centre project


The centre project is a non-profit venue organized by centre Inc, located in Tokyo. The centre project is a project space focusing on “printed matter” and “art of the book”. The term “art” here includes fine art, design, photography, architecture, and products.
The space will collaborate with artists, designers, authors, papermakers, publishers, printers, and others involved with art books and printed matter to organize creative exhibitions on related topics. The centre project also occasionally features Conversations, and curatorial and performance themes related to the exhibitions held here.

The opening hours of the space depend on the exhibition, please check the schedule again in advance.


TWIZA 101, 3-9-10, Sasazuka, Shibuya, Tokyo, 1510073


instagram: @centre_project



Drifting objects

Looking at the flotsam washed up on the shores of Hayama, I noticed a stone, roughly the size of a softball, among the fishing nets and plastic litter. We come across stones in all kinds of places, but it felt incongruous to find it on the beach. Picking it up, I was surprised by its lightness, which made me realise it was an artificial stone made from resin. I assumed it had been mass-produced to be used in gardens, yet I wondered where it had come from. While I was on the shore, I had similar feelings on several other occasions: finding a hard, rainbow-coloured shell made me wonder how it could be natural, even though I knew it was; and seeing a worn fishing net made the story I had heard, about nets being used to make paper for offerings to the Emperor, all the more convincing. Looking across at the surfers, I imagined the stone floating on the sea.


Narrative in the new media ecology

After the earthquake, I collected discarded newspapers for around six months. Without thinking too much about it, I cut out articles from various newspapers, rearranged the parts freely and bound them simply with a stapler. The series of pages, formed by chance, were deprived of the rules of individual layouts, compositions and conceptions. Despite this, the fragmented remnants of information were much easier and smoother for me to understand. This may share some similarities with the act of facing flotsam. Environmental awareness can vary greatly according to a person’s individualism and historical point of view. Is there a way to consider the act of picking up something at a certain location, not in terms of superficial ecological ethics or a site-specific view, but from a perspective based solely on the quality of that unique experience?



The marbled pattern of Awa Washi paper is the result of dying the kozo pulp. This means that even if you’ve smoothed out the surface to create an even pattern, its appearance will change the moment you remove it from the water as the fibres, previously hidden below the surface, appear as the paper is compressed. However, this doesn’t mean that the intended character will no longer be visible. The way in which only the impressions and marks remain made me think that the kozo fibres were resisting the intervention of human hands.


Natural and artificial

There are far more types of soil than one can imagine. Even in Japan, the qualities and colours of the soil differ between regions. In places like Mount Fuji, which rises more than 3000 metres above sea level, red soil can be found and plants are rarely sighted. On the other hand, 31% of Japan’s landmass is covered with black soil, particularly the plains and hills where people reside. It is generally accepted that the soil was formed when volcanic ash mixed with the dead, rotten leaves of the plants that grew in the ash. According to “The Japanese Soils: The Black Soil and Jomon Culture Revealed by Geology” by Toru Yamanoi, there was a period during the Jomon and Yayoi eras when people all over the country engaged in the practice of burning grasses for agricultural purposes. These practices formed pulverised coals that were retained underground and which, regardless of the soil’s natural mineral composition, resulted in the black colouration. If this is indeed true, the soil we see ubiquitously was made artificially over a period of 10,000 years, starting with the Jomon people. It reminded me of an experience I had, where I realised that the forest I had thought was natural was in fact manmade. Perhaps the vagueness of the boundaries we have with nature are all around us.


Naturalization and immigration

A research team, which included members from Oregon University, revealed that the marine creatures washed far out to sea by the tsunami reached the west coast of the United States several years later. According to their paper, published in Science magazine, Japanese indigenous species including shellfish, sea anemones and crabs reached the North American continent, carried by the tremendous amount of flotsam washed off the land by the tsunami that followed the Tohoku earthquake. As far as they could observe, the species found in the flotsam numbered up to more than three hundred. This means that the creatures formed a new ecosystem, within which they lived symbiotically in the drifts, continuing on for at least three generations. What would I do if I had to live in a limited space for my entire life? It’s always better for new perspectives to be formed in this manner. The strong, buoyant plastic objects and glass fibres have become their colony, and the crossbreeding of creatures from Japan and around the world will continue in the future.


I learnt that 工, the second character in the word 人工 (meaning artificial), was originally meant to represent the human (人) activities that connect heaven and earth, which are depicted by the two horizontal lines. In the cultural history of mankind, the acts of making and design may have a far more significant presence than today’s society realises.


Life excludes nostalgia, there is no past to come. ̶ Gilles Clément, Le Jardin en Mouvement, Sens & Tonka, 2007/2008 Translated from French by Emmanuel Marès


To the past, or the time that manifests itself

Jiro Iio (Editor, speelplaats co., ltd)


The encounter between the graphic designer Yoshihisa Tanaka and the architect Fuminori Nousaku was made possible by several, overlapping fields of senses.


