News Article | April 16, 2016
TOKYO (Reuters) - A small eruption occurred at Mt. Aso in southern Japan on Saturday around 8:30 a.m. local time (2330 GMT Friday) following a strong earthquake in the area, with smoke rising about 100 meters (300 feet) high, public broadcaster NHK reported.
News Article | April 21, 2016
Seventy years after the Cold War, the threat of the Atomic Age is greater than ever. Nine countries have stockpiles of nuclear weapons thousands deep and more powerful than the atom bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945. Yet the horrors of nuclear warfare are no longer at the forefront of the public consciousness—a troubling amnesia that art has the power to change. In 1974, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) started collecting paintings and drawings from people who had lived through the atomic bombings and exhibited them the following year in Hiroshima. A few of these haunting drawings are shown in a new experimental documentary film, the bomb, an immersive multimedia depiction of the story of nuclear weapons. The film aims to do what the survivor artwork exhibition did in 1974: provide a new window through which to experience the horror of nuclear warfare, to make sure it’s not forgotten. The bomb, created by filmmaker Smriti Keshari and author Eric Schlosser, premieres Saturday April 23 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The film will be projected on floor-to-ceiling screens surrounding the audience in 360 degrees, while a live band plays the film’s soundtrack live in the center of the space. The idea is to break away from traditional linear viewing to put the audience “inside” the film, creating a more impactful, visceral way to experience the story of the nuclear bomb. There’s no voiceover and next to no conversation, a testament to the power of visuals to tell a story. The film uses archival footage, animations, and brilliant aesthetics to tell the story, but what struck me were the drawings made by atom bomb survivors shown about halfway through the documentary. The music stops, everything goes black, and a minute later the illustrations appear on the screen backdropped by silence. It’s chilling. The pieces shown in the film are part of a larger collection of survivor artwork kept at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan, which gave Motherboard permission to republish the selections below. Created by Haruo Ikegame. These are people who were escaping in the direction of Yoshijima Air Field on August 6. There was a long line of people fleeing, crying for water and thrusting their arms forward. On the side exposed to the flash, their clothes were tattered, their bodies burned red and festering, their skin peeled back and hanging in shreds. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Yoshiko Michitsuji. In the sea of fire. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Matsumuro Kazuo. She held her arms out in front to keep the burned, hanging skin off the ground. To prevent their red, exposed flesh from sticking, people thrust their arms in front of them like ghosts. Their skin, like the thin skin of potato, hung from the fingernails, where it was still attached. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Kichisuke Yoshimura. Artist's comments summarized: “Their clothes ripped to shreds, their skin hanging down. On the riverbank I saw figures that seemed to be from another world. Ghost-like, their hair falling over their faces, their clothes ripped to shreds, their skin hanging. A cluster of these injured persons was moving wordlessly toward the outskirts.” Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Akiko Takakura. Artist's comments quoted from a document: “Black, black rain. Huge drops. People with injuries and burns. The ones still living craned their faces to the sky and opened their mouths wide to catch the drops. Hot bodies, so very hot, like balls of fire－they wanted water.” Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. "Younger Brother Who Died while Vomiting Blood," created by Masato Yamashita. Atsumu Yamashita was exposed to the bomb while doing building demolition work in Dohashi. He returned to his home on August 20th. On around the 25th, he came down with a nosebleed, his hair fell out, and small red spots appeared all over his body. On the 31st, he died while vomiting blood. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Masato Yamashita. A girl had died in the Enkogawa riverbed with no one there to help her. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Onogi Akira. People wanting water gathered around the cisterns. I found them just as they were when they drank and died. My heart aches as I apply the red color. