cultural claustrophobia - a condition of feeling limited by a system of values and beliefs

these are the things that generally make us feel safe, keep us grounded and allow for a measure of social decency.

way north of our village was a settlement in the mountains where the men harvested the blue leafed patama plants; excellent for cooking and the women there wove vividly coloured fabrics with the dye from its seeds. they came to the village twice a month in the rainy season to exchange patama and cloths for mobile phones or other electronic devices. our village was very lucky and we became very wealthy after we invented wi-fi. that’s when we started herding goats again.

meanwhile in the next village to the east they were doing things differently. they used the patama leaves for ink, they actually had pens and books and although we couldn’t write, it was rumoured that one of their ancient ancestors started our village back when we still had horns. we traded these books from them mostly with goats and microwave ovens. they lived in tents next to a big river which would flood each year which explained why they always needed new microwaves.

after the drama with the goat that went missing nearly a decade ago, the elders decided that the village next door, and the one next to that one and the one next to that, posed an imminent threat to the security of our own village identity. after all we were the ones born with contact lenses and therefore clearly superior; visitors from those other villages were no longer welcome and were removed under measure of force.

my clothes have since faded and there are no more books to read so now i just sit and look at pictures on my phone all day while watching the goats.

these images by yoshinori mizutani remind me of the tenuous nature of our social connections and how any culture, even a global one, can turn into a prison.