Reflection (Won)

By Olivia Won

I found “A Body In Fukushima” to be an incredibly moving exhibition. From an aesthetic perspective, the photographs of Eiko dancing in vacant places are beautiful, capturing both the power of her movements as well as the gravity of her body’s presence in these areas. As environmental art, the photos convey the sense of despair felt by the land as well as its inhabitants who were affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, calling on the viewer to engage with the devastation. The photographs capture the desolate and haunting nature of the empty radioactive streets, railroad tracks, and houses, which project an air of tragic beauty in the images’ striking composition. It is Eiko’s body, however, that contextualizes the places as haunting by embodying the grief, anger, and helplessness felt by the world following the disaster. Her lone figure alerts the viewer to the uninhabited streets and the unused fields, leaving the viewer at a loss and unsure of how to heal the tarnished earth. In fact, the images of picturesque sunflowers convey a false sense of life as they are really tainted with radioactivity; these images exemplify the stress and frustration felt in Eiko’s movement through these spaces. All in all, these images implore the viewer to question the unseen danger in nuclear energy and consider the environmental devastation that occurs when we don’t act with attention to the natural world.