HAPPENINGText: Tomohiro Okada

“People who continue explorations on the scene where attractive media technologies are created always have interesting ideas, and the technological demonstration itself created from the scene is becoming attractive today. Therefore, I think, the boundary between art and technology is becoming vague.”

Toshio Iwai, is an interesting media artist, who turned his attention to how the ideas behind the scene where technology is created. As a way to communicate the attraction of those ideas, he presented ‘Happy Technology Lab‘, a collaboration project with the cartoonist BBKY (Kayo Baba), at a gallery in Harajyuku, Tokyo.

“When I approach a project to realize technologies with an idea as an artist, what would happen? With such an idea, I started to work for this exhibition in the same way as a laboratory of the latest technologies”, Iwai says.

There’s a disappointing fact that the fresh interest that researchers created in their creation will be chipped off when it becomes a consumer product, and as a result, end users have to create their originalities using such products. The background of this exhibition has an approach to make the fact happy with the power of art.

Let’s go see the works exhibited at the Lab. The first one is ‘Birdie Phone’. Today’s mobile phones have a function that uses various ringing tones. This ‘Birdie Phone’ is an attempt to recreate the sound of birdcalls using a mobile phone. Can a mobile phone be a tool that allows us to communicate with not only people but also animals (birds)?

Visitors can actually ring the mobile phone that sounds a birdcall melody and a device is installed to simulate that it works. Panels hang on the wall that explain about each ‘prototype’. The format is the same as ordinary laboratories, but what a big difference the ideas and possibilities visualized by the cute illustrations of BBKY make. Connections leading to the prototype are also illustrated by BBKY and they surround the panels. Those cute and lovely illustrations of BBKY attract visitors’ eyes.

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