Imagined Gates / 想像の門2020)

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「一本鳥居」は、第二次世界大戦中の1945年8月9日、米軍機ボックス・カー号により投下された原子爆弾「ファットマン」の爆心地から南東約900mの長崎市の高台にある。当時の長崎市内の人口24万人のうち7万4千人が死亡し、建物の36%が破壊されたこの出来事は人類史上行われた実戦行動として広島攻撃に続き2回目で、人類史上で最後の核攻撃になる(現時点においては、という但し書きがつく)。 もともとあった4つの鳥居のうち、この鳥居だけが半分の柱を残して今も不思議なバランスを保ち同じ場所に立つ。爆風で柱の上の笠石はずれ、柱の表面に刻まれていた神社への寄付者の名前は熱線で溶けて消えた。鳥居は、神社において神域と人間界の間に設けられた門/結界だ。本作は、時空間的に離れて断絶した過去の出来事との間に、想像の門をもうけて共接触する試みである。

長崎市の上空500mで、リーンと金属音を立て膨らむ小さな太陽が街をまるごとすり潰した直後、現場に入り記録撮影した写真家・林重夫の足取りを2020年の夏にトレースすることにした。自分と同じようにカメラを使い世界を見た人物を通して、出来事に接近できるかもしれないと期待した。彼とほぼ同じ行動範囲を歩き、同じアングルで撮り歩く。最後に一本鳥居を撮影しようと一眼レフのファインダーを覗くと、不自然に腰を曲げる体勢になった。そこで彼が真上からファインダーを覗き込む二眼レフカメラを使ったことに思い至る。

当時、鳥居越しには見渡す限り原子野がひろがった。現在は鳥居を取り囲むようにアパートがひしめき合い、かつての姿はケロイドのように覆い隠された。まるでお芝居のセットのように錯覚したが、鳥居の表面に写真と全く同じ焼け焦げを見つけて、これは同じ物だと理解する。忘却の波は容赦なく過去を確実に闇の中に葬り続ける。

私たちは誰しも何らかの厄災の潜在的な当事者であり続ける。メディアにうつし出される遠いどこかの被害者に自分がいつなるのかは分からない。自分の現実の上に、GoogleMapのように、もうひとつの現実のレイヤーをそっと重ねる。時を超え林さんの眼差しが震えて重なる。そうして失われた鳥居のもう半分が朧げながらも見えてきた。

"The Ippon Torii" is located on high ground in Nagasaki, approximately 900 metres southeast of the hypocentre of the atomic bomb Fat Man, dropped by the US Boxcar on 9 August 1945 during World War II. The event, which killed 74,000 of Nagasaki's population of 240,000 at the time and destroyed 36% of the city's buildings, was only the second real action in human history, after the Hiroshima attack, and the last nuclear attack in human history (for the present, with the proviso). Of the four original torii gates, only this one, with half of its pillars remaining, still stands in the same place, mysteriously balanced. The blast dislodged the shade stones on top of the pillars, and the names of the donors to the shrine engraved on the surface of the pillars were melted away by the heat rays. The torii is the gate/boundary between the Shinto realm and the human world at the shrine. This work is an attempt to establish an imaginary gate between the past events, which have been separated and disconnected in time and space, and to make contact with each other.

 

In the summer of 2020, I decided to trace the footsteps of photographer Shigeo Hayashi, who entered the scene and recorded and photographed the entire city of Nagasaki immediately after the small sun, which made a metallic leaning sound and swelled up 500 metres above the city, had smashed the entire city. He hoped that he might be able to approach the events through someone who, like himself, used a camera to see the world. I walked almost the same area of action as him and photographed it from the same angles. When I looked through the viewfinder of my SLR to take a last shot of the single torii gate, I found myself in an unnatural position of bending at the waist. This is when it occurred to him that he used a twin-lens reflex camera that looked through the viewfinder from directly above.

At that time, the atomic field stretched as far as the eye could see over the torii gate. Today, the gate is surrounded by a cluster of flats, covering up what was once there like a keloid. I was under the illusion that it was a set for a play, but when I found burn marks on the surface of the torii exactly the same as those on the photograph, I realised that this was the same thing. The waves of oblivion continue to mercilessly and reliably bury the past in darkness.

 

We are all potential victims of some kind of calamity. We never know when we will become a victim of the media's depiction of somewhere far away. Like a Google Map, another layer of reality is gently superimposed on top of our own reality. Over time, Hayashi's eyes tremble and overlap. In this way, the other half of the lost torii gate comes into view, albeit vaguely.