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.
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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.