‘Wood Rots Like We Do’ a film that explores our coexistence with nature, taking inspiration from the ritualistic rebuilding of the Ise Jingu’s wooden shrines every 20 years
UK-based artist Matthew Rosier visited Ise City in Mie Prefecture, Japan, in October 2019 as part of the Ise City Residency 2019 programme. The residency was a collaboration between the British Council and the Department of Industry and Tourism Ise City, inviting six UK-based artists to Ise City, home of Ise Jingu, one of the most important and prestigious Shinto Shrines in Japan.
‘Wood Rots Like We Do’ is a film that was inspired by the artist’s experiences in Ise and interactions with the community.
Introduction to the film by the artist
‘Wood Rots Like We Do’ is inspired by the ritualistic rebuilding of the Ise Jingu’s wooden shrines every 20 years. Divided into 20 chapters, the film explores the origins of this practice and the ancient relationship between Japanese people and forests.
Through the perspectives of foresters, environmental activists, priests, and many others, the film examines how this relationship changed, and the state of forestry in Japan today.
Taking the Ise Jingu’s 1,300-year-old cycle of renewal as model for change today, the film ultimately explores how new generations are looking to regenerate Japan’s forests and reimagine their future role in society.
“This work explores how we can coexist with nature. How do we establish a mutually beneficial relationship between various ecosystems? How can we use culture to help us establish a long-term commitment to protecting and restoring nature? How can we create new ways of coexisting with nature going forward? I hope that this film can trigger such questions.” (Rosier)
How to enjoy the film
‘Wood Rots Like We Do’ will be presented online in 20 parts, starting with the release of Chapter 01 on Thursday 30 March 2023, at 12:00 BST. Subsequent chapters will be released each week on Thursdays for the next 20 weeks. Audiences will be able to enjoy the films from this webpage (Chapters 1 to 5 are available now), as well as the artist's Vimeo channel. Please watch with English Closed Captions turned on. The release of the next chapter (Chapter 6) is scheduled for 4 May 2023.