Japanese photographer Shinji Otani and Dutch photographer Johan Nieuwenhuize recognise a similar state of mind in each other’s work. They share a large overlap in working methods, but their concepts and fascinations differ a lot. Both lens-based artists walk the city and take their images instinctively and continuously. Both work from their own image archive and combine images made in different cities and from different periods. Otani works from a documentary perspective, Nieuwenhuize deals with his subject in an abstract manner.
The transactive memory theory shows us that people working in duo’s or groups build up a larger collective memory than do two individuals. When two friends walk a city they remember things selectively, subconsciously depending on the other to remember the other things for them. Shinji Otani and Johan Nieuwenhuize investigate the collective memory developing between the two of them, when they photograph the same subject at the same day.
With their project OTANI NIEUWENHUIZE, the artists look into Japanese and Dutch culture and into cultural tourism. Behaving as tourists themselves they photograph places where culture is being “consumed”. In the Netherlands they visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and De Efteling in Kaatsheuvel. In Japan they visit theme park Huis ten Bosch, the historic site of the former Dutch trading post Dejima, both in Nagasaki, and the shrines of Dazaifu Tenman-gū in Dazaifu on Kyushu.