I had organized a number of projects where I construct a huge structure and involve people to pull or destroy it down to the ground to demonstrate them a powerful experience out there. Now I organize projects to pull it UP, as the catalysis to make people feel close and together.
In the massive disaster in Tohoku/Fukushima on 3.11, Japanese people faced the crisis as their own experiences and there are many people still suffering from the ongoing difficulties. Watching news of those in the devastated situations in distance, we decided to make a big challenge, trying to see what we can do as the same human being, beyond physical distance or difference of the profession.
In May, 2011, we started helping soup run and massage, while entering debris removal sites to collect things like foundations of houses swept in Tsunami.
In five months of working among people in Iwaki city, Fukushima, we came to discover “related-ness” as our key word, a feeling that I’m engaged with and responsible for what’s happening there. Visiting Fukushima from Tokyo back and forth then eventually living there by renting a room for some months from October, we were re-confirming our position over and over again through reflecting upon how we’re being related to any ongoing situations. I was looking into the “distance” among people to grasp its meaning.
How can I get related, and to what? The question was growing into my theme.
11.3 is a Japanese national holiday as the Culture Day. I decided to organize an event on 11.3 in Fukushima to use the power of culture in order to turn around the sorrow all happening since 3.11. The 11.3 project involved people in Fukushima, featuring their food, music and dance as if making a festival together with them. At the moment when we succeeded in pulling up a tower out of 10 tons debris, whose shape comes after a light-house in the town, we re-confirmed that people can work together for the same goal and share its pleasure one another.
We can get moved by other people all the more for our capacity to feel lonely. In everyday life we have invisible walls among one another. Similarly invisible though, however, our will to get related each other beyond the wall does firmly exist in our attitude to join forces to work out something. We feel something romantic among us and challenge to overcome the wall anyhow. I believe in the power of art that can make the invisible visible and pull up its potential, which I feel is my task.
No matter how difficult the situation would be, we know that we have smiles if we keep stepping forward.
2012 Tsubasa KATO