An intriguing exhibition by Masahiko Soto (Professor at the Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts) was held at the Issey Miyake shop in Milan during Design Week 2018.
Named ‘My First Me: Know Yourself Like Never Before‘, is an iteration of ideas from Sato’s latest book ‘New Ways of Understanding’, it comprised of interactive installations and film works that made use of technology to induce ‘sensations that have never been experienced before’. It showed a series of expressive media and video including the film Ballet Rotoscope.
The exhibition posits that humans can become aware of something about themselves they have never known before, this has strong ties with the Ancient Greek maxim encouraging people to know themselves to get a better grasp of human nature.
Sato asked visitors what they knew about themselves apart from basic info of the kind we (irresponsibly) share on social media – so our name, face, height and weight, our tastes when it comes to music, food or style and the names of the people close to us.
The researcher argued that technology has changed our lives when it comes to knowing ourselves: audio and video recording devices gave for example us the chance to discover how we sound or look from the external point of view, but we still do not seem to know ourselves well enough.
A series of interactive installations prompt visitors to experience new sensations to discover their identities.
The first one consisted of a pool of fingerprints that encouraged visitors to think about the diversity and uniqueness of fingerprints, while experiencing feelings of attachment or affection. Visitors had their fingerprint scanned and the image then became a sort of little fish that went out swimming in a pond of virtual light with other visitors’ fingerprints.
If that visitor came back to the pool, the fingerprint would go back towards its “master” like a dog would, sparking affection and tenderness in the visitor.
Surveillance cameras and monitors inspired the next installation – spooky binoculars gave the viewers the impression of looking at themselves through the eyes and brain of a stranger.
In another space surrounded by Issey Miyake’s collections, a miniature swing allowed visitors to let their fingers enjoy a ride while looking on an iPad screen to a park-like setting. In this way visitors lived a childhood experience from another perspective and dimension and realised that the senses may at times provide us with distorted experiences.
The event also included a selection of video works: among them there was also “Ballet Rotoscope”, a film in which a dancer’s body is mapped by dots and lines, and “A-POC inside”, a study about the Gestalt laws of grouping that interpreted from a fashion perspective the principles claiming that humans naturally perceive objects as organized patterns.
For Masashiko Sato’s next project he hopes to develop tools to improve knowledge of the self – tailored to children.
About Masashiko Sato
Born in 1954 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Sato specialises in research and development of expression and teaching methods. Among his major works are PythagoraSwitch (NHK Educational TV), So-that’s-what-economics-is-all-about forum and the PlayStation software I.Q.
Recent recognition for his work includes the Gold Prize at the 2007 New York ADC Awards; 2011 Publication Award from the Mathematical Society of Japan; 2011 Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Tchnology Award for Art; 2013 Medal with Purple Ribbon; and official invitation to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (short film category).
About Issey Miyake
Issey Miyake was born on April 22, 1938, in Hiroshima, Japan. In the 1960s, he designed for Givenchy in Paris, after which he designed for Geoffrey Beene in Manhattan.
In 1970, Miyake started his own design studio.
During the 1970s, he toyed with avant-garde Eastern designs. In the 1980s, he began using technology new East meets West textiles. He started Pleats Please in 1993 and A Piece of Cloth in 1999.