Tokyo Hippocampus :

Disappearing episodic buildings in Tokyo

            Chuo-Ku, a Central Ward in Tokyo has become more recently a prime real estate development near the waterfront. Tsukiji’s historical architecture is included on the 2016 World Monuments Watch for preservation-minded planning, but the majority of its buildings remain without legal protection. Countless deteriorated and abandoned structures have been demolished over past decade and in central Tokyo, many more are in the process of being dismantled.  A sign on these buildings announced: KAITAI KEIKAKU, NOTICE OF CONSTRUCTION PLAN, impending demolition.

The word Kaitai, reminded me of the severely damaged houses in Miyako City which I documented after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake. Large numbers of severely damaged houses by the massive tsunami had a sign with red spray paint stamped; “KAITAI OK” dismantling ok.  The image of the word is engraved in my mind


Photographing these episodic structures that are disappearing, I experienced a peculiar sensation of aesthetic suspension in moments of time, as if I were living within a motionless, permanently frozen moment like those encapsulated in film. Editing in my studio, I removed red and blue tones to create a visual landscape that was as neutral as possible. I blended this with gray then re-introduced red, green, yellow, and blue on man made materials. Juxtaposed in my images, the modern, luxury apartments and decayed, ghostly buildings created a space where time freezes and evanesces, and permanence disappears. For a moment, the images seem apprehensible, creating a mystery place that has timeless healing sensation, until it fades away.

© 2018 miho suzuki