A tour performance exploring the distance
between Fukushima and Tokyo
This was a staging of the “epilogue” text to Kein Licht, Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s text that deals with the Fukushima accident, performed as a “tour” of the Shinbashi area in central Tokyo. The Shimbashi area has played an important role in the history of Japanese nuclear power policy. The district is the location of the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company, while the start point for the tour, the New Shimbashi Building, opened in the same year as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Participants were given 12 postcards and a small radio at the New Shimbashi Building. On the front of the postcards were press photographs taken in the Fukushima evacuation zone, while on the back of the postcard were maps and directions guiding participants to a series of locations in the Shinbashi district.
Following the navigation, the participants encountered a series of spaces, including empty offices and rooms, a plaza in front of the Tokyo Electric Power Company headquarters, a vacant lot, a derelict site, and a rooftop. At each of the locations was a three-dimensional reconstruction of the press photograph on the respective postcard. At the sites the participants were also instructed to tune the radio to certain frequencies, where they could hear excerpts from Jelinek’s text. The voices were female school students from a drama club at a high school in Iwaki, Fukushima. Listening to these incongruous voices in the Shinbashi area, the participants were transformed into tourists and photojournalists, comparing the reality of Fukushima on the postcard with the makeshift “Fukushima” recreated in Tokyo. By visiting the strangely mismatched 12 Fukushima-in-Tokyo locations, the geographical distance between Fukushima and Tokyo was disarranged and investigated.
Kein Licht – Epilog?” was re-created for the Wiener Festwochen in 2013, including a tour to the so-called “world’s safest nuclear power plant”, the decommissioned Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant which was prevented from starting by a referendum.