“That Yasusada’s “false” presentation proved to disturb and scandalize a small corner of our culture at century’s end is, it seems to me, perfectly appropriate and precisely to the point of the work’s force and meaning. After all, is the matter of nuclear omnicide and everything it implies in terms of our collective psyche a tamed and settled matter?”

a brilliant interview with Kent Johnson conducted by John Bradley


the background here


quote: even, when there are signs in red-ink all over the window that say “what you see through this window is not real,” the viewer ignores the signs, and looks on uncritically, enthralled. So the question arises as to what it is the viewer is seduced by, drugged by, before coming to the looking-glass. It’s a serious question when it comes to the whole troubled issue of “witness,”


from the interview here

quote: imaginative treatments of Hiroshima or the Holocaust extend the work that only actual witnesses can begin. And it must be extended.”

And: if we circumscribe formal or presentational boundaries for its practice and expression, we effectively say that testimony and remembrance have a limit


AND: “For Motokiyu, again, the strongest and most sincere “reality” he could attain was through the creation of the most real human character he was able to imagine– one with rough edges, bad language habits, quirky sexual predilections, deep longings for his loved ones, unresolved feelings of anger, strange flights of ironic humor, instincts of compassion and generosity, embarrassing spells of confusion, stumblings into pettiness and egocentricity, unusual tastes for the foreign, etc.”

finally – not finally, the Yasusada is beautiful – : “Our collective, pornographic preparation for mass death can’t be explained without the undertow of Thanatos, always pulling at our toes and teasing, teasing us toward the ultimate snuff-flick our common body would star in, so to speak.”