W h e r e i s L i n d a ? . . . J a n u a r y 2 0 2 4
In Japan there is a deep-rooted culture called omotenashi, meaning to wholeheartedly look after guests. It refers to the Japanese mindset of hospitality which centres around care rather than expectation. This sense of incredible hospitality is said to begin at every doorway. Apparently it is difficult to define omotenashi in English because to understand it is to experience Japan in-person.
I have had the honour to experience omotenashi “in-avatar” this month.
My metaverse travels have taken me to Japanese spaces in Spatial where I have had the pleasure of meeting Maro Dori, a wonderful woman who promotes her daughter’s artwork. After many interesting conversations with Maro Dori, I was introduced to a special Japanese space called “Visit Community House Iori”. Iori means hermitage or retreat. In the community house one experiences different aspects of Japanese culture. Attached to it is a Garden Gallery which exhibits the works of various artists.
Maro Dori, who speaks perfect English, soon introduced me to F. Kojima, a designer from Kyoto, who is the community manager of the space. F. Kojima does not speak English but Maro Dori kindly translates or we use the chat function in Spatial which translates Japanese to English and vice versa in real time. To my delight I was invited to exhibit a selection of my artworks in the garden gallery for the month of January. So whereas my physical body has still been in Africa this month, my digital body has been very much in Japan.
I have experienced the various rooms in the community house, walked around the garden, sat together on the dragon looking down from the sky and learnt about the Shinsengumi Samurai. We have visited interesting spaces together and through our interactions have helped develop a bridge between the various communities in the Spatial metaverse.
One day upon my arrival in Iori, I discovered that F. Kojima had designed a special logo for me. It is an original design of my name written in Kanji - ancient Chinese characters which were adopted from the Chinese script used in the writing of Japanese.
I have watched as Maro Dori and F. Kujima have welcomed Lisbet_Spatial who designed a customized avatar for me which features my artwork of a lady in a kimono on the jacket of my outfit. They have encouraged her to develop her brand and helped in the design of her logo.
Opposite my artworks there is an exhibition of the Awaji Puppet Theatre. Members of the Puppet Theatre have given talks in the metaverse from their own unique perspectives to enable this tradition to be passed on to the next generation and be made known to new people both in Japan and beyond. It was an honour for me to have them visit my exhibition.
I am happy to share that I have now been offered a permanent exhibition in the garden gallery, with my works changing on a monthly basis. May the collaboration that has developed continue to promote hospitality.
Through my interactions in “Japan” this month, I have become more and more aware of the fact that the pace of time is becoming relative. Many things that we have been used to in the past - waking at a certain time, eating at a certain time - taught us a timeline that was very linear and which no longer seems to work, at least for me. Interacting with others in Web 3 makes one aware of the fact than when some people are waking up, others are going to sleep. Web 3 has erased the limits and boundaries of space and time.
My artworks encourage the viewer to slow down the pace of time. I am very aware of this, as I have found it necessary in Web 3 to curate my time and avoid meaningless interactions.
I am grateful that this practice led me to “Japan”
This article has been translated into Japanese and posted on Visit Japan.