Haruko Okano. Community Participatory Public Art 3

2005 Commentree Commentree, 2005
Medium: Mixed medium Dimensions: 3.5’ dia. at the top Purpose: To engage youth as an addition to the Arboretum Arborescence installation exhibition.
Commentree was the public participatory component that accompanied the installation “Arboretum Arborescence”. I used dried real leaves sorted by colour into 4 boxes. In each box the leaves alternated between text on vellum sheets. Children were directed to choose their leaf and to toss the accompanying vellum sheet on the floor. Over the period of the exhibition the vellum text then formed an organic poem about nature.

2006 Homing Pidgin Homing Pidgin, 2006
Medium: Mixed medium Dimensions: room size installation Purpose: As part of a collaborative residency “Lost and Found” looking at the impact of colonization.
Homing Pidgin is based on my research into Japanese-Canadian pidgin language specific to 1800’s - 1900’s. No official documentation or archival information was available in Canada. This project was based on interviews and research carried out over two years. Homing Pidgin is a viewer interactive installation.
The wall unit provides clear acetate folders having the Japanese word printed on the front. Each consecutive page in a folder is based on the colours brown to yellow to white. On the front of the back board in each folder is the related English word so that when the folder is emptied the angled lighting projects the shadow of the Japanese word below the English word. The viewer is invited to collect their own booklet of these 26 pidgin words.
The table unit contains the lexicon in a napkin holder and words on magnetic strips. The words are in Japanese, Japanese-Canadian pidgin and English. Two place settings complete with Korean chopsticks(metal) allow the viewer to arrange a message using the magnetic words. Visitors are also invited to collect their own magnetic words to use as fridge magnets.
This installation was exhibited at the Access Artist Run Centre, Vancouver, BC as part of a collaborative residency called “Lost and Found”. This installation became the basis of an interactive website combined with text by poet Fred Wah. Website: www.vaarc.ca/lostandfound/