Takahiro Kurashima Interview
Takahiro Kurashima’s book-object – “Poemotion” is a magic, organic and enlightening piece of interactive art, which challenges minds, feelings and makes you perceive world as an immense playground. A collection of noetic moods, which is much beyond words, etiquettes or tags and sometimes even beyond feelings – it is an extension of the human body and mind. In Poemotion Takahiro creates interactivity with the most simple means, while questioning the standardized formats in contemporary art/poetry/graphic design and challenging their boundaries.We tried to explore his artistic paths and beliefs in this dialogue with Takahiro, which became one of the most honest and enriching interactions with a contemporary artist.
Ioana Mischie: What inspired you to create this interactive book-object and what inspires you as an artist in general?
Takahiro Kurashima: My inspiration for “Poemotion” came more directly from the book “SEESAW”, as I mentioned in the dedication of the book. “SEESAW” is a beautiful and playful book of graphic design published by Lars Müller Publishing House in 1994. It came with a film, a pair of 3D glasses and a mirror. It was my first time seeing such an interactive and visually stimulating book.
“SEESAW” juxtaposed what we perceive as motionless with how we discover motion. I think that my book hangs in between “SEE” and “SAW”. When conceiving the main concept of the book, I paid attention to the following points:
– the beauty of the motionless picture
- the dramatic changes, stimulated by surprising a film on the paper
- the eternal component of movement
I am fascinated by boundaries and I always think of adapting them in everything I express.
I think that boundaries are dramatic anytime. For example shoreline, evening, changing of seasons and so on. I got inspired from
Ioana M.: What is your background?
Takahiro K.: After I graduated from an Art college, I worked for an advertising company, making advertisements for various clients as art director. “Poemotion” is my first noncommercial publishing. I am tired of making advertisements. In my private time, I want to make something without messages or stories, something not related to economy, I want to make books like stones, leaves or shining stars.
Ioana M.: How did you come to the artistic fields of contemporary visual storytelling (or to be more precise, poemotion-telling)?
Takahiro K.: I am inspired by many things. The following image is the one of them. This image is by Sengai (1750-1837) Japanese Zen buddhist monk.
It is his most famous work, like an universe. The form is more important for me, rather than colors. I am making forms little by little in my private (and business hours). I prefer more organic forms consisting of simple ones.
This pattern is made of a triangle, a square, a pentagon etc. forms regularly arranged in order. The progressing of the finite triangle to the infinite circle produces rotation. It is a spiral like universe. I named this form “Birth of form”. I am always delighted to produce organic forms by combining simple ones just as the entire life and universe are created from simple parts.
Ioana M.: What is the inner meaning of “Poemotion” as concept?
Takahiro K.: “Poemotion” is a word coined of poem and emotion, motion.
Ioana M.: How did you technically create the “illusions”?
Takahiro K.: The technique I adopted in my book is a very traditional technique. The same technique is used by some books in the book stores as you know.
Ioana M.: How long did it take for each of them to “come to life”?
Takahiro K.: I started to make forms 5 years ago, and it took 1 year to make this book
Ioana M.: How do you combine all these artistic environments into one?
Takahiro K.: I’m thinking that I’m interested in fundamentally matters, for example a human body is made up of particles, sunflower and universe is the same. They are contained in all artistic environments.
Ioana M.: Which one of them is the “generator”? The poem title or geometry? Which one is the “starting point”?
Takahiro K.: Usually the geometrical forms are the “generator”. While I imagined movement at first, I made geometrical forms rotated and flipped and expanded proportionally etc.. using simple forms. After I finished one work, I checked the movement of the visuals. I chose only the beautiful forms (the most appealing ones) from many samples. At last, I did enjoy naming the movements.
Ioana M.: Do you also have favorite “poemotions” or certain other artistic works that challenged you more than others?
Takahiro K.: “sunflower” is made using the golden angle. This form is very familiar but it has mysterious angles and it’s movement is very interesting by simple rotating. This pattern is made of a nature pattern, it’s not by me. I’m surprised by the order of nature. “sunflower” was my aim when I created my forms. One more thing, “rabbit hole”… I like this pattern. This is a expression of process when Alice fell down to the another dimension. I wanted to suggest the existence of a hidden world or dimension. This pattern was the entrance in my book, to suggest that the world is not only everything we can see.
Ioana M.: As an artist, do you prefer to raise questions or to give answers to your public? What is your own concept of “audience” and how important is the implication of the spectator in your work?
Takahiro K.: The ”audience” is important for me. I am always glad to see and hear about someone who enjoyed reading my book. I’d like to suggest to the “audience” hidden angles of perceptions. And I would like to emphasize that we don’t know everything. Also, I want kids to read my book like a children’s picture-book without difficulties. However, I don’t have any questions and answers. I would also like to introduce the following mail I received, which I was very pleased about.
Ioana M.: Where do you position yourself in this transition of transmedia and hyper-evolving-technologies?
Takahiro K.: The transition of hyper-evolving-technologies are useful for me in the process of production. But I want to make my works simple. I like books. I believe that the analog devices called books are excellent. I’m thinking the books with thickness and weight should be developed more objectively than digital devices.
Ioana M.: What is the biggest challenge for an artist to create pieces of interactive work, that are considered novelty compared to the already-standardized means? What are the risks?
Takahiro K.: I put emphasis on the form itself, and I want to make the object not only limited to the fun of moving.
Ioana M.: How do you usually obtain funding for artistic work and how demanding is nowadays to obtain financial support for nee-contemporary concepts? How hard is to distribute them?
Takahiro K.: My hope is that artistic works are funded. I am currently funded by an ad production and by a design work that I was commissioned for, when working in an advertising company.
Ioana M.: How do you think contemporary art will evolve in the future taking into consideration that we become more and more invaded by the “virtual” than by reality itself? How intense do you anticipate this thin line between virtual and reality?
Takahiro K.: I think reality is one of the most important factors that are required for work and the virtual reality will slowly become reality, as the technology is progressing. It seems like to me that the word “virtual” will disappear.
Ioana M.: What is your own personal concept of interactivity?
Takahiro K.: Graphic design is my language. A factor of interactivity helps my language. The image of graphic design may look minimal or cool, it is not friendly, but the design itself is born from lively forming in an interactive way.
Ioana M.: I would like to ask you what are your thoughts on perception? How can an artist find a balance between leaving his audience’s perception free and still, communicating his message?
Takahiro K.: I am glad if my book will be an opportunity to think about perception for someone. I don’t want to specify only one way of seeing my work for the various “audiences”. I don’t like the works in which the “audience” can not escape from the world that was created by the artist. In “poemotion”, I composed by contents based on the phenomena someone might already know about the world. My hidden concept is that we can recognize things just as we recognize in the existing world, but there are many things we can not see in the unknown world. But those thing may exist and maybe even scientists have not discovered them yet. Also my thoughts of perception were inspired seby the film “Flatland (1884)” by E.A.Abbott.
Ioana M.:What attracts you more as a spectator in this contemporary art playground and what recent exhibitions/publications/performances would you recommend?
Takahiro K.: I am now interested in “JR” who is a French artist. (www.jr-art.net) ; the “Take Away Shows” by Blogotheque. (www.blogotheque.net) ; Mathew Monahan whose sculptures were exhibited at the Kaikaikiki Gallery that was produced by Takashi Murakami; In addition, I also respect Lars Müller who is a graphic designer like myself.
Ioana M.: What would you recommend to the younger emerging artists, in order not to lose their aims?
Takahiro K.: When I was a student in an Art college, I wanted to know what was worthwhile or valuable. So, I saw and read and heard about famous works of artists from different fields, such as James Joyce, Bela Bartok, Buckminster Fuller, Sergei Eisenstein, Josef Müller-Brockmann,Shiko Munakata, Le Corbusier.
I wanted to learn about the values of past generations, whose work has been acknowledged as being valuable. Nowadays, values have changed but the works of past artists are still considered wonderful, so I intend to find out about what makes them so special. Therefore, I recommend to the younger artists to make research about famous arts or artists who lived before they were born. It is a wonderful experience.
Ioana M.: Could you please give us some hints about your future project and aims as an artist?
Takahiro K.: I will continue to make forms, which is the work of my life. By the way, I will publish a sequel in a few years. And someday I want to make a very thick book… like a dictionary, using the same concept. It is my wish to continue creating these forms to the end of my life. Just for your information, one of my highest aims is to create a work like J.S.Bach’s“Art of Fugue”, which, as you may know, was never completed before his death.