Don't Follow the Wind
A Walk in Fukushima

Installing the exhibition on site in the Fukushima exclusion zone (detail), courtesy of Don’t Follow the Wind.


Apr 16, 2017
Public Program
Don't Follow the Wind: A Walk in Fukushima
Public Program

Don't Follow the Wind
A Walk in Fukushima

Don't Follow the Wind
Curated by Laurel Ptak

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Free and open to the public

Art in General presents an intimate public program with numerous artists and curators from the internationally-acclaimed collaborative project about the radioactive Fukushima exclusion zone, Don’t Follow the Wind. Co-developed and curated by the Don’t Follow the Wind collective. Composed of Chim↑Pom (initiators), Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, and Jason Waite, Don’t Follow the Wind explores the notions of an invisible exhibition and keeping human presence alive in the most contaminated and abandoned of places. The program includes an ongoing screening of the 360° video A Walk in Fukushima as well as an informal reception with some of the artists and curators.

Don’t Follow the Wind is an inaccessible exhibition inside of the restricted Fukushima exclusion zone, a radioactive evacuated area surrounding the Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. The zone was established in the wake of the 2011 disaster that contaminated the area, separating residents from their homes, land, and community. The name of the project was inspired by Fukushima residents who, when evacuating, stopped to check the direction of the wind and then drove away from the plume of radiation spreading from the power plant. New commissions by artists Ai Weiwei, Meiro Koizumi, Trevor Paglen, Kota Takeuchi, Ahmet Ögüt, Taryn Simon, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Aiko Miyanaga, Nobuaki Takekawa, Nikolaus Hirsch, and Chim↑Pom are installed at sites around Fukushima lent by former residents, including a farm, a private home, a recreation center, and a warehouse. As the exclusion zone remains inaccessible to the public, the exhibition is ongoing but largely invisible—a condition akin to radiation itself—only to be viewed in the future, if and when it becomes safe once again for the residents to return. The exhibition opened on March 11, 2015, but there is no clear timeline for public access to the sites, which could take several years, decades, or a duration that stretches beyond our lifetime.

While the exhibition remains inaccessible, the organizers have developed an immersive film, A Walk in Fukushima, that documents the nuclear plant and project sites. A Walk in Fukushima will be screened at Art in General via unique sculptural headsets made in collaboration with three generations of a family dealing with contamination who live just outside the exclusion zone. The project is co-developed and curated by the Don’t Follow the Wind collective, composed of Chim↑Pom (initiators), Kenji Kubota, Eva and Franco Mattes, and Jason Waite.

This program is part of What Now? 2017, Art in General’s expanded symposium including exhibitions, public events, workshops, and artist interventions. This season-long program explores the politics related to geographic boundaries and the histories, possession, and accessibility of land. The event at AiG is presented in conjunction with Don’t Follow The Wind’s three-day camp at Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery.

Art in General would like to extend special thanks to the key funders of What Now? 2017; the Institute of Museum and Library Services (MA-10-14-0304-14) and the Trust for Mutual Understanding for their generous support of this initiative. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Art in General was founded in 1981 and supports the production of new work by local and international artists primarily through its New Commissions Program and its International Collaborations program. Art in General also produces an annual symposium What Now? on critical and timely issues in artistic and curatorial practice.

General Support of Art in General is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; Ruth Ivor Foundation; and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation. Support has also been provided by: Commissioners’ Circle leaders Elaine Goldman, Richard Massey, Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters John and Andrea Nylund and David Solo; and Commissioners’ Circle members Nader Ansary, Rob Colangelo, Don Erenberg, Taymour Grahne, Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Eric Nylund, Leslie Ruff, Steve Shane, and Diana Wege.