The nuclear catastrophe of Fukushima is not only reflected by the media, politics or protest culture, as we will show in our documentary, but it is also adopted and being processed by Japanese artists. In the last couple of weeks, two major exhibitions in Tokyo tried to approach the catastrophe and its implications in distinct ways.
The first one was held by Illcommonz. Illcommonz calls himself an artist, anthropologist and collector of the atomic age. His recent exhibition showed a variety of comics, magazines, records, movies, figures, books and various other materials which all deal with radioactivity, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, power plants or accidents. Under the title 「夢の原子力エネルギーから、悪夢の原発事故までの半世紀」 (Half a century from the nuclear dream to the nuclear accident nightmare), this collection gives an insight into how popculture has been handling the topic over the last 50 years.
The visitors were able to freely watch and read all of the collected materials, like Akira or Coppelion. Additionally, the artist added placards, fliers and pictures from the recent anti-nuke protests that took place in Tokyo, and he added video installations, in which he mixed news footage (i.e. from inside the destroyed Fukushima power plant) with music (i.e. “Radioactivity” by Kraftwerk), which you can see here:
Within the same time as Illcommonz’ exhibition at 路地と人 (People and Streets), an art collective held an exhibition in a different location in Tokyo. The collective Chim Pom got famous when they added a graffiti to the world-famous mural by Tarō Okamoto, “Myth of Tomorrow”, in Shibuya station, which depicts a nuclear catastrophe itself. The artists added a piece to the mural, showing the two destroyed reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant (see it here). Unfortunately, the police removed it on the same day. This creative action, which happened more than a month ago, was filmed by the group, and has now been turned into a scene of their movie “The Real Times”. See the trailer here:
Chim Pom is playing with terms such as “real” or “art”, obviously. And people don’t really know how to deal with what they produce, they are disputing if it’s “art”, or a “crime”, or just a “hoax”… Anyway, it’s being discussed controversially, and already has an influence on the public dialogue, as well as it has made a contribution to the current protest movement as a whole.