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Wild abandoned Fukushima is the habitat of other mortals. Internal chemistry of such places provoke imaginary spectacles in one’s mind and prophecise a sense of inexhaustible time, all too familiar and strange at the same time. How to comprehend such zones or prophecies that grow into wild-life sanctuaries of new mutating animals, flora and fauna, or repositories of the un-dead like in a Natural History Museum?

Project ‘Dear Document Fukushima’ approaches the audiovisual documentation of Fukushima exclusion radioactive zone, as potential layouts for ‘Horror Vacui’ (the fear of empty space), a term used in early cartography to describe a tendency of filling those undiscovered empty spaces with fictional decorative animals, flora and fauna designs in the processes of making maps. Each mediated image of Fukushima is a document, not a record or witnessing evidence of the event of a nuclear accident that took place on 11 March 2011, but an entity which has life, tentacles and influence. All these images are as wild as the artistic interventions, acts or performances that are stuck in the itinerant loops of time and memory of those places. Opening up an enigmatic, dangerous and incomprehensible zone that Fredric Jameson describes as ‘radical other space’.

Documentation of Fukushima can be viewed in parallel with other abandoned places existing on the surface of earth like Chernobyl or Minamata Bay, and many new emerging wastelands that are slipping away from human habitation due to spillage, war, climate change, mining, radiation, pollution, border disputes, and no man’s land etc. In our closed, sequired urban pockets, we are living unknowingly in parallel with such hyper worlds which Michel Foucault’s calls “Heterotopias”, that appear hostile to human kind but hide many unheard stories of the Future.

References:

Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions, Fredric Jameson.

Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias, Michel Foucault.

‘How Cartographers Confronted Empty Spaces’, Exhibition­­­, harvard map collection, pusey library, November 12, 2015

He-y, come on ou-t!, a short story by Shinichi Hoshi, translated by Stanleigh Jones. This story appeared in The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories, edited by John L. Apostolou and Martin H. Greenberg (1989).

Liquid Elephant and the Mirror, 1 min, 2014-2021

Glass window reflects. Reflects the neighbor. The image of Daichi Nuclear Power Plant traveled nearly three kilometers far to be reflected upon its neighbor’s glass window. It trace passed the fence. It always does. And in future it will, eternally trace pass our imagination like Bodhisattva entered queen Maya’s dream without her permission.

A Fence, Where Moses Stood, 1 min, 2014-2021

Dear Document Fukushima No. 4, 1 min, 2014-2021

“Hey what in the world is this hole?”

Where they all gathered, there was a hole about a meter in diameter. They peered in, but it was so dark nothing could be seen. However, it gave one the feeling that it was so deep it went clear through to the center of the earth.

A young man shouted into the hole, but there was no echo from the bottom. He picked up a pebble and threw it in.

The villagers tried all measures to measure the depth but failed. A scientist suggested it’s safer to get rid of something one don’t understand. He continued by saying ‘let’s fill it’.

A politician appeared from the crowd and took the responsibility of filling the hole. The scientist said we have got a fabulously deep hole. It’s at least five thousand meters deep. Perfect for disposal of such things as waste from nuclear reactors.

They somehow convinced the villagers to use this hole as dump. The police felt comforted as they used the hole to get rid of accumulation of expertly done counterfeit bills. Criminal breathed easier after throwing material evidence into the hole. Whatever one wished to discard, the hole accepted it all. The hole cleansed the city of its filth.

A workman was taking a break. Above his head he heard a voice shout: “Hey what in the world is this hole?” then a small pebble skimmed by him and fell on past.

Excerpt from He-y, come on ou-t!, a short story by Shinichi Hoshi, translated by Stanleigh Jones. This story appeared in The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories, edited by John L. Apostolou and Martin H. Greenberg (1989).

Dear Document Fukushima No. 3, 1 min, 2014-2021

A nuclear radiation contaminated space is never exhausted, appear to be in an infinite loop. In this never ending loop what manifest is abstraction.

A Sacred Utterance, 3.45 min, 2014-2021

Dear Document Fukushima No. 6, 1 min, 2014-2021

In 1986, the inhabitants of Chernobyl associated nuclear disaster, radiation and it’s after effect with communism, war and diseases.

In 2021, I am associating the image of ‘gloves’ with Covid. I feel we, artist,’ scientists and public are hung in time, somewhere like these gloves in Fukushima.

Like masks, gloves also protect us from what a bare hand should not touch. I wonder, what does this ‘un-touch-ability’ project about us?

Dear Document Fukushima No. 21, 1 min, 2014-2021

I have juxtaposed this photograph of pilgrims from Odisha in the radioactive Pacific in Fukushima. Waiting to see if they can touch the water and practice their ritual. For the sins of humanity Fukushima might become the pilgrimage site of the future.

Here is a Clock Working, 1.3 min, 2014-2021

Feels like the evacuation process is still continuing. A clock is still working. Among thousands of dead clocks, one is working. Showing the time equal to the time we brought there – exactly 9.40am in the morning. A register of our meeting. We noted the time. The clock made a notation about us on 19th of March 2014.

Dear Document Fukushima No. 23, 1 min, 2014-2021

Dear Document Fukushima No. 32 (A Site of Spectacles), 1 min, 2014-2021

Dear Document Fukushima No.17, 40 sec, 2014-2021

Many took the Chernobyl nuclear disaster as an opportunity to serve the country. The crisis shaped by a propagandistic nationalism. There are still posters, which reads, “Our goal is the happiness of all mankind.” “The world proletariat will triumph.” And “The ideas of Lenin are immortal.”

One said, “To pray there used to be communism instead of god, but now there was nothing, so they pray god.”

Sometimes, I loose my mind. This is this moment

A Prayer and the Prey, 1.37 min, 2014-2021

Dear Document Fukushima No. 19, 1.24 min, 2014-2021

The Hubris, 40 sec, 2014-2021

All form of references are valid in a site of disaster. This is how they remembered the catastrophe. This is how they survived.

A Dream Sequence, 6.24 min, 2014-2021

A Dream Sequence – 2, 1 min, 2014-2021

Umbrical cord, 1.49 min, 2014-2021

Setsuko!, 57 sec, 2014-2021

Setsuko Yokokawa (横川 節子 Yokokawa Setsuko) is a toddler and the younger sister of Seita Yokokawa in the Studio Ghibli movie Grave of the Fireflies. She was born in 1941, but she later dies in 1945 towards the end of the film.

Camera Breaking Act, 4.23 min, 2014-2021

A Proposal, 2.6 min, 2014-2021

‘Dear Document Fukushima’ is a research based multi-screen video installation project (consisting of short videos, images and text). The work speculates on environment- disaster-landscapes, interrogates and invokes non-human actors, characters and positions around urban wastelands and their intensities. The project and engagement was initiated during Paribartana Mohanty’s first visit to Fukushima in 2014 with Yoi Kuwakubo, Pedro Inoue, Irwan Ahmet and Tita Salina.

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