an illuminating blank screen and empty sheets. It looks like a just picture of an unused theater, but it isn’t. The condensed time of a two-hour cinema is packed in the image.

dragon inn

    

     Secondly, what she showed the audience was an ending scene of a film, Goodbye, Dragon Inn, made in Taiwan six years ago. At the last scene, are viewers shown that a cleaning woman moving along the sheets at an old theater. After the cleaning woman left the place, the camera is still shooting, and viewers just see the empty theater at least for two or three minutes. It looks like a motionless photograph, but it isn’t. It’s a motion picture.  GoNY

   
     Thirdly, we saw another movie trailer of Gangs of New York. Dr. Doane talked about the trailer with the Spiderman’s one. According to her, those movies trailers are typical Hollywood style. That is, both of them have many fragment images which changes very fast, dramatic music, impact sounds, solemn male voice over, names of director and main characters, and of course no end. Trailers are totally different works from their original movies, but they had the whole stories because they are made by original movies compressed, omitted, chopped and restructured. 

     Finally, according to Dr. Doane, people feel the time by the sun’s moving in the past, but now we recognize it by the clock, which is the symbol of labor and technology. The relation of time and space has changed at each era. She didn’t answer to the question, “Has time become space?” at the lecture. She threw the question to the audience. I can’t answer because the lecture was too difficult and the theme is too deep for me, but it was nice to have had an opportunity to think about the relation of time and space this time.

Kaisho-no-mori Forest in Seto

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HI352288

     Have you ever heard or visited Kaisho-no-mori Forest in Seto? It is the place which has natural forests, artificial forest and a structured park made by the prefecture, and the total area is about 600 ha located in the south of Seto, Aichi Prefecture. The forest was once a candidate site for Aichi Expo held in 2005, but it has been conserved, not destroyed for the world exposition. HI352279

     Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit the forest. I took part in a kind of a hike with guides, who are conservationists and have environmental activates to preserve the forest.HI352286

      The hiking was organized by AGGN (Aichi Goodwill Guide Network). I was very happy to join the tour because I have been interested in the place since the prefecture gave up using it as the main site for the exposition, and I learned many things from biological, botanical, historical, archeological, geographical, and geological points, which made Aichi prefecture and Japan Association for the 2005 relinquish the plan for constructing the site there. HI352284

     The trigger of the big opposition movement for the exposition in the area was that the existence of ohtaka, or goshawk, which is one of endangered species, had been confirmed in 1999 after the prefecture and the association for the exposition started thinking Kaisho-no-mori Forest as the main site in 1990. HI352301

     The forest has not only the endangered birds but also endangered plants, such as star magnolias. Star magnolias grow naturally in only Tokai district including Aichi prefecture. Kaisho-no-mori Forest is a sacred place for the plants. In the forest can you see other precious and rare plants, such as haru-rindo, or gentian thunbergii, and ibota-ro-no-ki. According to one of the guides, there is an insect named ibota-ro-mushi, and people used to make wax from the young worms’ fluid. The tree has become to call ibota-ro-no-ki because the insects like the tree.    

     There aHI352289re ancient burial mounds and old sites for production of ceramic wares in Kaisho-no-mori Forest. You can see many old sties and things, which will stimulate your interests, in the place.

     Nowadays the forest is a mountain, but it used to be the bottom of a river named the Shinano in ancient times. So, the ground is very gravelly. The area was lifted up by crustal movement.   HI352314

     This is a pond called Taisho-ike. You can see the two forests here. On the right, it is a natural forest; on the left it is an artificial forest.

     According to the guide, the artificial forest is very weak and dangerous because it has only needle leaf trees, such as cider and cypress, which go through the rain easily and make the soil very soft, and coniferous trees’ roots don’t spread widely under the ground. That is, needle leaf trees forests can be easily collapsed. In addition, people have abandoned the artificial trees because import materials are cheaper and the forest’s trees are seldom used. So, only those needle leaf trees grow up freely and other kinds of trees cannot grow there. HI352295

     The government went on with planting ciders and cypresses in the postwar years because they can grow up easily. But those trees haven’t been used as building materials and ignored for a long time, and it has caused other problems, such as risks of landslides and hay fever…HI352316

     Kaisho-no-mori Forest is too big to see around a day. I just walked and saw one-third of the forest this time. But I saw many precious plants and heard of birds and learned many new things through the tour. The forest is rich in diversity. I’d like to visit the rest places someday soon.