Chim↑Pom: talented or simply tasteless?
If you're not aware of their work, here's an example. In 2009, the six-member shock-art collective traumatised the people of Hiroshima by painting the word 'pika!' (the onomatopoeia commonly used in manga to accompany a depiction of the nuclear bomb that devastated the city in 1945) in smoke across the sky (see the picture below). When citizens responded in horror, Chim↑Pom called a press conference and, apologizing, claimed they hadn't really thought it through properly.
In a more recent escapade, a Banksy-like attempt at guerilla street art, members admitted to having defaced the vast Taro Okamoto frieze that dominates Shibuya Station by pasting an image of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the corner. Other work has included a video installation of a young woman vomiting purple. As you might imagine, the jury is still out on whether Chim↑Pom are worth the column inches they have inevitably generated.
You can make your mind up for yourself by visiting Real Times, their latest installation, running in Tokyo between May 20 and 25. All we know about the piece so far is that it was filmed during the collectives' recent visit to the stricken north, where they went to volunteer. The promo video, which you can find at the bottom of this article, doesn't reveal much - purposefully so, we suspect. If they can comfortably paint 'BOOM!' in the sky above Hiroshima, there's no telling what they might have created in Tohoku, though their absence from the evening news recently suggests they've steered clear of controversy...for the time being.
Chim↑Pom: Making Hiroshima's Sky Pika (2009)