My project titled “1972” investigates the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo, Japan. Completed in the year 1972 by the architect Kisho Kurokawa (1934 – 2007), it stands today as one of the few proposals realized by an avant-garde architectural movement called “Metabolism”, which flourished in the 1960s. As a building attached with 140 removable apartment units, the Nakagin Capsule Tower embodies the future of urban living as envisioned by Kurokawa at that moment in postwar Japan. Furthermore, the building is a reminder of a future that was never realized in society at large and exists as an architectural anachronism within the city. Despite Kurokawa’s plan to mass-produce the capsules, this structure became one of a kind in the world. Today, the building faces the threat of demolition to make way for a conventional apartment complex. In my project, I employ photography to document the state of individual capsules as a response to their potential disappearance. The photographs examine what became of a building that first opened as a radical prototype for a new mode of living in the post-industrial society and how this vision of the future appears in retrospect.
Noritaka Minami is a visual artist born in Osaka, Japan. He received a BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 and a MFA in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine in 2011. A solo exhibition of his works was held at the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. His works have also been exhibited at Aviary (Boston), Danforth Art Museum (Framingham), Las Cienegas Projects (Los Angeles), and Kearney Street Workshop (San Francisco). He has taught as a visiting lecturer at both UC Berkeley and UC Irvine. He is currently a Teaching Assistant in Photography at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.