About a work for Don't Follow the Wind

There are lots of everyday clothes left on houses in the exclusion zone of nuclear disaster.
The clothes separated from owners. Somebody ever wore them and somebody may wear them sometime.
I wore such clothes in a room and took a self-portrait with my friend, and installed the life-size printed photo on the room.
When does somebody who will encounter with the photo think our clothes should be worn?
A person who wear the cumbrous protective clothing may regard us as light equipments in the future when decontamination of the whole area was finished.
A person who eats and drinks with short sleeves may regard as a nostalgia to the past before the accident.
The photo infront of visitor do back and forth between the future and the past, in this "socially ambiguous place".
When time passed, and entrance restrictions were canceled, and nobody most felt the need of the protective suit,
The photo will finish its timetravel and be a normal souvenir picture. (2015)



timetravelers timetravelers

Time travelers / 2015-  /  photoinstallation (inkjet on tarpaulin sheet)in a room in the exclution zone in Fukushima
タイムトラベラーズ / 2015-  / 写真インスタレーション(ターポリンにインクジェット)、福島県の帰還困難区域のとある部屋にて

Time Travelers
Text by Kota Takeuchi
Edited by Jason Waite

This photo installation, entitled Time Travelers, is my contribution to Don't Follow the Wind, informed by my experience as a former clean up worker in the Fukushima exclusion zone and spending time in the area as I continue to live in the prefecture of Fukushima and am a local participating artist in the exhibition.

The project focuses on the politics of clothes in the zone. In May 2011, two months after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant owned by TEPCO, local residents who had all been evacuated were allowed temporary access to the zone for a few hours at a time to visit their homes and gather certain belongings. When entering the zone the local government mandated the residents protect their bodies by wearing disposable coveralls the government provided. While face masks stop particles from entering the body, these suits do not prevent radioactive exposure but rather they prevent many of the radioactive particles landing on the suit from leaving the zone, as the coveralls are collected and burned after they are worn. In June 2011, the Japanese government announced that wearing protection suits in the zone was not strictly compulsory and entrusted individuals to decide how they would like to protect themselves. Actually there are many different types of protection clothing worn in the zone depending on where one visits, what type of work one does, the weather, temperature, and depending on an individual's perception about the potential effects radiation.

You also may be wearing coveralls now. Or you may be wearing everyday clothes now.

On trips where I have accompanied former residents into the zone many have chosen not put on the coveralls and just wear their everyday clothes. Seeing what people choose to wear as well as the large amount of garments left in the homes, led me to become interested in the politics of what people in the zone decide to wear in and around the Fukushima exclusion zone.

After the nuclear accident, there has been a lot of discussion in Fukushima about the health effects of radiation, and how and to what degree one can protect one's self from the invisible threat. There have been many rumors, conflicting reports, and a lot of speculation about the disaster and its aftermath. Some families and the community are divided on how to respond and act. This division can also be reflected in what displaced residents wear then they enter the zone to visit their houses. Some of the residents refuse to wear coveralls perhaps because they think they have reached a certain age where the effects of radiation will matter less over the remaining course of their life, or as radiation levels differ across the zone it might be a bit lower around their home, or perhaps they might feel that with all of the separation between them and their community already existing wearing another barrier inside their own home is too emotionally difficult.

I am not concerned about my health but rather the influence of what I wear and my behavior on others I accompany to the zone. Sometimes I wear the protection the local government provides: full body coveralls, gloves, booties, and a face mask and teach others how to wear the suits and protect themselves. The next day I might not wear anything when entering the zone and eat rice balls in the zone with my bare hands. Personally, I do not feel an urgent necessity to protect my body when entering the zone and working in it. However, I put on the protection suit in rare cases when accompany others in the zone to avoid confusion about whether one should the suit. This is part of the politics of clothes.

We are in the bedroom of the couple that built this farm. For my contribution to Don't Follow the Wind I asked my friend to come into the zone with me. My friend and I?with the couple's permission?put on their clothes that they had left on their bed during the hasty evacuation of their home. We stood side by side on the bed amongst the clothes and I took the photograph. Then I printed the image almost life-size and reinstalled it where we had stood among the found clothes.

Wearing the found clothes in the image, I intend them not a symbol of opposition, but as a form of harmonizing the complexities of the nuclear disaster and the previous history of the site?a resonance that travels through time.

When encountering the photo on site, will the visitor think that wearing everyday clothing is appropriate? Or does the lack of protective clothing seem out of place? Perhaps the image might appear nostalgic to those living in the area as though it was taken before the disaster. Potentially it is speculating on the form of dress that will be worn in this room in the future.

Moving back and forth between the future and the past, the image produces a form of time travel caused by people’s political difference.

As time passes, radionuclides decay, entrance restrictions on the zone are lifted, and the need for a protective suit fades, the photo will finish its time travel and be seen as an everyday snapshot.


タイムトラベラーズ と名づけられたこの写真インスタレーションはDon't Follow The Wind展への私の出品作品です。福島県に住み、時おり帰還困難区域を訪れた経験を元に制作しました。

このプロジェクトでは避難区域内の政治性に着目しました。東京電力福島第一原発事故から2ヶ月後 の2011年5月、避難した住民の一部に初めて立入制限区域内への一時帰宅が許可されました(注1)。住民は2、3時間の滞在時間内に自宅を訪問して、片付けをしたり、大事なものを持ち出したりしました。





私たちはこの庭園のオーナ夫妻のベッドルームにいます。Don't Follow The Wind 展への作品のために、私は友人に一緒に立入するように頼みました。オーナーの許可を得て、私と友人は彼らの衣服、急いで避難する中でベッドの上に置いてきた服を拾って着ました。そして服が散らばったままのベッドの上に並んで立ち、写真を撮りました。後日私はその写真を等身大になるようにプリントし、私たちが撮影したその場所にはめ込むように設置しました。服を着て写真を撮る。私は服を対立の象徴としてではなく、原発事故による複雑な困難さを調和させ、未来と事故以前のこの場所とを、行き来するための共鳴装置として用いたいと思いました。



注1 『「2時間はあっという間」 住民ら初の一時帰宅』 2011年5月10日 朝日新聞
注2 『一時帰宅 防護服なしで可能に』2011年6月25日 NHKニュース