One example was the field of collaboration between the graphic design and the spatial installation for “Cosmo-Eggs|宇宙の卵,” presented at the Japan Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition in 2018. At the pavilion, part of an international exhibition showcasing the works of contemporary artists, a group consisting of an artist, a composer, an anthropologist and an architect collaborated on the installation, combining their films, sounds, texts and spaces. The installation allowed visitors to experience the presence of Tsunami-ishi. Researched and filmed by the artist Motoyuki Shitamichi, the enormous and seemingly immovable rock was carried ashore in the Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa, by the tremendous energy of a tsunami. The rock remembers an immense, instantaneous force that occurred hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago. It becomes an agent (causing a chain of actions) that stimulates our senses by accumulating a powerful index (mark of nature), something that emits a wholeness that remains uncategorised in its timeliness, eternity and significance. The contemporary art market may be a variation of a macro-economy. The market is not something that can suppress art; it is a complex movement of index-agent and a method of abduction (hypothetical reasoning), which transcends the law that makes a community a community. On the contrary, it is a conjugate made visible by the intent to re-construct art anthropologically, separate from the market. ★1


The time of graphic and the time of architecture. The second overlapping field is their interest in the time that agents carry as characteristics.


As an expression of graphic design, Tanaka has been making paper. Rather than making digital media, which can be consumed in an instant, or paper media, which can be mass-produced and mass-consumed, he makes a wide variety of Japanese papers that can be produced in small quantities. As a recording media, it has unprecedented accuracy. Numerous stories recorded on Japanese paper during the Heian era can still be recited today, highlighting the notable archival quality of the material. Papers made with materials of high purity, such as kozo pulp, were used as offerings to the nobles, while on the other hand, everyday papers mixed with old, unusable cloths or fishing nets functioned as objects that made visible the network of discarded and scrapped materials. The accumulation of this index in Japanese paper provided stimulation for Tanaka, inspiring him to make works by mixing materials used for Japanese paper with pulverised coal, which is found in soil throughout the country as a result of life during the Jomon and Yayoi eras, more than 10,000 years ago, when people would burn off grasses. His actions inform us of the risks associated with the economy’s exchange market, which is built on a cycle in which 70% of paper products are discarded as trash.


As an architect, Fuminori Nousaku seems to pave the way to a new kind of abduction that verifies unfinished architecture. Based on new observations and assumptions that surpass the modern principles of architectural design and its production, this idea is evident in works such as “Guest House in Takaoka (2016),” for which he demolished, mended and rebuilt a 40-year-old tiled roof house in a different location; and “Hole of Nishi-Ōi,” the home-cum-office where he practices daily cycles of design, construction and life. As an industry, architecture resembles cooking on a large scale with mass-produced and mass-consumed building ingredients, reaching the apex of its production and value upon completion, but prior to consumption. However, is it possible to determine the most valuable point in time when the index-agent continues to construct and renew its abductive nexus (chain)? “Hole of Nishi-Ōi,” a four-storey secondhand residential building built during the bubble era, has been assigned the subtitle of “Wild ecology of the city.” The architect continues to make various holes in the urban residential house, which is an expensive product of a period of economic growth, in order to match his lifecycle and the interior layout. Wild is a word that represents a strong will to move away from a suspended state of nexus.


We can no longer be wild because our living spheres have now been completely marketised. Not only that, but the global environment we live in has become a manmade environment that has driven nature away. This world is known as the Anthropocene. It is an imaginary geologic timescale proposed by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Jozef Crutzen in 2000. The explosive increase in population from the mid-twentieth century, the global-scale emission of plutonium isotopes by nuclear tests, and the drastic global urbanisation that has covered the earth with a new concrete skin… these events resulted in the earth’s hidden regions to be swallowed up as the background for the global megalopolis and industry, turning the earth into a single planet-city. Viewed from the perspective of the Earth itself, the Anthropocene would be seen as the result of Anthropocentrism, triggered by the development of agriculture and settlements, domestication of animals, governing and alteration of environments and deprivation of nature, which commenced 10,000 years ago.


— At a time when all of the arts have been commercialised, the process of disassembling the arts into non-arts may in fact paradoxically contribute to leaving the aesthetic space open until “something good appears.” ★2


The contemporary state of the Anthropocene. It is now a story of the past, a time when Anthropocentrism functioned as the incubator of creation, enabling the social system to stratify and stabilise the values of art and architecture.


★1 ── Alfred Gell, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory, Oxford University Press, 1998. Akinori Kubo “Reading Alfred Gell’s Art and Agency” (, 2007)

★2 ── Timothy Morton “Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics,” Harvard University Press, 2009