For me Potemkin is the starting point of revolution. Marco Casagrande continues mentally attached with Potemkin and seeing where the revolution is taking him. Potemkin stands at the crossroads where the modern man has to define his relationship with the nature. We have all the tools needed for a sustainable solution of human existence in the technological world. Now we also have all the tools to destroy the world. Architects, artists, urban planners, environmental planners and humanists must find their position and responsibility in this turning point. Potemkin stands as an Acropolis to be the post industrial temple to think of the connection between the modern man and nature.
The park is founded on an illegal garbage dump. The architecture was drawn on site in 1:1 scale on snow by walking the lines with snow-shoes and then built up when the snow melted. The Echigo – Tsumari region may get 3 meters of snow.
The Potemkin is an artistically articulated collage of recycled urban and industrial waste, an industrial ruin for post-industrial meditation. Ruin is when man-made has become part of nature. As one enters the park the one inch thick steel walls are on the ground level, but while proceeding further the ground is descending, while the walls keep levelled and thus become 5 meters high. The wall system is framing a set of old oak trees and a series of outdoor and indoor spaces, smaller temples and courtyards with the final focus on the river down in the valley. River, where you may fish your ayu-fish, grill it and eat it up in Potemkin and go home.
The steel temple Potemkin is spiritually connected to the old Shinto temple on the other side of the rice fields. The post industrial meditation park is blessed by the Shinto priest and the 120 Kuramata villagers are continuing now their 400 -year old tradition of every night circular dance in Potemkin.
A community ritual memorizing a heroic act from the feudal times. All the village can sit on the small oak bench auditorium of the park.
Author: Casagrande & Rintala, Finland
Organizer: Echigo-Tsumari Contemporary Art Triennial 2003, Curator Sakura ISO
Site: Kuramata village by the Kamagawa River, Echigo-Tsumari, Japan
Dimensions: 130 m long, 5 – 15 m wide, 5 m high
Materials: Kawasaki steel (one inch thick), recycled concrete, recycled asphalt, recycled glass, recycled pottery, river bed stones, white gravel, oak
Team: Marco Casagrande, Sami Rintala, Edmundo Colon, Chris Constant, Philippe Gelard, Leslie Cofresi, Marty Ross, Janne Saario, Jan-Arild Sannes, George Lovett, Dean Carman, Joakim Skajaa, Sonny Madonaldo
Photos: Dean Carman