For BRIGHTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS (2016), Susanna Hertrich undertook what could be regarded as a contemporary pilgrimage to Fukushima. Along with her, she brought a uniform and device. The uniform resembles a typical workers outfit, as well showing similarities to traditional samurai gear. Elements of this uniform contain technologies that detect the ambient nuclear radiation. The device contains a Geiger-Counter-Kit that reads radiation levels and sends the data to the helmet. When a positive reading is registered (= radiation is detected) an ornament on the helmet lights up. Both items serve as props for a 15 minute long film Susanna shot in the costal areas of Fukushima prefecture.
In the film, we observe a young man who explores the devastated areas near the nuclear power stations, including the ghost towns Tomioka and Namie (the latter was only reopened to the public in April 2016). He wears the aforementioned uniform and carries the named device to scan the ground. Almost, as if his body was possessed by an unnatural force, ambient radioactivity appears as an illumination of his helmet to the outside world.
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