ChimPom

Profile

Chim↑Pom

Artist collective formed in 2005 in Tokyo with Ushiro Ryuta, Hayashi Yasutaka, Ellie, Okada Masataka,
Inaoka Motomu and Mizuno Toshinori and all in their twenties at the time. Responding instinctively to the “real” of their times, Chim↑Pom has continuously released works that fully intervene in contemporary
society with strong social messages. Using video as a primary discipline, their expressions freely cross over
a range of media from installation to performance. While based in Tokyo, they develop their activities
globally in exhibitions and projects in various countries. More recently,they have expanded their activities
further to include the direction of art magazines, and exhibition curation. Japanese-language publications
Naze Hiroshima No Sora Wo PIKA! To Saseteha Ikenainoka [Why Can’t We Make the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!”?](Tokyo: MUJIN-TO Production, 2009, co-edited with Abe Kenichi), Chim↑Pom (Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2010),  Geijutsu Jikkohan [Art as Action] (Tokyo: Asahi Press, 2012),and  [SUPER RAT] (Tokyo: Parco, 2012) are now available.

卯城竜太・林靖高・エリイ・岡田将孝・稲岡求・水野俊紀の当時20代の6名が、2005年に東京で結成したアーティ
スト集団。時代のリアルに反射神経で反応し、現代社会に全力で介入した強い社会的メッセージを持つ作品を次々
と発表。映像作品を中心に、インスタレーション、パフォーマンス など、メディアを自在に横断しながら表現して
いる。東京をベースに活動しながら、世界中の展覧会に参加、海外でもさまざまなプロジェクトを展開。近年はさ
らに活動の範囲を広げ、美術専門誌監修や展覧会キュレーションなども行う。著作に『 Chim↑Pom チンポム作
品集』(河出書房新社、2010年)、『なぜ広島の空をピカッとさせてはいけないのか』(阿部謙一との共編著、無人島
プロダクション、2009年)、『芸術実行犯』(朝日出版社、2012年)、『SUPER RAT』(パルコ出版社、2012年)がある。

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LEVEL 7 feat. Myth of Tomorrow




LEVEL 7 feat. Myth of Tomorrow

The huge mural "Myth of Tomorrow" by Taro Okamoto at the Shibuya station is a chronicle of nuclear exposure of Japan.

Witnessing the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or hydrogen bomb exposure of the Lucky Dragon 5, radiation has traveled through the 20th century and to the present day over centuries, from war to peace, together with the Safety myth of the nuclear power plant.

Myth of Tomorrow is completed in an unnatural form due to the shape of a hotel where the work was originally located.

In the mural, the Pacific ocean, with the Lucky Dragon 5 being exposed to nuclear ash, spans its horizon from under the central figure of a burning man to the lower bottom, where the horizon is interrupted with a blank space.

The margin as an ordinary wall had provided a propheric blank to the 21th century.

In 2011, reality updated this chronicle.

ChimPom added the figure of explosion at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant to the blank, as a figure “unexecuted” by Taro Okamoto himself and as reality of all the Japanese people living after Hiroshima.

"LEVEL 7" will always be together with "Myth of Tomorrow" forever. 
To see the work through its absence must require our imagination instead of eyes, just as to conceive of history or radiation.

We believe imagination is the very possibility for the ground zero, and the most fundamental power to create the future.  And we believe art exists as such.
Chim↑Pom 2011



Responding to the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, ChimPom carried out a guerrilla installation of a satirical drawing of the nuclear accident into a blank space of the mural "Myth of Tomorrow" at the Shibuya Station. With black smoke raising upward from the devastated nuclear plant buildings, the drawing on a chloride board emulated the touch of the original mural so that it appeared as if being a part of the mural. With a photo by passers-by uploaded to the internet, the anonymous act provoked controversies.  Later the act was released as a work of ChimPom at the solo exhibition "REAL TIMES" at Mujinto Production.



What can art do to the confronting situations? As an answer to the question, ChimPom updated the chronicle work of nuclear exposures of Japan without damaging it, invaded mass-media by taking advantage of dynamism of the internet, and exploited art to intervene the spectacle that governs fear and peace from the center. Manifesting the power to act as a guerrilla, the project deals with the social issue of the nuclear energy as well as poses questions on how expression and survival can liberate themselves in the midst of the highly developed control.



