gert rietveld

from here to tokyo

installation, 2003

In September 2003 I took part in the Puddles exhibition in the old Jusshi Square public school building in Kodenmacho, Tokyo.

In my work I usually deal with the concepts of orientation and mental mapping vs physical experience of space. For this exhibition I wanted to make a work that could let me grasp space on a much bigger scale than I have been doing so far.

I wanted to make a work that would contain the distance from here to Tokyo. (In Dutch “from here to Tokyo” is an expression meaning something is really very big)

Before leaving for Japan I constructed a sculpture in my studio in the shape of an arrow, about 1.5 meters long, and pointed it in the correct direction for Tokyo (through the earth, not over the surface).

The arrow was made from used floorboards. It was suspended from the ceiling by wires.

In Tokyo I constructed the opposite arrow, pointing back at Rotterdam. It had exactly the same dimensions.

It was made from semi-opaque plastic material on a rough wooden frame, the edges covered with paper tape.


Positioning the arrows

Location Rotterdam arrow:    51º56'n,   4º30'e   (decimal: 51.93º n, 4.50º e)
Location Tokyo arrow:        35º42'n, 139º47'e   (decimal: 35.70º n, 139.78º e)
     (found using

Angular distance:            84º04'              (decimal: 84.06º)
     (found using

Direction Rotterdam arrow:   35º04' true         (decimal: 35.06º)
Direction Tokyo arrow:      334º08' true         (decimal: 334.14º)
     (found using

Downward angle arrows:       42º02'              (decimal 42.03º)
     (derived from angular distance)

Declination Rotterdam:       -1º04'	
Declination Tokyo:           -7º04'
     (found using