WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade Plus Year Ahead at Japan House
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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Explore the contrasting worlds of Japan’s urban future and rural traditions in WOW’s new digital art installation at Japan House London, WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade.
From 21 November 2019 – 22 March 2020 Japan House hosts the mesmerising digital displays of multidisciplinary visual design studio, WOW. Showcasing their first UK solo exhibition, WOW’s unique approach to digital arts is a must-see on the London events calendar this winter.
Japan House presents two installations by WOW looking at both the urban future and timelessness of rural Japan.
WOW’s ‘Tokyo Light Odyssey’ welcomes visitors to experience a mind-bending 360-degree journey through 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. Along the journey visitors can ride the Yamanote Line, explore the skyscrapers and capsule hotels of the world’s largest capital city and see the iconic Tokyo Tower seamlessly floating as a fragment of the night sky. The installation, which lasts five minutes and 25 seconds, promises to leave 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 Tōhoku region of north-eastern Japan, highlighting WOW’s roots in Sendai.
Upon entering the exhibition visitors are greeted by the ‘POPPO Woods’ – an installation which welcomes visitors to attach magnetic tree segments to the Gallery walls to summon digital birds. Each bird is unique to the region of Tōhoku and is a talismanic symbol.
Moving on, touch screens allow visitors to carve their own kokeshi doll or wooden toy and digitize them to become part of the exhibition, displayed on the walls of the Gallery.
In the final part of this installation, the faces of 130 citizens of Yamagata Prefecture are digitally projected on to unpainted wooden kokeshi dolls. The body of the dolls, which are imbued with auspicious meaning, are decorated using designs from a veteran Japanese kokeshi maker based in Zao Onsen. Photo technology also allows visitors to project their own faces on to the kokeshi to create their own unique doll.
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.
This exhibition is organized by Japan House London in collaboration with WOW, with kind support from Japan House London Trust and Panasonic Business.
Year Ahead at Japan House, 2019-2021
Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan (working title), 16 April – 28 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. Produced under the direction of architectural critic Igarashi Taro, the exhibition will coincide with London Festival of Architecture 2020.
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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Exhibition Menu at Akira Restaurant, Japan House
Celebrating the WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade exhibition at Japan House, Akira restaurant on the first floor of the building is serving two exhibition-related menu items showcasing the flavours of rural and urban Japan.
The Woodland Shade dish, which introduces flavours from the Japanese countryside, is gyūtan – charcoal-grilled ox tongue served with salty cheese, watercress and Akira’s own jalapeno miso. Enjoy on its own or create a set with rice and miso soup.
The second new item is the City Lights cocktail: Marunouchi. Explore the flavours of Japan’s capital with Suntory Chita Single Grain whisky, combined with yuzu juice, sweet orange blossom Gomme Syrup and fresh cherry.
Based in Tokyo and Sendai, 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 for brands including Sony, Suntory, Aston Martin, Dior, Chandon, Pokémon, Issey Miyake and Shiseido. The studio’s practice is based on a vision to bring positive change to society.
For more information, visit: www.w0w.co.jp/en/
About Panasonic Business
Panasonic is a global manufacturer of Projection, Large Format Display and Professional Camera technology that aims to provide Audio Visual Solutions from the point of image capture to display. Working with market leading organisations in the education, corporate, rental, staging and leisure sectors, we have assisted them to improve the quality of the audio visual solutions, providing new applications and revenue streams. For more information, visit: https://business.panasonic.co.uk/visual-system.
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.
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