11 March. The Great East Japan Earthquake took place.
With the earthquake of Magnitude 9.0 that occurred at Ojika Bay in Miyagi prefecture, the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant reportedly lost its emergency core cooling system as well as its backup power generators.

12 March. The reactor 1 building at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant exploded.
14 March. The reactor 3 building at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant exploded.
Along with the following explosions at the plant, radioactive particles had spread over the east Japan. News like evacuation order to local residents, contamination of tapped water, food and mineral water sold-out, Japanese people escaping to the west Japan, or foreigners leaving Japan behind had raised fear and concern to the impending nuclear accident.

12 April. The evaluation of the accident at Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant was raised to the worst "Level 7."
About a month after the accident, with a variety of "measures" having revealed themselves powerless, the declaration of "LEVEL 7" vividly addressed that the situations had already entered into something unprecedented in the history. While the government’s "safety" declaration had gradually lowered its standard, powerless people at loss of what to do had been overwhelmed in the anxiety with no end in sight.

1 May. A strange story spread through Twitter.
Somebody discovered an image of the accident at the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant in the mural “Myth of Tomorrow” by Taro Okamoto in the Shibuya station, which is known as the chronicle of Japanese nuclear experiences.  The image spread over the internet showed black smoke rising from the plant building into the shape of skeletons, apparently attached to the edge of the mural by somebody. Many people expressed sympathy to the anonymous act on web media like Twitter, but the police responded by removing it in the night on the same day.



2 May. Mass media reported the story as "malicious mischief."
With a contrast of Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum's understanding and the Myth of Tomorrow preservation agency's disapproval, public media mostly discussed its illegality, while holding misunderstandings like "graffiti on the mural," without examining meanings or intentions as a work of art. Discussions on the web media also got accelerated along with the report on the public media, developing deeper inquiries beyond a simple argument of "crime or not." Also, police reportedly started investigation into the case on the suspicion of committing "minor crime and trespassing."

13 May. ChimPom uploaded its exhibition trailer to Youtube.
With a scene suggesting involvement to the incident at the Shibuya station, the video fueled controversies again, this time with accusation of "self-advertisement.

18 May. ChimPom made a press conference at their exhibition "REALTIMES" preview.
Giving the title to the event at the Shibuya station as their work "LEVEL 7 feat. Myth of Tomorrow", ChimPom acknowledged their involvement in it to the public. For a few days following it, popular newspapers and broadcasting companies had reported it as the act by ChimPom, all in negative tone. On the other hand, discussions on web media, through interviews and reviews, had activated discussions scrutinizing the act from both approval and critical views.

20 May. "REAL TIMES" opening.
The exhibition showed the original painting of the one set at the Shibuya station, videos shot at the observatory nearby the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant or collaborated with young locals, or a flower arrangement made out of decontaminated plants and debris collected in the affected areas. With positive reputation at Twitter, it recorded 3500 visitors in 5 days. Art world responded with both positive and negative reviews.

25 May. Exhibition closing.
Police visited the exhibition right after it closed, investigating the leader Ushiro to there on the street. On 10 June, in addition to Ushiro, Inaoka and Okada had investigation at the Shibuya police station due to their commitment to installing the drawing.

20 June. Exhibition toured to Oaska.
Exhibition was held through 27 June, on which police came over again to have investigation.

3 July. The case was sent to the court.
Following the report by Mainichi newspaper, newspaper and broadcasting companies reported that the case was sent to the court, still maintaining the same misunderstanding "graffiti on the mural" and unchanged negative tone. People continue to argue on the case on web media.



Reviews

26.07.2011 - Front Line - The Atomic Artists -"PBS"
07.07.2011 - Des artistes nippons se rebellent contre le Japon post-Fukushima by Julien Morello "Rue89"
01.06.2011 - Revolutionist of the contemporary art? "Shift"
23.05.2011 - Japan’s Banksy by Marco Werman "PRI's the world"
20.05.2011 - Magnitude 0 of LEVEL 7 by Oyama Enrico Isamu Letter "Real Tokyo"