Exhibition Preview: Real Lives Half Lives - Fukushima @ Arts Catalyst, London [18 May]

Exhibition Preview: Real Lives Half Lives - Fukushima

19:00 - 21:00

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Arts Catalyst
74-76 Cromer Street, WC1H 8DR London, United Kingdom
Don’t Follow the Wind | Hikaru Fujii

Open to the public: 19 May – 15 July, Thursday – Saturday, 12noon – 6pm
Venue: Arts Catalyst Centre for Art, Science & Technology, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR

Private view: Thursday 18 May 2017, 7pm – 9pm
*Details of events programme to follow

Join us for the opening of two exhibitions and a season of events reflecting on disaster, displacement and poisoned lands.

'A Walk in Fukushima' – Don’t Follow the Wind
'Project Fukushima!' – Hikaru Fujii

Arts Catalyst presents two solo exhibitions by artists that respond to the man-made disaster of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, alongside a series of events exploring the profound social, cultural and political impact of Fukushima in Japan.

'A Walk in Fukushima' — Don’t Follow the Wind
'A Walk in Fukushima' is an immersive 360-degree video, viewed through headsets made by former residents of the Fukushima exclusion zone. The video guides the viewer through an inaccessible exhibition entitled 'Don’t Follow the Wind', that has been created inside the radioactive evacuated area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The exhibition was created by the curatorial collective Chim↑Pom, Kenji Kubota, Jason Waite, and Eva and Franco Mattes, with participating artists including Ai Weiwei, Aiko Miyanaga, Chim↑Pom, Grand Guignol Mirai, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos, Kota Takeuchi, Eva and Franco Mattes, Meiro Koizumi, Nobuaki Takekawa, Ahmet Öğüt, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon. It opened in March 2015, on the fourth anniversary of Fukushima disaster.

An estimated 24,000 people are not allowed to return to their homes following the disaster, and it may be decades before zones within the Fukushima Prefecture are declared safe from radiation and residency restrictions are lifted.

'Project Fukushima!' — Hikaru Fujii
Hikaru Fujii’s film 'Project Fukushima!' follows the preparations for a festival held in Fukushima city five months after the nuclear disaster. The festival, called 'Fukushima!' was organised by a group of artists and musicians including Yoshihide Otomo. The film features music and poetry by Yoshihide Otomo, Michiro Endo, Ryoichi Wago alongside people from Fukushima and other regions in Japan. The festival organisers had to address questions including: Would it be ethical to bring people to Fukushima? What would it mean to the people of Fukushima if the festival had to be cancelled due to radiation concerns? The film shows how the lives of people in Fukushima have changed and what the future might look like for the next few generations.

The triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and meltdown energised many people in Japan to become more proactive, vocal and dissenting. Mass anti-nuclear protests were held countrywide in the years following the disaster and smaller scale protests are still widespread. A citizen science movement sprang up in response to the slow release (some claimed withholding) of radiation data, with citizens using their own radiation-measuring devices to reveal and share online the levels of radioactivity. Legal challenges and petitions against nuclear power in Japan point to another tactic used by a citizenry that wishes to reclaim more governance over its environment and safety. Japanese artists have responded with an array of approaches, and have often been at the forefront of dissent and critique.

'Real Lives Half Lives: Fukushima' continues Arts Catalyst’s ongoing inquiry into the planetary commons, in dialogue with the Nuclear Culture research programme, and highlights the role of Arts Catalyst’s Centre for Art, Science & Technology as a space for research, thinking and discourse in cross-disciplinary art.

A programme of talks, events and activities will run through May to July, in partnership with Art Action UK and IKLECTIK. Art Action UK is a collective that explores ways to create opportunities for cultural practitioners to develop strategies that will help those affected by disasters. IKLECTIK is a creative space that showcases contemporary art, experimental music and artistic critical practice.

This programme is supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Arts Council England with special thanks to NPO S-AIR and Project Fukushima!..

More info — artscatalyst.org/real-lives-half-lives-fukushima
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