Welcome to Rolling Counterpoint! Rolling Counterpoint is a space for encounter designed to foster public dialogue about notions of division and belonging in contemporary society. Seeking to respond to the divisive discourse of a fraught election cycle, Bay Area artist Taro Hattori invites you to join an ongoing conversation centered on two questions: What divides us? and What does it mean to belong? Drawing on the tradition of the Japanese teahouse, Rolling Counterpoint consists of two physical structures: one stationary space installed outdoors on Montalvo Arts Center’s 175-acre property in Saratoga, California and one mobile teahouse that will travel to three Bay Area cities in early 2017 (Santa Clara County in February; San Francisco in March; and Berkeley in April). At each location, Hattori invites visitors to join him inside the teahouse and share tea and conversation. Participants, who will include members of the public, representatives from local organizations, thought-leaders, community organizers, and others, will add their voices and stories to a growing collection of perspectives and experiences that will be recorded and/or live-streamed on an interactive website. A culminating large-scale public event in each Bay Area city, will provide participants with a opportunity to make their voices heard. Guests are also invited to consider how responses and stories gathered from their community could inform creative problem solving and help model new ways of engaging one other in productive dialogue. Rolling Counterpoint is commissioned by the Lucas Artists Program at Montalvo Arts Center, and was developed collaboratively with eleven partners throughout the Bay Area. The focus of conversations and story gathering at each location will be determined by community participants and partners and will address such wide-ranging issues and social concerns as immigration, social exclusion, gentrification, homelessness, and income inequality. Hattori hopes that, over time, Rolling Counterpoint will:
Foster dialogue and provide a platform for diverse voices to share their stories, address conflict, and generate new alliances.
Provide a snapshot of what the concepts of ‘division’ and ‘belonging’ mean to Bay Area residents in 2017. What are our stories? What are our concerns? Where do we encounter conflict in our communities and where do we find solidarity?
Why a Teahouse? Historically, the Japanese teahouse served as a space for contemplation and communion with others. 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, Hattori seeks to reimagine the teahouse as a generative space where guests can share stories and experiences, address conflict, foster understanding, and imagine new ways of being together.
Rolling Counterpoint: A Community Conversation Project by Taro Hattori