Dragon of the White - city as a notion



Between 1641 and 1859, a Dutch trading post was based on Deshima, a small island in Nagasaki Bay. Unlike colonial practices elsewhere in the world, the trade with Japan was established in peace. For centuries, the Omotemon Bridge connecting the island to the mainland served as a port of exchange for both goods and knowledge between Japan and The Netherlands. In the autumn of 2017, the bridge was officially reopened. The connection, the symbolic gateway between East and West was restored to its former glory.

As for the dragon of the white, he inhabits the area that is blank on the map. His habitat changes through discovery or conquest. The traveller feels dared by the Dragon of the White. It is just as when, to Western cartographers, traders and adventurers, Japan was a mere coastline, the hinterland a terra incognita that needed to be understood and drawn up. Cartographer, artist, photographer - they are all in search of the Dragon of the White. Upon discovering him, the traveller is home. What remains is imagination.

I created two series about the city. Or is it ‘of’? One of them analogue and in black and white, the other digital and in colour. Black and white because colour soon emphasises the outside of things, reflecting reality too strongly. Black and white is as an echo of perception: the city as a notion. It makes a slow appeal to the viewer to use their imagination and colour in the nuance. Thus the city tortured by atom violence regains a piece of its eradicated past, when the world was still drawn up without colour.

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