Voices in the conversation: Christine and Seiichi Furuya, 1978
Photographs: All photographs were taken with Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera between October 1978 and July 1985, primarily by Christine Furuya Goessler. The photographs of Christine herself were taken by Seiichi Furuya or their son, Komyo.
Screening time: 19 minutes
"Let’s Learn Japanese! 1978-1985", began with the cleaning of my attic.
Early in 2018, I began examining the contents of the various cardboard boxes that had been left in the attic for decades. The main goal was to finally organise and preserve Christine's belongings. Along with Super 8 movie films and diaries, I found a series of pocket camera films and audio cassette tapes. These objects are the basis for this work. The films and tapes are a vivid record of past life activities and interactions that until then, I had completely forgotten.
During a visit to Photokina trade fair in Cologne in October 1978, I received a pocket camera as a promotional item from Kodak. At the time, Christine was working a part-time vacation job at the Wienerwald restaurant in Böblingen. After finishing my work at Photokina, I visited Christine in Böblingen, gifting her the pocket camera. Together we returned to Graz by train. Christine photographed me on the train while it was stopped at Stuttgart station. This was the first photograph taken by Christine with her new pocket camera.
She took photographs occasionally in 1978 and frequently after the birth of our son Komyo in 1981. But from June 1982 to May 1984, when we lived in Vienna, she did not take a single photograph as she focused on her studies in theatre. When we traveled together to Venice in March 1985, she resumed taking pictures with her pocket camera. In East Berlin, where our family began living in May of that year, she took many pictures before October, when she took her own life.
From 1979 until June 1982, Christine worked at the Graz office of the Austrian national broadcaster. She sometimes recorded her own documentaries for radio broadcast on cassette tapes at home. Alongside these tapes, I found a tape she recorded of us studying Japanese together. I had no recollection of this lesson or that it was ever recorded. In 1978, shortly after we met, Christine was eagerly learning Japanese, mainly through self-taught methods. I did little to help her. She had read my impatient, short-tempered nature. Before long, she stopped asking me for help and gradually lost interest in the Japanese language.