Sunday, November 22, 2015

For a Nuclear-Free Future! World Nuclear Victims Forum

Below, a boy in India - suffering from cataracts / blindness as a result of nuclear power, uranium mining, disasters, mis/disinforamtion. This is the immeasurable cost of nuclear energy.

This is the very first forum of its kind. I thought this was an annual event and it very well may become one. At the end of two full days - 9am - 8pm - of 100% focusing on talk after talk, powerpoint after powerpoint, Q+A and a film by Shriprakresh on the contaminated Navajo Nation from Uranium Mining, I am exhausted, overwhelmed, inspired, angry, depressed, not alone in this world, educated and more.

Below, a banner brought from the Acoma tribe of the Pueblo Indians:

I used up an entire pen and filled a notebook, scribbling ten more pages on the back of my program pages....I can not transcribe them all and have decided to make a list of all the poetic word combinations throughout the conference that I jotted down along with page and pages of statistics, facts, history and science

This collection of notes is inspired by Mariko Nagai's Irradiated Cities. The little black Japanese hardcover notebook I filled has a gold embossed title on the front cover:

Leveling Note

A two hundred year old Edo shrine
has a right to live in peace.
Dark desires of mankind drive profits from threats
of nuclear everything.
Humankind and nuclear technology can not coexist.
Fukushima lost ordinary life, active contamination, global phenomenon.
Entitled capitalists never hesitate to sacrifice people
for their own profit.
There is no desire for revenge or retribution -
only a yearning for no more suffering.
As a young boy I was dusted with fallout.
Navajo land has radiation levels ten times higher now than before
uranium mining and nuclear testing.
There is Australian uranium inside Dai'ichi
that was mined by Aborigines on sacred land.
The most urgent existential imperative for humankind is to abolish nuclear weapons.
Radioactive heaven and earth.
The nameless are no less real.
All of carry fallout in every cell in our bodies.

Michiko, me, Katsume and Mary  = 4 women anti-nuke activists

A Fukushima mother telling her story of evacuation and loneliness, anger and displacement, 
frustration and a deep sense of injustice.

The more we know, the worse it is.
radiation levels are ALWAYS lowered the more we know.
They are never raised. Yet, this is what happened after Fukushima.
The acceptable level of radiation exposure was raised significantly.
Forty percent of birds in Chernobyl are sterile.
There is a sixty six percent drop in bird population.
Fifty percent of the bird species are gone, extinct.
The Scientific is not Wishful.
Being wishful is not scientific.
We all have the right to be protected from preventable,
indiscriminate, transgenerational radioactive contamination.
We are all threatened.
Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are two sides of the same coin.
Both are inhumane.
We can never allow for mistakes in either.
Nuclear promises are lies.
I was 11 months old at the time of the atomic bomb
so I have no memory of it.
My mother covered me with her body, fled to the mountain, breastfed me
and was reassured until the black rain fell.
She covered my small head with a thin handkerchief.
We are still suffereing from many dieseases:
no white blood cells
super low blood pressure
horrible and persistent headaches
anemia, diarrhea, depression.

To open the forum yesetrday there was a flower ceremony at the Cenotaph in Peace Memorial Park where the names of the dead are archived and added to each year....

my view

the Forum Room

We are all indigenous to Mother Earth.
I grew up near uranium mines, mills, tailing ponds and dams in India.
Sterility, still lives, miscarriages, diseases.
Once something starts, it is very difficult to stop it.
It is better to protest before anything starts.
Protesting does not bring relief.
I started photography to bring change.
There is protection for smart bombs but not for smart people.
Aboriginal people went blind from British atomic tests in 1953
on their sacred land. They were "warned" in English
by government officials. None of them spoke English.
The tests killed many people
but as many are still sick.
Loss of culture and language, land and families, literal sight.
Totem One - memorial marker.
We all have a responsibility to the future,
a cultural responsibility.

Below, Mr. Hasegawa, a dairy farmer in Fukushima turned famous activist and documentarian filmmaker.

most of the group

Karine, an aboriginal woman who said much of the last chunk of text above, with her 2 daughters at the World Friendship Center....

I was 10 years old in Lop Nur, China and I could not see.
The air was so thick with dust that we thought it was smoke.
Our teacher told us it was a "big storm on planet Saturn"
and we believed him.
That was my first nuclear test experience.
Lung cancer, leukemia, malignant lymphoma.
There was no rain in China.
Particles are permanent.
Radiation does not respect borders.
The government knew and it lied.
The cold war WAS a nuclear war.
We all live downwind.
We are all hibakusha.
We need to connect vertically - from the past to the future -
without separating people from other damaged places.
Immeasurable damage - invisible.
Land is part of our bodies.
By a combination of coincidences, I am alive and here today.
I was covered in blood and knew nothing.
I felt sorry and was bleeding.
teachers and students writhing in playground until they died.
He lost all of his limbs and tried to crawl.
I was hungry but had no appetite.

A poet from Nagasaki wrote, "I am fed up of everything. I am sick even of that stone statue. We can not eat stone."

