Photo: Erika Kusumi

Theme of Sapporo International Art Festival 2017“What is an Art Festival?”

The theme of the second Sapporo International Art Festival is “What is an Art Festival?”

Something that has been stuck in my mind since receiving this offer to act as guest director, and have been thinking about since is “so what exactly is an ‘art festival’?” Like, what is “art”? What does it mean to put on a “festival” for it?

One of the activities that I have been heavily involved in since after the earthquake (in 2011) is creating a new “festival” that has never existed before. The “festival” I mean by this, is not just providing a place to sing and dance—although yes, those are important—but more than that, the “festival” I am imagining is creating, with our own hands, an intense place where our view of the world will be drastically changed after being there. This time, elements such as “art” “international” and “Sapporo” are also involved. So what shall we do?

The more I thought about these things, the more I began to think that these questions were too good to keep to myself. This is a citizen participatory art festival, so there are as many answers as there are citizens, and I feel that there is no need for there to only one right answer. Instead of looking for specific answers or arguing about these questions, I think it is better to just get hands on, to create something with each other, and see what comes of it. If there are 100 people, then there are 100 ideas, and they don’t have to all face the same direction.

Rather, by not facing the same direction, they react to one another, and create noise, something unpredictable.
And we must embrace the magnanimity to accept these results as richness, otherwise we cannot change the way we view the world.

This is an art festival that has just begun, with the vast northern land as its stage. Let’s create an inclusive and at times unconventional art festival that can only take place here, listening attentively, eyes wide open, absorbing with our senses, while still honoring and making use of the previous art festival model, and the things that the people of Sapporo and Hokkaido have made until now. Forget about what art is, what music is, and instead strive to create a new kind of art festival that says “this is what Sapporo is!” I have a good feeling that I will be able to do that with the people here.

Otomo Yoshihide
Guest Director, Sapporo International Art Festival 2017


Sapporo International Art Festival 2017 (SIAF2017)
Sunday, August 6, 2017 – Sunday, October 1, 2017 (57 days)
What is an Art Festival?
Guest Director
Otomo Yoshihide
Sapporo Art Park / Moerenuma Park / Central Area / Maruyama Area / Sapporo Shiryokan (Former Sapporo Court of Appeals) / JR Tower Planis Hall / Sapporo Odori 500-m Underground Walkway Gallery and more
Sapporo International Art Festival Executive Committee / City of Sapporo

SIAF2017 Special Big Band (Project Team)

SIAF2017 Special Big Band is an allegory for the organizing team of SIAF2017. The Band Master, Otomo Yoshihide will lead a team made of members with various backgrounds and expertise, and together they will organize SIAF2017. This band is more like the accompanying music for a bon dance, which is the Sapporo International Art Festival. Once this dance begins, the focal point shifts from the band to each of the dancers, in other words, the participants.

SIAF2017 Special Big Band

Band Master (Guest Director)

Otomo Yoshihide

Tuning (Executive Advisor)

Numayama Yoshiaki

Band Members (Participants)

Takahiro Urushi, Satoshi Katono, Kino Tetsuya, Chiaki Sakaguchi, SATO Naoki, Yo Nakajima, Hata Satoshi, Asami Hosokawa, Mayunkiki (MAREWREW), MIYAI Kazumi, Tomoko Yabumae

Creative City Sapporo International Art Festival Executive Committee

Advisor Harumi Takahashi Governor, Hokkaido
Advisor Iwao Takamuki President, Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chair Katsuhiro Akimoto Mayor, Sapporo
Vice-Chair Akihiko Itagaki Deputy Mayor, Sapporo
Vice-Chair Takashi Hasumi President, Sapporo City University
Committee (Auditor) Yuji Sakai Managing Director, Sapporo Electronics and Industries Cultivation Foundation
Committee Hirofumi Araki Managing Director, Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Committee Kenzo Hirose CEO, The Hokkaido Shimbun Press
Committee Hiroyuki Nakata Chief, NHK Sapporo
Committee Hisao Hoshino President, Sapporo Tourist Association
Committee Shoichiro Asakawa Chair, Sapporo Park Afforestation Association
Committee Takeshi Shiratori CEO, Sapporo Ekimae Management
Committee Yuichi Hirokawa CEO, Sapporo Odori Management
Committee Michimasa Hashimoto Vice-Chair, Sapporo Cultural Arts Foundation
Committee Tetsuo Sato Chief, Hokkaido Environment Lifestyle Department, Culture and Sports
Committee Hidenori Matsuura Chief, Hokkaido Government Board of Education Lifelong Learning Division
Committee Masao Konishi Chief, Sapporo City Economic Committee on Tourism
Committee Yoshie Ikeda Chief, Sapporo City Local Culture Division