The Experience Machine

Artinfo に、掲載。(Sep 19, 2012)

A view of the installation “What a Loving, and Beautiful World” by Japanese calligrapher Sisyu and teamLab

by Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop, ARTINFO
Published: September 19, 2012

Rather than being the sole creators of a work of art, new media artists often offer audiences the opportunity to interact with and contribute to their artworks.

"What a Loving, and Beautiful World" by Japanese calligrapher Sisyu and teamLab is such a piece where slowly falling kanji (the Chinese characters used in Japan) for words like ‘rain,’ ‘flower’ and ‘butterfly’ transform when touched by a viewer’s shadow to become the image of the word they represent while a corresponding sound is heard. This interactive animation installation, which combines projections with motion sensors in a darkened room, is a completely immersive experience, set — as the title suggests — in a beautiful world where rainbows appear after rain showers and butterflies snuggle up to flowers. It is also a very ephemeral experience which constantly changes. As in the natural world there are no identical moments thanks to 22 kanji falling randomly and interacting differently depending on how they meet (for example the butterflies flying toward flowers will change their course if a fire suddenly appears in front of them).

The work is part of “The Experience Machine,” an exhibition dedicated to New Media at Ikkan Art Gallery, which include a selection of works by nine international artists: Bea Camacho, John Gerrard, John F. Simon Jr., Jim Campbell, Morimura Yasumasa, Sisyu+teamLab, Vuk Ćosić, Ben Rubin and Miao Xiaochun.

The exhibition seeks to explore the historical differences between Western and Asian art practices of portraying the world — i.e. the use of perspective and geometry in composition vs. the flat, perspective-free approach of traditional Chinese and Japanese paintings — as well as to explore how new media artists use technology to create new interpretations of space. Of particular note is Jim Campbell’s “Home Movie” (2006) installation, which uses widely spaced strings of individual LED lights hanging like a curtain to project back onto the wall found footage of old home movies. The LEDs are facing the wall, creating an image on its surface, but also partially blocking that low resolution image. The overall effect is ethereal.

“The Experience Machine” runs till October 27 at Ikkan Art Gallery