NO-MA ARCHIVE(ノマ アーカイヴ)

Online article
A Borderless Perspective -2

Nobuo Kogure

(Professor of Art Environment Studies at Kyoto Tachibana University)

This text was contributed to Let’s Talk about NO-MA on the former NO-MA website (2005–2012). The manuscript was written in 2006. The professional titles mentioned are those during writing.

I think borderless means not bound by conventions.

Since we pursue the free expression of arts, the audience are supposed to be free to interpret them. Yet, they tend to be influenced by reputation and fame, consuming the arts and taking home the symbols “transmitted” by the media. Nowadays, museums are attempting to break down such barriers, and that always gives me hope. Appreciation of artworks is a creative process and not mere consumption, and it would be a shame if this creative activity was misunderstood as a passive act.

NO-MA is located in a small town called Omi Hachiman. It is not a modern museum. It is a humble townhouse, and its small size makes it seem as if it had almost no threshold. I always hope that the audience will be as borderless and diverse as the artworks exhibited here.

You can contemplate the works in the storehouse by yourself. Your sense of time will slow down and you may start to hear old tales. You can look at the works with another person. A visit to NO-MA will diversify relationships, which often get stuck in a rut. You can come in a group and enjoy a cup of tea in the tatami room on the second floor, or you can let yourself be amazed by the unexpected and semi-conscious development of a story while sewing.

You may find yourself talking to people who used to live here. It is not a ghost story, but the smell of the air makes you feel a connection to a distant past. When you walk down to the courtyard, for instance, you can hear noises and smell dinner being cooked. It is also fun to talk with the locals, who will tell you that a former resident of NO-MA used to practice Noh dance in a certain place or that they remember the funeral of a deceased person.

It may seem like people just talk to each other in this art gallery, but when I am at NO-MA, I realize that appreciation is encompassed in the expression of artworks and the dialogue and conversation stimulated by them. This also includes, of course, the internal dialogue of the audience.

The town seems quiet, but it is actually very chatty when people visit.
It is like a grandmother who is a good seamstress, waiting for her grandchildren to come home for the Bon Festival.
When you come here and listen to the chatter of the town, you will feel a fated bond with this place.
It is a borderless journey of appreciation where you can even feel the town breathing.
This little NO-MA always offers you that.

Kogure Journal:

Source: Former NO-MA website (2005-2012) Let’s talk about NO-MA (published on February 21, 2006)

Related Articles