360 degrees of Virtual Play

The NTT ICC’s current exhibition is a fusion of art, science, nightclub visuals and childsplay.

poster for Tetsuya Kakuta

Tetsuya Kakuta "First Person Space"

at NTT ICC Inter Communication Center
in the Shinjuku area
This event has ended - (2007-07-14 - 2007-09-02)

poster for ICC Kids Program

ICC Kids Program "Sound x Image - Watch the Sound, Listen to the Images"

at NTT ICC Inter Communication Center
in the Shinjuku area
This event has ended - (2007-07-14 - 2007-09-02)

In Reviews by Rebecca Milner 2007-08-18

Tetsuya Kakuta, 'First Person Space'

The trailer for “First person space” explains that the work of artist and technology developer Tetsuya Kakuta plays with light and motion while drawing on techniques used by club VJs to create a virtual space uniquely accessible to the participant through a specially designed headset.

Clubland intellectualized? I’m there.

When you put on the headset, the flat screen image in front of you becomes an all-encompassing 3D image. You can turn completely, take a few steps here and there and you will still be surrounded by the geometric, monochromatic CG moonscape. Or rather you find yourself traveling through it, and rather fast at that.

There are 360 degrees of directions to explore but they are all stark and grey. Should anything be read into this? Surely he could have made something more colorful and cheery if he wanted. What might have entranced me for hours under different circumstances fails to maintain my interest for longer than a minute or two and left me feeling vaguely anxious and depressed. Did I miss something?

I surrendered the headset to the line of kids behind me, waiting not too patiently for their turn. I wonder what they thought of it – if they got more out of it than me. I wonder if they thought I looked silly.

Visitors should be aware that Kakuta’s installation is part of the “emergencies!” series for emerging experimental artists at the NTT Inter Communication Center; the exhibition area for this series is a tiny room in a back corner of the center, making it a smaller feature of the NTT ICC’s current exhibition program than you might expect. A much larger space on the same “Art and Technology Zone” floor is devoted to the ICC Kids Program.

The current kids’ exhibition, titled “Sound x Image” is timed to run through the summer holiday. Here you can watch little ones mix their own music tracks and videos and lament that you weren’t born decades later. There are also butterfly nets for catching electric waves, microphones hanging from the ceiling that transform your voice into images of clouds, and shadow puppets that project animated images. Everything is wonderfully colorful and cartoon-ish and there is nothing alarming or isolating about the technology here. If you have kids, bring them!

On the way from the kids’ area to the “emergencies!” exhibition are a series of participatory techno-art installations that are all-age friendly; the kids can play on the machines and the self-consciously mature can read about (and attempt to understand) what is going on technically. With an abundance of staff members on hand to explain how things work, adults might even find themselves encouraged to play too.

Rebecca Milner

Rebecca Milner. Born in San Diego, California in 1980, Rebecca studied modern English, French, and Spanish literature at Stanford University. She now works as a freelance fashion writer and trend scout, as well as doing occasional work as an interpreter, English teacher, and bar hostess. Happily infatuated with the mundane, she relishes making coffee, reading the newspaper, grocery shopping, and riding her bicycle. She is obsessed with all things urban, is an ambitious collector of magazines, makes terrible pottery, prefers graffiti to commissioned sculptures, has an unusual affinity for typefaces, and totally digs performance art. » See other writings

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