Angela Melitopoulos, The Life of Particles, 2013. Video still

The Life of Particles

2013. HD video, directed by Angela Melitopoulos & Maurizio Lazzarato, 82′

The Life of Particles is the second part of visual research project by Angela Melitopoulos and Maurizio Lazzarato, which is along with the project Assemblages dedicated to the French psychotherapist, political activist, and philosopher Félix Guattari and his interest in Japan.

The Life of Particles enters into a dialogue with the contemporary situation of Japan and the relation between subjectivity, animist spirituality and modern technology in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster. Fukushima compels Japan to look back on it’s history that links animist traditions and hyper-modernity. This catastrophe reveals all what was hidden on all levels of economy, politics and culture.

The Life of Particles is a journey that begins with actual form of colonization in Okinawa through the massive presence of the US military since WWII. The travelogue re-itinerates the “Atom for Peace” campaign in Hiroshima and the reconstruction of Japan as a country built on science within the ideology of the so-called “energy millenarism” as a nuclear dream project during the cold war. It actualizes the long lasting anti-nuclear struggles against the building of a new nuclear power plant on Iwaishi Island. The research ends in Tokyo and Kyoto with comments of the photographer and anthropologist Chihiro Minato and the Bhutto dancer Min Tanaka about Japan’s history of technology in that animist tradition are central for the development of Japanese craft and the relation between nature and culture.

“We cannot resolve the problem of radioactivity with this relation between nature and culture. In Japan after Fukushima geography is psychology. The atmosphere does not move geometrically. We adapt not only to our environment but also to our psychosis.”


Angela Melitopoulos, artist in the time-based arts, realizes video-essays, video installations, photographs, documentaries and sound pieces since 1985. Within her research projects she curates exhibitions and symposiums. Her videos focus on duration and time-structures, on mnemonic micro-processes in electronic/digital media and documentation. She is collaborating with political networks in Europe and publishes theoretical articles on her artwork and on mnemopolitics. Many projects deal with migration, mobility, collective memory in relation to geography and media representation and archives. In her experimental approach new formats result in multi-screen works or performance based, expanded cinema formats.

She studied fine Arts with Nam June Paik. Her work was awarded and displayed in numerous international festivals, exhibitions and museums such as Generali Foundation Vienna, Berlinale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Antonin Tapies Foundation Barcelona, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Manifesta 7, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, Whitney Museum New York. She is teaching as visiting professor in various art academies and cultural institutions in Europe.