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MOE SUZUKI

SOKOHI

 GMBB Level 3  11AM - 7PM 

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Sokohi is a Japanese word in use since the 16th century as a general term for optical disease causing visual impairment, which literally means “shadow in the bottom.”

 

Aosokohi, literally “green shadow in the bottom,” was used to specify glaucoma. There is a theory of the origin of this word that ao (green) comes from Hippocrates’ writing, which says that before going blind the pupil turns the green colour of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite having such a long history and being the most common cause of visual impairment in present-day Japan, glaucoma's cause is not totally understood and treatment is not always effective.

My father has been suffering from this disease for more than 16 years, which caused slow but progressive visual field defects. He wakes up to a slightly darker morning every day, and when he tries to grab something his hands often grasp at the air instead of the item.


He kept journals for most of his life. He took photographs while traveling. And during an editing career of almost fifty years, he was always surrounded by books and various sorts of writing, which all became impossible to do. Although he appears to accept his fate calmly as his blindness progresses, there are moments when he clings desperately to his wavering sight as if fighting to stop it from disappearing completely.

 

At the same time, he builds a wall around himself to protect himself from the sympathy of people who can see what he cannot see and cannot see what he can see. Peeking behind this wall I see glimpses of my father’s figure moving in and out of the shadow at the bottom, walking unsteadily, but firmly seeking out new ways to perceive the world around him. His journey towards blindness goes back and forth between light and shadow, like waves pushing and pulling to and from the seashore.

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Moe Suzuki was born in Tokyo and studied photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

 

Upon returning to Tokyo after the Great Eastern Earthquake in 2011, Moe self-taught bookbinding skills and started a career as a visual artist, creating numerous personal projects of hand-bound art books. Her primary medium is photography, which is mixed with archives, illustrations and film to tell complex narratives in the books and installations.

 

Her creativity is driven by attempts at the visual expression of intangible things such as memories and landscapes that are transformed by the passage of time, changes in the environment, urban development, disability and relationships within the community.


Both her artist and trade editions of ‘Sokohi’ have received worldwide recognition, and has been exhibited in Tokyo, Kyoto, Singapore, Australia, Northern Ireland and France.

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