Reischauer Institute: “Ah humanity!” Roundtable Discussion


Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 6:00pm to 7:00pm


Belfer Case Study Room (S020), Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge St., Harvard University

Reception and installation viewing to follow

“Ah humanity!” is a large-scale audio-video installation on view from April 10 (Sunday) – April 16 (Saturday) from 8:00-10:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts the installation will feature a single channel of video projected onto the façade of the Harvard Science Center and four channels of sound projected into the Plaza.

 Taking the 3/11/11 disaster of Fukushima as its point of departure, “Ah humanity!” evokes an apocalyptic vision of modernity, and our predilection for historical amnesia and futuristic flights of fancy. The images were shot on a telephone through a handheld telescope, at once close to and far from its subject, while the audio composition combines empty excerpts from Japanese genbaku (atomic bomb) and related film soundtracks, recordings from seismic laboratories, and location sound. “Ah humanity!” reflects on the fragility and folly of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene.

 Roundtable Panelists:

YUKIO LIPPIT, Professor of History of Art and Architecture & Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

KAREN L. THORNBER, Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

REIKO YAMADA, Composer and Sound Artist & Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University

 Commentary by Artists: 

-        ERNST KAREL, Lecturer on Anthropology, Manager of the Sensory Ethnography Lab, and Assistant Director, Film Study Center at Harvard 

-        VÉRÉNA PARAVEL, Anthropologist and Filmmaker, Sensory Ethnography Lab 

-        LUCIEN CASTAING-TAYLOR, Professor of Visual Arts and Anthropology, Harvard University

Moderated by:   THEODORE C. BESTOR, Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology and Director, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University

 The Roundtable Discussion will be followed by a reception after which guests are invited to experience the installation on the Science Center Plaza.

 Sponsored by the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Harvard University Committee on the Arts with the support of Digital Arts and Humanities (DARTH) at Harvard, and the Harvard University Asia Center. More information please contact or (617) 495-3220