“from the future” was produced from 2011 to 2012. EUGENE KANGAWA began this work by finding a man from overseas with no prior knowledge of the series of events in Fukushima. He proceeded to travel with this man to the affected area. Whilst in Fukushima, KANGAWA provided the man with a camera and laptop and then asked him to write a story and to imagine a chain of events that could have possibly caused the surrounding destruction, and to then take pictures to corroborate said story.
KANGAWA was struck by a particularly moving sentiment in the stranger’s imaginary story. While traveling through Fukushima the stranger was reminded of scenes from his homeland and remarked “This place resembles Phnom Penh after the Khmer Rouge”. Afterwards, he decided to travel to Phnom Penh in order to capture images first hand of the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge, and return to Fukushima, this time alone, to retrace his steps. This footage is a collage of the two places which are fundamentally extraneous. Led by coincidence, this piece was created as if KANGAWA reconstructs the imaginary story woven by the traveller.
The artist saw a similarity between the stranger’s experience of traveling to a place rich in history of which he had no prior knowledge of and that of rediscovering an abandoned city. The artist imagined going far into the future and exploring the long since forgotten world of today. It was this sentiment which gave the work its title: “from the future.”
The movie footage, so serene that it is like a still photo, is combined with an imaginary story in broken English. This creates beautifully aesthetic imagery, devoid of the politically charged context from which it originally underlie with the place.
While some of the original nuances of the stranger’s story may have been lost through a lack of linguistic prowess, the imprecise nature of the text takes on new meaning. The typos and grammatical errors inversely reflect the problematic aspects of the landscapes: visibility and invisibility; discontinuity and communication; information and image.
The video technique used resembles structuralist film theory, which was popular in 1970s and in the late 1990s. The work seemingly gives the viewers an impression of “the scenery as a record” (a depiction of it’s true nature), like a documentary or an archive; however it is an extremely unique documentary of “the world realized through imagination”, which the artist himself beautifully reproduced.
In 2014, “from the future” (2011-12) and another of EUGENE’s pieces – “After the War” (2011-) were combined. This was then fused with some pieces of music by legendary modern musician Terry Riley who empathized with both artworks.
※This work is a combination of footage taken while visiting Fukushima and Phnom Penh. Accordingly to the stranger’s story, fragments from both trips are alternately spliced together into a final collation.
※While traveling around Fukushima and appreciating the vast expansiveness of the land, the artist was struck by the realization that where there is extensive landmass one could, in theory, travel endlessly in any direction.