Sunday, May 20, 2012

open secret

2011, August 28th. A worker points a finger at a monitoring live camera in Fukushima nuclear plant

Last August an unidentified worker at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant appeared on a live-to-air webcam pointing an accusatory finger directly at the camera. The video was then placed in internet and caused a lot of consternations as to the identity of a radiation-suite clad man and his message? Even Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary Yasuhiro Sonoda was drawn into the speculations. Recently the controversial video has been included in the first solo show of Kota Takeuchi hosted by XYZ collective in Setagaya, Tokyo triggering the assumptions that the finger pointing worker might have been the artist himself. There are few evidences behind, the 29-year-old Takeuchi appears to be about the same height and build as the suspect and he happened to work at the same nuclear plant at the same time as the video was shot. But he refuses to acknowledge it was he who did the pointing. Whether or not you write that it was me is your decision, and one for which you will be responsible, he said during an interview for Japan Times. Why would he want to do it? Granted he was not happy with the working conditions under which workers laboured in the power plant what he express in his daily blog from Fukushima but was it enough of a reason? Or was it something different? An homage to Vito Acconci’s Centers (1971) or was he interested in the way visual imagery in the public domain can sway communal consciousness?

Whether the mystery finger-pointer is the artist himself or not is still arguable. One thing is sure, the person in the video did a great job hiding his identity and that is what became a theme of the exhibition. Kota Takeuchi graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Intermedia Art in 2008 and ever since he participated in few shows including 'Social Dive' in 3331 Arts Chiyoda and BANKART Studio NYK in Yokohama.

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