Mireille van der Moga

The series Nuclear Nippon by photographer Mireille Moga came out of a fascination and bewilderment with the nuclear history of Japan. At the time of its making in 2017 it had been six years since the still ongoing Fukushima disaster and 72 years since the dropping of the bombs. Mireille could not understand how after being traumatized by nuclear warfare, twice over, a country that has a long and documented history with earthquakes, tsunamis and their ensuing floods, could consciously select to ring their coastline with nuclear power plants. Even to the casual observer, it should have been clear that a catastrophe was just a matter of time.

After the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, a policy of silence, denial and downplaying of the effects on human and environmental health were, and still are, the order of the day. Even just recently, the Japanese government announced plans to release over 1 million tons of highly radioactive water from the power plant into the Pacific Ocean. The series was shot through an antique piece of Omeshi silk, a textile traditionally used to make Kimonos worn by those at the imperial court. The fabric, like the decision making that created the conditions for these events to transpire, renders the world in the same dense fog and makes visible the invisible consequences of man-made catastrophes and an afterlife in their shadow. In light of all the current catastrophes bubbling under the surface, it may be a good time to ask ourselves what kind of an afterlife we are creating.

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