Rolling Counterpoint

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - Friday, July 28, 2017

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Montalvo Arts Center is pleased to announce the debut of its Lucas Artist Program's newest commission: Rolling Counterpoint, a project by artist Taro Hattori. The work, which draws on the tradition of the Japanese teahouse, is envisioned as a physical and virtual space for encounter and dialogue about belonging and division in contemporary society. Rolling Counterpoint will travel to three Bay Area cities in early 2017: Santa Clara County in February; San Francisco in March; and Berkeley in April. Working collaboratively with a large group of partners, Hattori will coordinate a series of public, semi-public, and invitation-only events organized around two key questions: What does it mean to belong? and What divides us? and will address such wide-ranging issues as social exclusion, immigration, re-segregation, homelessness, and income inequality. 

About Rolling Counterpoint

Rolling Counterpoint was developed by the artist while he was in residence at Montalvo's Lucas Artists Residency Program in 2016. The project consists of two structures: a mobile teahouse built on a trailer and an identical stationary structure installed outdoors on Montalvo Arts Center’s 175-acre property. In both teahouses, the artist will share tea with guests and engage them in discussion about their experiences and their concerns, giving participants a platform to share their perspectives. Guests will include members of the public, representatives from local organizations, thought-leaders, community organizers, and more. These conversations will be recorded and/or live streamed on a website that will be launched in January 2017, to create an interactive archive.

Historically, the Japanese teahouse served as a space for contemplation and communion with others. According to Hattori, "in 16th-century Japan, against the backdrop of civil war, tea masters became political go-betweens while teahouses served as radically egalitarian spaces of nonviolence and provided opportunities for rational discourse, conviviality, political consensus and peace. Using this history as a point of departure, I am reimagining the teahouse as a generative space where guests can share stories and experiences, address conflict, foster understanding, and imagine new ways of being together." 

"A fraught election cycle has brought questions about belonging to the forefront of the public imagination," said Montalvo curator Donna Conwell, who is working closely with Hattori to plan the events scheduled around the roving teahouse. "Questions like What does belonging mean in the US today? How can we move past divisiveness to find more peaceful and respectful ways of being together? What does it mean to create spaces of inclusion? and How do we promote a sense of cultural empathy? feel more urgent than ever. We hope to open a necessary dialogue around these issues."

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Project Partners & Sponsors:

Pine Cone Lumber A Muslim Voice Asian Art Museum
Art Matters MACLA
Eurphrat Museum of Art HUGVR Japanese American Museum of SJ
Saida Sullivan Design Partners Tenderloin National Forest California History Center Foundation
Theta Kala Art Institute Cal Humanities
  • Taro Hattori, Rolling Counterpoint
    By Taro Hattori

    Commissioned by the Lucas Artists Program, Rolling Counterpoint is a new interactive installation that uses the concept of the traditional Japanese tea house as a point of departure to create ...


  • Taro Hattori, WED FEBRUARY 15, 2017 5:30 P.M. (Euphrat Museum of Art)
    Rolling Counterpoint at Euphrat Museum of Art

    Join us for the launch of Rolling Counterpoint at Euphrat Museum, De Anza College! Share your stories about belonging, exclusion and social division with artist Taro Hattori. Add your voice to a growing collection of perspectives gathered from your community ...

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  • Taro Hattori in THU FEBRUARY 16, 2017 NOON (Japanese American Museum of San Jose)
    Rolling Counterpoint at JAMsj

    Visitors are invited to drop in and share tea and their stories about belonging, exclusion and social division with artist Taro Hattori while his mobile teahouse is stationed at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj).This  event is ...

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  • Taro Hattori, SUN FEBRUARY 19, 2017 4 P.M. (San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin)
    Rolling Counterpoint at San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

    Rolling Counterpoint will join San Jose's 37th Annual Day of Remembrance sponsored by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19th, 1942, that led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese ...

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  • Taro Hattori, FRI MARCH 3, 2017 7 P.M. (Downtown San Jose)
    Rolling Counterpoint at South First Fridays Art Walk

    Join artist Taro Hattori at the South First Fridays art walk in Downtown San Jose! With the hope of responding to a fraught election cycle and a new administration, Hattori invites participants to join an ongoing conversation centered around two ...

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  • Rolling Counterpoint THU APRIL 13, 2017 1 P.M. and 6 P.M. (Kala Art Institute)
    Rolling Counterpoint at Kala Art Institute

    Join us and share tea and stories about belonging, exclusion and social division with artist Taro Hattori. Dialogue will be encouraged between Berkeley's diverse residents about issues facing their communities, and especially ongoing concerns centered on gentrification and community ...
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  • Rolling Counterpoint SUN APRIL 30, 2017 2:30 P.M. (Oakland Marriott City Center)
    Rolling Counterpoint at Oakland Marriott City Center

    Explore what belonging and division means to you with Taro Hattori and add your voice to a growing collection perspectives gathered across the Bay Area.Rolling Counterpoint is commissioned by the Lucas Artists Program at Montalvo Arts Center. This event ...
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