Vulnerable Histories (A Road Movie)
In view of the worldwide rise of nationalism, populism, and xenophobia, the artistic social studies of Koki Tanaka (b. Tochigi, Japan, 1975) focus on how we live together in societies. Realized especially for his exhibition at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, the project Vulnerable Histories (A Road Movie) (2018) highlights an example from Tanaka’s native country, the mutual incomprehension and mistrust between Zainichi Koreans and ethnic Japanese, to plead for vigilance toward racism and discrimination. The project centers on a series of conversations in various settings between two protagonists who have not met before. Shadowed by the artist and his camera team, they travel to various locations in Tokyo to grapple with questions of (their own cultural) identity and how to take a stand against the simplistic worldviews of racist groups. The films that grew out of the project illustrate that coexistence and mutual appreciation are possible if we talk to each other: private as well as public conversations are key. The exhibition provides a framework for continuing the exchange of ideas Tanaka initiates. Visitors are encouraged to approach the “live speakers” who will be present in the gallery for the entire duration of the presentation. Various representatives of the art and academic worlds will join them to foster further discussion in a variety of formats.
With support from Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)