ken + julia yonetani
   
   

 

Ken + Julia Yonetani, Three Wishes (2014) Material: Glass figurine, butterfly specimen, glass dome, music box Dimensions: 9cm x 15cm

Three Wishes (2014)

“With the device of the reactor we hold the atomic Genie under safe control. He comes forth at our beckoning. He promises to grant us three wishes. The decision is ours. What should we wish for? What do we need most…?”

So asked narrator, scientist Heinz Haber, in the Walt Disney story Our Friend the Atom, first published as a book in 1956 and televised a year later. Disney’s Our Friend the Atom promoted the technology of nuclear fission as an “atomic Genie” that has granted the human race three wishes: the wish for an endless source of energy, the wish for a magic tool that can promote food and health for mankind, and the wish for peace.

Close to sixty years later, Ken + Julia Yonetani have worked closely with scientists lead by Professor Joji Otaki at the University of the Ryukyus, in Okinawa, Japan, to produce Three Wishes. The work is inspired by Disney’s most well known wish-maker, the fairy Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell’s wings, however, are metamorphosed into those of a real butterfly, Zizeeria maha, a common lycaenid butterfly in Japan. The artists raised the butterflies together with scientists from Otaki’s laboratory, from the eggs of specimens that were collected as a part of the lab’s ongoing scientific study into the biological impact of the Fukushima nuclear power disaster. The specimens were originally collected in an area approximately 20 kilometers away from the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant. Professor Otaki’s laboratory have found that the Zizeeria maha specimens to be affected by various levels of both external and internal radiation exposure, in the form of mutations and higher mortality rates.

Tinkerbell rotates to the music of It’s a Small World. Walt Disney commissioned this music especially for the 1964 New York World Fair “Children of the World” pavilion, made in partnership with UNICEF as a dedication to all the world’s children.