Tamiko Thiel:

The Travels of Mariko Horo

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The Travels of Mariko Horo: Description

interactive 3D virtual reality installation

Mariko's World

Who is Mariko? She has maps brought to the East by Marco Polo in 1272. Perhaps she is his daughter or granddaughter, her mother or grandmother having been abducted to China by the soldiers of Kublai Khan when they tried to invade Japan in 1274 and 1281, and finally returned to Japan when Polo departed returned to the West in 1290. Perhaps she has just heard stories from her mother or grandmother. Perhaps it does not matter.After all, as a time traveler she is not restricted to any single story.

All that matters is her journey and what she sees on her journey. You are invited to investigate her world, sailing among the islands, seeing what adventures await you when you enter the strange and exotic buildings floating in the Western Seas.


Mariko's house is her vehicle, and within it you can travel between the islands and between time and space.


Coming from an island nation, Mariko expects that all other nations are islands too, and mistakes the islands of the Venetian Lagoon for the countries of the fabled Buddhist Western Paradise - the Isle of the Blest, said to float in the Western Seas. On Marco Polo's map, the islands of Venice are bare except for occasional churches. How do all the peoples of the Occident fit in these scattered buildings? Perhaps they are all ghosts, as the Chinese sages always said.


Mariko has heard that when you enter a church in the Occident you see the entire Western cosmos and are surrounded by their gods and goddesses and their angels and demon kings. She has heard that when you enter heaven you hear the magical music of the spheres and the singing of the angels.


Other buildings lead you deep into to an underwater realm ...

... that transform into the palaces of the Heavenly King, all built of gold and jewels.


Other buildings bring you face to face with the Avogadori, the Prosecutors of the Eternal City ...

...who invite you to the Court of Final Judgement, where your own actions determine whether you go to Heaven or to Hell.


On yet another island, a simple shrine leads into a grey world of constant torment. You hear the shrieking of demons and the laments of those who beseech the Western gods to have pity on their mortal souls. But what were the sins that consigned them to the Limbo of Lost Souls? These and other questions await you in The Travels of Mariko Horo.