As Chief Curator Kataoka Mami explores in her essay in the accompanying catalogue to Roppongi Crossing 2013: Out of Doubt, the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant not only created a fear of radioactive contamination, an invisible substance, but forced people to ask themselves, “Why did such a thing happen?” leading them to ask questions about post-war Japanese diplomatic policy, and in the particular Japan-US relations under the Cold War structure, and the value of prioritizing the economy and efficiency during the period of high economic growth. 

The contradictions and conflicts that have emerged in the context of the march for modernisation and industrialisation, have been the subject matter of artistic expression since the Meiji Restoration. However, post-3/11 artists began again to shaply focus on questions regarding modernity. If 20th century Modernism, which Japanese curator Yuko Hasegawa has spoken of as being driven by the three M’s of ‘Man,’ ‘Money’ and Materialism’ then it could be argued in the new millennium, and recent events in Japan have seen these replaced with the three C’s of ‘Consciousness,’ ‘Collective Intelligence’ and ‘Co-existence’.

This lecture focuses on contemporary art in Japan that reflects on, fundamentally questions, or takes an exclusively political position in response to the issues thrown up by the events in 2011, posing the question what is the power of art and what can it do? 

Image: Real Times, Chim↑Pom, 2011
Copyright The Artist and courtesy Mujin-To Productions