The Classroom Divided by a Red Line

film installation

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster which followed the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami provoked fear of invisible radiation, and discrimination against people displaced from Fukushima. To express these discriminatory sentiments and structures, this work iterates and adopts the workshop “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” conducted by teacher Jane Elliot shortly after the April 1968 assassination of US civil rights movement leader, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. A group of elementary school students from Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture, which neighbours Fukushima Prefecture, are separated by someone in the role of a teacher not by their race but by whether they live within the “red line” (zone) or not, creating a structure of irrational discrimination. The director and camera operators filming this situation, as well as the audience viewing the work, further become “bystanders,” party to the creation of structural discrimination.