(re)collection – A collaboration with Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Intersection for the Arts/ Intersection 5M
(re)collection – A collaboration with Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami
Curated by: Ivan Vartanian

901 Mission Street
Suite 306
San Francisco, CA 94109
September 12th, 2012 - October 27th, 2012
Opening: September 12th, 2012 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Fri-Sat 12-4
photographs, installation


Intersection for the Arts Presents:
(re)collection – A collaboration with
Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami

Featuring new work by seven artists – Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Ariel Goldberg, Mayumi Hamanaka, Taro Hattori, Sean McFarland, Kari Orvik and Kelli Yon – in response to the thousands of photographs recovered from the city of Yamamoto after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011.



  1. Twice Around the Block: A Photo Scavenger Hunt – An interactive photo event led by Intersection’s Young Artists Advisory Council, in collaboration with 2 Blocks of Art, Friday September 28 and Friday October 19, 4–8pm, FREE
  2. Bring Your Memories Back to Life – Photo Retouching Basics Class in collaboration with SF Camerawork. Wednesday October 3, 6–9pm, $60 / $50 Intesection & SF Camerawork Members
  3. Intersection Book Club – Paradise Lost by Rebecca Solnit in collaboration with the SF Public Library. Wednesday October 10, 7–9pm
  4. Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) Training – Personal Readiness for a Resilient Community Led by Lt. Erica Arteseros in collaboration with the SF Fire Department. Wednesday October 24, 7–9pm, FREE
  5. Artists’ Talk.  Saturday October 27, 2–4pm, FREE
  6. Reading list exploring natural disasters provided by The San Francisco Public Library


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – August 16, 2012 – Intersection for the Arts presents (re)collection – A collaboration with Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami, a group exhibition featuring new work by seven artists – Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Ariel Goldberg, Mayumi Hamanaka, Taro Hattori, Sean McFarland, Kari Orvik and Kelli Yon – made in response to the thousands of photographs recovered from the city of Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Eyewitness accounts described Yamamoto as “one of the worst-hit areas” with no houses left undamaged. The artists’ new work will be installed alongside these photographs, which are part of a travelling project called Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami, organized by Japanese photographer Munemasa Takahashi in the months following the disaster to help raise awareness of the continuing relief efforts in Japan. This exhibition looks at how much photography is a part of our lives, the universality of photos, and the tragedy of when those moments, emotions, and memories captured in photographs are swept away in an instant. “After the disaster occurred, the first thing the people who lost their loved ones and houses came to look for was their photographs,” Takahashi says. “Only humans take moments to look back at their pasts, and I believe photographs play a big part in that. This exhibit makes us think of what we have lost, and what we still have to remember about our past.” This exhibition was organized in part by Ivan Vartanian, an independent curator and publisher based in Tokyo, Japan.

The magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred off the east coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 (referred to as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake) triggered massive tsunami waves that in some areas reached heights of over 130 feet and travelled up to 6 miles inland. Coastal towns were utterly destroyed. Entire houses, cars, refrigerators, clothes, televison sets: everything was swallowed up by the tsunami and turned to waste. As the search for survivors ended and attention turned to the clean-up mission, firefighters, police officers, and military troops began to pick up photos they found in the mud and gathered them in an elementary school gymnasium. No one asked them to do it, nor did they have a clear sense of their objective. Perhaps they were just desperate to find something in the rubble that could be saved. Over time, the gymnasium began to fill up with thousands of salvaged photographs. Two months after the earthquake, a group called the Memory Salvage Project began to sort through more than 750,000 photograph to determine which ones could be cleaned, scanned, touched up through graphics editing programs, and entered into a database that would allow survivors to try and find their lost photographs. Although many photographs were saved in this manner, many were also so badly damaged by water and eroded by bacteria that the images are barely recognizable. The photographs from Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami that will be on display represent just a small fraction of the photographs recovered from the region. They are a symbol of devastation and the irreparable decimation to not only the land but also to the thousands upon thousands of lives that have been altered or lost. These images range from barely damaged prints to near complete erasure, a parallel to the memories that were lost on that fateful day.

Established in 1965, Intersection is widely considered to be one of the most vital cultural centers on the West Coast. Intersection recently forged a set of unique cross-sector partnerships rooted in a shared belief that art and creativity realized through meaningful, inclusive, and collaborative places fuels vibrancy and facilitates positive change. The change the world needs now happens when we are outside of our silos – colliding with complex experiences, grappling with new metaphors, understanding people who are different than us, having to find new ways to communicate and problem solve. Through our unique partnership, we are collaborating on The 5M Project. Led by Forest City, The 5M Project is a 4-acre multi-phase, mixed-use development project located at the intersection of several beautifully distinct neighborhoods in the middle of downtown San Francisco. With 5M, we are prototyping the next generation of urban development that embraces diversity of thought, life experience, and culture as essential to positive economic and social change in our neighborhoods. 5M proposes that art – creative collaboration, placemaking, and problem solving – builds understanding and community, celebrates and mobilizes neighborhood assets, and drives inclusive change.


About the participating artists in (re)collection – A collaboration with Lost and Found: Family Photos Swept by the 3.11 East Japan Tsunami:

MARK BAUGH-SASAKI ( attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied photography and sculpture. He has exhibited his work at numerous locations throughout the US and abroad, including the Islip Art Museum, New York; Geumgang International Art Center, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea; Krowswork Gallery and Swarm Gallery, Oakland, and Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco. His public art sculpture Adaptations was commissioned and installed at Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, from July 2009 through January 2010. In 2011 Baugh-Sasaki participated in an artist’s residency in St. Flour, France, where he was invited to create a site-specific outdoor sculpture for the town.

ARIEL GOLDBERG (, an artist and writer, uses text, performance, and photography with an interest in mass-produced source material designed for daily consumption to investigate how we communicate and receive information. She has participated locally in exhibitions at The LAB and Intersection, nationally at The Reitz Gallery (Gainesville, FL), Katzen Museum (Washington DC), and at the Gulf and Western Gallery, Secret Project Robot, and The Bronfman Center with a solo show at Jungle Science Gallery (New York, NY). Recent chapbooks include Picture Cameras and The Photographer without a Camera. Goldberg has performed at the Berkeley Art Museum, Headlands Center for the Arts, The Bowery Poetry Club, and The Invisible Dog. She is working on The Estrangement Principle, an essay on the states of queer art, and a book called The Photographer.

MAYUMI HAMANAKA ( received her MFA in photography from California College of the Arts and BFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of the Murphy Fellowship Award, Taipei Artist Village Fellowship, among others. Her work has been shown in numerous venues including locally at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery and Swarm Gallery, and at the Asian American Art Center in New York.

TARO HATTORI ( received his MFA in Time Arts/Video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited locally at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Lab, Kearny Street Workshop, Swarm Gallery, and Mission 17, as well as numerous national and international venues. He is the recent recipient of artist in residence fellowships at Headlands Center for the Arts, McColl Center for Visual Art, Taipei Artist Village, Djerassi Artist Residency, and Kala Art Institute. Taro is a professor at California College of the Arts.

SEAN MCFARLAND ( received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2004, the Phelan Art Award in Photography from the San Francisco Foundation in 2005, a Fellowship from the National Photography Institute at Columbia University, the 2009 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, and a Eureka Fellowship in 2011. He has exhibited nationally, internationally, and locally at Eli Ridgway Gallery, SF Camerawork, Headlands Center for the Arts, The San Jose Museum of Art, Galeria de la Raza, and Jack Hanley Gallery. His work is the collections at SFMOMA, Oakland Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Humboldt State University, and UC Davis.

KARI ORVIK ( is a photographer born in Canada who moved to the Bay Area from Alaska. She uses video and the historic photographic processes of tintypes and camera obscuras to explore the relationships between urban neighborhood change and our projections of history and fantasy. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Stanford University, she was the curator for the Insights Exhibition of blind artists at San Francisco City Hall and has received grants from the San Francisco Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

KELLI YON ( is a San Francisco based photographer, teacher, and mother. She has an MFA from the California College of the Arts, exhibits her work internationally and shoots for magazines like Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, San Francisco Magazine, and Dwell. Her work is inspired by simple beauty, the subtle connections between things, and the intrinsic nature and loveliness of people in relationship.

MUNEMASA TAKAHASHI ( was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1980. A freelance photographer, his work has been featured in many magazines, books, and commercials. He graduated from the Nippon Photography Institute in 2001 and received the Excellent Photographer Award in “25th New Cosmos of Photography” by Canon in 2002. In 2008, he received a littlemore Prize at the first littlemore BECCKS Photo Contest organized by littlemore and BECCKS Publishing. He published a book of his photos, SKYFISH from AKAAKA Art Publishing, Inc. and in 2010, held a Solo Exhibition SKYFISH at AKAAKA Publishing in Tokyo.