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“bell” [2013]

MIHARA Soichiro



This work revolves around a core element of energy that humans—in this age of increased technological progress—are unable to perceive. Every time a Geiger-Müller (GM) tube, which is part of an electronic circuit installed inside a glass dome, detects environmental radiation, it makes a glass bell in the same glass dome ring like a wind chime.

The work’s bell motif was inspired by the common belief that wind chimes function as tools that can catch and remove negative energy. By their very nature, phenomena beyond human perception arouse in us feelings of anxiety, and in order to overcome that sense of fear, we have come to transform them (theoretically) into perceivable objects.

Radioactive rays were discovered in the late 19th century, and while facilitating nuclear physics, radiation has become so familiar a phenomenon that battery powered radiation measuring instruments are commonly available today. But even now that we know that it’s a form of energy that can be measured scientifically and quantitatively, compared to other forms of matter or energy, we still tend to approach its measurement with a certain degree of tension. The artist continues to discuss this strange feeling through the idea of “evils of the present time”* in his artistic work.

The centerpiece of this work is real-time sensing. The aim here is to grasp radiation as a theme that is continuously being addressed around the world, yet not on a level of mere metaphor or vestige, but based on actual measurements. Listening to the quiet sound of the bell that is audible in irregular intervals through the glass dome inspires visitors to think again about the way they face the outside world.

“bell” is the second in the “[blank] project” series the artist launched after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

* from “The Creation of New Paradigms for Engineering” (YOSHIKAWA Hiroyuki, The University of Tokyo, 1992)



List of Works