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Setouchi Triennale 2013, first pieces of information


For a few weeks now, the first pieces of information about the next Setouchi International Art Festival have been released, and the first thing you need to know is that it is now called the Setouchi Triennale. Which is a good thing, it’s shorter to type, and in a more serious manner, the name change clearly indicates that the Festival is here to stay. It is now clear that it was not a one-shot thing but something destined to last.

This is what its administrators have hoped since the very beginning, but nothing was sure for a long time, even though the first inception’s amazing success made a second edition an almost sure thing.

Let me remind you that the main goal of the festival, beyond being a big contemporary art festival, is to revitalize the area, not only by attracting tourists, but also and mainly by making the area and its issues known for as many people as possible, and also making the area and the islands attractive again so that people want to move there and make them a lively place again.


House of Shodoshima
House of Shōdoshima (Setouchi International Art Festival 2010)


The two things that have been announced so far are dates and locations.



All the locations that hosted the Triennale’s first edition will also host the 2013 edition. That isInujima, Megijima, Naoshima, Ogijima, Oshima, Shōdoshima, Takamatsu Sunport, Teshima and Uno Port in Tamano.

However, four new locations have been added:

  • Awashima: I don’t know much about this island except for what I’ve read on Koebi Tai’s blog that has featured the island a couple of times during those past few months.
  • Honjima: Probably the most well-known of these new islands as it’s already somewhat a travel destination in the area (actually we were supposed to go last June, but that didn’t happen). It is possible that I visit it before 2013. In the meantime I invite you to read Cathy Hirano’s blog post about it.
  • Ibukijima: I didn’t even know this island existed until recently. It is the furthest away from Takamatsu among all the Kagawa islands and I’m having a hard time finding information about it on the web (in a language I can read at least). I’ll try to find information to share with you about it at some point before the beginning of the Triennale. I suspect that this is the island on this picture.
  • Shamijima: It’s not exactly an island, or rather, it used to be an island until it was attached to Shikoku and Sakaide, most likely when the Great Seto Bridge was built and many polders were too at the same time. I don’t know much about it either, but I actually have a picture that I took on my very first trip to Japan two years ago. Here it is:


Shamijima, Shikoku


Setouchi Triennale 2013 Dates

In 2010, the Festival took place roughly between July 20th and October 31st. In 2013, things will be slightly different. The Setouchi Triennale 2013 will also last about three months, except that those three months won’t be consecutive:

  • 33 days in the Spring, from Wednesday, March 20th to Sunday, April 21st.
  • 44 days in the Summer, from Saturday, July 20th to Sunday, September 1st.
  • 31 days in the Fall, from Saturday, October 5th to Monday, November 4th.

I’m still not sure what to think of this decision. On the one hand it may allow more people to come and those visitors to be more spread out over the three months (in 2010, about two thirds of the visitors came during the last month). It will also allow the islanders to get some rest in between, and not have to go through three crazy months in a row (I’ve heard that this is one of the main reasons of this schedule, the first festival, while much welcome by the islanders was also quite taxing – remember that most of them are old). However, I’m afraid, this schedule could hurt the rhythm of the whole thing, possibly the enthusiasm of some people, I don’t know. I hope not.

One last thing, if you are an artist and are potentially interesting in taking part in the triennale, a call for projects will be done soon. I’ll mention it on this blog in due time.

So, those are the only information I have about the Setouchi Triennale 2013 right now. More will come in the next months for sure.


Update: The list of artists who will take part in the Setouchi Triennale 2013 has been published (just follow the link).



12 thoughts on “Setouchi Triennale 2013, first pieces of information”

      1. I used to visit several of the Elementary schools as a supervisor. Mainly in the Oku and Osafune area. Didn’t have a lot of time for sight-seeing, but did see Yumeji’s Birthplace and a few other spots 🙂

        1. Oh I see. You mean the city of Setouchi. I have actually never been.
          The Festival is called Setouchi because it takes place in the Setouchi area (I guess it’s like those names that are both prefectures and cities) which is roughly the part of the Seto Inland Sea in between Okayama and Kagawa. Most of the islands East of the bridge are actually in the Kagawa Prefecture and as such are not related to Setouchi city.

    1. It is spread out and at the same time, not that much. Kagawa is after all Japan’s smallest prefecture. Yet, what I loved the last time, is that you could go everywhere from one “access point” (which is Takamatsu Sunport), this time, one cannot access the new islands by boat from Takamatsu, but as the “new islands” are close to such big tourist stops like Zentsuji and Konpirasan, it may work out fine.

      I’m actually more worried about the odd schedule, although it can have advantages too, especially to attract foreign visitors.
      I remember two years ago, most of major French travel/lifestyle/news magazines actually did write a piece about the Festival, except that they wrote it in October, which was kinda pointless as the Festival was ending.
      This time, providing they write their piece in the Spring, some people may decide to go in the Summer or in the Fall…
      Hopefully (actually my not so secret plan is to try contacting some authors from these magazines late 2012, early 2013 and suggest that they go in the Spring 😉 ).

  1. We loved the 2010 festival, was planning to be back in 2013 but our dates may fall in between the first and second phases. Maybe some of the installations will extend through?

    1. I have no information at this point.
      I imagine that some art and installation will be available in between the different phases, especially the outdoors art (and the permanent one such as the museums, the art house projects on Naoshima and Inujima, etc), but then, if it is it won’t be much of a pause, so all in all, I really don’t know.
      Stay tuned, I’ll post new information as I receive it.

    1. Thanks for the link Amy.
      Yeah, I’ve been interested in Awashima for a little while (it’s shape first attracted me, go figure). I hope I’ll visit it soon (even if it seems unlikely before the Festival).
      Actually, you must be excited that it’s coming your side of the bridge. I am too for the people there, but very selfishly, I’m worried that I won’t have easy access to those islands and won’t get to visit them to very often.

  2. Hi David,

    I am studying arts and event management in Hong Kong. I love the Festival very much. It’s really inspiring and exceptional. Do you know if there is any opportunity for me to take internship or be a volunteer in June?

    Sze Wai

    1. Hi Sze Wai,

      I don’t know anything about internships unfortunately (you may want to contact the Triennale organization directly for that), but as far as volunteering is concerned, there is a volunteer group called Koebi Tai without whom the Festival simply wouldn’t be possible.
      Here their website, where you can find the information that you need I believe:
      And while the Festival won’t be “on” in June, there’s always maintenance to be done, also, some of the installations for the Summer session of the festival will be built in June and July, so hands will be needed for sure.
      Good luck, and I hope you find what you’re looking for and get to be here in June.

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