Japan Syndrome – Utrecht Version

27 April–6 July 2013 / Casco HQ

Casco presents a performative video work and an installation by Japanese artist Tadasu Takamine that delves into the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Two years have passed since the worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl. The consequences for Fukushima, and Japan as a whole, remain as invisible as they are immeasurable, but they nevertheless encroach on everyday life. Takamine, a former member of the renowned Japanese performance collective Dumb Type, has been investigating contemporary biopolitics often in a deep engagement with his own physicality and personal life. The three-channel video work Japan Syndrome is a continuation of this line 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 and yet condensed fashion. This work further alerts viewers to the nuclear context with the photographic installation Nuclear Family, a spiral structure of a chronicle of nuclear tests worldwide set in parallel to the artist’s own life as represented through photos from his family album. Living in what militant writer Sabu Kohso called the “global nuclear regime,” the Fukushima issue does not seem to be only Japanese. Instead of having a cynical attitude and saying something like, as philosopher Slavoj Žižek has, “Nothing better than a touch of ecology and catastrophe to unite the social classes…,” we, as entangled subjects, might rather face “earthly” questions arising from the Fukushima disaster concerning where the current energy-based world of capitalism is heading and where to begin our action in response. Japan Syndrome – Utrecht Version is organized as an itinerary within Casco’s new long-term research project Compositions and in one of its zones of concern, Oikos. It is the first presentation of the above recent works by Takamine outside Japan. The works were conceived as part of his large-scale exhibition project Cool Japan (2012), curated by Mizuki Takahashi at Art Tower Mito in Japan.

On 28 June, 19:00–21:00, Casco Storefront (Voorstraat 88), please join us for an artist talk with Tadasu Takamine. 

Reading references

Artist Interview Committing to society the bricolage theatre of Tadasu Takamine, 2012, in Performing Arts Network Japan. Download here
James Jack, Tadasu Takamine’s not so Cool Japan, 2013, in Japan Times. See here
Tadasu Takamine’s Cool Japan, exhibition at Art Tower Mito, 2013. See here


This exhibition is made possible with support of Gemeente Utrecht, Mondriaan Fonds, Stichting Doen and the European Union Culture Programme. It is sponsored by LG Electronics, special thanks to Bo Choi, Changhee Han and Simon Shin.

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