Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not Niigata.

When in the field this past summer, I went to an art exhibit that centered on Japanese culture. Photographer Andrew Phelps' quote on display continues to inspire me as both an anthropologist and musician.

When traveling in a foreign place, I tend to be fascinated with both the exotic and the mundane. The two are often one and the same, especially in a place where the gap between old and new is astronomical. In most modern societies, tradition, history, and religion have etched a deep set of rituals and codes, which are being tested and expanded as cultural homogenization begins to question established systems and ideologies…

I find it is easy to get caught up in chasing an illusion of what I think a place should look like; preconceptions are powerful and the quest to understand a place often leads to a greater misunderstanding.

Sado Island, Feb 2009

Andrew Phelps, “Not Niigata”

- Posted by Emily Ĺ aras, '10

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