Film screening and reception at Jack Straw Cultural Center, Seattle, WA
Radiating Echoes - What Is Beautiful? is to seek the meaning of 'beautiful' and considering its true value in the material world in which we live.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit my home country of Japan, causing a massive tsunami that led to the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This tragic event made me shift my values as I witnessed how the people of Fukushima lost their loved ones and homes in the blink of an eye, but due to the lingering radiation, they won’t be able to return for many generations to come.
Through this project, I would like to further discuss the meaning of beauty, loss, and life.
We live in a world where we constantly make decisions and choices on an every-day basis. The value system that each of us develops and depends on to make decisions is largely influenced by our perceptions, one of them being visual.
Every day I come across controversial discussions on Black Lives Matter, White Privilege, Islamophobia, Classism, and others. Every day I experience visual information overload thrown at me through social networking.
In order to seek the true meaning of beauty and the value of our lives while we live in the material world, I would like to ask questions.
What is beautiful and why?
What is the impact made by visual perception on our lives and cultures?
Does the true value of beauty depend on visual perception?
Can one’s value system be unrelated to visual perception?
This led me to interview people who are blind and visually impaired, and I asked one question - What is beautiful to you?
February 2016: I conducted interviews with thirteen people who are students, staff, and teachers at Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington. They possess varying degrees of sight from blind to impaired vision. The series of interviews has been documented.
March 2016: Field recording and filming took place at Satsop nuclear plant in Elma, Washington, the same location where I filmed Echo at Satsop. This time, I played the recorded voices from the interview in the 12-feet in diameter x 1000-feet long tunnel that connects the reactor and the cooling tower underground. Echoed sound with extremely long decay has been documented.
April 2016: I completed a short film composed with the interview and the field recording in collaboration with Ian Lucero, cinematographer. The film was screened at Jack Straw Cultural Center on April 29th for approximately 80 people.
July 2016: Creating an audio description of the film.
September 2016: The film with the audio description will be screened at Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington.
Fall 2016 and beyond: Planning a screening in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver in Canada.
This project is supported by 4Culture and Jack Straw Cultural Center.
My special thanks goes to many who have supported and participated in this project, including:
• Washington State School for the Blind
• Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL)
• Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA)
• Satsop Business Park, Port of Grays Harbor