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Remembering Fukushima: Art and Conversations | Eiko + Koma
Remembering Fukushima: Art and Conversations

Remembering Fukushima: Art and Conversations (2017)

Eiko conceived, curated, directed and presented a four-hour event at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine to commemorate the March 11 anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. A Body in Fukushima, Eiko's collaborative work with photographer and historian William Johnston, had been on view as part of the Cathedral’s Christa Project since October 2016.
Between her two solo performances that opened and closed the event, many artists performed and scholars and a journalist shared their knowledge on the matter.

Artists and speakers in order of appearance:
Ronald Ebrecht,
Ralph Samuelson
Shin Otake
Elizabeth Brown
Bill Johnston
Nathan Snyder
Marilyn Ivy
Thomas Looser
John Kelly
Jake Price
Geo Wyeth
Students of NYC iSCHOOL.
Carol Lipnik
NYC iSchool students
DonChristian Jones

Artists whose works were seen throughout the event:
William Johnston
Mark McCloughan
Alexis Moh
Megumu Tagami
Nora Thompson

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 has been teaching college courses on the atomic bombings and nuclear power for the last ten years. Her solo project, 「LINK 3836]A Body in Places[LINK], 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