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Borrowing Views

Amélie Labelle-Laing

Department of International Development Studies, McGill University, Canada.

Abstract      Within the iron-caged walls of an impressive house-shaped structure, Kinya Ishikawa has been recycling thousands of old pottery pieces and other trinkets, creating a monumentally delicate piece that simultaneously lends itself and borrows from its surrounding landscape. Exploring the seemingly spiritual garden of renowned potter Kinya Ishikawa, Borrowing Views highlights the sacredness of “things” that can find, or rather be given, a second life.


Résumé      Entre les murs de fer forgé d'une structure impressionnante qui rappelle une demeure, Kinya Ishikawa recycle des milliers de vieux morceaux de poterie et autres breloques pour créer cette pièce monumentalement délicate qui s'inspire et emprunte simultanément du paysage environnant. En explorant le jardin du célèbre potier Kinya Ishikawa, qui inspire une sorte de spiritualité, "Borrowing Views" met en valeur la sacralité des "choses" qui peuvent trouver, ou plutôt se voir offrir, une seconde vie.


Keywords   creation; space-making; (re)purpose; consumerism


Film     2022; digital; 5min57s

“I like that it was once used, but found a second life.”


Borrowing Views explores the beautiful garden of Kinya Ishikawa, potter and founder of 1001 Pots, the largest collective pottery exhibition in North America. For over a decade, Kinya has been perfecting this space, combining features from traditional Japanese gardens with his own creative twists. Kinya pays homage to his Japanese heritage in this garden notably through the a faced-shaped boulder, who Kinya refers to as Maman, the center-piece of the garden who reappears throughout the film as a sort of divine being with mystic forces that seemingly connect and bring every fragment of repurposed pottery alive.


“Come, let me show you something”


Within the iron-caged walls of an impressive house-shaped structure, Kinya has been recycling thousands of old pottery pieces and other trinkets, creating this monumentally delicate piece that lends itself and simultaneously borrows from its surrounding landscape, as the structure’s shape is made to accentuate features from around it. For instance, while it isn’t described in the film, the structure’s roof was created at a specific angle to reflect that of a nearby church, which from various perspectives mirrors this iron-cage castle of fragmented pottery—enhancing the already present spiritual tone of the space.


“It’s a very silent garden, because pottery is a discreet object.”


This film seeks to reflect the artist’s intricate and creative mind through the dream-like quality of the space and its sacred tone by presenting this space not only as a physical place, but as part of its creator’s genius labyrinth-like mind. This is primarily done through the occasional 16mm clip, the use of Eisenstein’s tonal montage and the hyper-realistic soundscape that introduces the garden. Ultimately, the space lends itself as a commentary on consumerism, demonstrating the artist’s desire and success in giving everything purpose, beauty, and ultimately a second life as a part of his garden.


First and foremost, I have to thank Prof. Lisa Stevenson and Philip Léonard, without whom this project would have never come into being. They taught me everything I know about filming and sound, but most importantly they inspired new ideas and questions in me throughout this process. Above all, I have Kinya to thank. For allowing me to follow him around with a camera for hours, but also for welcoming me so generously into his home. I wasn't sure what it was that I wanted to capture at first, but Kinya inspired the theme of the film enormously, as he so enthusiastically shared with me his space, wisdom and the ideas behind his creations. I'm forever grateful for his guidance.

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