PISTACHIOS AND SPARROWS
In 2008 I was having a show in Hiroshima having just been to the Greek Island of Santorini. With no prior intent, I took a bag of Pistachio nuts from Greece to Japan. I was idly feeding some sparrows in the famous A-Bomb Dome when an odd connective thought came to me.
The Minoan volcanic eruption on Santorini was the largest natural explosion ever witnessed by man and at the time, Hiroshima the largest “man-made” explosion. Both places had been stripped of all natural flora and fauna. In feeding the sparrows I was unwittingly feeding the “Returned Life” of Santorini (nuts) to the “Returned life” of Hiroshima (Sparrows).
It seems I’m not alone in these sparrows being a muse. The Japanese musician Harumi Yamamoto recently composed a musical piece called “Hiroshima Sparrow” based on an A-Bomb survivor who gained great solace by coming to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park every morning to feed the sparrows. He said it was his way of atonement for what he did to the sparrows when he was a boy. It’s a nice tale, although I think he was being a bit hard on himself for taking any blame at all!
As for the nuts; I left my own small symbol of atonement on the wall and watched them being lifted away into the shell of the A-Bomb dome. Maybe I'll include this idea in a show one day.