Saturday, August 27, 2016

Last Notes from Fukushima

Persimmon Tree Heavy with Contaminated Fruit, Fukushima, 2015
A-Bombed Persimmon Tree still Bearing Fruit, Nagasaki, 2016

Found these notes scribbled on the back of my itinerary: 
- Pre-disaster solo/individual artists / Post-disaster collaborative/collective actions/projects
- Local preople have become much more interested in contemporary art and participate in it
- The city/region supports these art projects / not gentrification but survival/revival
- A social practice of sorts; site-responsive/specific installations/projects in an evacuated region draws people, attention, knowledge, emotions, intellectual relations
- Four men discussing all this in a hot gym


- The problem of place, radiation, evacuation and role of artists >>>  invisible webs, invisible energies made visible, uncanny, hot


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Moving Moments in Fukushima, Iwaki, Tabito and on the speeding train

Right outside the public recreation center, across the little road, stands this wooden water wheel beside a small shrine..I visit it each morning at dawn and watch it from the communal kitchen. A man comes during our stay to clean it up and check on it.


I think I spent as much time on trains and in stations than ever before - traveling from Tokyo > Fukushima (Iwaki) > Tokyo > Hiroshima > Nagasaki > Hiroshima > Tokyo.....

A beautiful cool stream flowed alongside the abandoned school where I worked along with other artists. One morning while waiting for the school to be opened by a town official, I wandered up the little road and discovered a small heaven...

A 360 degree view of my classroom installation

Fukushima by iPhone / all mixed up

The simple and immense pleasure of being the first one awake in this local world
and realizing that every place is local, is here, is now 
and  is full of overnight nests of dew and petals

Goto discussing his lyrical walls of branches with a wet fern living floor bed

pickled eggplant

communal kitchen

I wish I could have deflated this mallet to bring it home with me -
a strong testament to survival
found behind the old little house we slept in the first earthquake night

a new cyanotype of a Fukushima house broom

fresh cyanotypes drying on the abandoned school infirmary's bed -
so many people liked this on FB and 
my sister Susanne suggested I use it in the installation, so I did......

A detail of a wall at Nobuki's house - the sign says, "I will never forgive Abe" 
(Thanks to Mariko Nagai for the translation!)

morning signs of feelings

Nobuki's world:

river installation / loud silence

snapchat for kids

Tokyo train station sign

I amuse myself endlessly on trains in Japan by making photosynth landscapes; dislocated scenes; 
fast temporary places; impossible glitches of power grids and broken skies

fields and roads to nowhere and everywhere

abstract speed

momentary ghosts 

how traveling feels half the time

on the front porch the first morning upon waking

Luckily we moved to this clean and modern public recreation center for the rest of our nights that provided cool clean dawns for strolls

The public center

Okinawan lamb with cabbage

dip cabbage leaves in spicy mayonnaise

Artist Sae Otomo introducing herself and her project of tying biodegradable paper sutras 
to plants in the forest like Yoko Ono's wishing trees, my new friend. She lives in Mexico.

sad whale

A chair outside of my school

This stunning school had only 5 remaining students before it closed. The town of Tabito had over 9,000 residents before the 2011 disaster and now it has only 1,000. There are 9 of these abandoned schools - all to various degrees of beauty. All of them are still full of supplies but are emptied of energy, lives, potential. We temporarily fill them with living art.

A Japanese woman artist transforms an old mining chimney into a vibrant monument to miners and color, fragile lines of connection.....string to earth, elevated

our front yard the first morning
Looking out of the communal kitchen window