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Remembering Fukushima | Eiko + Koma
Remembering Fukushima
photo by William Johnston

Remembering Fukushima (2016, 2017)

On March 11, 2016, the fifth anniversary of Fukushima's triple disaster,  Danspace Project, working together with Eiko, presented a durational event AFTER FUKUSHIMA that consisted a four-hour discussion, one hour performance by Eiko, and  24 hour photo and video exhibition, A Body in Fukushima project. This was a part of 2016 Platform that focused on Eiko's A Body in Places project and that featured  Eiko's daily solo performance, Talking Duets, durational solo performances by invited guests, as well as weekly film series, installations, book club, and workshops, In the 24 hour Fukushima exhibition, invited guest performed at every hour at the hour. These guests included Meredith Monk, Ishmael Johnston Jones, DonChristina Jones, Muna Tseng, Dana Reitz, John Kelly, and Carol Lipnick. Read more about this event

On March 11, 2017, Eiko presented the interdisciplinary four hour event at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, Remembering Fukushima: Art and Conversations. This year's program started and ended with Eiko's solo, and included many speakers and performers in between. Eiko dedicated the whole event to Kyoko Hayashi.

See photos of the 2017 event

On March 11, 2011, the biggest earthquake in Japanese history hit Northeast Japan and shut down the sustained fission reactions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The highest tsunami ever recorded in Japan soon followed, disabling the plant’s emergency generators. Insufficient cooling led to three nuclear meltdowns and explosions, releasing vast quantities of radioactive material. Rated at the maximum of Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the Fukushima meltdowns were the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. The destroyed plants continue to contaminate the surrounding area and sea, while Japanese companies are selling nuclear technology to India. To remember Fukushima means to realize how nuclear technology cannot be trusted with our lives and the environment.

Eiko Otake has been teaching college courses on the atomic bombings and nuclear power for the last ten years. Her solo project, A Body in Places, stated in 2014 with her visit to irradiated Fukushima with photographer and historian William Johnston. Their collaborative photo exhibition, A Body in Fukushima, has been since shown in many cities both in the U.S. and abroad. In New York in 2016, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima meltdowns, Eiko and Johnston collaborated with Danspace Project to present these photos as a 24-hour exhibition, each hour marked with performances by guest artists. 

Regarding her decision to go to Fukushima:
Being there, the sense of devastation eats at every cell of one’s body. If you’re looking at something awful on TV, you can go to the bathroom or have a snack. These distractions help you recognize that you are at a distance, you are in control. Whereas, in the Fukushima evacuation zone, we cannot help asking: What is this? How has this come about? Where is this going?
How do you make the distance to a certain subject or a place so close that it becomes a part of your life, a part of your body, so that when you start to forget something, there is an INNER voice to bring you back. It’s not somebody else who can advise you.  It’s yourself who brings you back to the very thing you decided that you did not want to forget.

---from transcript of Eiko's interview with Wesleyan University for the opening of the Fukushima photo show in 2015