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Mitsuko Taguchi. Artist's comments summarized: "Carrying her child, she had probably been unable to outrun the flames. Her hair was standing on end. She still protected her child under her breast, like a living person. Her eyes were open wide. I cannot forget that shocking sight." Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Chisako Sasaki. Excerpt of artist comment: “I heard a very young girl shouting for help from a burning upstairs window. The memory still haunts me.” Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Masahiko Nakata. A cart driver and his horse died together on the approach to the bridge. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Kichisuke Yoshimura. Artist's explanation: “Covered with blood, trudging silently away like ghosts from the city, the injured looked like creatures from another world.” Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Kobashi Someharu. Fukuya Department Store, burning and burning. Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Created by Susumu Horikoshi. Approx. 30km from the hypocenter Kake-cho, Yamagata-gun. Susumu Horikoshi (then 6) saw the flash and heard a loud roar as if lighting had struck nearby. Soon, from the other side of the mountain, a mushroom cloud rose into the sky. As the cloud gradually swelled, it glinted a brilliant silver under the sun. The memory still haunts me.” Image courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. At the film’s premiere, artwork inspired by the threat of nuclear weapons will also be on display by contemporary artists. The images and artists' statements below also aim to spark a conversation and raise awareness about the reality of nuclear warfare today. The entire collection can be viewed at www.thebombnow.com. "KABOOM" by Carly Foulkes. "Kaboom" presents us with a composite that is at once both nostalgic and tragic. We are moved to look back upon a time often remembered wistfully—and thus, paradoxically—as the "Atomic Age," while coming face-to-face with the reality that such an image could very well loom on our own horizon. In so doing, Foulkes brings to question the conception of nuclear fallout as a relic belonging to a bygone era. The Atomic Age might have passed, but threat of nuclear weapons has not. "Wish You Were Here" by Victoria Seimer. Also known as Witchoria, Victoria Seimer is a graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. "I love you so" by Francesco Vullo. ''I love you so’’ tells the story of a needed love between a man and a weapon. A love worth thousands of lives. The artwork is a remake of the iconic picture (V-J Day in Times Square, by Alfred Eisenstaedt 1945) showing the other face of war: indifference. Taking a closer look at the depersonalization of the individuals in today’s society. The piece’s sense can be summarized by Dr. Strangelove’s claim: "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb." "Intelligence in the service of insanity" by Matthew Ryan Herget. It's my understanding that the path this Earth ultimately takes is going to be a reflection of our decisions and core beliefs. As a whole, the route we're taking is closing us off from one another and thus making everyone fearful of their neighbor. We now have the ability to rid our selves of the very host that takes care of us. The image metaphorically and symbolically represents kind of a mass undertone that we have chosen over the course of many years and that undertone is the will and ability to consistently figure out how to harm ourselves in the service of protecting one delusion after another. "People Falling" by Peter Wieben. The first nuclear bomb was tested in 1945. After witnessing the test, J. Robert Oppenheimer said he was reminded of the words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” In this scene, Krishna is speaking to Arjuna. He has just shown Arjuna a vision of Truth. All of the people of the world, past and future, are falling helplessly into Krishna’s mouth. The mouth is on fire, and as large as the sky. There are thousands of teeth, and everything the people know crashes into the teeth and is completely destroyed. I have drawn a small number of people out of what would have been billions. When Arjuna sees this vision he falls on the ground and he tells Krishna that while this vision was intended to teach him something, it has taken all of his courage, and all of his peace. "Melted" by Slime Sunday. Nukes will melt your head. "Control+Select All+ Delete" by Juan Pablo Fuentes. A nuclear eraser, made for people to see how easy it is to delete our short human history.
