Mori Art Museum Tokyo

MAM COLLECTION 009: KEN + JULIA YONETANI

What the Birds Knew

Curated by: Kondo Kenichi (Curator, Mori Art Museum)

“MAM Collection 009” will present What the Birds Knew (2012), a sculpture in the form of a glowing green ant made using uranium glass and UV lighting, by Japanese / Australian artist unit Ken + Julia Yonetani (b. 1971 in Tokyo and b. 1972 in Tokyo, respectively). With this work produced following the duo’ s research on the “Green Ant Dreaming” myth that can also be viewed as an Aboriginal warning to the future, and taking its title from the 1955 Kurosawa film I Live in Fear [Ikimono no kiroku] (also known as Record of Living Being, or What the Birds Knew) depicting a man terrified of the prospect of nuclear attack, the artists are thought to be raising the issue of radiation.

The artists would like to pay respect to the Kuwinjku people, their Country and their stories including the Gabo Djang or Green Ant Dreaming.

Ken + Julia Yonetani
What the Birds Knew 2012
Uranium glass, wire, UV light 3 x 3 x 5.2 m

Installation view: “What the Birds Knew: Ken + Julia Yonetani,” 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2012
Photo: Zan Wimberley