Informations at: Takano Protest People Blog also here (Japanese).
Informations at: Villa Kamogawa Blog Goethe-Institut (German).

Tamatebako (玉手箱)
Installation, Intervention and Cooperation | Kyoto 2013

The magic box named Tamatebako is a medium for the exchange of ideas and things in the open urban space of Japan.

The "Takano Pachinko Building Protest People" in Kyoto took over this magic box to use it for their public relations work. The initiative fights against a building complex (a pachinko gambling hall) to be build in their neighborhood and for participation in urban planing processes.

The installations conceptual background is: If the urban public is not simply existent but an effect of activity and articulation of urban actors and at the same time this activity needs a vehicle, such vehicle can be designed differently in different societies.

For the Japanese context the magic box installation works seductively in name and ordinary in appearance. Tamatebako (玉手箱) is the fabulous name for a mysterious object. The notion means bewitched box, promising magic case, teasing chest. One would like to have a look inside to gaze after the hidden.

For the actual shelf box at the roadside in northern Kyoto the name operates as a lure, because at first it loos like only use old objects and massages from strangers are stored therein. In Japan, however, used goods are considered to be dirty and any encounter with strangers is regarded to be complicated. Consequently a public exchange box for good and ideas in the open exposed space is an experiment.

Tamatebako was developed as an installation and intervention to explore and to provoke the possibilities of the indirect public communication.

In dimension and appearance the shelf box recalls the look of widespread vending machines found all over Japan. It seems to be nothing special in form, but special in matter. The box aims to overcome the economic function of vending machines in order to become a social machine for the exchange of objects and ideas. Supported by curiosity and astonishment it invites passersby to take out and put in objects unobserved and to exchange ideas indirectly beyond social barriers and norms.

Tamatebako is a game - a simulation of aspects of the public for the urban open space - a temptation, that can be used by the people of the Takano movement because they want to use the urban open space as a public space to articulate their concerns.