News Article | April 18, 2016
It’s not easy to catch the fashion world off guard. But when Zac Posen announced two years ago that he was signing on as the creative director of women’s wear at Brooks Brothers, one of America’s oldest retailers, he raised more than a few well-groomed eyebrows. Posen, after all, is renowned for his eponymous couture line’s red-carpet gowns, which are worn by the likes of Coco Rocha, Oprah Winfrey, and Caitlyn Jenner. Brooks Brothers, with its long history of dressing presidents and hedge-fund managers, embodies a more preppy—and decidedly conventional—aesthetic. A few months after Posen’s first collections began appearing in Brooks Brothers stores, the incongruous pairing appears to be working. Posen has given the classic retailer a critically well-received refresh, bringing a more playful sensibility and bolder tailoring to basic suits and classic dresses. Brooks Brothers, with more than 250 stores in the United States plus a presence in more than 45 other countries, has introduced the designer to a wider audience—and sparked new ways of thinking at Posen’s own House of Z, which includes his three clothing lines and multiple collaborations (see "Project Posen" for more). "It’s been inspirational, and I didn’t expect it," Posen says. It’s the latest creative risk for the 35-year-old designer, who was discovered at the age of 19 by the model Naomi Campbell. Fifteen years after launching his first line, Posen has weathered his share of fashion highs (winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America new talent award, dressing Michelle Obama) and lows (recession belt-tightening, critical backlash). After hitting a nadir in 2010, following a failed perfume launch, a disastrous Parisian show, and several high-level-executive departures at his company (including his mother, who served as CEO), Posen retrenched and started expanding his brand more strategically. That included signing on as a judge on Bravo’s popular reality-TV show Project Runway, a position he still holds, and launching ZAC Zac Posen, a lower-priced, trend-focused second line, as well as a bridal collection. Today, Posen and his roughly 60 employees work on everything from handbags to makeup. We talked with the designer about what he has learned as he has steadily rebuilt his brand and how he’s going to dress the robot-humans of the future. Over the years, you’ve had your share of ups and downs in your business. What have you gained from those experiences? Fashion and the creative process are humbling endeavors, especially if you go through rough times. But it makes you stronger—a clearer creator and businessperson. You have to work 10 times as hard when you are in a rough time. You can’t control those times necessarily; it’s not always about your relationship to the work. It can be about the weather. [Laughs] The global markets. There’s something to be said about trying to let go of the ego and say, "I am so lucky to be able to create and to work with such talented people every day." How did you learn about the business side of fashion? My mother first instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in me when I was a young boy selling lemonade on Spring Street. And my business partner, Ron Burkle [the billionaire investor], has been instrumental in my understanding of how business works. Some people might say it takes up [creative] space, but it actually allows me to be more creative. I have had to be as creative in business as I am with my hands late at night, draping and preparing a piece of clothing for my studio the next day. What was it like to take the creative helm of Brooks Brothers? Did you have to master a new design process? The rhythm at Brooks Brothers is very different [from my own lines]. It’s faster-paced and a lot of clothing, and I work on collections 18 months in advance [versus roughly six months]. That makes it even more important to design classics that are trendless. It’s kind of a new level of corporate creative maturity for me. How does channeling another brand and company affect you personally? Something unexpected happened. It actually helped us build out our brand in our own company [House of Z]. It got me looking at how I would do luxury classics. You can also see the influence in my reintroduction of day wear and my use of cotton and gabardine in my [Zac Posen] collections. I’m finding the elegance in the casual side of fashion, striking a balance between artistry and glamour—the gowns and the evening wear—and wardrobe staples that have integrity and quality. So working with Brooks Brothers has been rewarding from both a creative and business standpoint. That’s why it’s important to take on these challenges. Obviously, there have also been financial benefits. It was something that I wanted to take on in order to continue to carefully and strategically grow my own business—and gain immense exposure [for my designs] in windows and stores around the world. You’ve got a strong e-commerce presence for your own lines on your website. You even allow people to preorder items from runway collections. Are physical stores in your plans? Of course, retail is in our future. I’ve always dreamed of what our retail would look like. As a teenager, I spent hours sitting in the Manolo Blahnik store in New York and watching how sales are done. I love being on the sales floor. But one thing I’ve learned in over 15 years working in my own company is that you don’t have to rush. Not opening our own stores has been strategic. First, you’ve got to build partnerships with retailers worldwide. That takes time. I would never want to open a store for the pure sake of ego or for the sake of advertising purely. What is the store of the future going to look like? I’ve always been a believer in the tactile experience, especially in luxury. You have to see, feel, wear, touch, and almost taste clothing. For fiscal reasons, [physical