Noritaka Minami


Feature by Sarah Pollman

Noritaka Minami received a BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 and a MFA in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine in 2011. His solo exhibition, 1972, was recently held at the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. This on-going project engages the late Kisho Kurokawa’s experimental architecture, the Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972), through the photographic medium. His works have also been exhibited at the Las Cienegas Projects (Los Angeles), the New Wight Gallery (Los Angeles), and the University Art Gallery (Irvine). In 2012, he was a recipient of the ARC Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation as well as a residency at the Kala Art Institute. He has a forthcoming solo show at the University of California, Merced in 2013.

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Façade 1, 2011

Architects build on history, using the past to predict the future’s projected needs. Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, designed by Kisho Kurokawa in 1972, exemplifies an architectural dream of the future that never materialized. Built as part of the Metabolism architecture movement, the Tower was meant to be an innovation in modular living that would allow businessmen to live close to their site of work in small but replaceable units.

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B1004 (Window), 2011

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B807, 2012

The capsule design is drawn from the camera: just as a camera-obscura is a darkened room that allows light to enter an inscribe itself on the interior, the windows of the capsules allow light to pass through the spaces over time, recording itself by yellowing a once-futuristic vision. Fan-like shades once covered the large, round windows and recalled the leaf-shutter. Impractical, most are now removed, as are dated televisions and air conditioners. These details reveal the degree to which the capsules are now outmoded. Having exceeded their projected twenty-five year life-span, the design proves to be too rigid for replacement and renewal.

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A1007 (Wall II), 2011

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B1004 (Wall), 2011

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A1203, 2012

While the building awaits an uncertain fate, Noritaka Minami documents it with his large format camera. This tool provides a static, scientific and academic experience of looking and analyzing. Coupled with careful framing, the photographs minimize the appearance of the artist and reveal thoughtful combinations of images that function as a document of this structure. The sites of the photographs are humanized by the contents of their inhabitants and become places for the intersection of past and present visions.

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A706 (Wall II), 2011

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A706 (Wall I), 2011

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Corridor I, 2011

For more information, please visit Noritaka’s website.

Sarah is an artist and writer living and working in Boston, MA. She is a current MFA candidate at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University with an emphasis on photographic history and theory. She is the founder and curator of 3200K, a printed fine-art quarterly dedicated to emerging photographers working in analog media. Her photographs have been shown, published and included in corporate and private collections across the United States.