Fukushima Mon Amour
Two-channel video installation
9:10 min loop
This 2-channel video installation is an exploration of the shifting entanglements between personal and collective trauma, national and corporate powers, as well as toxicity and desire. Images taken in Namie, a disaster-affected area in Fukushima, are juxtaposed against a video of myself being tied in kinbaku. Underscoring the piece is a fictional dialogue loosely based on the 1959 film “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”, directed by Alain Resnais. Resnais’ first feature-length film opens with a conversation between a French actress and a Japanese architect. The actress, who is in Japan to make an anti-war film, recounts the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima that she has seen on her trip to the city. The man, who is from Hiroshima, whose family died in the bombing, calmly says to the woman that she has not seen anything, nor does she know what it is to forget. In "Fukushima, Mon Amour," two Avatar-Ms have a similar conversation.
The 3/11 tripartite disaster, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, subsequent fallout at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and the TEPCO’s mismanagement of the meltdown, along with the government’s failure to respond to the disaster, resulted in environmental injustices that haunt the lives of both the narrator of the piece and the Avatar-Ms. The legacy of “hydro-colonial nuclearization” poses violence against not only the displaced communities from Tohoku, where my father’s side of the family is from but poses a threat to everyone in Japan. The juxtapositions in this piece explore how radioactive toxicity is not only a by-product of hydro-colonial overreach but presents an opportunity for the marginalized to react and reassert agency.
Considering Mel. Y Chen’s re-signification of the term “toxicity” as a force that can be an “alternative, or complement to existing biopolitical and recent queer-theoretical debates about life and death”, we can forge a new paradigm for analyzing how natural disasters impact individuals. This encourages imaginings of women-defined future(s) where women survive Japan’s natural disasters and the Imperialist past and present rather than simply submitting to violence. Chen’s framework also helps identify instances of adaptation; the subjects in this piece (the author and avatar-Ms) redefine what it means to persevere and to reclaim agencies underscoring this reflexive capacity for toxicity in a BDSM video, a performance between women.
Installation view at a solo exhibition, "Algorithms of Innocence"
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Toronto
2022 August - 2022 December