stores] will become more of a novelty, but they will become very special again. If you look at where the fashion, apparel, and luxury industries are going, fashion and entertainment video content are merging. That means that it will become more seductive for brands to build out their channels online. What defines a fashion product will also evolve: It might not be a physical good; it might be virtual. About 10 years ago, my mother brought me the idea to start creating virtual products for Second Life [fashion for digital avatars]. It was such an intriguing concept. [Laughs] I thought, Wow. We’ve started to see brands tapping into that, [such as] Karl Lagerfeld through themes in his clothing. You know, in the last hundred years, people have evolved their bodies through exercise, augmentation, surgery. In the future, we will see humans partially morphing into technology and into robotics. And how will you dress these robotized humans? I don’t know! I don’t want to look at it with a 1950s robotic nostalgia. It’s a scary thought, but also very exciting. There are [already] great technologies that can help people who are in need. One day, people will design their own robotic armor or body parts. I watch a lot of NHK World Japanese TV—the science and tech programming. And it’s in Asia right now. This is happening. In this era of fast fashion, how do you distinguish a very talented dressmaker from a true designer? We are definitely living in a cut-and-paste age, but it is clear to see where there is originality and integrity. The customer is becoming more educated, and in the near future, we’re even going to be able to buy [couture] clothing directly from our TVs. The more you educate a customer, the more discerning they get, and the more they have to feel that there is a real creative voice inside that clothing. You’ve prioritized diversity in your runway shows. Why is that important to you? I’ve always dressed and celebrated women of all races, ages, and body types. Early on, I realized that I could deliver this message through the red carpet. But [doing it on the runway] is important to give the fashion world a kick in the ass. A version of this article appeared in the May 2016 issue of Fast Company magazine.
News Article | February 6, 2016
A volcano in Japan – one of the country’s most active – has erupted with a spectacular display, shooting ash a mile into the night sky and sending thick lava down its slopes. Sakurajima, situated in southern Japan and about 30 miles from a nuclear plant, violently erupted and spewed fountains of lava in the previous week. Despite what Japan’s Meteorological Agency called an “explosive eruption,” there has not been any report so far of damage and disrupted operations at the nearby power station, as well as any immediate report of injuries elsewhere. The agency said that Sakurajima erupted at around 7 p.m. local time, with public station NHK broadcasting the lightning and dark gray smoke emerging from the volcano into the dark sky. Authorities have banned entry to the area, with the current no-go zone expanded to a 1.2-mile radius around the volcanic crater. Volcanologist Kazuhiro Ishihara of Kyoto University predicted no serious impact from the explosion. “But of course we must keep monitoring the volcanic activity,” he told NHK. Sakurajima’s most recent major eruption was back in September. While dramatic – with red lava streams bursting from the mountain sides – this eruption is average compared to previous ones, added Ishihara. The Sendai nuclear power station, situated on the same island, resumed its operations in 2015 after a shutdown period following the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown. A spokesperson for Kyushu Electric Power, which runs the power station, said the eruption made no impact to their plant operations and that they are not implementing any special measure. Japan sits on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has over 100 active volcanoes on the archipelago. This section of the ocean is renowned for its string of volcanic belts and arcs, oceanic trenches, and plate movements. In September last year, Mount Aso in the island of Kyushu suddenly erupted and blasted black-and-white smoke over 6,500 feet in the sky. It has also had a number of minor eruptions the same year and in 2014, temporarily disrupting local tourism. The 2014 eruption of central Japan’s Mount Ontake, on the other hand, killed 57 individuals.
The country's number-two automaker said someone began hitting its sites on Tuesday evening. "We take any potential threat to our information systems seriously," Nissan said in a statement. "Because of a potential distributed denial of service attack, we are temporarily suspending service on our websites to prevent further risks." An activist claiming to be associated with loose hacking collective Anonymous posted a message on Twitter saying "Japan stop the killing now". The message was accompanied by pictures of a Nissan executive standing beside Abe, and images of what appeared to be dolphins being hunted, possibly by Japanese fishermen. The rest of the Twitter feed contains objections to whale hunting. Public broadcaster NHK said about 100 organisations across Japan were hit by cyber similar attacks in the last few months of 2015, including the official website of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan regularly comes under fire for the annual hunt dolphin slaughter in a small town, which attracted global attention after it was featured in the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary "The Cove". And in November, Tokyo sent a whaling fleet to the Antarctic for what it says is scientific research mission that will involve the killing of whales, despite a worldwide moratorium. The move, which came after a one-year hiatus, angered activists and governments opposed to the hunts, including Australia and New Zealand.