The Branch Osaka is a studio and alternative gallery space run by City as Nature collective and curated by Patrick M. Lydon and Suhee Kang. We welcome locals and visitors from abroad to explore the nature of sustainability together through our exhibitions and workshops. For … Continue readingThe Branch Studio + Residency
One of the country’s largest markets, Hankyu is of the first places I filmed b-roll footage (illegally) to help highlight consumerism in Japan’s major cities. Fast forward to today, and we are hanging a show here. What did we choose to display? That’s the fun part… … Continue readingExhibition and Talk at Hankyu Umeda
In a busy Japanese shopping mall, there were moments of calm, joy, and beauty. Personally however, the most beautiful moment must have been witnessing this little girl. For at least half a minute she stood there… … Continue readingA Nature Mandala: Growing Seeds in a Shopping Mall
Today one quite old, well-dressed woman stopped in her tracks and looked straight at me, asking “what are you putting in the bag?” In my limited Japanese I answered “leaves,” opening the bag to show her the bright fall color pallet inside. Her reaction… … Continue readingThe Art of Collecting Leaves
Suhee and I will be hosting a series of events with MUJI (無印良品) in Japan called With Nature. If you are in the area (Osaka/Sakai) come join us for the following events… … Continue reading‘With Nature’ Events at MUJI, Japan
We’ve just been notified that our project in Osaka, “The Branch” has received a ‘Special Commendation’ from the 2018 Nick Reeves Award from Art and Environment! This award is given annually in recognition of an outstanding contribution in the field of environmental arts… … Continue readingNick Reeves Award for Art and Environment
There are synergies between human progress and environmental wellness here in Japan, that have been accomplished nowhere else in human history. … Continue readingA Current that Trickles Through the Walls
We revitalized an old building and empty urban lot, turning them into an ecological art and media lab in Osaka, Japan. In the space, we host community workshops and exhibitions aimed at re-connecting more us more deeply to our environment and the world we live in.
Flower watching is an event like no other here in Japan. Every spring especially, the country goes crazy for the light pink cherry blossoms that grace so many of its streets, parks, and hillsides; so much so that office workers sometimes get off early once … Continue readingA Winter Friend, the Sazanka (山茶花)
It’s a brisk Winter morning in Osaka, and I’m jumping on a bike, headed to a warehouse down the street that is filled with used wood. A saw, square, a notebook with some scribbles and measurements, and a few other tools are in the bike’s basket. … Continue readingBuilding by Bike – Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
As a testament to an unconventional year, we spent Christmas on an overnight train from Chaingmai to Bangkok this year. Although we took the trip with our good friends Tomo and Pattarapol, and there were a few bright red Santa hats walking around the train, … Continue readingEnd of Winter Update (2017)
Join us this fall as we learn from and grow with each other during this 10-week series of events where participants learn to cultivate their creativity and ecological awareness, exploring art, nature, culture, and good food on the island of Megijima! … Continue readingREALtimeFOOD in Megijima, Japan!
In this very moment, you and I have a choice, and that choice will effect whether or not our children and grand children can live happily on this earth. We should take that choice seriously. … Continue readingFinal Straw | Life and Death in the Field
We just left Hiroshima, a wonderful host, and a wonderful group of around 70 people who turned out to see the film. While we were here, we paused to visit the site of the atomic bombing. It was my second time and I brought Suhee … Continue readingLet Us Choose Peace | Hiroshima, Japan
A documentary film and long-term international dialogue about food, earth, and happiness, based on a Japanese ‘Natural Farming’ philosophy of living with the environment.
We opened a slightly audacious restaurant and garden in a working-class suburb of Osaka, Japan with the intent of connecting people more deeply with food and nature in their neighborhood. Can an urban garden help us remember what it means to be human? … Continue readingNature of Cities | A Restaurant and Garden Serving up Connections to Urban Nature
One way I have liked to spend spare time here in Osakako is taking naps under a tree, as you might guess. The other place is a little plaza overlooking the harbor where the big container ships come in and are loaded and unloaded. … Continue readingThe Space Between
We’ve just finished our REALtimeFOOD project, which was a 7 week long process combining art, ecology, community, and growing food in an urban setting. Suhee and I are both really happy with how it all went, and glad to see so many people inspired by … Continue readingRobert Callender Residency Begins in Osaka
There are walls of rain coming down outside and I’m sweating. Which means it’s rainy season in Japan. A quick update on a few exciting projects going on this summer here in Osaka… PART 1 – REALtimeFOOD In June and July, Suhee and I are … Continue readingSummer Update from Japan
This past weekend Suhee and I were in Kyoto. We got off the train early, and took a long few hours walk to our destination, giving ourselves time to slow things down. Just walking. Looking. Feeling. Experiencing this city. Slow pace. The destination was a … Continue readingTrue and Slow Experiences – Kyoto
In Japan they have a practice of creating exquisite gilded sculptures of fish to put about the rooftops of important palaces and castles. The fish symbolize the buildings as being ‘under water’ in an allegorical sense, thus protecting them from the fires which would often … Continue readingFish Sculptures and Water Buckets
Most major cities in Japan, with the exception of the very most central and dense areas of Tokyo, rely heavily on the bicycle for basic transportation needs. Train stations often have huge parking lots, not for cars, but for bicycles. Not only this, but everything … Continue readingBikes are a Real form of Transportation
We have an endless stream of good knowledge, theory, and practice for building sustainable, nature-inclusive cities, what’s missing is a deeper consciousness of our relationship to the environment. … Continue readingNature of Cities | What Can the Loss of Culture Teach Us About Urban Nature?
