The Ogre’s House series was an interesting group of artworks done by CHAOS*LOUNGE, a group of artists in Japan. The first one is in the Ogre Caves at the top of Megijima and I didn’t like that one at all, but that could have been because I missed something. The Ogre’s Memorial Hall is much better and my favourite of the 3 houses. It is a little difficult to explain things but there are a lot of different artworks within the house and it can take a while to really enjoy the artwork. The old house has 3 rooms on the main floor and you can also head upstairs. There is a lot of information about the artwork but thankfully there is a little information in English.
I started off in this house watching a video. The video was a really strange thing that focused a lot on the Ogres. I was intrigued by it and the very “artistic” approach to the video. I also hated it because it was just an insane piece of work that just didn’t make any sense. It was annoying to watch and listen but that might have been the point. If I take the name CHAOS*LOUNGE at its face value, this was definitely chaotic in feel. If you cannot understand Japanese, you are probably better off skipping the audio and just enjoy the video for a minute or so.
I then headed upstairs to see some of the other artworks. The upstairs room was small but there were a lot of drawings on the walls. I really didn’t understand them at all but I could only guess as to the meaning. There was a drawing of the ISIS flag as well as a bunch of Middle Eastern people. Some of them were drawn as evil characters, almost like an Ogre, and others were friendly. The most memorable one was of a Middle Eastern character with “halal udon”. It was really interesting to see that one but the rest seemed almost to stereotype Muslims as being evil, but I will assume the artist didn’t have that intention.
I returned down the stairs to enjoy the next room of the installation. There was a photo of a temple on the floor along with a tall column of paper. Each piece of paper was of the same photo, neatly stacked, with writing carved into it, similar to a stone carving you will find at various temples and shrines. Unfortunately I do not remember what was written on it but I found the artwork to be fun. I was amazed at the skill to keep all of the paper together as well as being able to carve it out nicely. Looking at photos on the Triennale website, I saw that they used a brace to keep the paper together while they finished the carving, but it was still impressive.
The last room was my favourite. It was a simple tatami room with a little felt Megijma in the middle. The felt island had a couple horns, similar to an Ogre in Japan, and it was really cute. It also looked like an alligator. The wall for the closet was completely painted and at first it looked like someone splashed paint all over it and drew things randomly. As you look closely, you start to see a lot of symbolism and what the painting really is, Megijima! A lot of imagery really links to the island and you can really see it. From the kanji for Ogre to Meon coming into the port, there is a lot to enjoy with the painting. I spent most of my time just enjoying the painting and trying to see what other secrets are within it.
As you leave, or even as you enter, don’t forget to enjoy the cloth torii, or gate, as well as some of the symbolism with Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan. It was amazing to see all of this work come together as a chaotic blend that had an underlying connected theme. CHAOS*LOUNGE is not for everyone and some of the work is better than others. It really depends on which artist is doing the art but the fact that it somehow connects with each other is what makes it great.
Note: Ogre’s House No. 2 “Ogre’s Memorial Hall” is no longer available on Megijima.
- Ogre’s House No. 2 “Ogre’s Memorial Hall” (Official Setouchi Triennale Site)
- CHAOS*LOUNGE (Official Site – Japanese Only)
Funny, I don’t remember the video there… Maybe this time it wasn’t playing for me.
So, if I remember the explanations I was given clearly, the second floor room is a minshuku for ISIS members. The idea is that if they spend time on Megijima, or more generally in Setouchi, they’ll be so pleased and charmed by the area (and by the halal udon) that they will reflect on the wrong turns they took, make amends and change their ways…
I guess the video came a bit later? Unless you visited it after me, but if I remember correctly you visited before me. Sometimes, as you know, these artworks grow with time.
The second floor sounds more interesting now that the story is told. Don’t know how I feel about it but it makes more sense now.
Actually I went twice. Once in the Spring and once in the Fall, and some things were different indeed. I was also taking care of the kids who were fascinated by the model of Megiima made of Oni hair (making sure Kaito doesn’t start to pluck it) as my parents were actually visiting the place, so I didn’t pay too close attention the second time indeed.