London – Royal College of Art graduate Hilda Hellström went to extraordinary lengths for her graduation piece, The Materiality of a Natural Disaster, by smuggling herself into the contamination zone of Fukushima Daiichi in Japan.
Aided by Naoto Matsumura, the only man living in the area, Hellström collected contaminated soil that she transformed into a series of food vessels.
‘I transported the soil out of Japan in my suitcase,’ explains Hellström. ‘The soil is not highly contaminated as it is taken from 8cm below the surface, so I didn’t need any protective casing.’
As the material is radioactive, the vessels are functionless. ‘The aim with the project was to construct an object that speaks of a much larger event than the object itself, inhabiting a narrative that goes beyond form or function,’ continues Hellström.
Since the Fukushima disaster, Japanese people have been critical of the government’s handling of the situation and have called for change. To learn more about consumers’ desire for revolution, read LS:N Global’s Anarconomy Decade macrotrend.