every day from now through may 7th, the streets of são paulo will be occupied by a fleet of 30 ‘flower bicycles’ created by japanese artist azuma makoto. in a blend of performance and installation art, the work translates as a series of ephemeral gardens that carry makoto’s botanical sculptures, showcasing his unique relationship with flowers and plants in the public realm. the bicycles are pedaled by young people with japanese origins, and make their way across the city’s main landmarks — emphasizing the colors, textures and contexts of the urban landscape. at random, the ‘messengers’ gift flowers to curious passersby, offering a surprising sense of joy to visitors and locals alike.
the project has been initiated by, and marks the inauguration of japan house são paulo — an institution dedicated to showcasing the best of japan in the 21st century. ‘flower messenger’ highlights the moment of encounter between man and nature, not only eternalizing the most beautiful flowers and plants, but also highlighting the many stages of their life-cycle. among the iconic sites visited by makoto’s ‘flower messengers’ are oscar niemeyer’s biennial pavilion at ibirapuera park, luz railway station, and the liberdade district — home to the largest japanese community outside of japan.
‘flower messenger is an interruption in the city’s nervous flow, with a completely entertaining and inspiring message,’ marcello dantas, director of programming at japan house says. ‘suddenly that place that was empty yesterday is filled with flowers today. soon they disappear, but they remain a memory.’