Chino Otsuka : Imagine Finding Me
Chino Otsuka uses photography and video to explore the fluid relationship between the memory, time and photography. At age 10 she moved from Japan to the United Kingdom to attend school. Her experience of becoming familiar with a new place, a different language and new customs while she was developing her adolescent identity has profoundly shaped her work in photography, video and writing. Her series Imagine Finding Me consists of double self-portraits, with images of her present self beside her past self in various places she has visited. As Otsuka says: “The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.” - via AGO
“At the moment, I’m homeless.”
“I thought you were waiting for someone.”
“I’m just trying to pass the time. I live in a shelter.”
"How did you become homeless?”
“I had a place, but I smoke, and I wasn’t supposed to.”
“What’s your typical day like?”
“I wake up because the lights come on in the shelter. You’ve got an hour to wash your body and do everything, and you have to do it on a schedule. Then, if you’re hungry … well, you don’t really want to eat the food there. It sucks. Anyway, you eat. They offer you oatmeal or eggs or cream of wheat.”
“When do you have to be out?”
“In the shelter I am, you have to be out of the building by 9 o’clock. Then you have to be in before 6 o’clock. You can go back during the day. But it makes me feel so, so unmanly because I have to answer to someone all the time.Sometimes I stay in the shelter in the daytime. I have a couple of my art pieces there. I hang out there half the day. Then I go to the library and read. Time passes quickly.”
“Can you afford to buy your own food?”
“Yes. I have money to eat elsewhere. And I choose not to eat at the shelter because I don’t want to take the food from a homeless person who needs it more.”
“Do you have friends or family?“
"I have two children.”
“Do you see them?”
“Not too often. I love them. They love me. I’m divorced.”
“You said you had some art pieces.”
“I’m an artist. I paint. I studied art history.”
“What do you paint?”
“Mostly portraits. I like people’s eyes.”
“Have you exhibited somewhere?”
“I used to exhibit on Newbury Street and elsewhere.”
“When was that?”
“About 20 years ago.”
“And then what happened?”
“Well, I also drink. I spent a lot of money on going out and partying.”
“Do you hope to get back into the art world?”
“That’s my dream. You know, you made my day. Why did you pick me? I feel so proud. I will always remember this date. I’m a homeless, highly educated black man who drinks. I’m homeless because I smoke. I never hurt anyone, never stole, never lied, never cheated. I’m so happy you talked to me. It awoke in me an aspect of humanity I had long forgotten. I feel so honored. Why me?”
you have had love, and that means
your sternum is a divining rod
for both passion and grief. because the tongue is the body’s
strongest muscle, make it say
joy. make it say I am a factory of splendid things. make it say
the octopus is the smartest animal
in the animal kingdom, and I am an octopus. I am an octopus.
I am happy. my survival
was not an accident, or purposeless.❞
We are more than the worst thing that’s ever
happened to us. All of us need to stop apologizing
for having been to hell and back breathing.
Your bad dreams are battle scars.
What doesn’t kill you cuts fucking deep
but scars are just skin growing back
thicker when it heals.
Let it heal you. Try. To be honest. Open.
Even if some days that means saying,
“I still feel broken. I’m too beat down to even get
out of bed. But I have faith, yes, tomorrow
I will stand.”
I’ll relearn justice. I’ll love without fear.
I will be braver than the monster who
crawled out from under my bed. I swear,
I will not give him the satisfaction
of being the thing that breaks me.
Take Your Clothes Off by Adara Sánchez Anguiano