Midori Mitamura


The View From There   そこからの眺め







Arafudo Art Annual 2014

Fukushima, Japan


I produced this installation work for the art festival that took place at a small resort town in Fukushima.

The town has been well known for hot springs and traditional craft dolls called KOKESHI.

But after the nuclear disaster in 2011, the tourism declined and many resort hotels closed business.

The building where I had an exhibition is a property of a family that is a running photo studio for three

generations in that town. I found old negatives (film) in the room and developed them.

The most prosperous day of that town turned up in the picture. I recorded the conversations of local people

and then I also recorded my voice imitating people’s way of speaking.

Local people have the custom to collect many Kokeshi Dolls and decorate them in their rooms.

The installation pretended voices of numerous those dolls that have been watching and memorizing people’s

lives in this town.



Numerous KOKESHI dolls were watching me in the space. I climbed up the stairs behind that space, and

then I came across another room that was in a time warp. And there I found old glass plate negatives of

photographs left in a box. In those photos, taken by a local photographer,  histories and lives of people

past  remained as if they were holding their breath. Those old views and portraits could not fathom what

would happen to the town in Fukushima. On the wall of the room, once vibrantly scribbled letters were still

there, telling of a little kid that might have been troubled by something of his or her affair.

The mountain view from the window has not changed much from the images left in the old film negatives.

However, people's minds have been quaked along with the history they faced. Silent KOKESHI dolls  have

always existed there as if  they have been privy  to inhabitants' lives and daily conversations. My idea for

this artwork was to create a room where fragments of flows of time are lodged in the memories of

KOKESHI dolls listening to people's voices, and interpreted whispers are leaking out from the dolls.

無数のこけしに見守られる空間の奥に続く階段を上ると、時が止まったような部屋が現れ、古い写真のガラス乾板が箱に眠っているのを見つけました。そこに は、地元の写真館の撮り手によって収められた、かつての人々の歴史や人生が息をひそめるようにたたずみ、今の福島や土湯に起きた現実を知る由もない過去の 景色や人々の姿が写り込んでいました。部屋の壁には、幼い子供が日常の出来事の何かに心を痛めて殴り書きしたような生々しい文字が残されています。