Neighborhood Renku

Neighborhood Renku is a public intervention through which local strangers in various neighborhoods throughout Japan can anonymously collaborate together on a continuous and eternal poem.

Renku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry in which multiple authors collaborate on a sequence of poems to form a single, extended piece. Each poem in a renku is often related to the one before, resulting in an unpredictable chain of creativity whose beauty lies not in the individual contributions but the collective product as a whole. Neighborhood Renku applies this medium as a public intervention by providing a platform for random passersby to create and collaborate together anonymously.

To participate in the Neighborhood Renku, one must find a special QR code sticker placed at numerous hotspots. Once the QR code is scanned, the soon-to-be poets are brought to a minimally designed website that displays the current renku to date and a text input in which they can append their own contribution. Separate stickers and websites were created for multiple areas, meaning the poems created in each are unique. With no limit to how long they can become, each renku acts as a continuously evolving timeline of thoughts and attitudes, characteristic of their respective neighbourhoods.

Whether one chooses to contribute to the Neighborhood Renku or just observe and imagine the lives of those who have, the intervention hopes to encourage more spontaneous moments of creativity in everyday life.

Photography: Daisuke Murakami