• Ideas
  • Nov 05, 2019

Highlights from Okayama Art Summit 2019

Filling up the swimming pool of the former Uchisange Elementary School with a bubbling, unknown pink liquid was PAMELA ROSENKRANZ

The Okayama Art Summit (OAS) was launched in 2016 by three Okayama natives—Taro Nasu of the eponymous Tokyo-based gallery; interior designer Masamichi Katayama; and retail businessman Yasuharu Ishikawa—with a vision to create an art circle around the Setouchi Inland Sea, and to revitalize the Okayama cultural scene. In a bid for the event’s second edition to attract global attention, the OAS committee invited French multimedia sculptor Pierre Huyghe to act as artistic director. Huyghe in turn roped in 18 international artists and collectives examining biological, chemical, and technological processes, with the intent for the 2019 exhibition to be a living, complex system that expands conceptions of what constitutes intelligent life forms. Titled “If the Snake,” the show elicited “spontaneous order[s], self-generating material[s] with consciousness, shifting meaning[s], [and] constantly modif[ied] its plasticity in total indifference to any potential witness,” in Huyghe's words.