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Distant Voices#0405

Maruyama sometimes imagines viewing the world around her through a bird’s eye. She sees people small as ants going about their daily lives, individuals living out their Earthly dreams and desires. She feels affection for them all, the strong and the weak. At the same time, she sees their universal aspects, that they are all members of the human race, all living organisms.
This spring, Maruyama’s father-in-law passed away. In his long fierce struggle with disease, both his physical and mental functions were stripped away one after another, as if to slowly lay bare his essential humanity. Watching his dignified progress toward death she found herself asking, ”What really makes us human?”

In Maruyama’s work, the river of hands symbolized human life linking in time. It intersected with the flow of people in the world visible through the window. Through the mirrors set at both ends, the river flows through to the future and the past.
When life and human wisdom are to be handed over to future, what should be transmitted about our history of intolerance? Perhaps it is that we can survive thanks to our egos, that humanity is engaged in the struggle between conscience and ego. We must learn that this struggle is inherent to human beings and sincerely search for ways to coexists with others, other races, and other life forms in this ecosystem.
In the audio portion of the work, the voice of her father-in-low calls to us on behalf of the spirit of the environment. “Where is this place? Ah, it is nice place…Thank you…” What should we say to him as we listen there in the darkness of the foundry where her work was exhibited, in the city of Kawaguchi, or any place on this planet?