EX MACHINA

EX MACHINA

The Seven Streams of the River Ota

The Ōta River and its tributaries flow through the city of Hiroshima, where they separate before tumbling into the Seto Inland Sea. Among the many bridges in the heart of this delta is the Aioi. Its unusual T-shaped design (as seen from above) made it the target of the first atomic bomb dropped on humans.

The seven streams of the Ōta River correspond to seven stories from 1945 to 1995 involving plagues of the second half of the 20th century: ethnic exterminations, of which the Nazi concentration camps were one of the most extreme examples; the nuclear terror that began with a blinding flash in the Japanese sky one morning in August 1945; and viral epidemics such as AIDS, which marked the end of the millennium.
Moving from one story to another, a common theme emerges: the quest for meaning and peace when facing death and horror. It’s driven by characters who embrace sensuality and laughter in the face of adversity: a Hibakusha living with hidden wounds; a magician whose pitiful tricks nevertheless cheer those he is interned with; a performance artist who discovers the Middle Way in an unexpected place. And a young Western dancer who came to learn butō and now finds herself, 50 years after the bomb, contemplating Miyajima’s torii—the sacred gate that seems to float on the water of Hiroshima Bay right where the seven streams of the Ōta River come to an end.