With the belief that art can help to vitalize communities, we planned a forum―initially titled Tottori de Hattari―using examples centered on Tottori in order to explore issues and possibilities with friends from throughout Japan. In light of the recent major earthquake, we struggled up until the last moment with whether or not to hold the forum, but with our only faint guide the instinct that it is precisely in times of trouble that art can provide us with bearings, we changed the theme and decided to proceed in order to think about what it is that we can and should do, then do it.
Now that the forum has ended, we have summarized two days’ worth of debate below. In the declaration at the end of the forum, we put into words our thoughts on what it is that art can do now in each place on the long road to recovery in affected areas, and our determination to do those things. The office of the arts nonprofit Link will put together a platform known as Arts Nonprofit Aid Platform (tentative name) to promote the revival of expression by artists in the disaster area and arts nonprofits.
Arts Nonprofit Forum in Tottori: Tottori de Hattari
Tottori de Battari ・ Sharing Knowledge for the Future
The unprecedented damage resulting from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that occurred off the coast of Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2011 has caused everyone gathered here great heartache. Though over a week has passed since the disaster occurred, there is little choice but to say that the seriousness of the situation at the disaster site has grown.
This disaster, in addition to affecting a large area, has also exposed the negative aspects of the nuclear energy policy pushed forth by the Japanese government. It is not an exaggeration to say that, despite having conducted highly cultural pursuits while co-existing with a variety of cultures and forms of life since the beginning of history, we saw before our very eyes the risk of the future being eliminated by the advanced civilization and economic activity we have produced with our own hands in the past 200 years.
It is in this context that we arts nonprofits gathered in Tottori, talked for two days about the themes of what we can do and what art nonprofits can do, and debated specific plans of action. The discussion included the live words of an art nonprofit that had experienced the Great Hanshin earthquake and felt powerless about its ability to effect change with a dance at the disaster site, the emptiness felt by a Tokyo-based artist at having to “voluntary restrict” opportunities for even a small amount of fun, and the guilt felt by a participant in a morning workshop who had gotten caught up in the fun and forgotten the earthquake.
The disaster is, of course, a reason to be sad. Arts nonprofits cannot merely give in to sadness though. In fact, during the Great Hanshin earthquake, we were able to return smiles to people’s faces with a dance at the disaster site by a butoh troupe covered in white makeup. Just by holding children’s games, an arts nonprofit skilled in workshop methods was able to create a firm awareness of life for those living the present moment.
We arts nonprofits assert that we will work to conduct a wealth of cultural activities in order to create a future filled with hope alongside those people who were affected by the disaster, based on the resources and expertise that each of us has, in anticipation of the relief and reconstruction that follow the emergency and rescue period in the disaster cycle.
We shall surely not forget this disaster, because we are the survivors of the many communities, cultures, objects and people who were suddenly taken away. As we express our deep condolences to the bereaved and those who were lost to the disaster, as well as our heartfelt sympathy for those who were affected by the disaster directly or indirectly, we promise the unyielding solidarity of the people gathered here.
March 20, 2011
Arts Nonprofit Forum in Tottori