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108 Breaths

The Eskenazi Museum's cameraless photography exhibit, with Kei Ito's Sungazing Scroll in the background (Courtesy of the Eskenazi Museum of Art)


Growing up in the 1990s, Kei Ito was surrounded by superheroes - in comic books, on the big screen. And it got him wondering, was he a superhero too? After all, so many of them had gotten their powers from radiation. Ito had radiation in his family too. His grandfather was a survivor of Hiroshima. Now, Kei Ito’s photographic work is a practice of remembrance. Each year, he creates a “sungazing scroll” by exposing photographic paper to the sun as he breathes 108 times. The number references the practice of Japanese temples tolling their bells 108 times to cleanse evil desires at the new year. For Ito, it’s also about cleansing – and honoring – the legacy of the nuclear bomb. And one of those Sungazing Scrolls is up as part of the Eskenazi Museum’s cameraless photography exhibit, “Direct Contact,” open now through July 2. WFIU’s Avraham Forrest tells the story.

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