Where the thread goes.

To make that which is not normally seen, visible. That was the assignment in school for which this video work (made late 2015) was born, in which we tried to make a sewing machine’s mechanism visible—where does the thread go and how does it ultimately form the stitching pattern. We tried shooting a transparent fabric from up close and in high-speed (for slow-motion playback,) but however we tried, we couldn’t make its inner workings clear. Instead, hands out of focus partially covering the view of our subject seen only in portions at a time, with white and rounded shapes contrasting sharp and shiny metal ones, the sewing machine’s mystery and allure only deepened.

普段は見えていない何かを、何だかの手段によって「可視化」するという学校の課題から(2015年年末に)生まれた作品です。そのため、ミシンの構成、糸がどういう動きをして縫い目になるかを可視化するようにしました。しかし透明な布を近く、速く(スローモーションで)撮影してみてもその映像でミシンの謎がわかったというわけでもない。むしろ、手の突然な動きで時々おおわれる、部分的にしか見えていない被写体のミシンがますます不思議に見えてきました。白くて丸っこい形とピカピカする尖った金属な部分が魅力的でした。

Virtual reality workshop at K-Arts.

One of the cooler things I was involved in during my studies at Tokyo University of the Arts was the two-week virtual reality workshop in Seoul I was invited in, last February—the “VR Cubic Workshop.” Students from three universities corresponding to three countries (Korea National University of Arts, Communication University of China, and ours) studied the technology and created content for the HTC Vive using Unity. Teams were split according to university, and given the task of creating a VR space inspired by a historical figure representative of their country. In our case, we chose Sen no Rikyu, a master of the tea ceremony that cemented most of its traditions during the 16th century. We based our space on one of his designs, the Taian, a two-tatami-small tea room that embodies the rustic simplicity of wabi-cha. While the video above shows a demonstration of our project, The tea room, I also edited a video (below) with the closing presentation for the workshop, which was held in Seoul with all of the students and professors. In it you can see demonstrations of the whole three projects. […]

Several installations.

The yearly schedule in the New Media program I attended revolves around two public exhibitions in which we show our works: the summer Open Studio and the winter Media Practice. Most of the work done for the exhibition itself is also done by us students, in fact (the brochure and poster design, the exhibit design, tending to visitors, public relations, etc.) So we all split the work and let each focus on different tasks. […]

ことばから考えてみると.

先日の投稿で英語で紹介したプロジェクトを今回日本語で紹介したいと思います。「ことばから考えてみると」とは、2年間をかけて東京藝術大学映像研究科メディア映像専攻で学習した…証?である、その修了制作です。このブログなら英語だけで紹介して済んだはずですが、特に日本語で書いた作品解説は日本語のまま載せる意味がないため、載せませんでした。翻訳するのが厳しいがブログには載せたいと思って、解説をきっかけに今回特別に日本語で投稿してみました! […]

Come to think of language.

Even though I’ve been making a lot of stuff and been involved in many projects during my stay in Japan, I’ve failed to keep this blog updated, so I’ll try to slowly and retroactively add everything. I’ll start with the latest: my graduation project.

I spent the last two years in the New Media program at the Tokyo University of the Arts (named the university thus as it may be, I actually lived and studied in Yokohama, where the Film and New Media school is located.) The second year is when most of one’s energy goes into the graduation project. I’m not going to get into details here, but it was a rough year for our generation, and I’m glad it’s over. I had a first start with my Nendo project, of the design of a programming language inspired by art and design thinking, but the last six months or so had me switch over to what I call in English the Come to think of language project, which I guess you could call a linguistic experiment. I’m of course not a linguist, but I am very interested in the field and inspired by some of its thinkers. The linguistic relativity principle, or so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, was one idea that drew me to the original programming language design, and that inspired the project that I ultimately completed. This is a very simple but powerful idea: the observation that language is deeply linked with thought, and that different languages would foster different ways of thinking. This has been highly debated in the linguistics field (Chomsky’s followers are very much against this idea, for, I dare say, mostly historical reasons,) but rather than attempt proving or refuting it, I assumed its truth and let it influence me. […]

Video work at school.

At university I’ve ended up working on several video pieces, most of them very fun to work at. Here are some of them, all created as part of some assignment.

Gaten is a work that had to comply with the conditions of being about the human body, and of incorporating as a theme either ball, string, box, or bag. We went with string (amounting to not much but an initial pretext,) and our answer was devising a human swing. We just took it over the top.

This video, which I titled when uploading to Vimeo An experiment in high-speed filming, is the result of a process of doing just that, but then trying to use the technique acquired for expressive purposes. The concept is of a —I struggle with what to call it— metadiegesis in which us students act ourselves, and, well, saying further would be spoiling it. Despite what the above might suggest, it is a lowbrow, hackneyed little video that we still enjoyed putting together.

上記の映像は日本語が理解できなくても観られるものですが、その条件に外れてしまう後一つを見せたいと思います。愛着というタイトルです。コミュニケーション・デザインという枠の中で作られた映像なんですが、その意図にも外れてしまいました。変わったコミュニケーションを街に探して、その裏を掘り出すという課題でしたが、見つけた件の裏話は他人へのコミュニケーションでもなかったのです。しかし聞かせていただいた物語も面白くてこの映像になりました。もっと面白い話は聞いたのですが、更に課題の意図に外れてしまうので使いませんでした。気が向いたらこの映像を伸ばして小さな記録映像にもなれなくはないと思います。

Reel.

I’ve been applying for a Master’s at the Tokyo University of the Arts, a program called “New Media”. In typical Japanese fashion, there’s innumerable hoops I need to hop through for that. One of the steps involved the submission of a physical DVD-Video with a sample of my work (along with other documents), so I created a reel of some of the stuff I’ve made that I like. It’s five minutes long and is comprised of nothing new, but here it is.

The Japanese countryside.

I just came back from Japan, after spending six months improving my Japanese there at a language school and generally enjoying being in such a culturally interesting environment. I made tons of friends, Japanese and from countless other countries; it was extremely stimulating.

The place I lived at was a small city called Ueda, located in a valley in the mountainous Nagano prefecture. If you asked someone from one of the bigger cities in Japan, they’d say where I lived was what they call inaka, the countryside. But would you ask the people who had lived there their whole lives, or in one of the surrounding, smaller cities and towns, they would say no, that’s not inaka. Of course, me coming from a pretty large city, the place was small and cozy; refreshingly so. I started using Vine —the short video recording app— during this trip, so here are some of the best ‘moving photos’ I captured from those places.

Wooden still.

Just finished a video I shot during my vacations a few weeks ago in Lican Ray; a mood piece made from sequenced stills.

That place, again.

I decided to make a new video, as an exercise. A quickie—took me two days. Another music video, but this one is for a song I made myself a good while ago, together with Matt Peter.

I used a few family photos from the late eighties, playing up their graininess and color patterns. Their texture made for a much less mechanic-looking set of kaleidoscopic compositions than what is probably the norm. It was also my intention to play with alternately obscuring and revealing the nature of the images, hiding them in the geometry, and slowly giving way to recognizable objects and people. The middle section is intentionally psychedelic, switching to meet the mood of the music. Toward the end it’s much more of a nostalgic slide-show of memories.