Usio is trying to visualize situations that just don't turn out the way we picture by using various media. She frequently uses tools, settings, rules, words, and images related to games, and reconstructs the settings of the world around us through video, installations, and workshops.

Sometimes it is better to explain the outline of her project or exhibition than to introduce her art piece by itself.

Journey and Migration by Boat, Research to Expression, 2018 - present

Usio has been interested in human journeys of the old-time, especially the history of migration by boat and she keeps on researching.

She also tries to express art works which connect to human memories or stories about migration. In her works, she focuses on the way to move, adapt, and survive resiliently, and also she has interest in objects which have been left to posterity.

Usio created a video installation work for the "Imagined Boundaries: Contemporary Art in Obu" exhibition which was held in January 2020. The video was composed of a story about the Japanese cargo ship captain Oguri Jukichi, who lived in the Edo period. He survived approximately 484 days adrift at sea in the Pacific Ocean, and built a memorial monument to commemorate the dead crew members after returning to Japan. The installation incorporated not only the personal history of Oguri Jukichi but Usio's interests and unique visions about many drifter's stories in the Edo Period and folk beliefs on "gods who come from far across the sea and might bring us good fortune" that remains in various parts of the world.

This theme was discovered and developed by Usio's solo exhibition at gallery N "Kanda Shataku" in 2018. There were many kinds of works which are related to boats like below.

  • A piece of work projecting a shadow of a boat on a white rotating sphere made from a globe by using flashlight and Lego.
  • A piece of work using a wooden casket which Usio purchased online. The casket was disassembled and remade into a boat.
  • A piece of work that diverts the text of "The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants" adopted at the United Nations Summit on September 19, 2016.
  • A piece of work where human shadows are added on drawings of ships

Imagined Boundaries: Contemporary Art in Obu
23 Jan. - 14 Feb., 2021
Obu Culture Communication Library “allobu”, Japan

Nakaki yo no Too no Nefuri no Mina mesame Nami nori Fune no Oto no Yoki Kana
2 - 23 Jun., 2018
gallery N "Kanda Shataku", Japan

Online Artists Talk, How to Walk in Typhoons, 2020

People all over the world have been forced to stagnate and face so many changes because of COVID-19 pandemic, and artists are no exception to this case. But they are trying their ideas for expressions everywhere, even under various limitations.

Usio held an online talk event with 3 artists to share problems and experiences that they had faced personally on the pandemic because she also thinks that we can find useful wisdom and ideas not only applicable to the pandemic situation.

On November, 2020, 3 guest artists told about their experiences such as "Art creation and exhibition in rural areas or unexplored regions.", "Art creation with various media.", and "Install in a remote location while absent .". Usio also told her case and reason why she and her family have travelled around Japan practicing to research, create, and exhibit.

Online Artists Talk, How to Walk in Typhoons

⇒2 Nov., 2020 guests: Tomohito Ishii, Ayaka Ura, Yoi Kawakubo

Usio participated in "Absorption/Radiation'' as an action committee in 2019.

She also took part in the "Railroad Siding 2017" previously known as the "Absorption/Radiation". "Railroad Siding" is the field of practice to produce spaces for expression without general theme and someone's direction. The practice is based in Tokorozawa city, by artists, critics, and many more.
Usio exhibited a part of Masashi Ogura's documents and books which were collected over time at the Old Municipal Tokorozawa Kindergarten which was one of the venues of "Absorption/Radiation". The name of the exhibition was "Mobile Library, EX LIBRIS Sciurus", where visitors can take his books and know the contents of his archives.

As a satellite project of "Absorption/Radiation'', Usio organized a group show "Distance and Conveyance" at gallery N and she asked other artists; Tomohito Ishii, Takayoshi Tsuchiya, Hajime Mizutani to join this exhibition. The group show and exhibition was deliberately held at a place far away from Tokorozawa city, along with past participants of the "Railroad Siding" by using a framework of the satellite project.
And after the group exhibition was over, they published a catalog which compiled exhibit guide papers made by each 4 artists.

Absorption/Radiation, September, 2019 - Spring, 2020

⇒Exhibitions planned by Usio


⇒Event which Usio joined

Usio participated in "TERATOTERA Festival 2019" and opened a 3-day "Funyoi" Tea Salon with the cooperation of "TERACCO" members, who served special mixed tea.

The concept of the Tea Salon came from Usio's previous art piece "Things Just Don't Turn out the Way You Picture" which she exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in summer of the same year.

Beside the tea salon, she also invited some guests for daily events like workshops. These events gave an opportunity for participants to interact with each other while drinking tea, and led to a deep understanding about archiving and open classification of Masashi Ogura's documents and books which he collected over time.

