Assistant was established in 2002.
Since its inception, Assistant has always been a generic term to describe diverse urban activities carried out on collective platforms open for anyone to participate. Just like space internalizes everything and grows to become an environment over time, our projects all stem from our deep intellectual curiosity regarding contemporary cities. All our activities aim to push the boundaries of the notions of architecture and urbanity by intervening into the spaces of the city to open up new parallel environments.
A city is composed of physical experiences, memories, images and sounds. The multilayering of diverse factors including thought, art, design and music is a prerequisite to the experience of the city.
ABSENT CITY: The city that doesn’t exist, an exhibition project aimed at giving expression to a psycho-sociological approach to the city, started from a series of personal conversations. These served as springboards to create the image of Tokyo as a table-sized city model, combining words, portraits, images and musical elements. This image of the city was made available to bodily experience in our exhibition design project It’s a Tasty World – Food Science Now! held at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in 2009-2010. In this exhibition, all the scientific facts provided by the museum were translated into people’s experiences by nested installations, carefully positioned within the overall spatial design that gave expression also to the minute details. The exhibition thus provided a multilayered experience, in other words an urban experience. The series of images of the city that grew out of these projects were inherited by the housing design project The House of 33 Years, planned to be completed by the end of 2011.
After 2010, our focus has been on expanding spatial awareness.
Symmetric Arrangement of Time and Space, an architectural workshop held at the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, and with / without me, an installation produced at Aomori Museum of Art, are attempts to visualize and clearly recognize the transformation of space over a certain period of time. In 2010, we aimed to expand the notion of space, by allowing no temporal beginning or end to it, or by exploring spaces that constantly change along the passage of time, or by giving life to spaces that can only come into effect in a state of constant change. Windscape that appeared on Chuo-dori in Ginza was an urban intervention where a highly delicate material caused a daring alteration in one of the most flamboyant streets in Tokyo, lifting up urban space from its mundane everyday. The installation Void produced for the exhibition Rikuri, glistening light was designed as an empty space filled with light and subtle changes. The result was a series of transitory phenomena that resisted any form of simplified identification. These practices question how far people can recognize space as a space, informing future explorations of new urban interventions and architectural spaces that can embrace ever-changing complexity.
Megumi Matsubara, Hiroi Ariyama