The following abstract was originally written to accompany a presentation of this project at the 2021 Art Anywhere Symposium.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the 2021 symposium is not running.  In response, I am currently creating an online publication as an alternate mode of delivery, which will be available on my Online Publications page in late 2021.

Matsushima – No Visitor Island

During the 2019 Art Anywhere Symposium, Ryota Sato extended an invitation to the audience.  Everyone present was invited to contribute to the island’s Matsushima Bunko Museum – a venture with no goal, no formal exhibitions, no art collections, no curators and no director.

“We have had to surrender…to give up wanting anything. No-one comes to the island, the museum has no visitors…still, we need to cut the grass.”

Sato’s words created a visceral response that formed the backbone of Nelson’s project.  A series of wonderings, faint callings, and musings sprung up around one clear knowing; she would pay a visit to Matsushima Island and its museum.  What would be the purpose of such a visit? Could a collaboration with one of the island’s two remaining residents emerge through tasks of seemingly futile maintenance? By standing in such open defiance of productivity, would the museum’s boundaries dissolve? Would the island become the museum and the museum the island? Originating as a simple visit that offered a gesture of maintenance, Nelson’s project and the artist herself, were ultimately reduced to the elemental; surrender, survival, transformation.

Satelite image of Matsushima Island depicting the lush green trees of the island against a shimmering, deep blue sea.