As long as the world is nuclear, there will be no peace.
Discrimination casts a long shadow.
At a summer camp we teach the children
We were needlessly exposed because of lack of information
from the government.
They simply told us "to feel free to evacuate."
We were then told it was safe. Those who left came back.
I am a dairy farmer and I had to slaughter 50 cows.

A suicided man left a note, "If only there had been no nuclear power plant."

Apologize. Compensate. Atone. Return.
Wild mushrooms.
The fossil fuel crisis is an excuse.
Nuclear power kills at every stage of production.
The contaminated zones are random because Prime Minister Abe was busy.
Consequences are hidden.
Mothers are gagged -
prevented from speaking.
I feel shame.
I live in tremendous contamination. 

 David Richardson (my husband) reserach in Tilman Ruff's keynote address:

Because of the generous Mariko Nagai's introduction via FB, I met Takeshi Arai, a fantastic daguerretype artist who just lectured at the Getty and makes images of nuclear sites and workers all over the world.....super nice too!

this is his new and gaspingly beautiful book

Eighty percent of the Fukushima contamination went out to sea.
Everything used in nuclear power becomes waste.
The current process is unacceptable.
Bone cancer, amputated limbs in Basra, Iraq
from depleted uranium weapons.
Before the war there was no familial cancer clustering.
Now there are double, triple cancers in the same patient.
(I can not look at the congenital birth defect pictures.)
Iraq is rich in petrol but poor in everything else since the wars.
It is terrible what scientists can do and do.
Burns torture the victim.
Mr. Tanigushi stayed still for 2 and a half years.
With no skin function, he can not sweat.
Malnourished, microcephaly, red spots bleed, fatty marrow,
bone cancer, colon can not absorb water.
Your constant thirst is unquenchable.
Waves and waves of other cancers, more deaths.
Fusion genes. Wound Tissue.
Trauma. Gene-targeting weapon.
I can not tolerate the Ministry of Health saying our study is "doubtful".
We have evidence.

During one long legal presentation, I had to stay awake by photographing things around me. The chair next to me:

Here I am using my vast knowledge gained from David of nuclear studies to ask about "how if the data is lacking for studying Fukushima, how can we even begin to trust or find anything worthy in a Chernobyl report? If the ABCC / RERF atomic bomb lifespan study is flawed due to studying the healthiest cohort of survivors, dismissing the 200,000 dead, how flawed is any study of an evacuated area?" I asked this after a brilliant man presented his research proving behind a shadow of a doubt that over 100 Japanese tuna fishing boats were harmfully exposed to radiation in 1954 due to nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. He proved that by looking at teeth over 60 years later!

and yesterday's question (that got applause and laughter) asking for a solution. If the Japanese population voted out Abe's pro-nuclear government, could it make a difference? Only 1 of the many communist parties in Japan is anti-nuclear power. All other parties support it! 

me and michiko, my lifesaving friend

morning light shadow at the World Friendship Center

The Peace Museum Plaza under construction to make the Peace Museum up to earthquake code

back at my favorite soba restaurant for pork soba

 Shriprakash, activist, filmmaker, good man

black spots on lungs - drawing is sometimes faster than taking notes

umeshu and roasted soy nuts - yum

Christmas comes early to Japan, xmas peace cranes

Hot spots.
Cleavage in water molecules.
This is the law of the jungle.
Nuclear apartheid is unsustainable.
It is our responsibility to act for those who can't.
Every use of the nuclear takes a toll,
especially on the socially vulnerable.
The United States kept Hiroshima untouched
to study the experiment of dropping an atomic bomb on it.
Even professional photographers were so shocked
they could press the shutter.
There are only 5 remaining photographs from Hiroshima from August 6, 1945.
100,000 peoples' homelands were stolen away.
Purge the land of contamination - unachievable.
We can only TRANSFER the contamination from one place to another.
10 million plastic bags full of contaminated soil.
Radiation is not impressed by the five senses.
If you could feel radiation you would be dead in seconds.
Japan is supposed to be governed by law.
A declared State of Emergency nullifies law.
We remain in a state of emergency - after 4 years and 8 months
since Fukushima.
Abe lied through his teeth when he said that
"Fukushima is under control" so that Japan could hold the next Olympics.
The United Nations is an allegiance of those who defeated Japan.
There is no difference between military and peaceful nuclear technology.
Many people have been tricked for years.
That is what technology is about.
Raw suffering on the people.
Denial. Apathy. Injustice.
From the beginning everything is assymetrical.
We need a collective body of knowledge.



In India, the people were told, after the Fukushima disaster that "there was no nuclear accident.
It is just routine maintenance."
Heavy water.
I was 2.5 kilometers from the hypocenter and I was watching the mushroom cloud.
I saw Eisenhower and Churchill's faces because of my militaristic education.
My mother covered my body with her body.
We grated cucumbers and potatoes to apply to my mother's burns.
Her body could prevent the radiation from entering my body with her body.
I am well enough to speak - even with two cancers -
I am relatively well.
People ask me "why, since Japan suffered two atomic bombs, would they support nuclear power?"
That is not the point.
It is BECAUSE of the bombs that they threw themselves at nuclear energy.
Atonement? To relieve their own pain?
Same power but for peaceful purposes?

