The Inhuman Radiance of the Industrial Habitat

One of my first impressions of Japan was the color green, but not just any kind of green. The green that stuck with me was the green glow of the city streets as captured through two dimensional photographs. That green like a seductive slime oozing from the streetlights catches me off-guard even now after all this time at once frightening and alluring. Two weeks ago I found this photograph by a Japanese photographer named Issey Niwa revealing to me the beauty and almost inhuman radiance of the industrial habitat.

At times, the interface becomes the medium through which we see ourselves, through which we reassemble ourselves and lose ourselves. The Japan of my neighborhood on rare occasions has glowed for me in this way, the ambient glow from the sliding-glass windows of the mansion down the street, the silent fullness of the rickety train station with its solitary stationmaster patient in uniform, the construction-infused landscape passing before the train window in the evening, the lonely back-alley behind the hospital down the way with its bags of hospital refuse and syringes, the countryside convenience store parking lot surrounded by fields of factory debris jutting from the weeds like obscene sculptures.

I don’t know what kind of industrial complex this photograph is showing, what they are creating in there, but the green glow that has stayed with me is projected back with a soft intensity amidst this mechanical network under the pink and orange sky.

On the periphery of this monster, I stand agape with wonder and from this perspective, walking the train tracks at night, one may get the feeling that this is not planet Earth, that this is not Real. The trees and weeds in their dull greenness continue to grow, flowing through the branches intaking this human project of progress and production. This photograph almost seems to merge the human and the mechanical, the human creature with legs brushing against brush, gravel, weeds and grass and minds reaching out in transformation and imagination. The veil of the industrial sits against the chaotic growth of the natural and the human sits somewhere between these two worlds, in the margins of this twisting act of development.

Lupin Issey’s Photo Blog: