Blue Passages

15 July 2016  
Banyuls-sur-Mer, France – Portbou, Spain
multi-media installation, Walter Benjamin’s “Passages” 

In Blue Passages a woman brandishes a burning torch and makes a tortuous journey across the Pyrenees from Banyuls-sur-Mer, France to Portbou, Spain. She walks in the footsteps of the German Jewish philosopher, Walter Benjamin, tracing the route of his doomed attempt to escape the Nazis in 1940. When Benjamin arrived in Portbou, he was refused permission to cross the border into Spain. In despair, he retired to his room at the Hotel de Francia, where he killed himself with an overdose of morphine. The woman in the video descends into the Portbou, carrying her torch through ‘Passages’, Dani Karavan’s memorial landscape sculpture dedicated to Walter Benjamin. The torch in the performance is inspired by the torch relay of the Olympic flame. Torch relay was invented by the Nazis as a propaganda tool for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Torch Design: Ben Kikkawa,Video: Yoi Kawakubo, Photograph: Richard Nicholson, Costume: Kyoko Wainai, Sound Editing and Music: Syo Yoshihama, Curator of the Exhibition “Blue Passages” 2016 at White Conduit Projects: Yuki Miyake
With thanks to: Pilar Parcerisas, Adam Wright, Jonathan Whitewall, Yosuke Takahashi, Dani Karavan, Kazuko Koike, Nomura Foundation