• Passage Works
    Noritaka Minami

Left: Noritaka Minami, Arcade Interior (Nishi-Ogikubo), 2017, archival pigment print. Right: Noritaka Minami, Arcade Interior (Mito), 2017, archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

This research project titled Passage Works is a photographic investigation of shopping arcades that proliferated in Japan during the postwar economic miracle. Arcades became a ubiquitous architectural presence in urban environments during this period in which the nation emerged from the devastation of World War II to become an economic superpower. The commercial districts of cities across the nation were transformed into covered passages to protect consumers from inclement weather and became an important precursor to contemporary supermarkets and shopping malls. Today, arcades symbolize a historical era that has passed in Japan. Many of the structures are in disrepair or facing demolition due to changes in both the economy and population. This project will document various forms of arcades that still stand in the nation. The photographs will examine the states in which arcades exist today as they face obsolescence in the twenty-first century.

Noritaka Minami is a visual artist based in Chicago. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in art practice and graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a MFA in studio art. Minami is currently an assistant professor of photography at Loyola University Chicago. He has also taught at Harvard University; Wellesley College; the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; University of California, Berkeley; and University of California, Irvine. He is a recipient of grants from the Graham Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and Center for Cultural Innovation. Minami's works are held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University of California Los Angeles Architecture and Urban Design, and Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago. In 2015, he published a monograph titled 1972—Nakagin Capsule Tower (Kehrer Verlag, 2015), which received the 2015 Architectural Book Award from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany.