Every three years across the rice fields and around the farmhouses of rural Japan, about 150 miles north of Tokyo, the landscape changes.
One year, an old country house was sheathed in hundreds of circular mirrors — no two the same size, all a reflection of the natural world around them. Another year, canary-yellow poles and flags popped up, re-creating the path of the Shinano River a century ago, before the construction of dams.
One winter, 10,000 buried LED "seeds of light" glowed at night, turning a snowfield into a winter flower field. One summer, hundreds of white shirts fluttered above 21/2 acres of farmland, like ghosts dancing in the wind.
Ghosts are an apt symbol for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, which started in 2000 as a project for a region dotted with the abandoned homes and empty schools that reflect an aging, shrinking population. The 2015 installment, which ended in September, was the latest effort to bring pride back to these communities and to celebrate their cultural heritage and rural tradition.