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20th Century Response?


If you’ve been to Megijima in the past three years or if you’re a long time reader of the blog, you mostly likely already know this piano-boat that is “stranded” in the port of Megichō:


20th Century Response


20th Century Response


You will have recognized 20th Century Recall by Hagetaka Funjo that dates from the original Setouchi International Art Festival and that is now one of the landmarks of Megijima.


However, looking at it closer back in April, I noticed something I had never noticed before:


20th Century Response


Is the name actually 20th Century Response?


Strange. I’ve always known it as 20th Century Recall, and that’s its name on the official site. Also, the kanji just above don’t match the Japanese name (20世紀の回想) either.

I see two possible explanations.

  1. The original name was 20th Century Response (as well as the kanji that are engraved). It was changed briefly before the artwork was installed on Megijima.
  2. Despite having a Japanese sounding name (actually a pseudonym) the artist is from Taiwan. So the “kanji” above are not Japanese but Chinese, and 20th Century Response is a translation of those Chinese characters.


Actually, all of that underlines a (very minor) issue about the names of the Setouchi Trienale’s artworks. Most artworks have a Japanese name and an English name, the latter being a translation of the former. However, sometimes, that name, for a reason or another can change over time (I’m especially thinking of Chiharu Shiota’s work on Teshima. I’ve always known it as Farther Memory, but this year, for some reason, it has been renamed Distant Memory) which can sometimes be confusing.


20th Century Response


20th Century Response
The artist’s signature?


20th Century Response



3 thoughts on “20th Century Response?”

  1. I remember the writing on the piano and I think I have a photo of it in my personal collection. I’m not so good with the translations but I think as long as the artist approves of the translation, I generally have no problems with it, and with it changing. Sometimes artwork can change. Like anything, you can change your mind over time and that just adds to how we think of it. 🙂

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