Friday, October 2, 2015

Toss those umbrellas aside, Hiroshima was all sun today!

October 2, 2015

I woke up at 3am and was disoriented but made myself fall back to sleep. My head hurt from being so hungry. I went down to breakfast at 8am and then headed out to downtown to visit my favorite thrift-clothing shop - Book Off. It was a perfectly sunny day after days and days of rain in North Carolina (hurricane expected there soon) and during the entire trip over here. A cool breeze felt divine as I walked and walked, over bridges and through parks with shrines, buddhas, green moss, magpies and more. This lovely umbrella used to belong to someone but it is now stuck in the grass alongside the river.....


 It faces The Peace Memorial Museum across the river....
 I immediately went to the Bank of Japan that withstood the atomic bomb and has since become a cultural center. I had a solo show there a couple years ago and will be there this October 6 for the opening of the Atomic Photographers Guild, of which I am a member. These umbrellas were bone dry in the entranceway.....
The current show at the Bank Building is Hiroshima Art Document and it was curated by Yukiko Ito - I hope to meet her while I am here, as I liked the show a lot. The artists are all Japanese and French. The first artist you see is Cecile Hartman, from Paris. She creates these tomb-like photographic graves of images from ground zero in Hiroshima and NYC/9/11 - I am not sure about combining these events - they are so drastically different time-wise, politically, culturally, historically specific, BUT I do like the presentation and the images and the gravity of the situations. Perhaps all bombings, all acts of severe aggression and destruction are ultimately linked, eternally fueled by Hiroshima? 



 Cecile happened to be there and we talked for a while but she asked me not to post the picture I took of her on the internet.

Down in the basement of the bank there are open vaults and safes, long hallways and mirrors, glow in the dark arrows and traces of history.....


 These are A-bombed artifacts, fragments of the building on display in one of the rooms in a vitrine.

 I love the white granite banisters and stairwells in this building. I have spent so much time in this one building since 2008. It is a very special place - owned by the city, run on a shoestring budget, int he center of town, half the rooms empty, the other half full of contemporary art, historical displays and childrens art.....


 I really liked this piece by Jean-Luc Vilmouth - 3 clocks at the times of the disasters / crimes / tragedies in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima - mounted to a green chalkboard with concentric chalk rings....reminds me of Felix Gonzalez Torres
 In one of the more stately rooms with the vitrine of artifacts is this half-repaired frame above a fireplace......so many marks of time and decay, repair and notes, archeological sandings.....
 The main entrance to the bank.....


 After the bombing and shoring it up, fixing it so it could be used as bank until 1992

 One of the several courtyards in the bank building today

 I have seen illuminated spinning projections in this room before but today is stands empty, forlorn...

 another empty room - quite moving amidst an exhibition
providing pause for reflection and quiet
for an intense observation of surfaces and time's relentless markings

 the basement has sky-lights that make it feel like you are in a pool that holds no water
only gravity and history and time and space and the absence of everything
This is a short film I made in the basement

These painted boxes on the heavy steel fortified basement doors made me think of Amy White's wood and Joy Drury Cox's grids and ordered projects




This is a view out of the 2nd story window of the bank - you can see the old German trolley still running and right behind the white spiral staircase that takes you up and down to the pedestrian bridge is my favorite thrift shop Book Off
The basement ceiling paint is cracking and peeling like skin

 and I find emptiness and fullness everywhere
scratches circles marks remnants indentions embossed architecture
grooves glitches rust cracks
even the old windows breed modernism
 reconstruction
 a retrofitting with new and old technology

 the windows cast jail cell bar shadows
 lone nails carry the light weight of wire electrifying nothing
 A detail from a historical display of Hiroshima then and now and all the years in between
 Antoni Tapies marks on the bank floor




And the basement houses videos as part of the show - this one What About the Atomic Bomb by Hans van Houwelingen
The bank vaults, the safes that survived but kept no one safe, made in New York City once upon a time, stand open and empty and dark, deep chambers of horror and a deafening silence and thick echo, apertures, orifices, ocular lenses, telescoping portals
 mouth masks, muzzles, speaker shield, guard rails, protective cage

 doors to nowhere and everywhere

These two chairs make me remember Felix Gonzalez Torres and then Gray Swartzel

I was very bemused by these crazy videos by Judith Cahen and Masayasu Eguchi - I'll try to upload some videos here too 



this building is scarred and bandaged

stripped and redefined
 even the carpet houses shadows and dust
 things are removed and kept
 layers are revealed and coded
 forgotten ghosts dangling
 hammered tile, ripped paint
 buckling emulsion
 layers of skin
 maps of archipelagos
 maps of almost Japan
the siren phone 


 for some reason this stairwell in this light reminds me of Kurt Schwitters Merzbau

 When I look at these before and after / then and now / the past and some point closer to now, I feel loss and a deep disappointment in "progress, growth"
 from rubble to banks
Walking home I find my old friends - sad bear and lonely lion
 the bench outside of the World Friendship Center

 a lovely tarped wall of shadows


to watch these men perform a suspended washing of windows
is to be in suspense in the morning




and then to find these glowing blue statues of plastic
on the way home in ate afternoon


this broom is used to sweep off the memorial to Barbara Reynolds - the only American with a memorial in peace Park. She founded the World Friendship Center and claimed solidarity with the A-bomb survivors by saying, "I am a hibakusha".
 I plan to make cynaotypes of these brooms - brooms used to sweep Peace Park, memorials


 the lonely bulletin board outside of my room


I was transfixed by these orbital sanding marks, mirroring each other even though they are perpendicular to each other, one on the window trim/wall and the other on the window sill, concentric layers of paint, the covering up of history
 I think of Edgar Heap of Birds when I see these heaps of bundles of paper cranes everywhere, hung on memorails, left on hooks, hanging in doorways
 A crank handle of brass and wood at the bank
 a Felix curtain at the bank
 the crazy video room - just a sliver of a detail of what I liked - this image of a dancing woman, darkly sepia toned like the wall stains
Detail of memorial to students at a Girls School
 on the way to the grocery store for my little microwave and fridge and hot water pot

selfie in bank elevator
 I miss my Emma dog!
 emoty bank room in the basement

 love this facade that I walk by every day

 fallen paper crane / lone leaf
 fat squirrel in the playground
 cracks in the bank floor



 a furry hair tree




 these two girls were there one day










 the sun is hot white in the morning
 and down low in the late afternoon






 here is the Japanese ladder I "borrowed" for my cyanotype
across the street from me


 another ladder on my street
 ladder in the bank basement
 lonely lion
 watch out for the magpies
 old map of Hiroshima









I LOVE THIS WOMAN ON HER BICYCLE

 Children pouring into the Peace Museum - a regular occurrence
 Peace Museum from across the river
 how I iwsh I had a stove - mushrooms galore in the grocery store






 Noguchi Bridge











 Films from the Bank Building Art Show

 offerings
 Onigiri shop where I had my delicious lunch - ume, eel and salmon Onigir




 stunning video projection in the basement
 pants I got for David - if they are too small, they will be for Val!

 resting pigeons?
 blueprint for bank building







 playground





 2 shirts for 2 dollars (200 yen) for Harper

 a super cool polka dotted vesty top for 2$ for me
 2$ dark blue (bad photo( top for me
 typical raised sidewalk / curb for the blind and those with cataracts - way more common in Hiroshima due to the A-bomb


 a cool tray I got today for $2 
 close to the grocery store - gorgeous
 I want this man's pants


 unmonumental / found sculpture (or I like this more than Rachel Harrison)

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