Jijimugé (2023)

The Japanese buddhist term Jijimugé (jap. 事事無礙) can be translated the "unhindered mutual interpenetration of phenomena and phenomena" (Kazashi: Metamorphoses of 'Pure Experience', 79).

In June 2023, I spent one month in Japan as part of my PhD research. I always thought of Japan as a place of contrasts, e.g. between technology and nature, cities and rural areas, east and west, tradition and modernity.

But it is only with my third stay in Japan that I understood that there is no such thing as real contrasts but things are always interconnected and co-originating. So what looks as contrast at first sight, actually exists together and intra-acts in (sometimes confusing) entangled ways.

A second thing that I could sense in Japan was an incredible loneliness. Usually, we see loneliness as a negative thing, but maybe that's not the whole story. The buddhist term Mu (jap. 無) can be translated as 'without' or 'nothingness'. In the buddhist philosophy, realizing this 'nothingness' is actually a necessary step on the way to enlightenment.

For my photo series I used an analogue Japanese Nikkon F-301 from the 1980s with KODAK Gold and FOMA Fomapan (b/w photos) films and a Japanese Tokina AT-X 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens. At the same time, I took photos with my iPhone 6s which I bought in Japan 2017. So even concerning my equipment, boundaries became blurred, including past and present.

All photos © Nicolas Weisensel. For inquiries, please contact info@nicolasweisensel.com

Not a word to compensate
Not a sentence to describe this desperate state
Not a picture to compare
We step into a room of opaque air

Could be enough
If only we are pilots
Once a day


[The Notwist – Pilot]