From Individual Sub-Politics to Cosmopolitics: A Case Study of an Anti-Nuclear Artist in Japan

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Shin OKAWACHI, Kobe University, Japan
This presentation aims at exanimating the building of cosmopolitics. B. Latour and I. Stengers interpreted the core of cosmopolitics as “common worlds”. When Latour descried the concept of “Gaia”, he considered ways to tackle the “disconnect” between global phenomena and individuals. In the same vein, cosmopolitics must assemble plural and diverse individual politics. The present research argues that this could be achieved using U. Beck’s concept of “sub-politics”, especially in an individual form. To examine collectives of individual sub-politics, this presentation focuses on “281_AntiNuke”, an anti-nuclear artist in Japan. 281_AntiNuke is active as graffiti artist in Shibuya and on SNS. He started his activity after 3.11 (Aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster). The message he wants to convey through his activity to Japanese citizens living in Japan is that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster never ends and how dreadful the Japanese government with its nuclear policy is. This presentation interprets his activity as a form of individual sub-politics stemming from techno-ecological risks. Interestingly, his activity has not only received attention within Japan, but also outside. This was made possible not only through the (global) extensibility of SNS, but also through the high translationability of his artworks serving as a medium that transcends cultural borders such as a language. This process, which involves a gap between the artist’s original intention and the actual result, could be understood as “cosmopolitization”. This presentation illustrates the relationship among the artist, the sites of his activities, his artworks, and the interpreters of his artworks using “visual turn” theory, which could be understood as a form of actor network theory that emphasizes visuality. In conclusion, this presentation suggests that visuality has the potential to bridge diverse sub-politics, which jointly compose cosmopolitics.