f art is the most honest barometer of technology’s effect on the human condition, Takashi Murakami’s latest works uncover a Japan still quietly reeling from 2011’s Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and struggling with the ever-present specter of the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima.
But aside from cultural imperatives, Murakami’s new tech-themed work was largely powered by his adoption of tablets.
But underneath all the tech-powered, sci-fi imagery, Murakami’s work signals the very real angst of post-Fukushima Japan, which, despite its absence from western headlines, remains the No. 1 topic in the third richest nation on the planet.
“When I was in my 20s I was participating in the anti-nuclear movement,” says Murakami. “Now, with the Fukushima disaster, Tokyo and the surrounding areas where I live are also contaminated with radiation. The level of radiation [initially emitted from the Fukushima disaster] is more than the levels in Chernobyl, but the government will deny things. Of course, people can’t really go anywhere so they’re in denial and they continue to live in Tokyo… Maybe if I were younger I would try to change things, but now I’m resigned to just record and report.”