curating curiosities

eiko honda

unlocking the diary: the archiving of nameless memories

I’m happy to announce this group exhibition currently coming together in partnership with Folkestone Fringe for Folkestone Triennial 2014.


Date: 30 August – 2 November 2014
Private View: 29 August 2014
Burlington Hotel, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2HR UK

Exhibition website:

Participating artists:

ALIMO, Nadia Berri, Benjamin Faga, Whitney McVeigh, Noriko Okaku,
Cristina Pedreira, and Vanessa Rolf
Exhibition concept and curation: Eiko Honda
Assistant curator: Elaine Tang

Partnership: Folkestone Fringe


“It is more arduous to honour the memory of the nameless than that of the renowned. Historical construction is devoted to the memory of the nameless.”

Walter Benjamin
On the Concept of History, 1940

The aim of the Folkestone Fringe is to showcase, champion, and encourage contemporary art practices that explore public and private spaces and the liminal boundary that exists between them. In this context, Unlocking the Diary: The Archiving of Nameless Memories proposes a group show of 7 international artists at the Edwardian-Victorian Hotel Burlington, inspired by the archiving of diaries. Diaries are where the private memory of the nameless can be found, and nowadays they are written in all kinds of styles of writings and types of media, such as codes, poetry, video and photography. 

The diary has been recognised as a significant source of information in the understanding of history. They are mostly kept privately, but notably by people from all walks of lives. We are fortunate that in Britain, the archival act of these ephemeral literatures, which might otherwise have been forgotten, has been institutionalised by organisations like the Mass Observation (1937 - present), The National Archives (2003 - present) and The Great Diary Project (2010 - present). Whereas public archives of memory traditionally exist to serve dominant ideologies and history, shaped by authorities to create our understanding of the past, these organisations collect, archive, interpret and even digitise these journals of daily life – personal records that were written uniquely by someone yet never meant to be read by anyone else but the writer.

Built in the 1890’s during the boom in British seaside retreats in the Dover area, the Burlington hotel has long accommodated the private daydreams and nighttime visions of their everyday guests, staff and passers-by. The exhibition will be interwoven into the current interior architecture of this historic hotel, evoking a landscape of personal memory that has until now remained unknown.  

Tallinn-based artist ALIMO employs the surrealist methodology of ‘exquisite corpse’ to re-assemble fragments of past images that he drew everyday but has forgotten. The Swiss multi-disciplinary artist Nadia Berri creates a ‘trail of curiosities’ in unexpected places that will tap into audiences’ personal memories. Primarily concerned with the relationship between nature and culture, the American-German artist Ben Faga has invented a robot bouquet that will, through computer programming, reproduce floral scents of late Victorian Folkestone once depicted on a daily walk journal by an enigmatic diarist named Felix. London based American artist Whitney McVeigh will install a cabinet of found objects as an autobiographical record that alludes to the passing of time and our collective history, referencing the idea of ‘home’ (and the absence of it). Japanese artist Noriko Okaku creates a phantasmagoric animation film that reflects on a diary kept by her late grandfather at the end of World War II. Influenced by the tradition of Fotonovelas, the Spanish artist Cristina Pedreira has composed a fictional narrative composed of once discarded snapshots, cropped and reframed on a newspaper print. The British artist Vanessa Rolf meanwhile reveals a psycho-geographical diary of the sleeping hours she lost, which she recorded as a mother of a newly born in the form of laboriously stitched codes on fabric.

For visitors wishing to navigate the exhibition, a location map, specially designed by Judit Ferencz, will be available at the reception. As part of the exhibition’s collateral programme, Folkestone’s local residents and visitors alike are invited to voluntary donate their own diaries to the Great Diary Project. The exhibition’s online platform acts as a growing archive of diaries posted on the Internet by numerous bloggers worldwide. Virtual visitors are invited to hash-tag #unlockingdiary to post relevant imageries for this archive.

For further information, please visit or contact



From December 2014 to January 2015, my curatorial collaborator Catherine Harrington and I will be running a 30-day of curators and artists residency with the visual artist-led initiative Guesthouse in Cork, Ireland. Two artists will be invited to join us to explore one of the nature’s fundamental forces: Electromagnetic waves. 


Extending from low frequency radio communication at one end of the Electromagnetic spectrum, to gamma radiation at the other, Electromagnetic waves are able to produce heat (microwaves), long-distance communication (radio waves) and night-time visibility (Infrared/IR) in ways that were once only believed to be possible through magic or the supernatural.  But they can also be dangerous and even deadly if we consider the recent nuclear crisis in Fukushima for example (Gamma Radiation). 

For some however, these invisible waves are more than just a practical tool but are mysterious forces that may have a spiritual source or divine providence. ‘Dowsers’ (aka. water diviners) for example, often refer to an electromagnetic force that exists within rocks, minerals, bodies and plants that allows them to access a spiritual or magical realm. Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) that may offer us a glimpse of the birth of the Universe has also been argued by some to be a form of divine presence.

Ley Lines through Megalithic and Neolithic sites such as those along Cork’s Beara Mountains which are lined with standing stones, megaliths, holywells, barrows and mounds and other ancient sites have also been claimed to be carriers of Electromagnetic waves. Cork then, as an area potentially rich with the Electromagnetic, is an ideal location for us to pursue a residency that explores the relationships between artistic practice and the material of Electromagnetic waves. Using the area of Cork as a test-bed and field of research we intend to ask questions such as: How can this invisible yet pragmatic and sometimes dangerous force be explored in art practice? Can it be employed to take us to alternate visual or and non-visual realms?

