first published on http://neural.it/2014/04/blank-project-an-experience-of-the-unfelt/ A changing sculpture of bubbles and a weirdly constructed bell catch the visitor’s eye when confronted with Soichiro Michara’s [Blank] project. The environment seems quiet, subtle and cryptic. But on closer inspection one realises that the components of the work, which are both physical and analogue, build two functioning systems that conceptually connect. Bubbles climb up on strings, which connect air pumps to tanks filled with soapy water, while sound is produced by a bell attached to a microchip and a tube. The work is an outcome of the artist’s two year occupation with a difficult issue: How to respond to the disaster at Fukushima, a tragedy that once again proved that nuclear power can not always be controlled? How could one tackle an issue that many still do not want to think about? And how can one perceive unseen and unfelt contemporary threats? It seems that Michara purposefully chose a system of bubbles in order to depict something which is artificially created, manipulated and up to a point controlled and he empowers it through a mechanism that is ambiguously functional as a detection or warning system. The wind-bell, a common symbol in Japanese tradition that protects people from evil spirits, is now recording radiation levels. What initially seems playful or non-important in this installation might prove to be real and harsh. It depends which side one prefers to see.
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