Noritoshi Hirakawa

Noritoshi Hirakawa on the Today Is the Day Foundation

Today Is the Day inaugural fundraising gala and art auction benefit at the Jane Ballroom, New York, November 27, 2012. Photo: Michelle Wang.

Noritoshi Hirakawa is a New York–based Japanese artist, filmmaker, and producer. Last year he spearheaded the formation of the Today Is the Day Foundation, a nonprofit based in Hiroshima, which has begun working on diverse art projects. The foundation held a gala in November 2012 to benefit children impacted by the disaster in Fukushima. Here Hirakawa discusses the impetus behind the project and some of its goals.

FOR A LONG TIME, maybe a decade now, I’ve been meeting with people related to the Fluxus and Conceptual art movements. Fluxus had a vision of how to change society. In a somewhat similar vein, Conceptual artists in the late 1960s protested the war in Vietnam. Artists involved with both of these movements hoped that the world would change for the better. But that didn’t really happen. Today art is not functioning as art—now, however, it seems like commercial success is the only reason for artistic creation.

That’s one of the reasons why I decided to pursue this project. I believe that change has to come from inside. I think it is very important to create an environment, a natural place for emotion to come out. It’s like a language—but it’s more than that. When language doesn’t convey a message or is misunderstood, consciousness is not transformed. People today are searching for a new system completely detached from contemporary systems. We’re in the middle of a big transition toward a different direction. It’s a great time to have a new discourse because people are interested in evolving their consciousness.

Today Is the Day is an organization like Fluxus in that we are focused on sharing. We’re working on several presentations right now—preparing workshops and speeches. We’re looking to embark on a collaborative project with the Marina Abramović Institute. Yesterday I met a composer from Hiroshima. He was very interested in the foundation, so he wanted to meet me. Each individual has the ability to contribute to Today Is the Day in his own capacity. Someone else has asked us to design a new concept for the future of a community in Japan.

Right now we are living in the poorest form of society; in the last thousand years we’ve become mechanical components, just functioning for creating money. We’re living for money. Of course money is now a requirement for living, but we weren’t born for that. We’re the worst civilization that has existed, perhaps, in the last ten thousand years. But this is life now: We are struggling with money, supposedly where happiness comes from. This is an illusion. It is important to know that our current beliefs will model our future reality. We have the ability to choose what comes next.