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 from the area of devastation following the Tsunami was carried into the USA in small flask and then decanted into 1000 small vials and arranged in a specially constructed crate, displayed in the gallery window. These vials containing what became termed ‘tears’, acted as a catalyst for dialogue with visitors to the gallery who were given further information on the disaster, and were allowed to take away one vial. They were asked to place the water onto a Cherry Tree and could, if they liked, email an image which would be added to the project website.

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 in Washington DC linked to Fukushima Disaster that followed the Tsunami, including;¬†Japanese Cultural Center, Japanese Memorial gardens (WWII), Nuclear Saftey Department and Nuclear Energy lobbying groups, Global Media and Disaster Management Centers.

Photographs were taken at sites with an unfurled image of a small ship washed ashore by the tidal wave in Otsuchi. The image, acquired from Reuters, had been circulated widely across global media networks that reported on the devastation. Documentation of the unfurled image taken at these sites were posted along with further information on the image and its location on the project website.

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.