JAPAN – NHK announced today that the government of Japan and TEPCO have officially reached out to the enigmatic environmental artist to help turn the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear facility into a work of art.
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, or “Christo” for short, is well-known for taking familiar landscapes and architectural landmarks and transforming them into visually impressive art pieces. Some of his works include wrapping the coast of Little Bay, Australia, as well as draping the Reichstag in Berlin. He’s also noted for the valley of curtains stretching across the Colorado Rockies, and the umbrellas project in California and Japan, near the area of the accident no less.
The idea is the brain-child of several leaders within the Japanese government, who say they desperately want to improve the country’s public image after the disastrous meltdown of several of its nuclear reactors.
“We’ve worked with Christo in the past, and we look forward to working with him again to transform this unfortunate environmental catastrophe into a thing of beauty”, said a spokesman for the Prime Minister Kan Naoto.
Certainly, the Japanese could use a little positive PR after what happened in the wake of the March 2011 tsunami. Almost 6 months after the disaster, radioactive material continues to spew into the environment, and with TEPCO’s apparent inability to contain it, the area has become an uninhabitable wasteland, not to mention a blight on the landscape. An image makeover may be just what they need.
And the idea of employing an artist to drape the stricken facility is not all that far-fetched. In fact, when the monsoon season started in June, a fabric cover was used to protect the damaged buildings from heavy rainfall, albeit with a less aesthetic touch.
Christo’s actual plans for the project have not yet been announced, so it remains to be seen what exactly he’s going to do with it. Some have suggested he cover it with a large cloth emblazoned with the universal symbol for radiation, and use the opportunity to send a message about the dangers of nuclear energy.
However, the idea of making such a statement would probably go against the government’s intentions of turning the area into a potential tourist attraction. And, as Christo has said himself, his artwork is purely for the joy and beauty of seeing familiar landscapes in new ways, not meant for anything with deeper meaning.
The project is slated to begin sometime around the year 2110.