Zine: Flowers of the Trans-Pacific

Zine: Flowers of the Trans-Pacific

A. D. McCormick
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Art Island Center Zine Series, Vol. 1
"Flowers of the Trans-Pacific" by A. D. McCormick
16 pages, limited edition of 40 copies. (Only 10 available online.)
Made on Naoshima.

World War II-era photographs of Japanese citizens feature on American postage stamps. Commodore Matthew Perry’s signature obscures the faces in a portrait from his report on first contact with Japan, while the public bath image prudishly omitted from that same report features on the back of American currency. In a newsreel still, an American bomber pilot calmly takes notes as the Pearl Harbor attack unfolds outside. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un crew a sinking North Korean fishing boat, while photos of their hands—along with Shinzo Abe’s and Xi Jinping’s—form a 21st-century “Great Wave.”

Tomorrow’s historians will draw from memes and unauthorized digital fabrications, pulling apart falsehoods and sorting layered realities. Inevitably, errors will slip past watchful eyes, and reality itself will be changed. This is a sort of violence; it is also an opportunity.

German artist Jochen Gerz, for a public project in Coventry, which had been obliterated by the Germans decades earlier, asked participants, “Who are your past enemies? Who are your current friends?” Without Paul Tibbets grinning out of the window and his mother’s name painted below, the Enola Gay is just an airplane. Like mother and son before it, the machine will also return to the earth, and then—