May 4th.  As this project is only just under way I don’t yet have much to report.  I am still drawing and working out the images for the kimono; work in progress.

May 2nd.  The basic over-sized yukata kimono is completed and ready for print, stitch and other embellishment.

April 23rd. Started work on ‘Fukushima’, here are a few thoughts on motivation and some notes on how I hope to proceed, and a gallery of some found images.  The actual garment is based on a Yukata kimono, style is very simple, based on rectangles of fabric.  I used, How To Make A Yukata web site for reference but as my piece is oversized the size ratios are what is useful.  (There are many kimono ‘patterns’ on the web, most seem of little use, and there is some variation in what constitutes a genuine design.)

(I can’t find an author for this cartoon)

With this project I am trying to meld some of the images which have traditionally been associated with Japan – in western eyes – with images originating with or resulting from the Fukushima disaster of 2011.  The Fukushima exclusion zone (radius 20 kilometres) is now being touted as suitable for 2020 Olympic events, an irony not lost on cartoonists.

A few facts about Fukushima:

  • 120,000 people are currently unable to return to the disaster zone,
  • 3 reactors are completely melted
  • radiation levels inside these reactors would kill a person in seconds
  • radiation levels in reactor 2 destroy robots (reactor 2 is the least radioactive)
  • suggested time for ‘decontamination’ now 40 years
  • suggested cost of ‘clean up’ now $189 billion, and rising

Tourism has long been pushed (and desired) as a solution to many supposed issues, such as:

  • breaking down national barriers
  • increasing international understanding
  • promoting trade
  • stimulating commerce in the tourist area
  • stimulating travel provider companies
  • encouraging economic growth

All the above are assumed – in the received wisdom of our age – to be good things, therefore tourism must be a good thing.

Negative effects of tourism might include:

  • damage to the tourist receiving environment
  • damage to the general environment
  • destruction of wildernesses
  • damage to unique eco-systems

Whilst it is fairly easy to find media articles about the above, the newspapers and commercial TV channels depend heavily on advertising for tourism, as a glance at the weekend papers will confirm. Travel supplements and their associated ads have long been a staple of the press.  Critical articles are couched in relativistic terms, the ads continue (as for cars, plastic et al, even amidst endless hand wringing about the environmental effects of these things). Consumerism rules.

Fukushima is a disaster entirely of human making, even the tsunami was predictable in a region notorious for earthquakes.  Tourism overall may or may not be destructive, I am not attempting to judge this, but the effects of an unrestrained consumerist world, devoted to the goal of profit at the expense of all else may be seen everywhere.

Starting with a set of found images, especially relating to textures in and around Fukushima, I intend to create a ‘garment’ which reflects the western view of Japan, the touristic view, and the received current situation regarding Fukushima.

April 222nd.  T-shirt, ‘Welcome to South Gloucestershire’, is finished,  to be worn to Bower Ashton later this week.  I don’t have much to say about this t-shirt, hopefully it will engender some comments.  Many parts of the western industrial hegemony now look like much of South Glos, the corporate logos, nursery colours and the nipple of consumerist obsession are all on full view here as elsewhere.

February 2017.   Started collecting images for this project, a little sketching also.



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