Invited Artist Nadine Baldow from Berlin looks back at the first 10 days of the artist-in-residence so far



I am a visual artist based in Berlin with a focus on site-specific sculptures. My work is informed by the Anthropocene, where traces of human activities become embedded on the Earth’s surface. My intention for my stay in Hirono is to find out about the relationship between “nature” and “culture” – located in a landscape that is shaped by both parties quite deeply. Even though I have traveled intensely – such an incident as a tsunami is hard to imagine for me. I feel humbled to have the chance to ask people about their perception of “nature” after such devastating events.

At the workshop

Tokyo to Hirono

I arrived in Tokyo after an unexpectedly long trip due to a canceled flight on December 13th. I was very lucky to be warmly welcomed by Mizuiki*, who helped me to navigate the public transport in Tokyo. It was a great experience to start my stay in Japan with a visit to the National Museum and traditional Japanese food.

*Volunteer women who guided Nadine in Tokyo, then interpreter for Nadine in Hirono workshops.

We traveled to Hirono by car – to transport my numerous materials for the TORIGOYA project. Despite the slowly moving traffic in Tokyo, it was a great way to travel. I observed the density of the city, slowly fading, and after a while on the rather uneventful motorway – the landscape changed: We approached a hilly road with numerous tunnels and were suddenly surrounded by a dense and foggy forest. When I spotted the first Geiger counter I felt strangely alerted. Intellectually, I can connect the number it reveals to “safety” – but the existence of this instrument still tells me that something has happened to this landscape. With the interview of science researcher Prof. Takamitsu Kozuma on my mind, I contemplated how “nature” adapts to various changes. 

Pacific Ocean from Hotel

Field Trips and Workshops in Hirono with Minori

The first days in Hirono were very busy. Together with fellow, Ms Minori Aoki, we held two Workshops at the Cultural Exchange Facility of Hirono Town and our place to stay, Hatago Inn. I was deeply moved by the interest of Hironos’s residents in my work. When we spoke about the landscape in the photographs they chose (this was part of my workshop), we got to know each other on a deeper level. Ms Aoki’s workshop was highly interesting for me as well – especially when I heard the residents describing the sea. Somehow it surprised me how openly they were able to share their experiences. 

Before we headed to our final Workshop at Futaba Mirai High School, we did a field trip to the tsunami and disaster-stricken areas. I strongly sensed that this landscape had been shaped by the tsunami in 2011 – there are areas where there are no trees – and the only logical explanation for this must have been a force of some kind. On our way to the Memorial Museum, I saw abandoned houses with some inhabited houses in between. Both, the way to the Museum and the visit itself felt very heavy. I am strongly impressed by the efforts to heal this traumatic event. 

I think my stay in this area will be of huge value to my work. I already feel how something in my head is shifting about my perception of “nature” and “culture” and their ongoing impact on each other. In the upcoming days, I will be very busy developing the TORIGOYA sculpture – I am striving to get to know as much as possible about Hirono and its surroundings, so I will return to the Museum and spend some time in Tomioka and Futaba – the surrounding nature of Hirono will be in contrast of that.

Between Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant 1 and 2
Wood at Iwaki City