Shifting Ground

Shifting Ground

Mehrkanal-Videoinstallation | multi-channel video-installation, 2011-2012

New Museum Weimar, Germany (2011)

Ausstellungshalle 1A, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Nippon Connection Film Festival, 2012)

Videodokumentation der Ausstellung in Frankfurt | video documentation of the exhibition in Frankfurt

Tokyo, summer 2010.
Rain and bright sunshine hourly alternate, so that people in the street use their umbrellas to protect themselves from either of the two: from sunshine or from rain, some umbrellas in a traditional, some in a modern shape. The city appears to be peaceful – so many people who speak in a language we don’t understand and still we feel safe. We get ourselves an umbrella, too.
We visit an exhibition entitled ‘Sensing Nature’. Works by young artists are shown, which reflect the perception of nature in Japan. Professor Hirayama explains to us, that culture and mentality always evolve in dependence of the surrounding climate, in which people live. As at that time, we still feel unable to comment on those theories. Bewaring any shortcut reverse conclusions we searched for evidences in our images instead.
Soon, we got to know a dancer, Airi Suzuki. Together with her we created images that should reflect the special climate and make it sensible. Three of the six films, you can see in the installation, build a synchronous narration documenting our experimental approaches. Each of these films focuses on a field trip: A trip to a valley north of Hitachiota in Ibaraki prefecture, where Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1991 realized their installation ‘The umbrellas’, then a visit to an umbrella factory and, finally, our experiences at the ‘Northern Disaster Research Center, Tokyo’. In the installation, these heterogeneous activities are embedded in a semi-staged and documented mosaic. Through the dance, as embracing element, the films are woven together into a complex snapshot of last summers’ atmosphere.
None of us could guess, that the light heartedness of our activities and images would be so short-lived. The natural disasters in march 2011 and their incalculable aftermath have inflicted a caesura upon Japanese history and also upon the reception of our images. A caesura, which irretrievably devides the continuous flow of time into a period prior and a period past these incidents. The knowledge of what happened inscribes its’ monstrosity into our lighthearted gaze and deprives it of its’ initial innocence. The atmosphere darkens and in the context of the current media coverage our images turn tragic, sometimes even involuntarily cynical. At the same time they remind us of the fact, that earthquakes, tsunamis, hurrikanes and other natural disasters are no unforseen incidents, as they have always been part of Japan’s climate.
stinanickel, march 2011


05. August 2016


Film, Performance, Kunst, Christina Zimmermann