It was a relief when, after the US election, I felt I could finally take down the massive “God Hates Trump” sign from Paul Chan’s New Proverbs series, which had loomed large over my dining table for a number of years. Sadly, Paul has had to add another sign to the series, which can be ordered from Printed Matter.
The tenth anniversary of the (ongoing) Fukushima catastrophe on March 11 will see the official launch of the book Don’t Follow the Wind, edited by Nikolaus Hirsch and Jason Waite in Sternberg’s Critical Spatial Practice Series. The volume documents the Don’t Follow the Wind exhibition project in the Fukushima exclusion zone, and collects a number of essays. My contribution, titled “Radio-Activity,” comes out of a trip to Fukushima last March, with members of the DFTW collective. This site visit and the encounters have informed my essay, and will continue to inform my practice.
I would argue that Don’t Follow the Wind is precisely about radioactivity—about not just the radioactivity of certain materials, but about the political economy of the nuclear-industrial complex that has unleashed them, and about the actual and potential praxis of displaced people, of communities and those mediating between them, of seemingly free agents and those bound to the earth. In terms favored by certain contemporary feminist theorists, we might say that Don’t Follow the Wind stays with the trouble and pursues and ethico-aesthetic practice of entanglement. This is radio-activity as posthuman sensuous activity in the wasteland of this world.