The Great East Japan Earthquake on 3.11.2011 brought home to us Japanese living abroad just how beautiful—and how threatening—nature, which affects and shapes our Japanese spirit, culture, human relationships and society, can be. “How can we exploit creative collaboration with Ars Electronica to share this unique Japanese culture with a wide range of people all over the world?“ was the question raised by Maki Namekawa, the Japanese pianist based in Linz. Japanese composer Chiaki Ishikawa and illustrator Emiko Ogawa responded to her question and got involved. They were soon followed by Naohiro Hayaishi (visual programmer), Tetsuro Yasunaga (workshop programmer) and Hideaki Ogawa (art director). In collaboration with the Ars Electronica team, they created this performance of the crane folktale, which evokes Japanese waterside scenery and resonates with Linz, a city that lies on the Danube.
Storyweaver connects digital piano signals and visual animations projected on Deep Space wall and floor, creating the impression that the story is woven in real-time. In the folktale, “The crane returns a favor,” the crane “weaves” as a form of repayment. When the pianist starts to play the piano, strings dance on the wall and floor, and the story expands, as if she is weaving it. Optimizing the “L-type” structure and the huge immersive environment of Deep Space, this project provides a unique physical experience. It is not just like a picture story show or a PC screen—the entire screen surface moves and swings.
In the old days, Japanese folktales were passed down by word of mouth, transmitting culture and the national spirit from one generation to the next. Storyweaver aims to reconstruct this aspect of a “shared live experience“ in an artistic way, retelling the story that is no longer passed down in the oral tradition.
Collaboration with Maki Namekawa, Chiaki Gloessl, Tetsuro Yasunaga
Chief: Emiko Ogawa
Concept: Emiko Ogawa, Maki Namekawa, Chiaki Gloessl, Naohiro Hayaishi, Hideaki Ogawa
Piano Performance: Maki Namekawa
Composer: Chiaki Gloessl
Visualization: Naohiro Hayaishi, Emiko Ogawa, Hideaki Ogawa
System Development: Naohiro Hayaishi, Hideaki Ogawa
Drawings: Emiko Ogawa
Workshop: Tetsuro Yasunaga
Art Direction: Emiko Ogawa + Naohiro Hayaishi + Hideaki Ogawa
Supported by: Arts Council Tokyo