Like, Don’t

If living in New York has taught me anything, I’ve definitely learned about the great lengths that people will go for art. People will wait over nine hours for just sixty seconds inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room. (Or importantly, for the chance to snag a killer Instagram shot.)


But how long will people wait for Japan’s Don’t Follow the Wind exhibit? In order to honor the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a Japanese arts collective got access to inside the excavation zone. This group of artists, amongst them big art players such as Ai Weiwei, collaborated to create a series of works, placed inside this excavation zone, in reaction to the aftermath of the disaster. These works, due to their location, will not be open to the public until the area is safe again. And according to government estimates, we still have years to go.


In a world where we are quick to forget, to move on to the next thing that catches our ever-decreasing attention span, this exhibition stands as a specter— a haunting reminder of just what can go wrong with nuclear energy.
…as if the actual disaster and its effects itself weren’t enough.
Reading up on the continued mismanagement of nuclear waste as well as in watching Gasland (I & II), Food Inc, and Salton Sea was quite an emotional journey. This rollercoaster was mostly comprised of pure frustration and anger. As I’m sure my roommate will attest, my reaction to these films consisted of basically one word:
Okay, two.
What I found so incredibly frustrating about these investigations ultimately comes down to the same reason they were created in the first place. Why is this happening when common sense would quickly tell us that it really shouldn’t be?
While these hair pulling, forehead palming inducing films and readings tackle a variety of topics— from mass food circulation, to the specifics of the Salton Sea, to the problem of nuclear waste, and the widespread growth but immense dearth of knowledge on fracking— these topics all have in common that at the end of the day, people are made vulnerable and victims at what expense? 
But as we’ve seen in our class discussion, there is no easy solution to years and years and generations and generations who have concatenated these issues of earth and bodies. In the end, this is the world we’ve created. And we are continually are creating the world— passively or actively.
I would say that the biggest take away from these investigative works is ultimately: keep questioning. With a critical emphasis on keep. It is so easy for us to question, forget, and move on. But more than just begging why and then forgetting, we must let these ghosts into our lives. We have to start fueling a curiosity to know where everything we use on the daily not only comes from, but also where it’s going, and what that means. These works encourage us to actively create and participate our worlds, rather than passively. They are frantically waving at us, begging us not to forget that these issues are on going, happening, and real.
And maybe, if we start building a cleaner world, we’ll be rewarded with access to some art and a cool Instagram, should the Fukushima excavation zone be safe again anytime soon.

– Brianna


~ by bk1347 on March 21, 2016.

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