2, Two axes
The activities of the Haizuka Earthworks Projects (henceforth called HEP) are based on the following two axes:
A) Reactivating the impoverished local community.
A-1: To organize ongoing summer and fall workshop sessions in schools for children and adults, and to create a school making use of the entire local environment, for artist training and environmental education.
A-2: To create an artists' colony where artists can reside on a long-term basis, increasing exchanges with the local residents.
B) Preservation of the natural environment. To check over the plans of Construction Ministry, and to create alternative plans which make the best use of the natural environment.
3, Various activities
As a key member of the HEP, Kenjiro Okazaki has, since 1993, led numerous workshops for summer sessions, elementary schoolchildren, and environmental studies. Alongside these workshops (A), the proposals and ideas of the citizens that Okazaki drafted, orchestrated and submitted to the Construction Ministry (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) range widely in number and variety from nature preservation, landscape formation , cultural activity and events (B).
Although the basis of the plan is in the realization of a sustainable environment, its qualities as a cultural resource need to be clearly attributed to the productiveness and variety of nature - otherwise it runs the risk of falling out of our range of vision. For residents who have spent their lives in agriculture, nature that is uncontrolled and has no organic association with their own lives may as well be devastated land. In order to embrace a productive but negatively regarded swamp as a meaningful environment, for instance, a semantic transition is first required. Thus, the apparently eccentric idea of using a local legend that the area is haunted by ghosts turned out to be a greatly effective way of changing people's thinking. (Okazaki created a detailed plan for installing a fireball-generating machine which produces fireballs once a year according to weather conditions, along with another machine that predicts their occurrence.) By merely adding this significance (of being haunted by ghosts)to the land, nature can be preserved in its rich, intact state.
Beginning with such conceptual ideas, the mere list of plans which reached final realization would suffice to show the great variety of ideas proposed: an environmental color plan for guardrails, based on residents' votes; a character sign plan which uses children's drawings and develops stories out of them; various greening projects including the artificial cultivation of moss and biotopes; the design of a bridge rail system which takes the bridge made by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and alters its function and influence upon the environment; a design proposal for converting a bank reinforcement work into a natural park; and restoring a former agricultural field within the dam as a natural park.
an environmental color plan for guardrails
drawings by workshop participants were
designed as characters of the region
The scope of the projects range over various scales and levels, from a minute, five squarecentimeter moss-growing system, to a five hundred hectare landscape environment design - but they all share the same concepts of re-identifying the productiveness of nature as a cultural resource which cannot be exchanged for short-term economic gain. (This is based on the belief that such low-profile activity is a basic condition for the establishment of art.)
The construction of the dam reached its completion in 2007. The Plateaus on the Bosom of Time (Embankment Park) which Okazaki planned and designed with the local citizens was completed in 2000, followed by the completion of Ototoi-bashi (Day Before Yesterday Bridge), Mikazuki-butai (Crescent Stage) and Nakatsukuni Koen (Mid-Earth Park) in 2007. The environment-generating activities and workshop projects continue on.
The Plateaus on the Bosom of Time