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Artist Statement:

My main concern is to document the issues of modern human identity and the sense of well-being, from a psychological perspective.


As the result of progress of social rationality, especially in Japan, human relations have been getting diluted to the point that we can live everyday without a single conversation with a real human. Isolation within families is caused by population concentration in big cities. Communication technology devices such as AI and Humanoids spreads, and they started to affect human mentality and emotions directly.


These trends make me concerned that someday in the future, we will lose the purpose of living as humans and face a collective identity crisis. This is happening right now in Japan, and it seems like the rest of the world is following.


Since I was a child, I've only had a faint sense of being alive. There's a huge gap between my consciousness and emotions. As long as I can remember, I've felt that mine is just a replaceable, empty existence. This made me believe in the theory of human machine, and made me study psychology during my time in university. There, I researched how human emotion and existence are uncertain, and how they can be replaced by a robotic program. However, as I’ve continued my research, I gradually found that the concept of ‘heart’ cannot be explained by science, and I got absorbed by its irrational dynamics. I started to have hope that, maybe, I could isolate a definite human quality, something that makes humans human, and that could never be replicated by a machine.


To find this essence, I keep photographing, because it's a process similar to the study of psychology: fragmentizing reality in to small pieces and reconstructing them through logic. Both kinds of work are about making an induction from a visible phenomenon (=action), and putting together a bigger picture of the invisible concept (=heart). When I think this way, I can think deeper. Besides, since photography is fact- based and accidental, it reduces over simplification and bias.


More than that, photography makes me feel alive. When I carry a camera to the fields, facing subjects and photographing them, I feel small pains. It re-connects me to the world, just like a wrist cut.













                                                                                                                                                                                                   2017.3.22  苅部 太郎

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