“Equal parts performance documentation and otherworldly cinematic experience the mesmerizing video Echo at Satsop by Etsuko Ichikawa reveals the dramatic potential of a simple gesture made in an extraordinary setting. I was not only struck by the professional and creative cinematography, but also by the powerful soundtrack. Nearly every shot would make a compelling still image; the meditative sound could also stand alone. Both contribute to a sense that this clearly real place could be on earth or elsewhere — in the past, present, or far-off future.” — Al Miner, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
"The work that most stood out to me in this group of submissions was Etsuko Ichikawa's video Echo at Satsop. With the decommissioned Satsop nuclear facility as a powerful stage set and protagonist, Ichikawa creates stunning visuals that evoke a haunting mix of fear and poetry." — Irene Hofmann, Director and Chief Curator, SITE Santa Fe
In response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster that occurred in my home country of Japan in 2011, I launched this project in the summer of 2012 and it is becoming my lifework. I have created a short film, sound work, pod-cast interview, 2D & 3D artworks, and multi-media installations, and I continue to develop new projects with the evolving community.
Satsop is an unfinished nuclear facility located in southern Washington and it has been safely turned into a business development park where the facility is accessible. When I visited Satsop for the first time, I was inspired by the emotional juxtaposition between ethereality and fear that I experienced while being in the cooling tower. It is an amazing acoustic property where the sound created by simply clapping hands becomes an emotional experience.
My short film Echo at Satsop was entirely documented within the 500-ft tall cooling tower with a small team of creative people. It was challenging to capture the images and sound as the scale of the site is magnificent. We brought 6 recorders and 15 microphones to capture the long decay and I enjoyed the time I spent with the sound engineer to edit the recordings. These experiences led me to create related artworks, sound work, and multi-media installations.
I'm planning to go back there with performers and poets to develop collaborative work next.
This project is supported by 4Culture and Jack Straw Cultural Center.