Su Grierson – Corresponding from Fukushima Province, Japan

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Japanese do seem to be obsessed by food  endlessly photographing  their meals and we have been  asked to take photos of what we  eat in our Northern countries. This is my Fruitarian Christmas  pudding awash with Brandy. I think the Kitakata speciality is noodles!"Japanese do seem to be obsessed by food endlessly photographing their meals and we have been asked to take photos of what we eat in our Northern countries. This is my Fruitarian Christmas pudding awash with Brandy. I think the Kitakata speciality is noodles!” (Photo with permission Su Grierson)

Su Grierson has kindly agreed to send ecoartscotland regular updates during her 10 week residency in Kitakata, Fukushima Province, Japan.  She is circulating this introduction.

I am now trying to get myself organised to go to Japan next Thursday. I am doing a 10 week residency based at Kitakata in Fukushima province. It is quite a way from the devastated coastal area but I am told we will be working there and with some of the displaced survivors. The project is funded by the Japan Foundation but I think the actual programme will be worked out when we get there. It seems we will also be working with the beautiful Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art.  I will be working with 2 Norwegians, a sculptor and an architect and one Japanese artist with the overall theme of ‘Spirit of North’.

Making work for an exhibition seems to be the main thing but I have a feeling that the very generous funders might have their own expectations which we will find out about later! Watch this space – well you can literally follow my trip by signing up here to Chris Fremantle’s ecoartscotland network. He has offered to put out occasional reports from me which you will be able to find here or if you join up then they will come directly to your email address.

I think this project is part of a wider plan trying to restore normal life and spirit generally in this area and also to get a different picture of Fukushima out to the wider world. I am well aware of some of the more negative recent press, and of course that name Fukushima will always be synonymous with Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear meltdown, but I will hopefully try and find out for myself just what the situation is now.

It has just started snowing in Kitakata so its a question of how many thermals I can get in my case, but at least they make good packing for cameras, laptops and all the other paraphernalia I can’t manage without.

As part of my Survey exhibition and book at Horsecross in Perth next summer (Opening with Sunday Brunch on June 30th – all invited!) I have been commissioned to make a new work for the 22 screen Wave at Perth Concert Hall and I’m hoping to use that as a way of linking Fukushima and Perth.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Apocalyptica: No Blade of Grass

If, like me, you are the sort of person who would run a mile rather than listen to Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, take courage and think again. This week the programme is dramatising John Christopher’s classic science-fiction thriller No Blade of Grass. (It’s kind of John Wyndham on steroids: it also became a fairly dire movie). In it, an unknown virus wipes out all the west’s staple crops, leaving Britain starving. The country quickly descends into murderous anarchy.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why the apocalyptic meme is so strong right now. It’s there in art, clearly, in movies and in BBC remakes like this and Survivors. Interestingly, just to underline the fact that the long cultural history of apocalyptic visions is not unrelated to our current environmental predicament, there’s a new edition of the book being published, with an introduction from cultural historian and ecologist Robert MacFarlane.

Listen to the drama – this week only – on BBC’s Listen Again here.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology Blog