Tag Archives | debris

Occasional Paper 6: Destructivistas

Joel Cahen (2012, revised 2016)

With our present day awareness, the arts as we have known them up to now appear to us in general to be fakes fitted out with a tremendous affectation. Let us take leave of these piles of counterfeit objects on the altars, in the palaces, in the salons and the antique shops. They are an illusion with which, by human hand and by way of fraud, materials such as print, pieces of cloth, metals, clay or marble are loaded with false significance, so that, instead of just presenting their own material self, they take on the appearance of something else. Under the cloak of intellectual aim, the materials have been completely murdered and can no longer speak to us.

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Memory and photographs: reflections on the aftermath of the 3.11 disaster

 Fuyubi Nakamura, Institute for Art Anthropology at Tama Art University, Tokyo

Utstau Isatomae, Minamisanriku, Miyagi, June 2011

What would we look for if our hometown were swept away? Memory in material form? The tsunami—triggered by the massive earthquake that hit north-eastern Japan on 11 March last year—ruthlessly swallowed up several towns along the costal line, taking away the lives of numerous people.

Utstau Isatomae, Minamisanriku, Miyagi, July 2011

In the aftermath of the disaster, various kinds of local residents’ possessions—if they were deemed ‘valuable’—were rescued from the debris. These recovered items were often called omoide no shina or ‘objects of memory’, which included family albums, photographs and dolls among others. The items were then cleaned by volunteers and later displayed with the hope of reconnecting them with their owners, or their family or friends.…

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