Japan Syndrome – Amsterdam Version

13 March 2013, 12:00–18:00 / Amsterdam
Studium Generale Rietveld Academie  
Fred. Roeskestraat 96, Amsterdam

You are warmly invited to attend the vibrant and thought provoking four day conference-festival of Studium Generale Rietveld Academie Amsterdam: WHERE ARE WE GOING, WALT WHITMAN? An ecosophical road map for artists and other futurists, (12-15 March 2013). Gabriëlle Schleijpen, head of the programme, invites Casco’s director Binna Choi along with Anselm Francke, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev as well as Natasha Ginwala & Vivian Ziherl to each develop a discursive and performative programme for one day. Casco’s day on 13 March is dedicated to unraveling the meanings of post-Fukushima Japan.  

The term “China Syndrome” was used in the 1970s to refer to a hypothetical nuclear meltdown in the US that would burn all the way through the earth’s core to reach the other side: China. Today this erroneous hypothesis lives on in the opposite direction. “On the other side” post-Fukushima Japan calls for a new kind of earthly imaginary and a field of discourse beyond language of fear and humanitarian appeal. Japan Syndrome – Amsterdam Version brings together performative, anarcho-urbanist, feminist psychoanalytic, cinematic, sci-fi, self-organising, archival, and electro musical perspectives into the disasters that can no longer be categorised as either “natural” or “man-made.” Meshing discursive moments with mourning rituals, as well as visions of possible futures, the project attempts to open up a new imaginary landscape of the commons.  

Japan Syndrome – Amsterdam Version is conceived in collaboration with Studium Generale Rietveld Academie. It is the precursor to the solo exhibition Japan Syndrome – Utrecht Version (27 April–6 July 2013) of artist Tadasu Takamine whose work also offered the title of this conference. 

Program 12:00–18:00 hrs 

12:00 to 12:30 – Introduction by Binna Choi 
12:30 to 13:10 – Lecture by Sabu Kohso 
13:10 to 14:10 – The Radiant (2012) by The Otolith Group 
14:10 to 14:30 – Conversation between Sabu Kohso and The Otolith Group  
10 min break 
14:40 to 14:50 – Announcement of music/screening/performance Yum Yum Vibe & Lost Love by Stefan Tcherepnin & Hanna Törnudd with Green Tea Gallery 
14:50 to 15:10 – Statement by Laka Foundation 
15:10 to 15:50 – Lecture and painting by Bracha L. Ettinger 
15:50 to 16:20 – Presentation Yum Yum Vibe & Lost Love by Stefan Tcherepnin & Hanna Törnudd with Green Tea Gallery 
10 min break 
16:30 to 17:00 – Presentation & SHIORI project by Miya Yoshida 
17:00 to 17:40 – Iwaki Odori (2nd Anniversary) & Lost Love by Ei Arakawa 
17:40 to 18:00 – Statement by Hope Step Japan 

Drinks at Glass Pavilion. Please also visit Shadow Cabinets, featuring anti-nuclear movement related documents and archive from the Laka Foundation.  

The program is subject to change. 

Contributor biographies:  

Ei Arakawa is a Japanese New York-based artist. His practice frequently responds to volatile situations prone to change as well as deliberate accidents. Arakawa’s performance-inspired actions situate and meander round his ephemeral installations – often facilitating collective and improvisational exercises. His recent projects include, Paris & Wizard: The Musical (2013), at MoMA, which examines pivotal storylines from early Japanese video art in the 1970s, interpreting them as musical form.  

Binna Choi is director at Casco- Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht, where she focuses on how art institutions may serve as a model for social space by way of critical, collaborative and cross-disciplinary aesthetic practices. She is a faculty member at the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem; and is a co-founding member of Electric Palm Tree. 

Bracha L. Ettinger is a Tel Aviv-based artist, psychoanalyst and theorist, whose practice interweaves these different professions into what she calls “artworking”. She is a professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Recent monographs about her work include: Art as Compassion, edited by C. de Zegher and G. Pollock (Paper Kunsthalle & ASA Publishers) (2011). Recent publications include: “Communicaring: Reflexion around Hiroshima mon amour,” in PostGender: Sexuality and Performativity in Japanese Culture (2009). 

Hope Step Japan is a constellation of volunteers from various fields in the Netherlands, dedicated to thinking and acting in response to the earthquake of 11 March 2011 and its subsequent nuclear disaster. Together they aim to create a platform for addressing the social complexities underlying the nuclear issues both in Japan and the world at large.  

Sabu Kohso is a political and social critic, translator, scholar and a long-time activist in the global anti-capitalist struggle. A native of Okayama, Japan, Kohso has been residing in New York City since the early 1980s. Kohso has published several books on struggle and urban space in Japan and Korea, and has translated books by Kojin Karatani and David Graeber. He is editor at Japan Fissures in the Planetary Apparatus: an online platform dedicated to the translating, quoting and analyzing of information in light of a global uprising against capitalism and the State, as well as the catastrophic situation emerging in Japan. Kohso co-founded the group Todos Somos Japon to build global solidarity.  

Laka Foundation (Landelijk Kernenergie Archief – National Nuclear Energy Archive) is a documentation and research centre on nuclear energy, founded in 1988. Laka Foundation has an extensive archive that covers the global anti-nuclear movement, nuclear energy, and nuclear weapons. Their archive is freely available to the public.  

The Otolith Group is an artist collective founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002 that integrates art practice with a distinctive public platform. The Group’s work is developed according to a shifting series of long-term research-based projects exploring the legacies and potentialities of proposals broadly informed by contemporary architecture, cosmopolitanism, speculative futures, cybernetics, and science fiction. For dOCUMENTA (13), the group directed the film The Radiant, which explores the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.  

Stefan Tcherepnin is a New York-based musician and composer. His current musical practice ranges from work with experimental/noise bands, to electro-acoustic free improvisation, and piano/chamber music He is also a member of Grand Openings – a group of artists working in different disciplines, uniting performance, acting, singing, painting and critique. Hanna Törnudd is a Stockholm-based artist and chef. Tcherepnin and Törnudd are members of Green Tea Gallery, a mobile platform based on Fukushima, Japan. 

Miya Yoshida is an independent curator and researcher, who published her PhD thesis on mobile telephony in Fine Arts at Malmö Art Academy / Lund University, Sweden. Recently, she has developed curatorial projects based on artistic research concerning issues of labor and amateurism. With the five-year long project at Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany, Sharing as Caring – Presence for the Future, Yoshida introduced some significant artistic and social efforts operating in Post-Fukushima Japan.



With Ei Arakawa, Bracha L.Ettinger, Hope Step Japan, Sabu Kohso (Japan-Fissures in the Planetary Apparatus), Laka Foundation, The Otolith Group, Stefan Tcherepnin & Hanna Törnudd with Green Tea Gallery, Miya Yoshida. *See the contributors’ biographies below.

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