Where the boundaries between worlds start to blur.
Somewhere near the edge of the world floats Teshima, a remote and sparsely-populated island sheltering mystifying works of contemporary art. Most of the island still functions as a typical fishing village, and it offers a wealth of magnificent rural sights: terraced rice fields, misty forests, stark shorelines, and tiled cool grey roofs. But keep travelling and something will stop you in your tracks—the sight of a bold abstract design plastered on a traditional Japanese house, or a large concrete structure rising gently out of the ground like any other hill.
The island’s transformation began with the somewhat misleadingly named Teshima Art Museum, which actually houses only one installation. The smooth, water drop-shaped building has two large holes, opening up the structure and anyone standing inside it to nature’s light, sounds, and weather phenomena. The effect is one of extreme calmness, even as time keeps passing.
At the far eastern end of the island stands Les Archives du Cœur, one of multiple sites worldwide where one can record their heartbeat and listen to others’.
After making the recording, you can instantly hear your heartbeat drum from the speakers in the profoundly moving Heart Room.
Grab a meal at Shima Kitchen, where local women are trained by 4-star hotel chefs to serve up delicious meals using the island’s native ingredients. Events are frequently held in the outdoor theatre, and guests are invited to meet new people and converse openly.
Scattered around the island’s three fishing villages are various other conceptual artworks, like the Teshima Yokoo House, Needle Factory, and Teshima 8 Million Lab. The best way to take it all in is by renting an electric bicycle near the port and going at your own pace. Cycling up and down the solitary hills, there really is a rush of joy whenever one of these otherworldly art pieces reveals itself.