Initiated by Tokyo-based artist collective Chim↑Pom and curated by Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, and Jason Waite, Don’t Follow the Wind is an exhibition housed in the irradiated Fukushima exclusion zone. Despite the exhibition being “open” since March of 2015, the artworks on site will remain inaccessible to the general public until the radiation dissipates and the area is safe to re-enter.
The show is presented here as an exhibition model investigating forms of visibility as a critique. The site became irradiated after the tsunami-related meltdown of the TEPCO-owned nuclear plant in 2011, and—despite TEPCO announcing then that the site would be under control in less than a year—remains indefinitely closed. By staging an exhibition in the area, the project puts the dangers of nuclear power on continuous display by way of the impossibility of actually displaying the art to the public. Only a few images of the installations are available—printed below—and so incite the desire to see what cannot be seen, a desire paling in comparison to the experience of the area’s evacuees. Even the “Non-Visitor Center,” a satellite exhibition staged in a gallery at Tokyo’s Watari Museum of Art in 2015, was only visible through a small window, the artworks remaining impenetrable.
This is the strength of the exhibition unseen: the discourse produced around the invisible dangers of nuclear power, the almost incomprehensible temporality of which points specifically to one power plant and the corporate and economic forces behind it. Resistance here is in the resistance of an irradiated landscape, the limitations of which are poetically outlined by the artists involved and the curatorial team.
Trevor Paglen, Trinity Cube, 2015-ongoing. Fukushima exclusion zone, Japan. Courtesy of the artist and Don’t Follow the Wind
Patrick Jaojoco is a Brooklyn-based curator and writer. His research focuses on political ecology and intersections of radically nonlinear histories and temporalities. He is part of the curatorial collective Frontview, which is currently working on a project on decolonization and cartography. He has assisted with numerous institutional exhibitions, including Danilo Correale: At Work's End and Zach Blas: Contra-Internet, both curated by Laurel Ptak at Art in General, NY; and Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s curated by Gianni Jetzer at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, DC. Independently, he has curated shows across New York including con•tin•u•ums (time beyond lifetimes); Low-Grade Euphoria, both at the Pfizer Building, Brooklyn; DRIIPP, an intensive collaborative project with four artists and two curators presented at the 2016 SPRING/BREAK Art Show; and humanimalands, an exhibition investigating the fluid ontologies of humans, animals, and landscapes in the Anthropocene presented at CP Projects Space. Jaojoco received his MA in Curatorial Practice from the School of Visual Arts and his BA in English Literature and Environmental Studies from New York University.