Koenji Billboard Lights

Koenji Billboard Lights

This is another picture taken in Tokyo in the early 2000s with a Fuji Film disposable camera. In 2001, I moved to Koenji and lived there for five years or so. Every morning this disused but, functional billboard greeted me as I opened my tenth floor apartment door. The building stood on Kannana Dori (Tokyo Ring Road No.7) which loops around the north of the city from East to West. My apartment looked east across to the skyscrapers of Shinjuku and at dawn, dusk and night the view was stunning. This is a dusk shot looking south. I like the picture because again, it speaks to me of change and transition. The rusting steel frame, the chromium lamps shining in fading natural light say something to me about lost opportunities and waste under capitalism but at the same time the structure itself is representative of human activity and is beautiful as it stands. When I look at things like this I try to bear in mind the labour process, from the design, materials development and procurement to the physical construction. The people involved lead lives that can only be imagined, but for sure they are people like us. What were they thinking when they did the work involved? What were their relationships like with one another? Did they feel a sense of satisfaction when the task was accomplished or were they alienated from their work and product? I imagine it was more complex than the structure itself suggests, but ultimately, people did this. Objects and structures are always more than inert. Strangely, when I was greeted by this big guy morning and night, I felt at home as the traffic roared below.

Map_of_Kannana-Dori_Ave.Tokyo_Metropolitan_Road_Route_318
Kannana Dori, Tokyo (Tokyo Ring Road No.7).