Katsunobu Yaguchi was born in 1978. He presented numerous improvisational art performances mainly around Europe from 2004 to 2008. After returning to Japan, he initiated various activities as a leading enthusiast of “neighborhood movements” while serving as a host for the “Cafe Washingtown.”
Yaguchi’s ten years of dedication to his social practice in Mito City started in October 2008, when he renovated a twostorey, traditional Japanese-style house and converted it into the “Cafe Washingtown”. The house was originally hand-built by the owner using scrap wood gathered from the town after it had been ravaged in World War II. While working at the cafe, he produced his own newspaper, hosted local festivals and opened an art school. In August 2013 the building was finally scheduled to be torn down. Yaguchi was determined to execute all the demolition work by his own hands without any electric tools and to preserve all the remains of the cafe. The demolition took three months to complete. This process had been documented with a 35mm Camera, a Super 8mm Film Camera and on digital video.
In 2015 the film “Washingtown Documentaries “, a documentary of the demolition, had been edited and shown the next year as a world premiere at the group show “Imprisoned, Jailbreak, Imprisoned, Jailbreak “Time Tunnel””. (Curated by Yu Araki at Aoyama | Meguro)
Resistance towards ‘modernistic’ movements in urban and rural societies and the mourning for what had been lost, belong to the central topics of Yaguchi’s social and cultural art practices. Questions about identity in relationship to the development of suburban cities are raised. By taking a critical stance, Yaguchi challenges the Japan-specific, scrap-andbuild policy in architecture- and cityplanning, and reminds us that with the vanishing of traditional houses also the preciousness of ephemeral entities, the remembering of local history and the beauty in neighbouring socialization will disappear.