Tashiro-jima (or Tashirojima 田代島), is a small island in Japan. It has become known as “Cat Island” due to the large stray cat population that thrives as a result of the local belief that feeding cats will bring wealth and good fortune. The cat population is now larger than the human population on the island.
There is a small cat shrine Neko-jinja (猫神社) in the middle of the island, roughly situated between the two villages. In the past, the islanders raised silkworms for silk, and cats were kept in order to keep the mouse population down (because mice are a natural predator of silkworms). Fixed-net fishing was popular on the island after the Edo Period and fishermen from other areas would come and stay on the island overnight. The cats would go to the inns where the fishermen were staying and beg for scraps. Over time, the fishermen developed a fondness for the cats and would observe the cats closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns. One day, when the fishermen were collecting rocks to use with the fixed-nets, a stray rock fell and killed one of the cats. The fishermen, feeling sorry for the loss of the cat, buried it and enshrined it at this location on the island.
There are at least ten cat shrines in Miyagi Prefecture. There are also 51 stone monuments in the shape of cats.
“Jacobs’s dioramas provide peeks into a world in which reality is presented in such exquisite detail it begins to look surreal.
The artist draws from art history and garden pest control brochures alike to create miniature 3D works of art, viewed through a circular glass lens. Viewers get the impression that they are looking into another realm, simultaneously natural and constructed, familiar and unknown. In a way, we get a taste for a fish’s life from inside the bowl.”
“Personally, I think that television means solitude while cinema means community. In the cinema, the tension is between the screen and the whole audience and not only between the screen and you. It makes an enormous difference. That is why it’s not true that the cinema is a mechanical toy.
It’s a well-known theory that film has twenty-four frames to the second, and that a film is always the same; but that’s not true. Even though the reel might be exactly the same, the film’s entirely different when it’s shown in a huge cinema, to an audience of a thousand, where a certain tension and atmosphere are created in perfect conditions, on a perfect screen, and with perfect sound. It’s a completely different film when shown in a small, smelly cinema in the suburbs, to an audience of four, one of whom might be snoring. It’s a different film. It’s not that you experience it differently. It is different. In this sense, films are hand-made; even though a film can be repeated because the reels are the same, each screening is unrepeatable.”
— Krzysztof Kieślowski
Getting to visit Sesame Street and pal around with a Muppet was a dream come true. <3