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May 3, 2014 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Valley of Dolls
Eleven years ago, Ayano Tsukimi returned to her home in Nagoro. Confronted with constant departures, she has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi's world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. In it we're shown around a local school, once filled with children and teachers, that now houses dozens of dolls, sitting statically, waiting for class to begin.
posted by infini (13 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Beautiful, tranquil, and transcendent.

Lovely, sad, and poetic.

I'm somewhat reluctant to leave these words here, lest I disturb the simple beauty of what Ayano Tsukimi has wrought.
posted by mistersquid at 11:47 AM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Imagine these pictures without the dolls in them.
posted by JHarris at 11:54 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe I should explain that....

Many of the shots, without the dolls in them, are empty, abandoned buildings. The dolls add an extra layer of poignancy, reminding us of who was once there. It's heartbreaking.
posted by JHarris at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Like Samuel Johnston said about dancing poodles, it's not that it's done well, it's that it's done at all.
posted by codswallop at 12:58 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

A bit wallowy for my liking. Better to fill the place with living beings instead -- it is a far more significant way to pay tribute to the past than that sort of passive method. I remember almost 20 years ago Tokyo police had skirmishes with the homeless living in their underground transit stations and I can't help but think that there is something very wrong with how we can do absolutely everything else but what we actually need to do.

Her work is lovely, but it is better to move forward than retreat. Thank you for the link nonetheless...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:16 PM on May 3, 2014

Transplanting homeless people into an isolated village with no viable economy isn't a solution for homelessness. Are they supposed to become subsistence farmers? It's a nice, idealistic thought - hey, here are some empty houses to fill - but the community is being abandoned due to the lack of opportunities that are present in bigger cities. We need to give the homeless in bigger cities more access to the opportunities all around them, not bus them out to abandoned villages in the countryside. Criticizing this because it's not a solution to homelessness is, IMO, a little absurd.

I really liked the wedding picture. Weddings are community event and a celebration of the future. It really underscored how little future the village has - look at this thing that is no longer happening, that is now represented only by a scene filled with dolls.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:30 PM on May 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

I feel like this could be a Kiyoshi Kurosawa film....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:34 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Her work is lovely, but it is better to move forward than retreat.

She's an artist, not a politician. She doesn't have the power to fill the village with homeless people. She does have the power to fill the village with art, and she's wielded that power to breathtaking effect.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:21 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I came across this link somewhere else in the past week and really loved the artist's work as well as the documentary itself. Thanks for bringing it here!
posted by Slothrop at 3:02 PM on May 3, 2014

I appreciate the idea, but in execution it feels really creepy, especially at night. I imagine that its doing a great job of driving out any remaining villagers with its creepiness (not clear from the article if she is the last resident, or if there are still others).
posted by Joh at 5:18 PM on May 3, 2014

There's 37 people there. She lives with her father. So others are there. It still has a very lonely, dystopian feeling. It must be very lonely for her.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:35 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was thinking the same thing Joh. Maybe people aren't moving away, maybe the dolls are getting them.

It's actually pretty amazing and I love it. But I'm scared of the dolls.
posted by fshgrl at 9:53 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gah gah gah what is happening here?
posted by gingerest at 7:46 PM on May 4, 2014

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