One of the works made in the last few months marks my first foray into traditional Japanese kitemaking with some improvisation and modification. This work was made for the Codified II show, a show of art made in response to the field of genetics. This piece focuses on concerns surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and is shown with some really lovely work at the UF Genetics Complex until January 22nd.
The statement that accompanies the piece explains further:
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of Japan in March of 2011 had a staggering impact on the air, land, and people of the area. In the weeks after the initial impact the world beyond staggered with it. Today, drones are sent to areas too toxic for humans to visit in order measure radiation levels and mutations of flora and fauna of the the area are monitored. One such bioindicator is the pale blue grass butterfly (Zizeeria maha) which has been studied for over a decade and was considered a bioindicator candidate for environmental shifts even before the disaster. A study* published August of 2012 indicated the younger generations of this species are showing increased mutations of eyes, antennae, legs, as well as wings formations and patterns. One of the specimens is depicted on a Japanese cultural icon, an Edo style kite. The multitude of lines that tether the kite to land fittingly references the matrix of capillary tubes in capillary electrophorosis analysis, a process used in sequencing DNA. The white painting of the malformed butterfly is best seen as a dark shadow when flown in the sky as the sun illuminates it from behind. As with the image, the long term effects of radiation can be seen best when scientific study shines a light to examine it.
*Hiyama, A. et al. The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the pale grass blue butterfly. Sci. Rep. 2, 570 (2012).
Here's an article from BBC newshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
There are more process shots to be found here.
A special thank you to the UF School of Art + Art Historyand the UF Genetics Institute for funding the creation of the work. To Tom Hart at SAW for the use of the light table. To Ohye Makoto, dean jordan, Melanie Walker, and the helpful tweeter at Hiromi Paper, Inc. for technical advice and encouragement. To Tommy Akin, string wrangler. Not to forget the multitude of kiters and kite resources including, but not limited to, Mikio Toki's edo site and Drachen Foundation. I'm so grateful to generosity of the community around me. When faced with such an awful event, it's you all who make me hopeful that we can figure out how to protect each other better