TERATOTERA Festival 2019: 8 - 10 November, 2019

→The events beside the "Funyoi" Tea Salon

  • 8 Nov., Small Talk Event, guest: "TERACCO" members
  • 9 - 10 Nov., Workshop, guest: Masashi Ogura
  • 10 Nov., Small Talk Event, guest: Sakiko Yamaoka
  • 10 Nov., The Transfer Assembly of the "EX LIBRIS Sciurus" from Mr. Ogura

Photo: Takafumi Sakanaka

Usio exhibited the installation work "Things Just Don't Turn out the Way You Picture" as one of the artists of the "Now, it's Time to Play" exhibition held in the summer of 2019 at The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

Besides the art work exhibition, she also took part in some official events of the exhibition, such as lectures and workshops.
She also held small talk events about collection & archiving with some guests from her installation.
After the exhibition, she published the poster "A Sequel to Playing, Things Just Don't Turn out the Way You Picture" , filled with records and photographs and more about her installation. The poster was designed by Hiroaki Shimada and contains essays by Masashi Ogura, Hikari Odaka, and Takuya Nakao.

Now, it's Time to Play: 20 July - 20 October, 2019

⇒The events relate to Usio

  • 28 Jul., Workshop "Discover Playing! micro:bit Ideathon", Co-facilitator: Daisuke Kuramoto (OtOMO)
  • 23 Aug., Small Talk Event, guest: Youichiro Yoshikawa
  • 13 Sep., Small Talk Event, guest: Katsuhiro Fujimura
  • 29 Sep., Lecture "Playing Multiplied by Art History", Co-speaker: Takuya Nakao

In 2019, Usio held some workshops and events to openly classificate documents and books which Masashi Ogura collected for his coverage activities or research over time.

At first, the workshop was a part of Usio's installation work at the "Now, it's Time to Play" exhibition, with cooperation from Hiromasa Naganuma and Mr. Ogura himself. They continued exhibitions and events about this open classification at "Absorption/Radiation" and "TERATOTERA Festival 2019" which Usio also participated in.
They practiced some "How to" in their workshops, for example, "How to" digitize old films, "How to" make catalogues of Mr. Ogura's books and films, and "How to" connect scattered information. They labeled Mr. Ogura's books "EX LIBRIS Sciurus".
The point to emphasize in particular, they had a special quest that they were interested in "How to" share and hand personal archives and collections while having fun. In addition, Small Talk Events were held for this purpose.

A record of an Open Classification, 2019 - 2020

⇒In the exhibition "Now, it's Time to Play"

  • 20 Jul. - 20 Oct., 2019, Digitize old films and made catalogue
  • 23 Aug., Small Talk Event, guest: Youichiro Yoshikawa
  • 13 Sep., Small Talk Event, guest: Katsuhiro Fujimura


⇒In the exhibition "Absorption/Radiation", the Old Municipal Tokorozawa Kindergarten

  • 27 Oct. - 4 Nov., 2019, Exhibit films and books with caption


⇒In the exhibition "TERATOTERA Festival 2019"

  • 9 Nov. - 10 Nov.,2019, Workshops with Mr. Ogura checking digitized films
  • 8 Nov., Small Talk Event, guest: "TERACCO" members
  • 10 Nov., Small Talk Event, guest: Sakiko Yamaoka
  • 10 Nov., The Transfer Assembly of the "EX LIBRIS Sciurus" from Mr. Ogura


⇒Online, Zoom, 2020

  • 23 Nov., "Rethinking of Tokyo Art Speak", the extra edition of an Open Classification, guest: Makiko Hara, Jun Oenoki, Toshimaru Ogura
    —Testimony and discussion around Tokyo Art Speak.

―Mr.Ogura passed away on March 1, 2020. We pray for his soul.―

Usio has been uploading photos and serial numbers of crisp new 1,000yen bills on her Twitter account @usiotokojp since 2014. She is using Twitter as an archive.

She goes to the bank and gets crisp new 1,000yen bills when she needs money for daily life. And then she is sure to upload the crisp new 1,000yen bill photos and serial numbers to her Twitter before she uses them.

When she accepts 1,000yen bills from another person, she definitely searches her Twitter records, and she is waiting to reunite with her archived 1,000yen bills.

Usio's Twitter

Manufacturing or sales of items with the appearance of Banknotes is strictly prohibited by the "Act on Control of Imitation of Currency and Securities" of Japan.
Please do not print image data of the Banknotes of Japan (bills) uploaded on Usio's Twitter as it may violate the law.
Posting of digital images on websites or blogs is not subject to this violation.

Japanese Ministry of Finance: Can I use prints of photos and illustrations of banknotes and coins?