I was having a conversation recently about how the English language seems to fail us with it’s one dimensional words for emotion. In other languages, there are untranslatable notions and words that take us so much more language to unravel. Mono no aware is a phrase such as this. It pins down a feeling I have had while traveling in such an exact way that it feels almost a relief to know there is language for it.
“Mono no Aware: an awareness of the impermanence of all experiences and memories, an almost nostalgic, wistful acceptance of that which cannot be forever held onto. The phrase has become an aesthetic sensibility in Japan, an understanding that this beauty can only be ephemeral. Traveling personifies this, no matter how many photographs one takes, the more time slips the less of that experience can be recalled.” – Gabriella Achadinha
This collaborative series between photographer Gabriella Achadinha and painter Marline Eckard was shot around southern Japan and central Seoul. Achadinha specifically shot spaces and people that felt to her to be existing out of time and thus tugging at the idea of mono no aware. The acrylic brush strokes from Eckard make for a dream space that visually explains this feeling, again rendering language the lesser of the mediums.