White Light (CANON GALLERY S , Tokyo , 2019)



White Light
Yoshiyuki Okuyama

We push through inky black darkness, caressing ever so gently the surface of a sea of unfathomable depth. The breathing of the waves, the mumble of the engine, are the only sounds. As our eyes grow accustomed to the nightʼs coppice, far in the distance, here and there, we spot white lights. It canʼt be long now. After nearly an hour of continuous rocking in this craft. I remember in my bones that chill and that colossal immensity we strained to find.

Without waiting for daybreak, one white light, then another, draws near. Before long an enka ballad will be heard, and on cue, nets will be cast and the work will begin. The cameraʼs flash, on occasion, beats back the gloom …

Nostalgia pricks at me when I catch myself suddenly squinting to perceive whatʼs before me. For in todayʼs world, we have illuminated everything ̶ not just the spaces we inhabit but also all the information and environments surrounding us. We remain passive nevertheless, averting our eyes from unknown sentiments that, on occasion, materialize before us. Before long our consciousness, ever more distracted by peripheral vision, will loosen its grip on the foreground, to rollick in a vast, colorful land of unfathomable shallowness.

Can we still sense the boundary between “seeing” and “perceiving”, the line between vision and consciousness? As a poet might observe: there are things that once you can see, you can no longer perceive. Are photos now the sole focus of our awareness.

Strain your eyes and cast a light.

For surely something exists beyond that light.