About the Photographer
Japanese, b. 1978
Takeshi Moro contemplates in his artistic practice the accumulated weight of history and how it affects us on an individual basis. In various ways, his photographs and videos explore personal and communal burdens of guilt and regret, as well as processes of reconciliation both private and public. Implicated in this line of investigation is the question of personal experiences. Looking to his own example, Moro observes how he, as a Japanese man born after World War II, inherits responsibility for the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the atrocities that followed. He contemplates how he and the rest of his generation should contend with this history.
In the high-definition video Counting to 150,000 (2008), Moro responds to the extensive casualities that resulted from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, using that lethal event as a starting point to ponder the challenge of coming to terms with death on a massive scale. "Casualties in atrocities are always reduced to a number, which in itself is an estimate," Moro writes. "The irony is that mass killing continues to occur from the lack of respect for individual lives and yet we record it in history with the arbitrary number that is just an approximation of lives lost. I wanted to see what it feels like to actually count deaths as opposed to approximating them with statistics." By common estimates, 150,000 people died in Hiroshima by the end of 1945—half of them at them at the moment of detonation. Moro's video records his painstaking effort over 35 hours to count out the corresponding number of grains of rice, setting them aside one by one with chopsticks.
Born in Tokyo in 1978, Takeshi Moro grew up in the United Kingdom and currently lives and works in both Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH. He completed a BA in Economics and Visual Arts at Brown University, Providence, RI (2001), and an MFA in Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008). His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and residencies include: Skaftfell, Center for Visual Art, Seydisfirdi, Iceland (2011); Incheon Art Platform, Incheon, South Korea (2011); Arteles, Haukijarvi, Finland (2010); and Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL (2010). He was previously an instructor at Bowling Green State University, OH and now teaches at Otterbein College in Columbus, OH.