Report: “Human-powered Slideshow of our daily experiences” (Harmony)


TURN Project Management Staff

On November 28, the TURN LAND event “Human-powered Slideshow of our daily experiences” was held at Harmony.
The event was streamed online from Harmony under the supervision of cultural activist Wataru Asada.

The event was streamed from a room specially set up at Harmony’s facility. Photographs taken by Harmony members* were displayed in the background. From left: TURN project management staff member Iwanaka, Harmony member Kinbara, Asada, and Harmony member Tanaka. *Harmony members: People who are registered users of Harmony’s services as a welfare facility are normally referred to as “members,” but for this report the term will also include people who support the purpose and objectives of TURN LAND and gather at Harmony.
Streaming of the event from two cameras

Part 1: “Human-powered Slideshow”

Asada has been taking part in Harmony-based activities since June 2021. He handed out instant cameras to facility members and asked them to take photographs of the things they experienced or saw in their daily lives. Along with the photographs, he collected stories from each person.

Photographs lining the walls of Harmony (Photo: Fumiya Sakurai)

The event involved looking at photographs taken by facility members, and a showing the “Human-powered Slideshow” video, which was put together with narration by Asada and Harmony members. The slide show featured an array of photographs in which the individuality of each facility member shone through. Here we introduce a selection of those photographs.

Photos by members of scenes they saw on their way to cleaning a park: a pond with koi carp, and a street.
“I wanted to take a picture of the sky before a storm. When I went to take a photo, overhead power lines were everywhere so they ended up in the photos.”
A scene from the slide show showing photos of places near the home of a member, including the beauty salon where he sometimes gets a shampoo. The photos are presented one by one, as if the viewer is walking around the neighborhood with the photographer.
My darts collection. “I bought darts which were the right weight for me, and for a time played almost every night. I’d like to go to the darts bar if I can, pandemic or not.”
“I feel like my thoughts are always spilling out,” said this member. “Overhead power lines are all connected which I think leads to my thoughts spilling out like they do, but the streetlights stand alone, so under a streetlight my thoughts are contained, and it feels like my comfort zone. “

The video shows Asada asking questions like “What sort of scene is this?” and “Why did you take a picture of this?” to which the members who took the photos told related stories which gave more depth of meaning to each photograph.

Part 2: Viewer participation talk

In Part 2 there was a participatory discussion where online viewers joined in. The conversations with Harmony members flowed as everyone looked over the photos sent in beforehand by some of public participants. The line up of members kept changing as they took it in turns on joining the panel, enjoying the conversational exchange as they commented on the outside participants’ photos from their individual perspectives. Here is a selection of photographs and the stories and accounts that accompanied them.

Asada showing a photograph of the sky received from one of the public participants. The person who sent the photograph said: “I think clouds move slowly, but in everyday life things like the steam when you open the bathtub cover seem to move quite quickly. Nearby things move very fast whereas distant things move slowly, and I had a wild idea that the flow of time in terms of the things we see, and the flow of time up in the clouds, might be a little different.”

Next up were photos of ginkgo trees and a broccoli bento box. There is broccoli in the space in the box where the rice normally goes! Featured in the local news, this broccoli bento apparently sells out every day, perhaps because a lot of people are worried about the effects of weight gain during the pandemic. The idea of a bento based around broccoli caused a lot of merriment in the room.
The picture of ginkgo trees was taken at a sightseeing spot in Yamagata Prefecture, and the person who took it said they felt the natural setting was lovelier than usual because there was nobody around due to the pandemic.

Also taking part in the event was Tengyo Kura, “Café Proprietor” for the previous TURN LAND event “No Charge Cafe 3: In My Brain”. Looking at the “Human-powered Slideshow,” Kura commented, “I always meet people inside the Harmony facility. So it was fascinating to see what people outside Harmony were seeing through the slideshow.”

Some of the comments received from viewers included the following: “I love the fun set made of cardboard and photo printouts. I think I’ll end up watching every bit,” and “Opening up “individual” memories and records to others in a casual and easygoing way like this means they are shared or recast, and it’ s like they gradually change from “individual things in the past” to “shared things in the present.”

Asada brought the event to a conclusion with the following words. “I wanted to express daily life under the pandemic for individual Harmony members to people including those who don’t know what sort of a place Harmony is. So, for this event, we set things in motion by ourselves, and did a slideshow while we talked about real life with the use of photographs. Thanks very much to everyone who took part who sent gus your wonderful photos.”

The slideshow and photo-aided interaction with Harmony’s facility members surely provided an opportunity for people to try and imagine everyday life for someone other than themselves.

Photographs, original footage of the slide show, reviews from external contributors etc. will be posted to an archive site for “Human-powered Slideshow of our daily experiences” at a later date. Watch this space!

Photo: Fumiya Sakurai

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