Swallowing the Sun
A public performance and invitation
for audience & performers
the colossal loss of life
resulting from the atomic bombings
of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in 1945.
Joanne Rice preparing the center aisle floor before the performance
Photo of the performance
“Swallowing the Sun” is a public sound piece for a large ensemble, utilizing musicians from the greater Boston community, with additional performance content by Joanne Rice and Matt Samolis, which was performed on Monday evening August 8, 2011 at the Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill in Boston. This date falls between the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which happened on August 6 & 9, 1945 respectively. The performance will commemorate the estimated 150,000- 250,000 lives of those killed in the blasts.
Each musician is instructed to play approximately 90-120 notes per minute for one hour. Each note is one life lost.
A few weeks ago I found a small bit of folded
paper in my dad’s mementos for WW II.
It was in Japanese. My friend Tiger Okoshi had it translated for me.
I found it very moving and of relevance still today.
It was dropped from airplanes probably to the defeated Japanese troops.
I quote it below:
Notice to the Royal Soldiers:
Royal Soldiersʼ Rule Book tells you about how you should
deal with when you win, but no information in it when
you are lost. However, now that you are obviously lost,
how should you treat yourself?
It is not because of you but the responsibilities should be
attributed to the General Head-Quarter who has chosen
the wrong operation. Now no foods are available for you at
all and you will find yourselves left in the field without
anything. You are surrounded by not only enemies but also
by all natural resources with poison. Again, your General
Head-Quarter has misled you, having lost all the possibilities
to rescue you at this moment.
You will find no way other than surrender. None of you
should not be punished by anybody, even by the Emperor,
because all of you have done your utmost as the Royal Soldiers.
You should not feel shamed at all even if you surrender.
Your Royal forces will not be able to act as they were.
The choice of killing yourselves does not make any sense
at this moment. We hope you are wise enough to take a better way.