The Tenth Sentiment, Best Artwork I’ve Seen this Year


As I promised to write about in the last post, here is the best art installation I’ve seen in the last year. The piece is called The Tenth Sentiment by Ryota Kuwakubo at the NTT ICC, a technology-centered art gallery. I always find at least one piece of forward-thinking art work there with a lot of stimulating cerebral installations I barely understand. And there it was, an art installation that blew my mind.

I would have written about this work right after the last post, but after scouring the internet, I couldn’t find any video of the work and the only picture I could find is the one you see above. So I’ll describe it in words the best I can.

When you first enter the dark room, the room is bare except for a toy train set quietly humming on the floor. The concept is very simple. A model train with an LED light as a headlamp makes its paces around its tiny tracks. Around the train tracks are everyday objects found in the office or home. They are placed such that the light from the train casts shadows around the bare dark room and these every day objects balloon into the shadows of industrial structures and urban complexes. The effect is that you feel like you are in the train, riding through cities and the countryside with the silhouettes of the outside rushing past you.

Rows of clothespins resemble electric power stations snaking through a wasteland. A copse of standing pencils are telephone poles. Lightbulbs stand in for nuclear power plants. A pasta strainer becomes a factory leaking light. Other objects stretch out into office buildings, ports, parks.

A tiny toy train, one light source, an empty dark room, and lots of well-placed every day things become a lonely train ride through the industrial and urban wasteland of modern life.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself! It’s free! The Tenth Sentiment is part of the Open Space 2010 at the NTT ICC, showing until February 27, 2011.