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Michaël Ferrier

The eye of the storm: Art in the Time of Fukushima

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Fukushima. Over the past decade, there have been numerous studies on the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe) in a wide variety of fields, ranging from risk analysis to the environmental consequences, as well as the socio-political implications and the effects on public health. However, its impact on the world of art, which was both rapid and disruptive, has so far not received the critical attention it deserves. Using the recent publication of the book Dans l'œil du désastre : créer avec Fukushima (The Eye of the Storm: Art in the Time of Fukushima, Paris, éditions Thierry Marchaisse, 2021), a voluminous collection of interviews and dialogues between Japanese and French artists, as a starting point, I will explore the consequences of the event called "Fukushima" on Japanese and French art and, in addition, the role of art in the new configuration of the Japanese society after “3/11”. Beyond the Japanese situation, while the Covid-19 pandemic is now leading to an extensive inflammation of bodies, minds and social fabrics, what are the lessons to be learned and the questions to be asked about the place, the role and the value of art in our increasingly catastrophic societies?  

Michaël Ferrier is a writer, professor at Chuo University (Tokyo) and director of the Groupe de recherches Figures de l’Étranger. He has authored numerous texts on art and literature, and has also penned several stories and novels, including Sympathie pour le Fantôme (2010), Mémoires d’outre-mer (2015), and François, portrait d’un absent (2018, Prix Décembre), all published by Gallimard. Since writing Fukushima, récit d’un désastre (Gallimard, 2012, Prix Édouard-Glissant), he has continued to reflect on this catastrophe and its cultural, political, and artistic implications. 

Sponsored by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and the Office of the Dean of Arts and sciences at Duke University.