Jan 24–Apr 4, 2004

Naming Tokyo (Part III)


Naming Tokyo (Part III)

Naming Tokyo (Part III), 2004, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.

Naming Tokyo (Part III), by New York-based artist Aleksandra Mir, is a project made in response to the frequent Western complaint that Tokyo is difficult to navigate. Mir has interviewed artists, students, politicians and business people internationally to help her come up with an alternate, more user-friendly identity for the city. The fictitious street names and hypothetical neighborhoods produced by this research find their place on a giant map of Tokyo applied to the Ramp wall. In addition, Mir had some of these absurdist designations made into actual street signs, fabricated by the New York Department of Transportation in yellow, red and blue. These are hung around the map, creating a forest of names and graphic cues. Rich in pop cultural reference and good-natured irony—one set of streets takes its name from Rolling Stones song titles, off Exile on Main Street, of course—Mir’s “new” Tokyo suggests that our understanding of cities derives from the imagination, built by fantasy as much as fact.
Aleksandra Mir

ICA acknowledges the generous sponsorship of the William Penn Foundation for this project. Additional funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania.