by Sukanya GargSep 05, 2020
ARTECHOUSE, known for its immersive installations that tie together art, technology and science, brings Shohei Fujimoto into its New York home this season. An artist who has refocused his time to delve further into his personal practice, Fujimoto also worked with teamLAB, a Tokyo-based international artist collective, for six years until 2018 when he decided to branch off as an individual.
Fujimoto says, “I think that an accumulation of results formed by my inquiry mind made me (become an artist). I am interested in the protocol which is able to touch the universal senses of humans. Apart from this I have been feeling a huge value from the intersection, which is intersected with social, world and each other. It means making artworks is one of the methods of communication”. His solo exhibit at ARTECHOUSE, Intangible Forms, is a large format kinetic sculpture, which uses programmed lasers to create movement and space in the expansive New York studio. The audio-visual experience takes from the exposure of our daily life to create repetitive, modular rhythms reflected in the kinetic nature of the installation and puts it in sharp contrast with a meditative soundscape inspired by the Shinto shrines nestled in the mountains of Japan.
With this installation, Fujimoto tries to create an extension of virtual consciousness in an examination of presence, behaviour and time. He explains, “There is a historical fact that humanity survived because humanity has the ability to generate imagination, and has wiser thought circuits than other species. This mysterious power is able to grant consciousness to organic matter and inorganic matter, this means, we are able to feel consciousness and share images with each other. I would like to focus on this power and provide opportunity to be able to notice enrichment. I have been exploring the method which is able to function as protocol to universal senses”.
The installation uses 660 kinetic laser modules and algorithms to drive them. In this process, he becomes a collaborator with the technology itself. He says, “I am interested in what is the essential thing of phenomenon in front of ourselves. By using technology, an aim is generating new viewpoints by combining and mixing different ingredients of lights and physical things. I am not an expert in math but the formula and structure of math has always mesmerised me. I am keen on using random and generating irregular situations as well as autonomy, so, when I consider the structure of algorithms, sometimes I get inspiration from biology”.
“I have been trying to generate virtual consciousness and, in extension, virtual life in this work, triggering a deeper sense of humanity in ourselves,” shares Fujimoto. The minimalist installation undoubtedly provides a visually and aurally intriguing experience. However, as a viewer I find Fujimoto’s conceptual intentions to be both over-extended and under-translated. While there is often a gap between the artist’s intentions and the viewer’s response, oftentimes the intention of the creator struggles to find its footing. While in this case the installation finds grounding in its hypnotic and captivating audio and visual, one is hard-pressed to move beyond simple sensation and absorb the installation of a more conceptual level. While this may or may not be the artist’s intention, and quite often the artist may prefer an open interpretation of their work, I find that as a viewer, writer or curator that a semblance of the concept must be visible in the artistic translation, which is difficult to locate in Fujimoto’s laser-based installation.
Contextualised against the pandemic, Fujimoto says, “I think this unique timing served as an opportunity to reaffirm the change in perspective on physical experiments and richness that is to be gained from physical experiments”. Apart from the kinetic installation, Intangible Forms also hosts four other installations by the artist in further elaboration of the concept. The exhibition is set to be on view until October 14, 2020, however, due to the ongoing global crisis these dates are subject to change.