Cloud Island

2010

colour, surround, 45 min. loop
HD projector, media player, white projection screen min. 4 x 2.25 m

This 45 minute film depicts the small island of Inujima which is located in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Inujima is in many ways exemplary of Japan’s last 400 years of industrialization. Once an island of fishermen and farmers, Inujima then became a place of granite quarries and copper refineries. Now all the works stand empty; the quarries filled with water, factory chimneys crumbling. The island’s aged population has dwindled to around fifty people who continue their day-to-day lives in this evocative and rather neglected place where clipped trees and well tended allotments stand next to abandoned homes.

Fiona Tan filmed Inujima in May 2010 just as the first phase of a project commissioned by the Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum was being completed. The architect Kazuyo Sejima has been engaged by the museum to create ten pavilions for the exhibition of artworks on the island. So this a moment of transition for Inujima and from time to time one glimpses the building works or one of the startling new structures whose shiny contemporaneity seems somehow at odds with its surroundings. But in Tan’s film this sense of change is felt almost more than it is seen. Cloud Island is a slow, quiet work. A film which is in many ways about waiting.