Form of Anima (2018)

Location: Ise Grand Shrine, Mie -prefecture, Japan                                                                                                                        

Term: May 2018 - September 2018                                                                                                                                                     

Type: Workshop                                                                    

Etc: Featured in Ise Mainichi Quotidian

ISE Grand Shrine

Ise Grand Shrine is known as the origin ofShintoism, the Japanese original and traditional religious belief.
The shrine represents more than 100 small shrines in the site, while having the Outer shrine( 外宮 ) and Inner shrine ( 内宮 ) as its core grand shrine. Besides its importance in religious term,the shrine also gave notable influence towards the origin of Japanese architecture, specifically noted by Kenzo Tange in his publication,"Architecture and Ise-Grand shrine".The brief of this project was to analyze and reimagine the characteristics of Ise GrandShrine, and to express it in an installation in the size of 3 × 3m in the site adjacent to the Outer shrine. 

The spirit of Anima

The religious belief of Shinto stands on an awe towards the huge power of nature beyond human understanding, such as giant trees, gigantic stones and various natural disasters.The unexplainable phenomenons led ancient Japanese people to believe the existence of Anima, a spirit that inhabits in such natural figures and drives various outrageous behavior of nature. Ise Grand Shrine, being the first ShintoShrine to be built in Japan, expresses the very nature of this belief in Anima, by worshiping the various phenomenons included in the site (such as pair of two giant stones, the aging huge camphor tree), while reflecting its "essence" into more than 100 shrine buildings built in the site. 

Forming the invisible Anima

In this project, we aimed to express this spirit of Anima, the very origin of Shintoism as well as Ise Grand Shrine in this3m × 3m installation. In order to give "Form" to an "InvisibleAnima", we analyzed how such spiritual impressions are expressed in the traditional Shrine buildings and events in Ise from various viewpoints. As a result, we found 5 specific essences which can be described as Decorativeness,Continuity, Anacatesthesia, Massiveness and Boundary.Each essence were specifically observed in the events such as Regular shrine removal, which expresses the everlasting continuity of the Anima, and also in the tectonics of the shrine, which creates boundary between the world of human and god, while representing decorative, massive and light weight quality through its form. 

Projecting the 5 essence of Anima

The design of the installation focuses on projecting the 5 essence ofAnima under the consideration of tectonics and morphology of the total design of this installation. By using Japanese standardized 105*105 square timber, the installation provides massive impression, while sustaining the vermicular form, which reflects the other 4 essence in various ways through diverse morphologies shown in the diagram.The materials were whittled by our own hands as well as the construction, using the Japanese traditional wood joint technique known as Joggle joint and Halving joint . The construction process initially focused on assembling woods into small units, and to merge each units in the actual site.As the construction schedule was limited to 4days, focus was put on easy construction, usingJapanese architectural tectonics. 

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