We have all experienced how changing our “viewpoint” can transform the way we see, feel, and think about new things. By changing viewpoints and then switching to focus purely on a specific viewpoint, this work challenges the viewer to make new discoveries and embrace new thoughts, while conscious of the scenery being reconfigured around them.

Discussion / Hiroyuki Takahashi (Indipendent Curator)

This work has been created using an optical illusion or trick art technique. However, its aim is not to draw attention to the uncertainty of visual perception or promote the cleverness of trick art.


Rather, the first theme of this work is based on shifting viewpoints “from a video that decorates space, to a space that decorates the video.” A good way to understand the concept behind this work may be to compare it with projection mapping. As is well known, the images used in projection mapping are modified in advance to fit the contours of the building or other objects onto which they are projected. That means the shape of that building becomes a prerequisite for the projection mapping. This work is the diametric opposite. In other words, the video is the prerequisite, and the space becomes a particular shape. It involves shifting to a viewpoint of space adapting its shape in accordance with the video.


Computer graphics is a technology that is deeply rooted in the laws of perspectives and graphics (descriptive geometry). The establishment of the laws of perspectives in Alberti’s On Painting in the 16th century allowed people in the West to accurately portray three-dimensional scenes on two-dimensional canvases (while such techniques are not used in traditional Japanese paintings, which makes this fact particularly interesting). For example, 3D CG is able to rely on computing to depict the way a three-dimensional object is hidden and becomes invisible behind the back of another three-dimensional object (hidden surface removal). In CG, images are generated by calculating all the light that converges on a single point where the camera is located. That’s why, as long as the calculations are accurate, the image is projected even when a reflective object like a mirror is placed in between, as in this work.


Meanwhile, the second theme is “inevitability and coincidence.” The idea of the “butterfly effect” – if a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing, it creates a hurricane in New York – is well known. It suggests that the tiniest phenomenon can trigger a chain of events that has an effect on a major incident on the opposite side of the planet. In the world of mathematics, a constantly proportional relationship in which, say, an increase of 1 in the value of x leads to an increase of 2 in the value of y, is known as being “linear,” but the world is full of non-linear phenomena that do not fit this correlation. The movements of individual molecules in air and water may follow the laws of deterministic cause-and-effect relationships, but overall, things move in unpredictable ways to begin with. That is why the highest-performance supercomputer cannot accurately forecast the weather one year in advance.


Reexamining everything based on this viewpoint may change the way we view unremarkable everyday actions. For example, we turn the light on and off in our rooms. At a glance, this is a phenomenon that is completely independent of everything else, but there may actually be other people somewhere in the world, turning their lights on or off at the exact same moment, although they would all be mutually unaware of this. If you could see everything at once – one might say a “god-like” viewpoint – what would this phenomenon look like? 


This installation uses mirrors, and the kaleidoscope is a traditional toy made from mirrors. A kaleidoscope relies on mirrors to transform familiar objects into dancing, brightly colored shapes. Many people have no doubt been mesmerized by the mysterious experience of peering into a kaleidoscope when they were children. This work allows enjoyment of the appearance of a coherent image from the apparent random alignment of mirrors. Mirrors are fragile but the way they shatter is random, and in the real world, no two mirrors shatter in the same way, even if they were originally of the same shape. In that sense, the appearance of a single coherent image from the randomly placed mirrors feels mysterious, as if time has been reversed. It feels as if the inevitable was created by coincidence. Or perhaps this world we enjoy from day to day is actually enclosed in a kaleidoscope, and the real world exists outside it.


I mentioned in the beginning that this work is not just an optical illusion. Likewise, the works of Maurits Cornelis Escher and Shigeo Fukuda are not actually intended simply to surprise people. They convey how taking a particular viewpoint blinds us to all other viewpoints, which is a concept shared by this work. A close examination of the word “viewpoint” reveals that it can be broken down into three factors: perspective, field of vision and vantage point. The “vantage point” is where you choose to view something from, the “field of vision” determines how broadly you decide to view something, and the “perspective” determines what you focus on when viewing something. In that sense, this work covers all these factors.