Entwining viewpoints and lingering lines of sight

2001@Tokyo International Forum Lobby Gallery

Emul-vi*sion is a collaboration work with artist Atsuhito Otake, which poses a question about how art should be in public space, as part of the International Art Fair (NICAF) held at the Tokyo International Forum. Kicking off with Mr. Otake’s work that uses pinhole optics, we came up with the design of a “garden” themed on the visual perception of the viewers. It is an attempt to generate physicality in public space while changing and opening up a closed wall that is normally a part of the exhibition booth into a visual device.

Full view of Emul-vi*sion (Photo by Atsuhito Otake)

Emul-vi*sion is coined from two words: emulsion and vision. Emulsion is a smooth milky mixture, such as tempera or mayonnaise. The mixing of the substances with different properties, such as water and oil, or egg yolk and vinegar, can be greatly affected by the ratio, speed of mixing, and room temperature. Not only when the quality of the individual components is sufficient, but also when a perfect balance of all conditions is achieved, does a smooth fusion emerge like a miracle. 
At various corners of the Tokyo International Forum where transmitted light shines in from between the glass and frames, a vision is woven by the pinhole images directly captured on glass spheres, mirrored stainless steel surfaces, and photolith films, partitions that have slits that guide diverse traffic lines and the movable sliding fences, the passage generated between the two walls, and a tower structure that preserves darkness inside. A human who moves back and forth between the inverted outer view in images and the real environment is at the same time, a wanderer who crisscross the past established as images captured in memory and the future time. In such a setting, a space-time opens up where the virtual images and reality emulsify through physical experience with the aid of the fluctuations of reflections and interlocking of multiple dimensions. (Excerpt from the exhibition text by Akihiko Takami)

Emul-vi*sion layout plan diagram

Entrance – Dishes receiving the collapse

At the entrance that transforms the normal exhibition booth into creating a new relationship with the outside, visitors will find hemispheric dishes sporadically placed as if to receive the collapsing heaven.

“Entrance” and the “Dishes receiving the collapse” (Photo by Atsuhito Otake)

When visitors go down the escalator to the lobby gallery, they will see the NICAF ticket counter (included in the exhibition plan) in the front. Visitors then enter from the Entrance on its right side. The Entrance was themed on an exhibition booth that symbolizes an art fair and was planned as a passageway into Emul-vi*sion, which breaks down and reconstructs the exhibition booth.

Bird’s eye view of Emul-vi*sion: Ticket counter in front
Photo : Atsuhito Otake
“Entrance” Photo : Atsuhito Otake

Photographs in stainless steel hemispheres (Mr. Otake’s artwork) titled “Dishes receiving the collapse” are placed here and there at the Entrance. Photographic emulsion was applied to the inside of the hemisphere that is polished to a mirrored finish and covered with a lid with a pinhole to fix the photograph taken in this position. These hemispheres reflect the heaven like the water in stone washbasins placed in Japanese spot gardens, and fix the images.

“Dishes receiving the collapse” (Mr. Otake’s artwork)
Photographs taken using the pinhole principle at the locations the stainless steel hemispheres are exhibited are fixed in the hemispheres. Visitors will be seeing the virtual images inside the Tokyo International Forum and the captured images at the same time.

Lying hill – Emul-soil

The English word “lie” has two meanings: to deceive and to rest in a horizontal position. When you lie down on the comfortable slope covered with fake fur under light that passed through the gigantic glass box, you will notice that your eyes have the same structure as the pinhole cameras placed on the floor. Perhaps the Emul-soil is a view where eyeballs are rolling.

Looking at the “Lying hill” from “Emul-soil”

The “Lying hill” is adjacent to the Entrance and placed 4 degrees tilted toward the north from the premises’ axis to align with the lobby gallery’s axis. Visitors can lie down and close their eyes on the slope covered with fake fur resembling animal fur.

Many people were sitting or lying down on the “Lying hill” and feeling the light.

