Yukiyo Kawano opens Suspended Moment: Activating the Nuclear Past + Present, tonight, with a butoh performace.
Her installation includes about half scale models of the Little Boy and Fat Man atomic bombs, kanji caligraphy on paper lanterns from the Seattle Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial ceremony, and fragments of her grandmother's komono sewn together with the artist's hair.
It is personal; she is the third generation of her family present at, and surviving, the bombing, a hibakusha.
There is no American cultural equvalent.
There will be a butoh performance by Meshi Chavez, the artist and poet Allison Cobb with music by Lisa DeGrace. Poet Cobb grew up in Los Alamos, design center for the first, and only used, thankfully, nuclear bombs. Some early, and many subsequent, butoh performers were influenced by the history of the bombings which were about 19 years before the first butoh. Butoh artist Isamu Ohsuka, founder of Byakko-sha, is also hibakusha, in his mother's womb.
Yukiyo Kawano's artist website and the show announcement have more eloquent explorations.
The Fat Man bomb sculpture is covered in fabric inscribed with poetry from the great master Basho recording travels across the country by foot in his own journey to the North in 1689. That route, passing near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is still traveled by pilgrims.
The artists are planning to present their installation and performance at Hanford, Los Alamos, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, 1945 nuclear bomb sites, and in the Fukushima power plant area. The artist website has those details.
The show is brief, until November 30, with limited hours. It is timely, with the president elect proposing proliferation of nuclear weapons of total war.
At the PSU Littman and White Galleries in Smith Union. www.pdx.edu/littmanandwhite PSU Smith Hall, Room 250, 1825 SW Broadway
Opening 6PM-8, performance 6:20, discussion 6:45PM-7. Free