Eat Well to Keep Fit, Missing You and Forget Me Not
May 1–5, 2017
Bibliowicz Family Gallery
Closing performance - 5.5.17
Acoustic streel string guitar
This project began as an exploration of the fishing industry in Japan through the experiences of one multigenerational fishing family living in Nagahama, Japan in northwestern Shikoku. When I arrived in Japan I learned that the family had stopped fishing, ending over four generations of a way of life. The patriarch of the family explained that every fishing season yielded less and less fish. Practices by large corporations had destroyed the local fish population, and in general the industry was changing. The family’s loss became the entry point of a circuitous journey filled with the narratives and cataclysms of nations and the past inhabiting the present.
Among the images in this project is a photograph of a preserved carp, made at one of the last remaining Korean Schools in Japan, located on the island of Shikoku. The school teaches exclusively ethnic Koreans and is sponsored by The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, an organization for ethnic Koreans living in Japan. The Association also serves as the country’s de facto North Korean embassy. At the end of the Japanese colonial rule, WWII and the division of Korea, ethnic Koreans in Japan were given a choice to register as South Koreans or retain their original nationality as Joseon, the name of the undivided nation before Japanese occupation. Those that chose Joseon became de facto North Korean citizens. Those Joseon Koreans lost their country and identity only to gain it back divided, traumatized, pathological and ultimately twice lost.
Just north of Shikoku, there exists another anomaly of colonial Korean history, a small village in Kyoto that has been occupied by conscripted ethnic Koreans laborers and their descendants since WWII. After being forcibly brought over to work on the construction of a military air base, the project was scrapped and the laborers were stranded with no means to return to their homes. The village only in the last few years has received running water and is under the continual threat of being razed. The village appears abandoned, but on occasion one resident will peer out of a window, a reminder that someone lives there, and that this village, though pieced together by the stranded has been made a home none the less.