Mazes appear to have attracted people since ancient times. Henry II, king of England in the 12th century, is said to have harbored his lover in a gigantic maze. A novel featuring the poisoning death of the king's lover has recently drawn attention in Japan.
A maze set up at the site of Yokohama Triennale 2011, an international exhibition of modern art under way in Yokohama, is popular with visitors. The maze, produced by Yoko Ono, is unique in that it is made of transparent walls. At the center of the maze is a telephone, which occasionally rings. If a visitor lifts the receiver, they can hear Yoko Ono speak.
The transparent maze is a metaphor for real society. Where people should go is visible in the eyes of everybody, but nobody can go ahead because they are blocked by transparent walls. In other words, nobody knows how to reach their destination. A world without nuclear weapons has been earnestly sought, but why can't it be realized? Many political forces largely share the goals of restoring quake- and tsunami-hit areas and the livelihoods of disaster victims and reforming social security systems, but progress in efforts to achieve these goals cannot be easily made.
Since ancient times, mathematicians have tried to develop a method of figuring out mazes, but it is not easy to find the shortest way to go through a maze. However, if one marks off the way they passed and avoids repeating the same mistake, they can reach their goal after walking for a distance less than twice the total extension of the maze. The key is not to repeat a mistake.
The theme of Yokohama Triennale 2011 is "How Much of the World Can We Know?" In other words, it aims to focus on matters that cannot be clarified with science or reason, and thereby rediscover values we've almost forgotten and reconsider relations between people and nature. It goes without saying that the organizer of the event takes into account what the world is like following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The extremely hot summer continues. Isn't it interesting to think about implications by Yoko Ono in the transparent maze? ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)
(Mainichi Japan) August 16, 2011