Emmanuelle Moureaux Imagines An Immersive Colorful Installation With Floating Words

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July 7th, 2019 was the 100th year anniversary of the beloved Japanese drink Calpis. Coinciding with the Japanese star festival, Tanabata, Emmanuelle Moureaux unveiled two installations, “Universe of Words” and “100 message bottles”, presented at the “Calpis 100th year anniversary, Let`s Meet at Tanabata” exhibition.  On Tanabata day, Japanese people write their hopes and dreams on colored pieces of paper and hang them on a bamboo branch in hopes that their wishes will come true.

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Emmanuelle reimagines this tradition by extracting the sense of Tanabata onto the floating words. She chose the simplest written alphabet children first learn “hiragana”, composed of 46 different characters. In Tanabata, hiragana is used to express hopes and dreams. The universe created by these floating hiraganas evokes emotion through its stillness and its endlessness. By condensing the essence of the word itself, it derives from the emotion. The swaying hiragana form and symbolize the wishful colored pieces of paper swaying from the bamboo branch.

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The installation was composed of approximately 140,000 hiraganas, regularly aligned in three-dimensional grids.  Visitors could wonder inside the colorful space filled with hiraganas to share the sense of stillness. Sections of the installation were removed, creating paths that cut through the installation. Walking through the countless numbers of hiraganas, words gradually come to mind…As part of Emmanuelle’s “100 colors” installation series, the layers of hiraganas were colored in 100 shades of colors, creating a colorful Universe of Words. Within those characters, CALPIS bottles figures were lost and could be found along with the CALPIS logo, adding playfulness to the installation.  One path led the visitors to the next installation room, “100 message bottles”.

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“100 message bottles” installation was designed for visitors and their loved ones to find the one “message bottle” which best described their relationship. 100 “CALPIS” bottles specially designed in 100 shades of colors were associated to 100 words such as “friendship”, “longing”, “warmth”, each “message bottle” representing a color and a meaning of a special relationship. Once viewers found their “word”, they could take a photo in front of their message bottle to remember the moment. It is truly a special experience to remember.

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Photography by Daisuke Shima with courtesy of Emmanuelle Moureaux


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