Submission
Aaron McLaughlin

Diaspora (part one)

Diaspora (part one) is a mid-way presentation of the ongoing project Diaspora: a narrative building exercise that will (eventually) conclude as a solarpunk semi-autobiographical graphic novel conditioned by Japanese culture, art and magical paranoia.


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Illustration in collaboration with Rena Saiya
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Illustration in collaboration with Eliott Déchamboux Florey
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I am a sentient being stabbed by the miracle of these waters that reflect a forgotten world (2021)
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Diaspora (part one) is a mid-way presentation of the ongoing project Diaspora: a narrative building exercise that will (eventually) conclude as a solarpunk semi-autobiographical graphic novel conditioned by Japanese culture, art and magical paranoia.

During the 2020 pandemic, as part of Tenjinyama Art Studio’s remote artist residency program, my research consisted of going to the cities in Europe with the largest Japanese populations: Düsseldorf, Paris and London. Although an admittedly futile act in the wake of COVID-19, my aim was to (safely) engage with Japanese culture in these cities. This thread of engagement, as well as the mundane and unusual idiosyncrasies of my journey, were thoroughly documented to shape a narrative for a manga comic of which I am now currently developing.

In the exhibition there are two works in dualistic dialogue: a fictional narrative concerned with world-building and a non-fictional narrative concerned with world-ending. In its developing form the show consists of a non-fiction audio piece of my travel journals that is disintegrating (by being sustained with intermittent solar energy) and a new world that constantly evolves (through an Amazon Kindle in which I emailed ongoing visual collaborations with manga artists and illustrators).

With respect to my context, the narrative, and eventual outcome of this project is in response to the genesis and development of the Japanese format of manga: an art-form that erupted after the devastation of Hiroshima and World War Two, when the youth of Japan collectively sought to visualise a new worldview. Diaspora intends to follow the same impulse, interpreting our current circumstances as an opportunity to evoke a new narrative for Japan and Europe and our ever-intertwining assemblage of global cultures.