Needle Factory is a new artwork for the 2016 Setouchi Triennale by Shinro Ohtake. It is a very fun artwork but in the heat of the summer you may want to ensure you have a lot of water and a big hat. The location is a bit away from the main artworks but it isn’t a far walk. It is a good time to enjoy the local scenery but on a hot summer’s day, it may not be the best idea.
The entrance to Needle Factory is obscured by tall trees making it hard to photograph anything. You are also not allowed to take photos inside, which is a shame. Once you enter the main entrance area you are greeted by a worker who takes the admission fee and you head into the factory itself. The main entrance still has the original facade and the doors are big heavy steel doors. Be careful as in the summer the doors get extremely hot.
Once you enter, you are greeted by the emptiness of the building. The building itself has been striped to its skeleton. The roof beams and other structural beams are all that remains of the old needle factory. There is a little information about the past needle factory and that’s really about it for the building itself. The lack of a roof really makes it hard to enjoy the artwork in the middle of summer as I was just dying from the heat.
The main work is a wooden boat that takes up the entire central area of the factory. Shinro Ohtake found a disused boat hull in Uwajima, the other side of Shikoku, and had it shipped over to Teshima. I heard that it was a quite an adventure to get the boat into the factory as it was too big to take through the town as the roads were too narrow. I’m not sure exactly how they got the boat there in one piece but it was amazing to imagine what they did.
To be very honest, the regular admission price for Needle Factory is 510 yen and I don’t believe it is worth that price. I think it is a nice place but without the Setouchi Triennale Passport I wouldn’t have paid to visit that artwork. There are many other artworks that are worth the cost of admission but sadly Needle Factory isn’t. If you are there for the Triennale, I would highly recommend looking at it and enjoying the artwork as it was still very memorable for me.