A Dystopia In A World Freed From Death——Misato “GEMINI EXHIBITION: Debug Scene” Artist Interview 04

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The exhibition “GEMINI EXHIBITION: Debug Scene”, in which six contemporary artists express the world view of “GEMINI Laboratory”, was held from October 14th (Friday) to 25th (Tuesday), 2022 in Tokyo at ANB Tokyo. Misato characterized by a style that does not create a clear boundary between the real and the virtual, combining 3DCG spaces and animations with real subjects exhibited [cloud- intelligence freedd from death]. What is a dystopia in a virtual world that denies the real body and the significance of existence?

cloud -intelligence freed from death

──Misato, you usually specialize in graphic design, fashion, music video production, and art direction, but have you always used digital since you were a student?.

Originally, I had nothing to do with the digital world, and even when I was a student, I didn’t have a particular job I wanted to do. But one day, I saw an installation by an artist called YOSHIROTTEN, and for the first time, I learned that there was a profession called graphic designer. I went to University of the Arts London to study graphic design because I was interested in other countries too. While I was studying abroad, I had the chance to do an internship with a 3D designer for a while, and that’s how I came across 3D and learned it on my own. It’s been three years since I became a designer, and I just started my own business this year.

──I believe you do both client work as a graphic designer and work as an artist, but what do you think is the difference?

Client work is a flow in which a problem is raised and a solution is considered, and it is rewarding because it is clear what you will do for whom, but it is also a passive job that waits for the problem to be raised. On the other hand, artwork is the process of discovering problems on your own and thinking about what you want to convey from scratch, so I think the origin of whether raising the problem passively or actively is the difference. But YOSHIROTTEN is my role model, so I don’t feel out of place in doing both at the same time.

──Please tell us about the works presented at the “GEMINI Laboratory Exhibition”.

It is said that by 2040, the brain will be digitized, and intelligence will be able to be uploaded to the cloud, but that also means that the meaning of life and death will disappear. This is a work that expresses that with clouds and a monitor. The first phrase, “Be Free from Death,” conveys that theme in a pop way. Actually, it is linked to Yasushi Sakai’s work “MCP [roppongi]”.

──MCP [roppongi] is a work that simulates how the appearance of the city changes according to the votes of visitors. When questions such as “Should we build more housing?” and “Should we focus on commerce?” are answered, I was told that the population, birth rate, and happiness level change over time.

In my work, the gradation of the cloud in the center changes according to the number of deaths and birth rates that have changed in Mr. Sakai’s work. If the number of deaths increases, it becomes bluish, and if the birth rate increases, it becomes reddish. Also, when a vote was cast, I used my work to play a video that imaged synapses in the brain, and expressed how the voter’s opinion (=intelligence) was uploaded. Moreover, the intelligence continues to influence the city even after the voter dies. The monitors around the clouds are also linked to Mr. Sakai’s work, and the towns targeted by Mr. Sakai’s votes are displayed in color.

cloud -intelligence freed from death

──What is the relationship between the big cloud in the center and the monitor?

The voting results for Mr. Sakai’s work are aggregated into this cloud, and from there, the image of the town reflected on the monitors on both sides descends. The clouds are also an expression of the 3D art clouds displayed on the monitor in the back being embodied in the real world.

In this work, I was interested in the question of whether it would be possible to transcend the concept of VR by playing the digital in reverse and bringing the VR world to the real world. VR worlds created by artists can only be seen with VR goggles. I wanted to reproduce that in the real world and create something that would allow you to experience the VR world in real life with all five senses.

──How did the collaboration with Mr. Sakai start?

Kento Tanbara, who is curating this time, said, “There are artists who have a solid concept and system, but they haven’t decided how to show it, so why don’t we collaborate in a way that complements each other?” I accepted the offer, and we started the collaboration.

In terms of collaboration, I asked Yuki Tsutsumi, a textile designer, to create a physical cloud object at the suggestion of Mr. Sunaki, who is in charge of the venue layout. Also, I asked Mr. Jackson kaki, who I usually work with as a VJ, to do the programming that handles the exchange of data with Mr. Sakai’s work.

For this exhibition, I created the video that was playing at the venue myself, but I think I played a major role in creating the concept and overall direction.

──I have the impression that Mr. Sakai’s concept has been shaped by the community, with Mr. misato acting as a catalyst.

I feel like this work is a ghost of an artist called misato. In each part, I ask Mr. Sakai for the conceptual part that forms the basis of the work, and Mr. Tanbara for advice on technology. I was also able to face the question whether this is my own work throughout the production process.

However, after completing it, I think that the process of summarizing Mr. Sakai’s output and Mr. Tanbara’s thoughts as my own interpretation was, in a sense, a mirror world-like production. Mr. Sakai and Mr. Tanbara took charge of the digital and virtual parts, while I, as an artist, took charge of the real and physical parts, while playing a role that was ubiquitous as a concept throughout the work.

cloud -intelligence freed from death

──In terms of the work, I feel that the appearance of the fluffy clouds exudes cuteness.

It’s covered with an attractive world view with a fantasy feel, but I gave it a dystopian meaning that “your intelligent life is aggregated into a tiny cloud and digitized.” It’s a world like a paradise, but when you unravel the final theme, it’s a bit scary. It is a work that seems like it makes viewers fall into a pit.

──As you just described it as dystopia, is it rather a negative expression for digital?

This work expresses that life is converted into data and uploaded to the cloud, and that it is “released” from death, but the original life has more weight, doesn’t it? However, I would like to convey that life and death have little meaning in digital and are treated lightly.

──Misato, you are active in the digital realm, but did you always have the desire to do so?

Because of my work, I have many opportunities to talk to people involved in VR and AR, and I had the feeling that those people were in the world of “VRChat” on a daily basis and didn’t really value reality. I felt a sense of incongruity when I was living in a virtual world where I wanted to be, denying my physical body and the meaning of my existence.

──Please tell us a little more about the feeling that digital denies reality.

I think it’s akin to blaspheming life to have a body that you got from your parents, but to act as something different. I created this work because I wanted to convey that emotions felt in reality are more important. I am also a person who deals with digital such as 3D, but it may be a little realistic.

─ Listener: Shinya Yashiro

Guest Profile

  • Full Comet | Misato (Misato)

    Full Comet | Misato (Misato)

    Visual Artist. Studied Graphics/Art In London, And Began Creating And Considering 3D Art As A Form Of Artistic Expression. Exploring The Possibility Of Interaction Between Expressions Updated By Technology And Metaphorical And Emotional Expressions.

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  • Shinya Yashiro

    SYYS LLC

    Shinya Yashiro

    SYYS LLC

    Editor. Became Independent In 2017 After Working For Cork Co., Ltd. And The Japanese Edition Of WIRED. Participated In The Founding Of Tobu Classroom, A Limited Liability Company, Engaged In Manga Editing/Original Work, Book Editing, Research/Branding, Etc. Founded SYYS LLC In 2019 And Established A Base In Kyoto In 2020.

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