WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade

Japan House hosts its first digital art exhibition from 21 November 2019 – 22 March 2020. WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade presents two immersive installations by visual design studio WOW. In Tokyo Light Odyssey guests are surrounded by a dramatic, 360-degree omnidirectional movie of urban Tokyo; while POPPO offers a digital encounter with the folk crafts of rural Yamagata Prefecture in Japan's north.  

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Japan House presents WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade
Digital art encounters with Japan

Exhibition dates: 21 November 2019 – 22 March 2020
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On 21 November 2019 Japan House London is set to welcome the mesmerising digital displays of multidisciplinary visual design studio, WOW. Coming to London for the first time to exhibit displays which have created a sense of wonder, WOW’s unique approach to digital arts is a must-see on the London arts calendar this November.

Japan House presents two installations by WOW looking at both the urban future and timelessness of rural Japan.

WOW’s ‘Tokyo Light Odyssey’ installation presents a mind-bending 360-degree reimagining of Japan’s capital city by night, to herald 2020 and the year when the world looks to Tokyo for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At once familiar – with neon lights emanating from train stations and convenience store logos floating in the darkness – the artists use omnidirectional motion graphics to contort the known world to present an entirely new interpretation of Tokyo’s cityscape. Each scene, projected around the walls, appears as a fragment of the illuminated city hurtling through the night sky, leaving visitors with a lingering sense of having emerged from a dream.

While ‘Tokyo Light Odyssey’ focusses on scenes of the city, ‘POPPO’ is an excursion into the folk art of Japan’s countryside. This digital display includes three different installations focussing on kokeshi – wooden dolls and O-taka poppo – carved wooden figures in the shape of hawks, both originating in the Tohoku region of north-eastern Japan, highlighting WOW’s roots in Sendai.

Touch screens allow visitors to carve their own kokeshi doll and digitize them to become part of the exhibition, displayed on the walls of the Gallery. Photo technology also allows visitors to project their own faces on to the kokeshi, to create their own unique, virtual doll. This display invites those of all ages to marvel at WOW’s imaginative representation of folk art in the digital age, as well as touch, play and immerse themselves within the exhibition.

WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade runs between 21 November 2019 and 22 March 2020. The exhibition is suitable for all ages and is free to attend.

Year Ahead at Japan House, 2019-2021

Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan (working title), April – June 2020
Following on from WOW, Japan House is set to host Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan. This exhibition looks at the ways in which windows give us unique perspectives on the world and frame our vision. Acting as a dividing space, letting in light and keeping in heat, the exhibition explores the significance of windows beyond their primary architectural function to consider the impact they have on each of us, every day.

Tokyo 1964 (title TBC), July – September 2020
To coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Tokyo in 2020, Japan House presents an exhibition looking at the design and aesthetics of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the first to be held in Asia. Showing a variety of nostalgic memorabilia from the games, the exhibition shines a light on the work of the Games’ official designer, Kamekura Yusaku and examines how this design direction paved the way for all subsequent Games and world sporting events.


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About WOW
Based in Sendai and Tokyo, WOW’s visual arts studio aims to reach beyond the boundaries of motion graphics, presenting installations which raise questions of how we interpret and express the modern world. WOW is involved in a wide field of design work, including advertising and commercial works, installations for exhibition spaces, and user interface designs for prominent brands. The studio’s practice is based on a vision to bring positive change to society. 
For more information, visit:

About Japan House
Japan House London is the new cultural centre offering visitors an experience of the best and latest from Japan. Located on London’s Kensington High Street, the experience is an authentic encounter with Japan, engaging and surprising even the most knowledgeable guests. Presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology, it deepens our appreciation of all that Japan has to offer. Part of a global initiative led by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are two other Japan Houses in Los Angeles and São Paulo.

For more information or further images please contact: 

Hollie Mantle, PR Manager: [email protected]

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