To Yuko

– a non real life love experience

The project ToYuko, is created around a virtual love story between a man from Sweden and a woman from Japan who never met in real life, although the story also investigate the border between real life and virtuality in a way that becomes increasingly relevant in the light of virtuality currently becoming a growing part of peoples life. The project was initiated in the turn of the millennium, before the appearance of the social networks we are accustomed to today. ToYuko was completed in 2011 with the publication of a book and an exhibition that combined multiple projections of film and still images, multiple sound tracks and installations to mimic virtuality and create a encapsulated disconnected universe in its own right.
The Project
In his seminal work TOYUKO – A NON REAL LIFE LOVE EXPERIENCE Christer Järeslätt is personal and revealing. This is a photographic portrayal of a love story over the internet where the lovers, despite the relationship’s intensity and intimacy never met. It’s a visual story in multiple layers and media that discuss our times virtual relationships and self-images between reality and fiction. This work describes the emotional emptiness that arises when Järeslätt arrives in Tokyo in an outer and inner turmoil. We get to follow a relationship that slowly builds up but never reaches its confirmation. Järeslätt presents his work in two separate but coherent ways – a book and an exhibition.


The Exhibition
By combining still images with moving images projected on three enclosing walls with authentic background noise from Tokyo, Järeslätt creates an effective illusion where the visitor is placed in the middle of Tokyo while Järeslätt’s own very first chaotic impressions pours over the viewer. At the same time a reading of Järeslätts and Yukos private correspondence loops through headphones that the viewer can choose to wear. The private nature of the letters is reinforced by the fact that the artist has chosen to let them loop in external headphones, only those who chose to will hear the words of the true love story.
The Book
Through 160 pages Järeslätt collects all the impressions that showers him when he first arrives in Tokyo. His Japanese love story has already passed its crescendo and faded. Prior to leaving for Japan he was convinced that Tokyo would be his new home, now everything is new and strange to him. In the book the images and impressions are supplemented by the letters preserved in the computer’s In- and Outbox. Through the chronological correspondence, changing from a professional but curious urge to get to know one another into an expressed desire for love, the reader are invited to share this personal and honest experience. Although, or perhaps because of, the very private nature of the story Järeslätt’s experience touches a universal human desire – the desire to find love.