In 2000, the Aomori Museum of Art approached me about creating an original work of art that would capture the uniqueness of Aomori prefecture.
Aomori, in northern Japan, is famous in Japan for its apples, Itako shamans, the village of Rokkasho, and the Hiba tree. For this project, however, I wanted to choose a subject which would connect with the audience on a personal level. Then I came up with the idea of using a motif of Ms. Miura who I met during my stay in Aomori - she was born, brought up there and currently works at the Museum of Local History. “Being (Ms.) Miura?” was unveiled during the summer vacation season of 2000 as part of the Kids’ World Aomori 2000 family art event. This varied from other art workshops; it had a strong outreach message by bringing the art in the street to include and show to random participants.
Participants were told only that they would be creating an identity for a fictional character with the family name Miura. Minus such vital statistics as gender and age, participants were free to use their imagination to fill in the details of “Miura? data sheet” with such personal details as dreams, favorite quotes, and etc. Having completed the data sheet, participants were asked to choose a “Peek-a-Boo board,” designed to represent Ms. Miura. A photograph was taken as a proof of the moment that they became “Miura” themselves. The photograph was attached to each participants’ “Miura? Certificate,” and the official Aozora Art authentication stamp was sealed. At the end, the “Miura? commemorative pin” was given to each participant to be worn on their shirtfront to celebrate their “Miura-nization” (so to speak).
The “Miura? Tour” was organized several times a day. Having participated in this tour, the participants finally got to know that Ms. Miura was actually a woman in her 20s who was working at Aomori Prefectural Museum as a guide. The participants explored the Aomori Prefectural Museum preceded by their guide, Ms. Miura, and they all enjoyed her detailed commentary on the exhibitions at the Museum as well as on the history and culture of Aomori Prefecture. Through this meeting, participants could appreciate the similarities and differences between the real Ms. Miura and the character her name inspired in each participant.
Other than that, I organized a unique bus tour called "Miura? Walk" and with her Peek-a-Boo board visiting sightseeing spots, such as station plaza and Sannaimaruyama's remains.
「みうらさん？」は、KIDS ART WORLD2000という、夏休みの子どもと親子向けのアート企画展の中の、交流事業という位置づけでした。これはワークショップとも異なり、アートそのものを街に持ち出す事によって，親子だけでなく不特定多数の人達に向けての強いアウトリーチ性を持った事業だったと考えられます。