Tadasu Takamine
Japan Syndrome - Mito Version

The video work Japan Syndrome is a continuation of his lines of inquiry, taking post-Fukushima Japan as a case study. The work constructs a theatrical space in which the conflict-filled life sphere of post-Fukushima Japan, and perhaps beyond it, is reenacted in a minimal yet condensed fashion. To conceive this work, the artists has recorded real conversations he had with shop employees in Kyoto, Yamaguchi and Mito from 2011 to 2013, which have been then reenacted as performances in a studio, and recorded as the final form of this piece. In each re-enactment a protagonist subtly asks a shopkeeper or waiter probing questions regarding the origins of certain products: where fish were sourced, whether fruit has been tested and what is deemed safe to eat. With always an extraordinary politeness, the protagonists discuss radiation level check system, government responsibility, decline of the region (as in the Mito version shared here, closer to the source of radiation). In a very minimal and simple way, Japan Syndrome examines the consequences of the radiation for Fukushima, and Japan as a whole, which remain invisible as immeasurable, but they nevertheless encroach on everyday life. It also reveals the constant changes in the social conditions of the country and the population’s consciousness after Fukushima disaster, addressing how individuals resist to the growing collective consciousness and social oppression, towards the spectre of an uncertain future and the unquantifiable damage that has been caused.

Tadasu Takamine is one of the most controversial, thought provoking, and irreverent media, video and installation artist working in Japan. He began as a member of the influential Japanese multimedia-performance group Dumb Type, which has existed since the 1980s and investigated contemporary biopolitics.

In a deep engagement with his own physicality and personal life, he has now been active for over a decade as a freelance director and artist, and has devoted himself to a theatre practice that he develops experimentally in workshops in dialogue with local participants. Both in the theatre as well as in artistic projects, he grapples with gnawing social questions provocatively and with dark humor.

Born in Kagoshima, Japan, in 1968, he has exhibited extensively throughout Asia, North America and Europe, as well as Australia, Israel, Mexico and South Africa. He has been in residency at Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts, Banff Center for the Arts and Saw Video Centre for the Media Arts, Ottawa among others.