Situating Image – Memorial gardens for Japanese Prisoners of War in USA. Washington DC

1×1 Project – Commissioned for the Washington DC Arts & Humanities Commission Centenial Celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Commissioned by Steve Rowell as part of a large public arts festival 5×5.

The project formed part of “Suspension of Disbelief”, featuring work by KUNSTrePUBLIK (Germany), Lize Mogel (USA), Office of Experiments (UK), Charles Stankievech (Canada) and Deborah Stratman & Steve Badgett (USA)

The historic background to this project was the donation of 1000 Cherry Trees as a gift to the USA in 1912. The Centenary of this gift also marked on year since the devastating Tsunami and resulting Fukushima disaster, that haunted both the physical and real.

Transformer Gallery P District, Washington DC.

Transformer Gallery acted as the central hub for this project. Water, brought into the USA in small flasks from Japan was decanted into 1000 small vials and arranged in a specially constructed crate, displayed in the gallery window. These vials containing what might be termed ‘tears’, acted as a catalyst for dialogue with visitors to the gallery.  were given further information on the disaster, and were allowed to take away one vial. They were asked to place a tear onto a Cherry Tree and could, if they liked, email an image which would be added to the project website. In reality, it was discovered that for many people, the act became a private moment and memorial of emotional significance.

With thanks to all at Transformer Gallery, and Akemi Magawa and Casey Smith of Corcoran College of Art.

Website and situated work

The website of the 1×1 project documented a further spatio-temporal intervention. Having established the locations of a number of sites with either direct or indirect links to the earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Nuclear reactor disaster in Japan, photographs were taken of these with an unfurled image familiar to many from newspaper and media reports. This image, acquired from Reuters, had been circulated widely across global media networks and featured a large ship marooned atop a harbour building at one of the devastated sites in Otsuchi. Documentation of the sites were posted along with further information on the image and its location on the project website. Examples include; Japanese Cultural Center, Japanese Memorial gardens (WWII), Nuclear Saftey Department and Nuclear Energy lobbying groups, Global Media and Disaster Management Centers.

Website design by Lemon.


Most moving of all, however, is Office of Experiment’s 1×1 comprised of 1,000 small vials of “tears,” water collected in Japan after the earthquake. Visitors are encouraged to pour the water on a cherry tree bringing about a symbolic rebirth. This act also reflects what Tokyo’s mayor hoped to do a century ago: promote an international exchange between the two continents encouraging new life and friendships to blossom. As evidenced this weekend, the vibrant 5×5 project is the start of a new era of tradition.

Interview Magazine, April 2012. 


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