As an archipelagic nation with a diverse geography often prone to precarious natural phenomena such as typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes, Japan has consistently created structures which respond to such environmental conditions. These circumstances deeply resonate with the Philippine experience, given the country’s shared archipelagic formation and vulnerability to natural calamities. The exhibit Built Environment: An Alternative Guide to Japan aims to reflect on the relationships between such geographically diverse and environmentally vulnerable spaces, and the historical, cultural, and social contexts of the people who occupy them.
The exhibition uses a combination of photographs, video images, and text to present a total of 80 buildings, civil-engineering projects, and landscapes from the 47 prefectures of Japan built from the modern era of the late 19th century to the present. during the past century. Conceived as a way to provide an alternative guide to the culture, history, and landscape of Japan, Built Environment can also contribute to a meaningful dialogue with Filipino audiences in the context of these uncertain times. The exhibition concept is curated by architectural historian Shunsuke Kurakata, landscape -design scholar Satoshi Hachima, and Kenjiro Hosaka, who is the curator of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.
The exhibition is presented by the Japan Foundation, Manila and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, in cooperation with Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, and with the support of JT International (Philippines) Inc.