This month’s cover design was produced by interactive designer Hisashi Tohsaki. He works at the web production group IMG SRC, Inc.. for client-based work. At the same time, he creates many examples of experimental and interactive programming. His own web site ‘Tokyoace4‘, has lots of experimental projects. He is a spirited 23-year-old creator.

First of all, please tell us who you are.

Hisayoshi Tohsaki, 23 years old. I’m working at the web production group IMG SRC, Inc. in Tokyo. I studied computer science at SFC of Keio University, and started working in this industry when I was a junior at university.

Please tell us about the company IMG SRC, Inc..

IMG SRC, Inc. is a web production group established by Koji Itoh, ex-producer of Kinotrope, in the summer of 1998. I was the fourth member then, and now we have 15 members and a great deal of personality.

At present, sales mainly come from constructing web sites. We’ve built some corporate web sites for large companies such as Sony, NTT East and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and web sites for Tokyo Motor Show by BMW Japan and the art project called Earth From Above supported by Fuji Film.

I mainly do interactive programming using Java/DHTML/Lingo. I do graphic design and creative direction for some projects. I’m also part of the management.

What kind of projects are you doing with TokyoAce4?

TokyoAce4 is an index of my private projects. It originally started as an experimental project on communication between visitors and navigation that leads to information on the web site, but the project came to an end and the archive can be seen on It has only links right now (I believe that this is a neutral design on the web), but I think I’ll develop a new interface sometime in the near future.

The name ‘TokyoAce4’ originated in baseball, half as a joke. I’m not sure about the today’s children, but an ace pitcher/fourth banner always looks cool to me. That’s all.

Please explain the cover for this month’s Shift.

This cover uses the engine that I developed for the screen saver ‘Rewob‘. This screen saver traces links on the web site, analyzes HTML tags, collects and remixes image files and creates motion graphics. Once it’s translated into action, it creates graphics that symbolize the web site.
This shockwave version specially developed for Shift crawls inside the Shift web site and collects images.

There are some other web pages that show the page as if it’s broken using images on a specific page, but this ‘Rewob’ was developed with a different concept (maybe) than them. Though the web is a huge database, ordinary users have to use a web browser like Internet Explore or Netscape to access the page. It’s a bit strange isn’t it? I believe the data should be used more freely by everyone and everyone should access to the data in the way they want. For me, ‘Rewob’ is one way to access the web.

‘Rewob’ is still a beta version. The proper version is now under development and it aims to realize a communication system that allows users to send the same images they’re watching on their machines to other people.

You’ve created experimental and interactive works such as Cursor Monitor and i Respect. Which personal principles do you follow in creating a design?

Cursor Monitor has both private and commercial concepts at the same time. This system needs an exclusive server using DHTML and Java applets. It traces the mouse actions of visitors who access a specific web page and at the same time, it shows those actions to other visitors on the page. I wanted to represent communication that makes one’s presence felt by other people ­ like ‘footsteps of someone walking upstairs’. It’s different from other relatively direct communication tools like chat or Net Rezonator by Koji Itoh.

The commercial concept (this is thought highly than private concept though) means that it can be used as a tool to verify web page usability. It is possible to acquire the mouse actions of actual end users through the Internet, so it’s very effective verifying a web site design.

With i Respect, I developed a Java applet. It was a project to represent the relationship of ‘respect’ between creators, but unfortunately, it’s stopped for about one year.

The Synapse project was developed two years ago. I designed a system that allows more than one person to enjoy a word association game in realtime through the net. When I thought about myself, I came up with the idea that there was something as ‘oneself’ between a word associated with another word. For example, when you hear a word ‘Mac’, it might remind you of ‘Macintosh’, or other people might be reminded of ‘McDonalds’. I think the results of a word association game between a male and a female group shows the difference by gender. Also, the results between a doctors and a lawyers group shows the difference by job. When you compare those results with your word association game, it should show yourself by a relative relationship. The web site is made with such a concept. Unfortunately, the system doesn’t work now because I’ve left the site at university, but I would like to remake the project in the future.

Though these projects are interactive pieces, it doesn’t mean that users and the computer interact with each other, but it has an interaction between users, or a user and I. I’m not always conscious of it, but I think it’s one of the common themes in most of my works.

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