Green Carpet, 2023

RISO Print, paper, PVC carpet, variable dimensions, for Unsafeandsound Festival 2023 with the theme „Hope. A Politics of Healing."

The work explores the nature of memories, their mechanisms, and failures using (failed) paper foldings and text. I tried to capture the fragility and deceptions inherent in memories. Memory plays a crucial role in the act of paper folding—when it misleads or is flawed, it gives rise to uncanny creatures.
Paper tiles were laid out on the floor, combining text with folding patterns, like textile patches.

With this particular text about an early childhood memory I have already worked in various iterations, while the version displayed within this work is the shortest:


There isn‘t a time line. You begin in the middle and start moving in one direction. It‘s not a flat surface. You aren‘t just moving forward or backward. You are moving within a multidimensional space on various panels. Each panel reflects itself and something else. Depending on how you move and where you come from, you see something new, something old, or something you‘ve forgotten, forgetting or remembering something that never happened. Wondering when does one thing end and another begin. And if you can separate the two/

Different people take different paths, different journeys at different times. They are not travelling with a specific destination in mind. Yet, they are walking toward the same place. Whether they meet or not is not relevant. It‘s not a mathematical equation/

The memory of the dark, one-story house on the once-large property where my mother grew up. I barely remember. I see blurred dark brown and green/

I remember the typhoon breaking in between tall trees. Chestnuts with long spines rain down on me, spines like toothpicks. Chestnuts, as I have never seen them before, hit the ground to the left and right of me. I flee with my hands protecting my head/

My grandmother‘s house is dark and smells old – dampness, cellar, mold. Despite the fact that the summer day is no further away than a thin wooden wall, it‘s cool in here. The floor is built in the traditional way on stilts – wooden planks a few centimeters above the ground. And above that, a simple green carpet, the kind found in hardware stores and garden centers, just as good for outdoors. I remember parts of the floor where, under the carpet, a board was missing – rotten, broken. The carpet stretches over the holes. When you walk on it, you realise you‘re stepping into a hole, your foot barely held by the carpet, which gives way a little/

I‘m sure that my grandmothers‘ house was not standing for long after the time of this memory, and my grandfather didn‘t live much longer either. After that, my grandmother lived in a new house until her death. There, she spent many years in bed in a bright room on the ground floor. After her death, she was laid out in that room, on ice and flowers, and the family spent the night with her, drinking and laughing, so that obāchan‘s soul wouldn‘t be afraid and would feel encouraged to embark on the next journey/

At the time of the memory, however, my grandmother and grandfather still lived in the house with the carpet that spanned the holes, ensuring that no one disappears into them. A house surrounded by tall trees, from whose crowns chestnuts fell, striking down those who fail to protect themselves/

Old age made my grandfather crazy. That said, they say he‘s always been crazy. As a young man, he signed on with a merchant ship to avoid being drafted into the war. He fell in love with my grandmother in Hiroshima, where she was a teacher at a school. Together, they fled the city due to my grandmother‘s family, which was not willing to tolerate the foreign marriage. Yokatta, yokatta, otherwise the atomic bomb would have taken my grandmother too/

My grandparents moved to the property near Tokyo. The property had been large, on the edge of fields. Over the years, it has been halved over and over again, turned into asphalt parking lots and more houses. Later, a modern single-family house was built right next to the old house where my grandmother lived when my grandfather was still alive. Inside the old house, a green carpet spanned holes in the floor. It was dark, damp, and during a typhoon, chestnuts hailed down outside. Those who did not know how to protect themselves were struck down and injured/

I sit on the carpet. I have just been told not to intentionally step on the holes, although I enjoy doing that. I breathe the dark air and hold objects in my hands. Objects made of paper. The sticky moisture I brought in from outside dries cool on my skin. I can‘t remember – did I get the things as gifts? Should I play with them? Did I take them myself out of curiosity? ––
From outside the windowpanes, dusty sunbeams hit the dark green carpet, leaving emerald-green stains, tiny dust grains float weightlessly in space.