Core Group Presentations: Group 1, Reiko Goto

Seminar 4: A public conversation

(pdf: Reiko Goto)

Chris Fremantle:  Reiko Goto is a researcher with On The Edge and was until recently Research Fellow at The Center for Creative Inquiry, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.

Reiko Goto:  I am Reiko Goto.  I am an ecological and environmental artist.  I seek a new relationship between people and nature.

I am thinking about nature in Aberdeen.  I have developed a poster with naturalist, [Jeff Banks], who sought nature in the middle of Aberdeen City.  As I was thinking about his image, and how to use it best, I came across a poem, ‘The Wounded Hare’, by a Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  The poem breathes life into the image; the image sheds light on the poem.

The Wounded Hare, Robert Burns:

Inhuman man! curse on thy barb’rous art,
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,
Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart!
Go live, poor wand’rer of the wood and field!
The bitter little of life that remains:
No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains
To thee a home, or food, or pastime yield.
Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,
No more of rest, but now thy dying bed!
The sheltering rushes whistling o’er thy head,
The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.
Oft as by winding Nith I, musing, wait
The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn,
I’ll miss thee sporting o’er the dewy lawn,
And curse the ruffian’s aim, and mourn thy hapless fate.

This poem reminded me of my experience with living things.  When I hold a dead animal, I feel deep regret.  I cannot do anything about the dead, but as long as they are alive, I could do many simple things: giving water and food; cleaning their cages; keeping them warm; releasing them to the natural environment; and trying to protect their home.  My relationship with nature is based on these actions.

I was a research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I worked on two projects, Nine Mile Run, Greenway Project: Conversations in the Rust Belt and 3 Rivers 2nd Nature.  For eight years, I focused on the post-industrial public realm.  I worked with scientists to reveal the valley of nature as it recovers from industry.  The aquatic and territory conditions of the river, streams, and catchment basins became the primary area of the research.

During my research in Aberdeen, I found there are not many trees.  Some people try to plant trees; protect trees.  But the change is not happening yet.  I read Eva and Monica’s project about Tillydrone.  In it there are two people who are talking about the green space.  They said they would love to go to the rivers and to see the greens and the nature.  Asking about nature in Aberdeen, I have found that there are many people who care about this place, people, and living things.

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