'Along the Coast' is an installation about a visit to north-east Japan, 9 years after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident of 2011. The aim is to provide a record of the group’s trip, without erasing the particularities of the stories that often emerged in fits or narrative pauses. The installation is based on various documents that were gathered during the “Fukushima Walk” – photographs or series of photographs, clips from films, audio recordings – and texts written for the occasion. It is a medium that accentuates the detours, complicates the paths of approach and slows the traffic between the different worlds.
Last spring, the Call it Anything collective visited north-east Japan, the region affected by the triple disaster of 2011, for the third time from 19th to 26th April 2019. This time, the 9 members of the collective chose to focus on the coastline where the earthquake and tsunami occurred, wanting to consider the nuclear incident in a different light. By beginning their walk in Miyako, a small town some 250 kilometres north of the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi power plant, and continuing down to Tokyo, they wanted to grasp the various facets of what happened in a contiguous sequence, and experience the essence of what is happening today. In this respect, the seawalls being built all along the coastline became one of the trip’s main motifs, highlighting the series of both spatial and temporal discontinuities that now mark the entire area. Every encounter delineated a world in its own right, as though enclosed by the wall: the manager of a hotel that served as a refuge after the disaster; fishermen who went out to sea as the wave arrived; the curator of an art museum looking after a collection of “disaster artefacts”; exorcists, a sociologist studying the dreams of tsunami survivors; an amateur landscape gardener working to enable the living and the dead to communicate; the curator of an archaeology and folklore museum in a village in the exclusion zone; the priests of two temples, guardians of the head and tail of the catfish believed to be responsible for tidal waves. All of these people, with whatever they had witnessed, described what mattered to them and also what they wanted to commemorate and what they wanted to move towards today.
The members of the collective are: Marc Boissonnade, Elisabeth Claverie, Vinciane Despret, Patricia Falguières, Sophie Houdart, Gaspard Kuentz, Mélanie Pavy, Alexandre Schubnel, Stéphane Sautour.
Film director and editor: Philippe Rouy
Coproduced by F93 with the support of the Embassy of France in Belgium and the Institut Français.