In order to undertake our project for 5x5, distributing tears from Japan onto the Cherry Trees donated by Tokyo to Washington DC in 1912, we sought to bring in water from Japan itself. As we did so, we were aware that the regulatory global layer would fall over the world of our senses. Once removed from its natural setting, water cannot flow without passing borders, entering into layers of control. We knew that the EU and USA have largely stopped the import of goods from Japan at a commercial scale. At the same time, the authorities in Japan and the media globally consider the discussion of the Nuclear catastrophe and future uses of energy in terms of a political framing which is concerned with the cycle of news and the voting of governments. Science role in this debate is to inform and as it does so, to illuminate, as the image does. But like the optical machine, science is not neutral, it is constructed socially and politically.
This project started with a small inquiry in which we hoped to bring water from Japan to give away during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. As we discovered the problems in moving water in and out of Japan, of exporting food, we decided to address the source of both the fears and tears of one country that should be shared, beyond the spectacle of its devastation. As we discovered some of the science of Fuksuhima Diaichi, listened to the Mayor of Itate at the Japanese Cultural Center in Washington DC, it seemed we must draw something together, to make a link between Washington DC, its governmental and bureaucratic institutions and the daily realities of an event that whilst only twelve months ago, will be counted in tens if not hundreds of years, through generations and on scales we cannot yet see with our eyes.
Office of Experiments - On 'being' in public and public art.
Office of Experiments is an arts research organisation that is attempting to examine contemporary issues of topography. That is, how in a globally connected world in which systems of exchange, digital media and the increased removal from our natural world do we also define our own sense of being in that world. Creating public art then becomes an issue that relates not to the specific geography of a place, but how we define that space through the spaces that it occupies in turn, from its presentation in media to its scientific and poetic representations. Interpreting this distributed sense of public space, we are attempting to address what it means in a political and personal sense 'to be in a public place', and how the layers of such experiences are controlled and communicated within the context of the cultural and social fabric.