”The milk remains, yet the boy has grown”.
By Brad Feuerhelm, ASX, November 2015
The boy stares apprehensively at the clear glass of water in front of him. The light from the open window breathes in fresh autumn air and the smell from the cherry blossoms in his prefecture makes him smile for a reason that he cannot place. He is situated at an inter-age for the years come on slow due to his youth. There is a shuffling in the background and he can hear his mother’s slippers from behind his back as he concentrates on the small movements atop the water’s edge in the glass. The slow shuffle and light thump of her foot stir the small waves in the glass as they slowly resound back and forth across the elliptical edge.
For no certain reason, he leaves walks to his room, never setting foot across his mother’s path, yet he knows that she is watching him with amusement as his small feet scuffle into his room. He effortlessly and with determination walks to the foot of his bed and grabs from under, the aluminum box that he has carefully kept there. It is a chemistry set. Inside various beakers and vials of safe potions lay half used. He rummages through the contents until he finds the rubber topped eyedropper. He neatly packs the chemistry set away and returns to the kitchen.
There is a clacking noise of the kitchen door to his right and he watches as a sliver of light passes into shadow from the late light of the early evening and a muffled sound of footsteps walks down the leaf-strewn street. She has left. He walks to the cooling box, which are where the family’s milk and fish are stored. Inside, he plunges the eyedropper into the glass bottle of milk, filling it half way. With conviction and focus, he returns to his place at the table. His eyes adjust and he thinks he can just about see a faint layer of dust settle on the ellipsis of the water. It does not move. The light from the window, now more dim, still casts its illuminating rays on the surface.
“He has made the transition through his own rite of passage and the camera that enables it and him to communicate his own lexicon of vision.”
With gentle effort the boy raises the eyedropper eight inches from the surface of the water and with a slow squeezing movement, presses the rubber top until one tear of milk lazily hangs to the tip. The moment feels like years. The anticipation for the minute explosion of water and milk becomes an agonizing expectation for the boy. As he squeezes the eyedropper, the single fatted milk tear tears loose towards the surface of the water, yet there is no grand or cumulative event imminent. There is the tiniest of murmurs on the surface of the water and the milk drop does not dissipate as he expected, but rather splinters like lightning or the roots of a meandering tree beneath the soil’s surface inside the glass. With some astonishment, he watches the strain of milk progress towards the bottom of the glass like several braids of fine hair. He is calm, the water’s surface placid. The milk remains, yet the boy has grown.
Daisuke Yokota’s “Taratine” is a personal journey between the worlds he once knew of his mother to that of his lover. He has made the transition through his own rite of passage and the camera that enables it and him to communicate his own lexicon of vision. The work looks like his previous bodies of work to a degree, but in this continuity, there is a gathering impulse just under its surface. The images feel more personal. His own words within the book point in a direction of an artist, not just a man, who is at once comfortable with his memories and also comfortable with himself. There is a certain peace within this project that might be missed in favor of aesthetics with the images rough hewn and distressed textures, but to miss the sensitivity of subject underneath would do a disservice to Yokota. Indeed, this is a great time for him to continually flower whilst also observing the legend that he is becoming part of. It is highly recommended, not just for Daisuke’s ability itself, but also for that of the soft and resonating poeticism it implies.
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(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Daisuke Yokota.)