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Metal wind chimes shaped after fissures on houses in an earthquake-stricken village and palm lines of villagers


The lines on the palms of the elderly villagers in Echigo-Tsumari were striking. Imprinted with a lifetime of agricultural labour, they embody the years the old farmers went through with nature. While young people have migrated to the city for less physically demanding work, Tsunan Village was mostly populated by old people and a small number of children. The primary school there had a big campus. Once it must have been attended by many children. When I was there, only a few were on the roll of each class.

In 2008, the aging area was hit by an earthquake. It left houses with fissures here and there. Like lines on the elders’ palms, these cracks hold memories of the place. Wind Chimes is a conceptual superimposition of these eloquent lines. Over the period of one year, images of the lines on the villagers’ palms and those on the buildings were collected from 16 families. These lines were shaped into metal wind chimes. Like most old people who enjoy the company of visitors, the villagers talked to us enthusiastically, even though we did not speak the same language. After a long day of work, they drove us to hot springs nearby. Sometimes, the bath was shared by snow monkeys.


With the generous support of the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial, and C. C. Wu Cultural & Education Foundation, Annabella Li, James Lam and Alex Hui


2009 Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial, Niigata, Japan