size: 76x50,5 cm

Text (annual report 2000-Japan Highway Public Corporation)

video loop (mini-dv, dvd)
duration: 2.50 min
©Jesper Nordahl 2001

Jesper Nordahl Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, 2001 Apart from being a network of expressways connecting the city center of Tokyo with more remote districts, Metropolitan Expressway is also a series of photographs and a video installation by Jesper Nordahl. The distinct profile of the expressway has been caught in the camera's eye as it cuts through the cityscape, embodying yesterday's visionary conception of the future, which first emerged at the time of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. According to the "Annual Report 2000" of Nihon Doro Kodan/Japan Expressway Public Corporation, this expressway system not only respects topographical and geological conditions (each section of the expressway being built to withstand earthquakes), but it also respects inter-human and environmental relations, with high-level traffic security, soundbarriers and underground tunnels, when necessary. Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway is a kind of architectural archetype, and such items have been fascinating for Jesper Nordahl in other cases, resulting in several series of works. One example would be the series on the practical conglomerations of gas stations and mosques (Gasoline and God, 2000), or the documentation of buildings in the Latvian city of Karosta (2001), once a Russian military port, today a place for free trade. Since 1993, this city has been the object of a project called "CCMS" (Committee on the Challenge of a Modern Society) - however with the grim addition: "clean up project." These places are all characterized by somehow being in a state of political, economical, or cultural transition, places where the architecture sometimes reflects its surroundings, and sometimes not. According to Nihon Doro Kodan/Japan Expressway Public Corporation (section "Process of Construction") it normally takes 10 to 15 years to complete the construction of an expressway. At present, after nearly forty years, 128.4 kilometers of the express way are still under construction. In spite of this, Jesper Nordahl's photographs do not provide the viewer with any sense of transcendence, they don't tell us that the expressway will have changed dramatically when the photographer next returns to Japan to resume his documentary work. The photographs and the videos are always done by using a stationary camera and in static profile: you never experience the feeling of the intensive circulatory system that the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway constitutes in the city. The works become a stubborn and formally conscious portrayal according to vertical and horizontal coordinates, with the sky as an ever present and final backdrop. In Delirious New York (1978), Rem Koolhaas praises the city for having finally replaced nature with artifice. With its "incomplete" (perhaps "incompleted" would be a better word) and vertically ascendant topography, Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway displays qualities that also could be found in Koolhaas's "Generic City," but it undoubtedly belongs to reality, and Jesper Nordahl's photographs underline this fact once more.

(text: Mats Stiernstedt, originally published in "SITE", 2.2002).
Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway

The first section, stretching 4.5 kilometres from Takara-cho in Chuoku to Kaigan in Minato-ku, was completed in 1962. The initial aim was to connect
the scattered gymnasiums and stadiums built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The various arranged supporting columns are in parts as high as 40 metres. They are specially designed to withstand earthquakes, with each section of road capable of moving by a maximum of 20 centimetres.*

Facilities on National Motorways
As access to national motorways in Japan is fully controlled, interchanges, service areas, parking areas and bus stops are provided as essential facilities. Service areas and parking areas are provided as rest facilities alongside national motorways. A service area has parking lots, open spaces, filling stations, repair shops, restaurants, food shops, free public houses, and lavatories, while a parking area has only parking lots, open spaces, food shops and lavatories. Service areas are generally constructed at intervals of about every 50km and parking areas at every 15km. NDK has been promoting the construction of "Highway Oasis" through 18 individual projects, out of which fifteen projects are already completed. "High-way Oasis" is a joint-development project with developers of leisure facilities (natural parks, historic parks, etc.) next to a motorway's rest facilities. NDK constructs an access road to the facilities to help the developers. Motorway users can use the leisure facilities on the way to their final destinations without leaving the motorway, thus avoiding incurring extra costs and time.

Motorway Planning
Motorways are carefully located so as to cause minimum interference on urban and natural environments and places of cultural and historical interest. In almost all cases, environmental impact reports are prepared and presented at public hearings for those living in places where motorways are planned.

Motorway Design
Motorways are designed having regard not only to topography, geophysical conditions, construction costs, land acquisition difficulties and traffic safety, but also to the impact on the environment. Noise barriers, buffer zones formed of dense trees and shrubs, earth banks and anti-noise tunnels and semi underground structures are introduced where these are considered to be necessary. Compensation for Motorway Pollution When significant pollution to roadside areas is caused by the execution of road works or the operation of motorways, appropriate compensation is made according to the circumstances.

- Japan Highway Public Corporation -

As at 1st August, 2000
Establishment: 16th April, 1956
Capital:ˇ1,958,314Million Number of
Employees: 8,900
Business .National Motorways in operation 6,666km, under construction 2,398km
Regional Motorways in operation 824.2km, under construction 128.4km
Car Parks Tokyo and Fukuoka Location of Head Office: Tokyo
Regional Bureaus: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu
Construction Bureaus: Tokyo, Shizuoka and Nagoya Operation Bureaus: Tokyo (3) and Nagoya

NDK introduced CI (Corporate Identity) activities as JH (Japan Highway). CI activities are introduced into an organisation for the purpose of improving its public image and revitalising the organisation.
The NDK's CI activities have included establishing its corporate philosophy.

The Corporate Statement of NDK (JH) is shown below:
JH contributes to building an affluent and healthy society by creating a network of comfortable and reliable road space, envisaging the future.

JH aims at an early completion of the highway network harmonised with local communities and natural surroundings.
JH provides user-oriented services.
JH utilises all its available resources for efficient management.
JH further enhances its engineering capabilities using technological innovation.
JH strengthens public relations.
JH creates a lively atmosphere in the office.

We communicate sincerely respecting others interests.
We take up challenges positively with flexible thinking.
We perform cost-effectively to carry out jobs efficiently.
We keep rejuvenating our minds and bodies.

Creating Roads for Our Future

Text (annual report 2000-Japan Highway Public Corporation)

*Tokyo, a guide to recent architecture, Noriyuki Tajima)

color photographs,2001

still from the video "Kawaguchi", 2001
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