Afterimage Requiem is a large-scale visual and sound installation containing 108 human-scale photograms and a 4-channel sound work made by my collaborator, Andrew Keiper.
The installation probes the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the intertwined family histories between Keiper and I. On August 6th 1945, at 8:15 AM, my grandfather witnessed a great tragedy that destroyed nearly everything in Hiroshima. Meanwhile, Keiper’s grandfather was an engineer who participated in the development of the Atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project. Two generations later, Keiper and I are great friends and collaborators which may have been thought to be impossible for the people a few generations ago.
The 108 photograms show shadow negative exposures of my body on the ground, with the viewer looking down upon it. These c-prints were exposed to sunlight due to my grandfather’s description, “that day in Hiroshima was like hundreds of suns lighting up the sky,” haunting me through my artistic practice. The radiation that my grandfather was exposed to pierced through his skin and inscribed itself onto his genes and onto my own; our bodies are now being “captured” through time and history, film and DNA. The number 108 holds significance in Japanese Buddhism, a number that embodies redemption from the evil passions we possess. As Keiper’s sound plays above in the air, my body lies on the ground, our grandfather’s positions are echoed in the space but our stances have changed. Each print is a prayer for the future.
This installation grapples with this history while asserting its pertinence to a contemporary audience living in an increasingly unstable political landscape. My photograms and Keiper’s 4-channel sound work portrays the bomb’s production created using the recordings made at atomic heritage sites in New Mexico and Chicago; the installation seeks mutual understanding while contemplating the roots, sorrow, and scope of the bombing. In an era of overt nuclear crisis unlike any seen in decades, Afterimage Requiem asks the audience to reflect on the ramifications of our current course, and to learn from the past.