Home: Karlbergsvägen 76, S-113 35 Stockholm
Studio: Visiting address Kungsbro strand 17 gården
Matsushiro Headquarters by Felice Hapetzeder (25p full HD video 12:07 and 36:30 2010)
WWII Matsushiro Imperial Headquarters is an enormous subterranean system of tunnels in three mountains in Matsushiro close to Nagano in Japan. The construction began in 1944 and was planned to be a final stand for the Japanese government and military command at the inevitable invasion by the Allied forces. It would have housed the broadcasting facilities, communications, state apparatus, war command (IHQ) and the emperor. The system was built during nine months and about 90% of the facilities were prepared at the day of the Japanese capitulation. Would the war have gone on for days longer, the emperor would have moved into the perimeter and the mainland decisive battle would have had to take place, more devastating than anything imaginable according to tunnel- and peace activist Mr. Shigeo Agata.
Just one of the tunnel systems measures 5850 metres of length. The tunnels were built in enormous haste and under terrible hardships of the work force consisting mainly of Korean prisoners of war. All documents on the tunnel construction were burnt after the capitulation, therefore any exact figure of how many casualties where caused remains to be established.
The Matsushiro Imperial Headquarters remain a neglected part of history, enormous ruins in decay. In 2002 the artist Hitoshi Kimura first organized his art festival, Matsushiro Contemporary Art Festival, part of which was held in the tunnel system, as a symbol of peace, hope and remembrance. The invited artists are mainly from Japan and Korea. The artists somehow all relate to the site-specific events in their works for the annual festival.
Felice Hapetzeder’s video work interprets both some of the artist's personal stories about why they create in relation to the war theme and the location and architecture with its unique history.