MEDIA AMBITION TOKYO 2014 took place from Feb. 7 to Mar. 30, at its primary venue of Roppongi Hills. INTERSECT BY LEXUS, which served as a satellite venue, hosted the “atto car” and “ripple of light” installations of light artist Hiroyuki Moriwaki.
In a related event, Mr. Moriwaki was a speaker at a talk session held at INTERSECT BY LEXUS, alongside his mentor from his time at Tsukuba University, the renowned sculptor Professor Morio Shionoda, under the theme “The evolution of technology and beauty.” Moderating the session was Tetsuya Kawabe of Lexus International.
After the participants were introduced, Mr. Moriwaki opened the discussion by talking about the “atto car” installation on the 1st floor of INTERSECT BY LEXUS. “I have continued to create interactive pieces that make use of light and light spaces,” he explained. “The “atto car” piece merges light art with the LEXUS RC F special edition car and attempts to use light to reflect the car’s energy. In previous works, I also made conscious efforts to work with other fields, such as architecture and fashion. In this case, given the venue, I really wanted to do something with cars. New fields always bring new and unforeseen challenges but also new discoveries.
Mr. Moriwaki explained that it was his time at Tsukuba University under Professor Shinoda that led him onto his path as an artist. “In my first two years at university, I wanted to go into photography but felt some uncertainty about the pictures I had taken,” he recalled. “It was around that time I enrolled in Professor Shinoda’s class and realized it was not photographs I was interested in as much as the cameras themselves. I decided to move away from photography and instead emulate Professor Shinoda’s creative process, without copying him. Instead of metal as a medium, I took an interest in light and decided to create light art.”
Professor Shinoda pointed at the Hasselblad camera Mr. Moriwaki had brought with him. “I have the same one, but the film for Hasselblad is gradually running out and it is losing functionality as a camera,” he said. “Once the film run outs, though, it still has beauty as a piece of art,” he added, returning to the session's theme of the relationship between technology and beauty.
Another item that Mr. Moriwaki had brought with him was an early mobile phone from 1990. He reflected that back then the monthly base rate was about 20,000 yen. Despite this, he had been so impressed by the rapid evolution in size and the technology that enabled you to make calls free of cords that he had eagerly purchased it. Professor Shinoda suggested that while the Hasselblad has beauty even without its functionality, a mobile phone would never be considered art, and that this particular phone may have emotional value to Mr. Moriwaki but nothing more.
Mr. Moriwaki chuckled in response: “This brings back memories of our class 30 years ago. It was around 1990, when the term media art came about and CDs started to replace records. I remember witnessing the shift from analogue to digital firsthand. The Hasselblad and mobile phones arguably represent opposite ends of this spectrum.” Reflecting on his own works, he added: “That is why no matter how digital my installations are, I always try to integrate an analogue element as well.”
The conversation shifted to topics such as art and driving, two areas the two men have in common, and expanded to encompass the value of cars. Finally, a surprise birthday cake was presented to mark the upcoming birthdays of both speakers and the session ended in a celebratory mood. At the end, guests were given the opportunity to talk directly with the two speakers, before the event finally came to a close.