“ You wake up in a warm sauna, the smells of pinewood and glowing embers fill the air. On the left of you stands a small heater and on the right you can make out a map on a wall. Through the glass in front of you, you can see a bridge while rainy grey weather fills the sky. You have entered ‘Minaving’. A place where some things seem familiar but out of place and other things seem strange but fitting. Time moves slow here, so relax, listen, look around and let the scenery slowly wash over you.”

Minaving is an audiovisual VR travel experience made during the MSR = HAAG SAEZ residency organized by Yoshinari Nishiki from studio TOFU.  The concept was to connect the city of Minamisanriku to the city The Hague. The work combines video- and audiofootage of both locations into a new world with aspects of both countries and an added layer of imagination.

Minamisanriku is a small town located in the North-east of Japan, traditionally known for its aquaculture. However, the place gained a sudden notoriety after the Great East Japan Earthquake with its extended area of land severely damaged by tsunamis. It has been 11 years since the catastrophe and now the place is known for its advanced environmental efforts. It is perhaps time to update the cross-border perception of the municipality.

By being connected to The Hague which has starkly different characteristics but remarkably with almost exactly the same land area, Minamisanriku can be reformed into MSR=HAAG SAEZ (Special Art Experiment Zone).

Supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan, Minamisanriku Town, EU-Japan Fest. With cooperation of Minamisanriku Training Centre and V2_Lab for the Unstable Media.

Skykey, 2023