A cultural and ecological dialogue between two island communities, and across their borders. Based on work done during an artist/researcher residency on a small island in Japan.
An interactive installation which emphasizes a re-connection of people with the sources, and costs, of food, enabling spontaneous acts of community seed bombing to take place.
When we release ourselves from the thinking that there must be some end result which comes to life exactly how we planned it, we are allowed to enjoy, engage, and to expand our view during the process of creating. That, too, is art. Isn’t it? … Continue readingThe Art Outside of The Art
One image for each human:nature story collected, these images provide visual glimpses at natural locations identified in folklore by the people of Megijima. … Continue reading[HUMAN:NATURE] – Landscapes
When I think about what we’ve done over the past month here in Megijima, I am reminded of Bill Murray making a commercial for Suntory Japanese whiskey… if he had to do it for one month straight. After a month or so of Lost in … Continue readingFarmers, Artists, and… Bill Murray? The Show Opening in Megijima
The [HUMAN:NATURE] team went on an ‘away’ mission yesterday. Seven people jumped into a car most that Americans would consider ‘small and cute,’ and off we rode to Awa, Tokushima with Professor Suizu. Our destination was Mr. Okitsu’s natural farm. During this past spring, I … Continue readingGroup Visit to Okitsu Natural Farm
Medium: film, interactive media, social practiceLocation: Setouchi International Triennale / Megijima, JapanYear: 2013 In the Summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to lead an amazing team — Suhee Kang, Johann Barbie, Song E Lee — along with nearly fifty Japanese volunteers in a project combining art, … Continue reading[HUMAN:NATURE]
If you could peer into what I was doing during a random sampling of points in my childhood, most likely you’d come up with a bucket full of moments where I was begging my parents/grandparents to obtain maps, examining maps and being mesmerized at how … Continue readingMapping an Island
After sharing stories of their connection with nature, the locals thought it best to also share some of their harvest with us as well. Delicious, sweet Megijima corn was our snack this afternoon, and some cute little cucumbers are next, courtesy of Yutaka san and … Continue readingCorn, Peaches, and Sunsets
Week #2 here in Megijima, Japan, and while we’re still getting set up for our first interviews, it’s been an eventful week. The sun gets up pretty early here, around about 4:30am, and against my previous sleep schedule, I abide more or less by the sun’s … Continue readingFrom Sunrise to Scotch: Megi Week 2
The issue of how the small island of Megijima will continue is a tough one to confront. At the same time, it’s a story which on the surface is not unique in Japan, and one which presents us with a great opportunity to use investigative research, technology, and art, to bring awareness, inspiration, and hopefully some smiles. … Continue readingHuman:Nature, Summer Residency in Japan
That’s Youji. Musician, rice farmer. He studied jazz some years back, living in the tightly packed alleys of a Tokyo neighborhood. At some point he and his wife, Naho (city girl who he met in one such tightly packed alley) moved to the countryside of … Continue readingSmall Town Udon on Shikoku
My tutor from University of Edinburgh traveled to Japan a few weeks back and I was fortunate to join him on a week-long tour of art, space and nature goodness. We went from the hills of Yamaguchi and Akiyoshida, to Aichi University of the Arts … Continue readingEdinburgh/Aichi: Art and Nature Japan Tour
In a rush, I got on the wrong train and happily rode an hour and ten minutes in the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going. Fortunately, my schedule was a bit flexible, and even more fortunately, it was a most beautiful … Continue readingA Mountain Rail Tour in the Wrong Direction
It is absolutely absurd to think of what our food goes through before it gets put into our stomachs… the first thing, the most important thing for a farmer, is to make healthy plants and healthy people. … Continue readingThe Maddening Simplicity of Good Food
In Kyoto tonight and it’s been a long few weeks of filming and travel for The Final Straw with little internet time so this next post will come in two installments! Last week, I was able to spend a great few days on farms outside … Continue readingJapanese CSA Pioneers, and a Farming Trio