Stories are tools. Never doubt the power of words.
They can undo the stranglehold of the nuclear industry.
I am a messenger.
Most victims will never know they are victims.
We have treaties against biological, chemical, depleted uranium weapons and land mines
but none against nuclear weapons.
The world is growing colder. Darker. Dryer.
There will be 2 billion victims of starvation from nuclear famine from a small regional nuclear war.
21 million deaths. 44 million casualities.
It is 3 minutes to midnight.
the cold war is not over.
Don't bank on the bomb.
Which will happen first?
Abolition or use?
Warfare ecology.
Damage is growing.
Dead snakes.
Courts are not the place to get justice.
The language of the courts is not the language of the community.
If we lose in court, we lose the right to protest (in India).

In Navajo, uranium is called Yellow Monster.
We are having to travel in two worlds.
We are a nation within a nation.
They just open the world and dig in.
How do we wash the water out to drink out?
Mother earth is the sole of our feet.
You do not have to be poor to be sovereign.
Six toed dog. Four horned sheep.

A Fukushima mother telling her story


Friday, November 20, 2015

Constant Observation : Magic, Shadows and Light

under an awning waiting for a tram in the rain

Art Department Door - poster

Riverboat restaurant

 I did not touch this
This pink Camellia had fallen just so
a speck of a center eye
a cup of tongues
amidst a field of damp brown

yummy salty sweet seaweed dusted and sugar coated cookie crackers
i ate the whole bag in one sitting

very odd wall sculpture

Seriously, once a crow dropped a big rock at me, Bernd and Maggie and it split open on the pavement. If it had landed on one of our heads - ouch!

Sunmall Train Store

Mayumi, Ari, Mari and me will have a one week show - December 6 - 13, Hiroshima Intersections - in a new space, yet to be named - the first show in an unfinished but cool space.

this is the architect that will design, build the new gallery space

tomorrow and Sunday:

I had never seen one of these parking garages in action

my morning hand holding my key

This is what I wrote yesterday when I found out my father-in-law died

For my Father-in-Law, in Memory of Barrie Richardson
Who left this world at 1am
when I was dreaming of him;
the man who was a magician -
could make things disappear and reappear -
like a photographer;
my husband's father who loved
everything I did
and told me;
who gave me books about optical illusions,
visual tricks and Secret Knowledge;
sent our boy his childhood wooden box stuffed with
coins and magic tricks.
I woke up to the news alone
halfway around the world;
my children who call him PapaBear
are home with my mother, their grandmother, Oma;
I walked the river to meet Kiyoko,
a hibakusha (A-bomb survivor),
making photographs the whole way - reflections, red leaves,
heavy stones in the mud - every single thing,
every single piece of light
full of him, Mr. Magic;
Kiyoko finds me on the riverbank
and we walk in silence
as we do not speak each other's languages;
She walks me to the place where her family home burned down
in 1945, the place where her father built their new house
and where her brother built a new house in 1990
and still lives.
I photograph her standing in front of hundreds of blooming flowers
that her brother keeps -
each flower an offering to the spirit that is hovering;
they invite me inside for green tea and momoji -
sweet cakes in the shape of a maple leaf filled with bean paste;
Their mother lived to be 103;
We speak of death and luck -
how her brother was only 3 months old at the time of the A-bomb
so he is lucky to remember nothing;
She was 10 years old and still has nightmares;
I tell them - the translator tells them -
that my father-in-law died in the night
and they understand;
We sit at a long table in a room that reminds me
of my Oma's room in Germany;
There is a picture of their mother at 101 on the wall;
They drive me home and I rush off to the Peace Museum
to expose A-bombed artifacts - bottles, teapots and cups -
to the sun on cyanotype paper;
I told Mari about my magician father,
how he came to an opening reception of this work
and how he found it, me, our children, life - magical
and he wrote letters about it, told us over the phone
and in person and how this process is alchemical,
optical, illusionistic - magical and how he would love
to watch the whole process;
So we worked for Barrie today and as the sun rested
behind clouds, transforming the shadows of objects
into soft abstractions, we ached;
Mari tells me she loves me,
"I love you"
and that is Barrie, right there
right here
right now
and this is what came to be -
an old teapot pouring light into a teacup
like an electrical current,
illuminated air,
the glowing spirit of objects
once loved.
Magicians are doing tricks all over the world
in his memory.
His children grieve together in Louisiana
where he died
with one eye open.
In loving memory.

Peace Museum plaza being retrofitted to be up to earthquake code

Sayuri has an American boyfriend and she will go visit him for a month in New Jersey. She is so "fashionable" stylish beautiful and nice - the biggest, warmest smile

for John Williams

I really want to go see this skirt/suspenders outfit but i think it is over $500.......

Christmas comes early to Japan