The Emul-soil is a region where spherical photographs are placed like a rock garden. Photographic emulsion is applied to the inside of the glass spheres, which are shielded from light on the outside and each attached with a plate with a pinhole. This makes the glass spheres into spherical photographic cameras equipped with the two functions of film and camera. These cameras are brought into the glass lobby to take pictures from approximately 40 different viewpoints. Spherical photographs can fix a depth of field of 180 degrees in every direction—the same angle of view as the human eye. The line of vision from the camera expresses the similar relationship between the space trapped inside the glass sphere and the real world.

Looking at “Emul-soil” from “Lying hill” 
Forty spherical photographs are arranged. The photographs were all taken here and the spheres are returned to their location of photography after processing. 
In “Emulsification” (Mr. Otake’s artwork), all of the spheres are arranged with the axes aligned to the direction of photography.
The negative casts a beautiful shadow on the floor in “Emulsification” (Mr. Otake’s artwork)


Grid Match

Layer walls

The passage between the fragmented thick wall that connects two realms and the honeycomb-patterned sliding doors hides a grid for interpreting the viewpoint and the line of sight.

Left: “Layer walls” / Right: “Propa*Gate” / Front: “Brilliant darkness” (Photo by Atsuhito Otake)

Propa*Gate is a boundary that separates the lobby gallery into the southern and western sections. The installation features angled gaps that cut through the thick wall, and the cut surfaces are two mirrors facing each other. This makes the lines of sight pass through the wall and diffusely reflect or intersect with each other to generate a three-dimensional grid.

“Emul-soil” and “Propa*Gate”

“Layer walls” makes a pair with Propa*Gate and is arranged parallel to Propa*Gate to form a passage. 
“Layer walls” is a set of movable walls made of aluminum honeycomb panels used as structural materials. The countless hexagonal holes create an impression of looking through the compound multifaceted eyes of insects to the other side of the walls.

“Layer walls” and Propa*Gate
 Movable like shoji screen, “Layer walls” displays a complex expression by producing overlaps.

The film photograph fixed inside the “Layer walls” titled “Grid Match” (Mr. Otake’s artwork) was captured using a large pinhole camera with multiple tiny apertures.

“Layer walls” made of aluminum honeycomb panels and “Grid Match” composed of 30 to 50 pinhole photography images (Photo by Atsuhito Otake)
“Layer walls” and Propa*Gate interact with each other to create an intriguing depth.
The slits in Propa*Gate seen from the passage. The sides of the slits are furnished with mirrors facing each other. This creates a double reflection of the view of the other side of the wall.
Spherical camera taking a picture in the slit of Propa*Gate. Deceived by the virtual images, viewers are confused about what is reality.
Visitors can pass through the slits to go to Emul-soil. When passing through a slit, everyone stops and takes a moment to distinguish the actual reality from virtual reality.

Brilliant darkness – Containers of light and darkness

After a moment of darkness upon entering the tower, visitors will eventually meet a spectacle where they find numerous stars that display the outer world. They may be the lights of hope that you can only see in the dark.

Steel tower in the back is “Brilliant darkness.” Numerous pinholes are made in the wall, with each of them fitted with a glass ball. In the front is “Lying hill.” 

On the right side of the Entrance, a steel tower with a dull, dark shine towers six meters into the air. This tower, called “Brilliant darkness,” has a framework that is exposed outside and a curved spiral wall consisting of three ovals that share the same tangent. When visitors entering the “Brilliant darkness” become accustomed to the dark, they will gradually see the glass balls receiving the light passing through the pinholes. When they look even more closely, they will find that what is captured in the glass balls is the view outside, inverted.

The captured images displayed in the balls based on the principle of camera obscura are inverted upside-down images. You can clearly see the ceiling of the Tokyo International Forum.
“Containers of light and darkness” installed inside the “Brilliant darkness” (Mr. Otake’s artwork). Scenery is displayed in the glass balls through the pinholes on the walls.
Visitors can enter the “Brilliant darkness” from the wicket. While the inside is dark, once your eyes are adapted to the dark, you can see the scenery outside displayed in the glass balls.
A slit-like entrance/exit on the back side. 
The wall of “Brilliant darkness” has a spiral structure.