A Body in Fukushima

Eiko Otake

A Body in Fukushima, curated by Pioneer Works Director Gabriel Florenz, presents a series of color photographs by artist Eiko Otake and photographer William Johnston taken in Fukushima following the destructive explosion of the nuclear plant in 2014.

Eiko and Johnston followed abandoned train tracks through desolate stations into eerily vacant towns and fields in Fukushima, Japan. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the explosions of the Daiichi nuclear plants made the area uninhabitable. Through both vulnerable gestures and fierce dance, Eiko embodies grief, anger and remorse. Johnston’s crystalline images capture her movements within desolate Fukushima landscapes.

“By placing my body in these places,” Eiko says, “I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. I danced so as not to forget.” A project of witness, remembrance and empathy, A Body in Fukushima grapples with the harsh realities of human failure. As Johnston writes, “By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important.”

The exhibition is part of a series of programs at Pioneer Works that explore the discourse between art and trauma. Pioneer Works thanks Kathleen Sullivan, PhD, and Robert Croonquist of Hibakusha Stories for their support in the organization of the exhibition and related programming.