010-033 HIDEAKI UCHIYAMA / INNOCENCE
[First memories / Photographic memories of childhood, however you may deny or feel nostalgic for it, will live as part of the core of one’s expression. We forget that every child has an incredible imaginative energy hidden inside. When I hear the word ‘Underground’, I somehow always remember the well that used to be in my garden as a child; it’s now closed up. I would constantly look inside and my mother would yell at me saying ‘your soul will be sucked in!’ There was always a chilly dim light, clouds would pass by through the surface of water. The mirror-like surface would change and create little rings whenever the fish we let in passed by.
Where does this world lead to? This unknown universe created only a vague and sweet illusion, which left something in me as a boy. Whenever I came back to reality after watching this frightening yet nostalgic hole in the well, I always felt a sweet emptiness, pushed away from the real world. This was the gift this deep cave called a well had given me. Even now, I feel like I want to stand still in this emptiness.
During my boyhood, night seemed like a vast, deep world, yet its darkness embraced me with a motherly softness and sweetness; on clear nights a myriad of shining stars could be seen from anywhere in the town. And yet, I knew that once this soft veil was taken away, there lay beyond it a deep chasm of death, opening its mouth wide and dark. In those days, the world seemed replete with a mixture of tenderness and fear. Along with my sexual awakening, the awareness of death crept silently into my susceptible adolescent heart, like a story that would never end. The night became pitch black to me...
CIVILISATION / Undergrounds have a womb-like space. The underground world positions itself as an essential and critical part of civilisation. As living becomes more convenient and people’s desires enlarge, and as information turns more global, the crisis of this civilisation becomes evident. The underground is a miniature model of modern civilisation itself. Going underground reveals many segments of things we can’t see above ground.
Tours of ancient ruins have always been very popular, but today there is also a growing secret trend of going to the world of big underground ‘shrines’, like the concrete water tank near Tokyo. These futuristic underground lifelines, which look like massive ruins, have become a place for people to gather over the last 8 years.
To prepare for the food crisis in the near future, which may come along with the increase of population, there is a vegetable farm that thrives underground, working with mostly LED lights. It is quite symbolic of the future we face, where they grow with no influence of radiation; are able to harvest throughout the year with no need of sunlight…
and then there are radioactivity labs and experimental facilities of nuclear fusions existing in the underground world. In the underground labs, many animals are being tested with artificial transplants in order to develop artificial organs. The image that is used as the cover on my third book is of an experiment with a goat and an artificial heart, done at the underground lab of Tokyo University. The artificial heart attached to the goat is connected with countless tubes. This almost reflects how the life of the city is supported by lifeline utilities underground.
Shooting these sci-fi-like facilities, where technology is put together, I realised that this is what moves the world above ground— that this is actually a crisis of civilisation that one might be better off seeing. Whatever is hidden and sealed in modern society reflects the unconsciousness tucked in one’s heart. The glaring, limitless desire of men has always been immeasurable, yet perhaps we are leading the lives of the replicants in Blade Runner. ...]
/ excerpt from a text based on an interview with HIDEAKI UCHIYAMA by MONIKA BIELSKYTE, Translated from Japanese by Sheena Miyake. ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLY IN THE PRINTED EDITION OF SOME/THINGS MAGAZINE CHAPTER006 / THE DARK LABYRINTH