IKEMOKU was the project that took place twice in front of the Statue of Moyai at Shibuya Station in Tokyo, a popular meeting place. While waiting, many people smoke. However, there was no ashtray around there for some reason. Masuyama had an idea to create a new-style ashtray with lots of spines to put cigarette butts so that he could provide smokers a modest pleasure for a moment when they had to kill time.

The work was titled Ike-moku Project, which was named after "Ike-bana" (Japanese traditional flower arrangement) and "Shike-moku" (a cigarette butt in Japanese). Ike-moku Project is a project to try to harmonize a concept of Ike-bana - creating art by putting flowers into the needles of a base - with a concept of ashtray.

In order to encourage people to put a cigarette butt on the object, Masuyama stuck ten dummy cigarettes on it. As a result of that, people understood such a strange, unknown and unidentified object as an ashtray and started to put butts on the spine as he expected. It was a multiplier effect, such that the more cigarettes were put on it, the more the object looked like an ashtray. Naturally enough, smokers started gathering around the Ike-moku.

Eventually, almost all smokers there put a cigarette butt on Ike-moku without wondering why they were doing so. When installed in March 2002, IKEMOKU Project was removed due to rain after about five hours, with 55 cigarette butts.

Shibuya Station, Tokyo

March 2002

Photo: Takahiro SUZUKI