Shigeru Matsui b. 1975
Roadside Picnic (2013)
Roadside Picnic was initially presented as an eight-channel audio installation piece at AMC Sound Project 2012, at Tokyo University of the Arts. Shi-ni-gi-wa (poet and media scholar Matsui Shigeru and sound artist Nagashima Hiroyuki) composed the sound, with Matsui and Wenlin Ban reciting the poem written for the piece. Images were later added with the help of artist Kato Naoki. The title was taken from the Russian sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic written by the Strugatsky Brothers in 1971. The novel was then adapted by the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky and released as Stalker in 1979. The visual motif was taken from the film. The video piece traces the route from Tokyo to Fukushima, located in the region that suffered the direct impact of the earthquake on March 11, 2011 that left thousands dead or missing. The seismic event triggered an enormous tsunami that not only wiped away the entire coastal region of northwestern Japan but also crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant, prompting a large-scale, mandatory evacuation that is still in effect to this day. The piece homes in on the event but purposely keeps its distance. By mapping the passage between the immediate disaster area and the nation’s capital located only 300 miles away, the audiovisual tracking attempts to remind the viewers of Japan’s unwillingness to confront the situation more sincerely.

Shigeru Matsui in UbuWeb Sound