Trolling Ballard for the perfect sneaker, you might happen across a one-room version of Osaka, Japan. Climb the wooden stairs just north of Rudy's and you'll find shoes hanging from the ceiling: Triple, the shoe store. Down the hall is the 150-square-foot Project Room, curated by BLVD Gallery's Damion Hayes, where you'll find an installation depicting a street scene in Osaka. Painted onto the walls, the buildings are tall, dark gray boxes, with details still being added: the round face on a smiling sign, or a row of vending machines on the sidewalk. Electric cords running to a small screen (a slideshow of photos of Osaka) are left exposed, doing double duty as tangible power lines strung to the four-walled mural. On the screen: bikes, skateboarding kids, tall apartment buildings, and a cherry tree in bloom. Like the one on the wall, its blossoms interrupt the blue sky. This installation by Nhon Nguyen (the first in this space) is very much a work in progress, and will grow more detailed in its three-month residency. Already, the work has been tagged (specifically, the images of vending machines have been painted with appropriately sized bits of graffiti), and parts of a (real) bike locked to a heating pipe have been stolen. It's all part of Nguyen's concept: a city in growth and decay. Nguyen lived in Osaka for three years, and this work is a Seattleite's meditation on life in a big city. A parallel exhibit in Japan will focus on the role of technology in Seattle's urban landscape: In Osaka, Nguyen will install a mural of Gas Works Park.
BLVD Gallery Project Room at Triple, 5227 Ballard Ave., 448-8767, www.blvdart.com. Ends April 12 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m.