The residency program will begin with 10 days of curatorial investigation by Honda and Harrington into the Cork area, its cultures and relevant sites and materials. The gathered information, documents, objects and artefacts will be presented at the project space as a growing archive or  “mind map” of the research process. This will then be followed by two sets of 10-day artists-in-residency projects.  Each residency will start with curators and artist’s talk and discussion group at the project space and conclude with the artist’s presentation of his or her work (or work-in-progress).


Interview article: Mark Dion


I had a privilege to contribute an interview article with Mark Dion to the current issue of Nakedbutsafe magazine - in relation to an art book project we are working on. Thanks to Dion and the editor Sozita Goudouna.

The magazine’s available worldwide in all good art book stores.

Tadasu Takamine x Jonathan Watkin at Delphina Foundation

昨日は悪化した持病と貧血が原因でほとんど動けず、締め切り前にも関わらず急患で医者に行った後そのまま寝込んだ状態でいた。それでも夜はどうしても高嶺格さんとジョナサン・ワトキンさんの対談イベントに行きたくて、 ぐしゃぐしゃの髪を帽子で隠し、部屋着のままコートを羽織ってこっそりと家を抜け出した 。 

まずは作家さんの簡単な紹介とキュレーターとの関係が説明された後、今夜のテーマでもあったビデオ作品「木村さん」(1998)の上映が行われた。森永のミルク事件で障害者となってしまった木村さんという男性の介護を、高嶺さんが90年代初頭に5年間受け持った際に撮った作品。障害者介護の中ではあまり重視されていないけれども、必要性は存在している、セクシュアリティーのケアを題材にしている。映像が映像なだけあって公的な機関でみせる事は難しく、「障害者・アート・セクシュアリティーという3つのコンビネーションが(特に日本では)タブー」なのであると作家さんは言う。実際に同作品は日本ではパブリックミュージアムで展示された事が無く、ワトキンさんが2001年にヘイワード・ギャラリーでキュレートした「Facts of Life 」展でもギャラリー側がノーと言ったそう(その10年後、ワトキン氏本人がディレクションするバーミンガムのアイコン・ギャラリーにて行われた高嶺さんの個展「TOO FAR TO SEE – とおくてよくみえない」で展示される事になる。しかしながら同個展が横浜美術館で開催された際は警察から展示禁止令が出て展覧会から抜く事になったとの事)。



English version of this text will follow shortly…
Audio recording of the talk will be uploaded to Delphina Foundation’s website in the coming weeks:


He…’perceived the earth to be a conductor of acoustical resonance.’
- Jack White refers to Nikola Tesla in the film Coffee and Cigarettes (1993)

Whilst stopping over at Sheffield for a much-awaited weekend brunch with locally based friends, they took me to experience Chris Watson’s immersive ‘sound map’ of this former industrial city at the Millennium Gallery, Museum Sheffield.

The co-founder of the Brit synth pop band Cabaret Voltaire is known as one of the UK’s pre-eminent sound recordists who developed his childhood fascination of recording birdsong into a state of art. For this site-specific exhibition, he travelled through the city’s football studium, waterway and the edge of Peak and Yorkshire Moore land over the past 18 months; the result is a mesmerising soundscape of the recordist’s homeland that reveals layers of the earth’s acoustical resonance we too often neglect to really listen. 

The exhibition Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sheffield Sound Map is on until 23rd February, 2014.

As part of his sonic survey, Chris asked the public to contribute their own digital recordings of their favourite Sheffield sound. The archive is accessible on:

in conversation with: alimo


I’ll be in conversation with an Estonia-based Japanese artist ALIMO on online TV programme SALONAIR. The show is usually hosted by the artist himself, but we decided that I’ll be interviewing him this time, so that we’ll get to know his practice, life and experience we normally don’t get to hear on the programme.

*The programme will only be aired in Japanese


11pm- 26th January 2014 (Japanese time)


photo (on the right) © Perrine Wettstein

rie nakajima - new experimentalists


Enchanting sound-architecture-sculpture work by Rie Nakajima last night at New Experimentalists, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank.

Her work seemed to play upon the probability of an acoustic event that no-one thought to occur, evoking soundscape through unlikely, and perhaps accidental, combination of objects, instrument, hand-made sound machine and their location within the architecture that Rie assigned them to operate - until each of the persisting sound accumulates and merges with one another, as if they were always meant to be.

The artist is nominated to the Arts Foundation’s 2014 Experimental Music Award:

ここ最近、 アート作品自体の企画•制作を作家さんと共にコラボレーターのような形で行う事が多いのですが、今立ち上げているのが、死を目前とした女性達とのプロジェクト。


作家さん、協力して下さる参加者の方々、彼女達の気持ちと残りの人生のこと、そしてできる作品と鑑賞者のことなど — 毎日のようにそればかり考えて資料作りしていたら心がどうにもならない様な気持ちになってしまった。

*写真は今のプロジェクトとは直接関係ありませんが、死について読んでいたときに出会った写真の作品。photo: ’My Son with His Great-Grandfather, 3/13/2011, 2:52 PM Japan Standard Time’ Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock