2012 - ongoing
Conceived by the artist as an ephemeral work, artist Kaori Homma's Homma Meridian references cartographic demarcations and the historic power structures they contain – in this case specifically, the Greenwich Prime Meridian. With the Homma Meridian, Kaori offers multiple re-positionings of this line of empire.
Kaori outlines the project:
"As with the Greenwich Prime Meridian, boundaries and demarcations are necessarily a means of orientating ourselves within the increasingly multi-cultural, multi-ethnic social context we face in this shrinking world. However, at the same time these demarcations and boundaries also create tensions and barriers. The idea behind the “Homma Meridian” project is to draw an imaginary line which points to the North and South Pole in a specific location, using ephemeral material, a substitute for the “Prime Meridian”. The project highlights the “imaginary” nature of the boundaries that exist in our mind and questions the perception of our position on the earth as it spins on the titled axis eastwards, always spinning away from the west."
While still ephemeral and intended to one day wear away, the Homma Meridian has become a longer term installation at Street Road. Segments of it are painted on two buildings on our site, in non-weatherproof paint, and these slowly erode over time. Other segments cross the land, as plantings, and take on changing forms each year.
The Homma Meridian has also been placed in these locations:
Le Pave d’Orsay, Paris, France, 2008, (near the Paris Meridian)
A38, Budapest, Hungary, 2011
Part of the international drawing competition “With/Drawn”, organised by DRh.
Pie Factory, Margate, UK, 2011
As a part of the exhibition Pushing Print.
Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales, UK, 2010
As a part of the exhibition Lines of Desire.
Deptford X Festival, London, UK, 9/2014. For Deptford X, Homma recreated the meridian line as a human chain. During this event, Street Road's time lapse film of the line as installed in Cochranville, edited by Maria Pithara, was screened at Deptford's Albany Theater (28th Sept. 2014).
Interlude 2021 – a short film and an invitation: ongoing traces of a meridian at Street Road, and elsewhere
The short film Chasing an Illusory Line was created for Lost Weekend - Bristol Artist's Book Event at Arnolfini, 17-18 April 2021 and presents an overview of the Homma Meridian project and invited BABE audiences to make a meridian of their own. We invite you to watch, and make your personal meridian - tagging info is below.
THE HOMMA MERIDIAN
The Homma Meridian project, begun in 2010, displaces the Prime Meridian to highlight its constructed nature. A north-south longitudinal line, marked 0º0’0’', has been installed in ephemeral ways in different places, ranging from Paris to Margate, to Budapest. The installation at Street Road Artists’ Space in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, USA, initially meant to last 1 year, has persisted for over a decade now and has taken on multiple forms and offshoots, including the Meridian Stone, a stone carved with 0º0’0’’ that is passed amongst artists - participants are asked to place the stone in a location of personal importance, photograph it, and write a short description.
For BABE’s Lost Weekend, you are invited to make your own Prime Meridian: make your own location 0º0’0'' for the day – draw your own line of longitude, in any ephemeral manner of your choosing. You can use a compass / compass app to make sure it runs north-south. Take a photograph, or a short video and share it with #BABE2021, including a short description, to @arnolfiniarts (On Instagram or Twitter) please tag with #0º0’0’
Instagram: @streetroad_artistsspace Twitter: @725StreetRoad Facebook: @StreetRoadProject
Interlude, summer 2014 :
Homma Meridian - a conversation with Adrian Barron
Homma Meridian - a conversation with Adrian Barron
In collaboration with Adrian Barron, who also has an ongoing outdoor installation at Street Road, the grass under the meridian was cut away and indigenous plants were given free rein to grow. Kaori and Adrian both contributed new texts for the occasion. Kaori discusses the concept of opening up authorship – in terms of the meridian, but also more broadly, in terms of art and practicing as an artist. Adrian offers a corresponding interpretation, initiated by the cut of the line, made in May, which calls to mind the traditional English 'ha-ha', a landscape design element that creates a barrier to livestock while preserving views of manicured land.
Kaori Homma, May 2014:
Even at the beginning of 21st century, we still hold on to a romantic notion that the artist concocts his/her idea in the sanctity of a studio then articulates the idea in the art work to preach to the audience, of things only artists can attain. The autonomy of the artist’s intellectual capacity or the “spiritual” insight is paramount in this notion, and therefore at museums and art galleries, the audience are often expected to approach art works with a reverence akin to that of a religious pilgrimage. A recent incident at Tate Modern epitomises this notion : a 9 year-old girl climbed up on to a Donald Judd sculpture worth $10m triggering a huge debate. In contrast to this romantic idea of art, in my project “Homma Meridian”, I am most excited when the boundary of its ownership and the autonomy starts to become blurred.
After all, the point of “Homma Meridian” is to ask this very question of our position on this earth in relation to others. For me, my art work is much more than an expression of “my” idea: it is an exciting opportunity for the exchange of ideas and learning. By offering my work to trigger debates and exchange of ideas, I am not only able to see other’s perspectives but also the work develops and evolves with these inputs.
I like the notion that the artworks can go beyond the limitation of individual’s imagination, and if the art work then can impact the parties who interact with it, it is a privilege for the artist.
Adrian Barron, May 1, 2014:
Collaboration on Greenwich Mean Time and the Ha-ha:
Most people consider the garden an idyll. I would say to them “you cannot separate politics from gardening.” Even the small plot of land on which Street Road sits, has aspects of subconscious aspiration which assumes political and social comment. The lawn is something borrowed from European aristocracy; only a rich fellow could afford the staff to clip the grass to such a length in the 17th century. A ha-ha allowed the visuals of a manicured lawn to be extended as far as the eye could see, a trick suggesting wealth beyond imagination but relying on cattle to do the dirty work of clipping the grass. The naturalised trees scattered, give evidence to Capability Brown, who welcomed the countryside into the landscaped garden. What the middle classes could do with their shrubberies in the back garden could be done on a much grander scale with trees in the stately home over hundreds of acres.
Kaori’s perfectly strait painted line on two buildings and a stretch of lawn is aesthetically pleasing. By painting numbers against the line it becomes a Greenwich Mean Time Line, something which is scientific, rational - to understanding how the sun moves around the planet, how to accurately pinpoint our own time frame within our solar system, via clock, watch or phone; our own global positioning to this phenomena. However, successive governments and irregular borders undermine the precision of this whole system. A clear example occurred this year when Russia annexed the Crimea and changed the time set originally by the Ukrainian government by several hours to align it with Russian time.
As for Kaori’s once bright formal white line that I have been asked to consider in collaboration; it lends itself to Classical garden planning of geometry, such as that of Versailles or the Medici. A garden of control, where trees are pruned into control with no space for nature as nature should be.
So by lifting the turf on this once white line, we intend nature to take its course, herbage to flourish, a poor person's Versailles. Creating a ha-ha which will not be seen unless on closer inspection or from the air, or lo and behold it should bloom. “One man’s weed is another man’s flower.” As the saying goes. A storm rises up out of the Caribbean basin, travels along the coast, and is drawn inland by a cold front on the plains; no one hears the ancient tee fall. This is a long time before the Colonizer cut and ploughed the land and the Native American put fire to old wood. The tree has left a brown scar in this green sylvan sea. A different form of colonist will arrive by wind and others who have been left dormant for hundreds of years. These are known as pioneer plants and they will inhabit the sun-bathed, freshly turned earth.
This is also the point of the GMT without ‘outside’ interference, a world without borders.