Greetings Hiroto, before we begin I would just like to thank you for your dedication to furthering the scope of our collective imagination, and for inspiring new generations about what is possible. You are part of a storied lineage of dream makers, they’ve created narratives, but you have brought their dreams into the 3rd dimension. With this in mind, what do you feel the role of artists are in contemporary culture?
I believe that with a long view, we will contribute to the preservation and development of culture and play a major role as a servant to the species.
One who quotes Nietzsche and sympathizes with continental philosophies such as Existentialism must hold broad and insightful personal perspectives. Could you please detail for us what your view of the world is and how it shapes your creative independence?
Surrealism seems to be close to the worldview that is the source of creativity. Both massive existence and conceptual thought are treated equally in the unconscious and mixed together as a work of art. The attempt to do so is, like Kafka’s “The Castle,” non-reachable, which I think makes it possible to sustain independence.
Your SKELETONICS MPS-15sk model respectfully echoes some design elements from the Madox01 from Metal Skin Panic (1987), or from the Pilaf Machine from tale 110 of the Dragonball manga. In your Bluetooth ear pieces and screen embedded helmets the RX-79G from Moblesuit Gundam (The 08th MS Team), seem to also find aesthetic reflections. With manifold design options existing in the Japanese mecha oeuvre to choose from, what is it about these series (maybe not DB because I’ve never heard you reference it) that have so captured you?
I think it is just a coincidence. I was in an environment where I had many opportunities to see such things. I think I am repeating the act of compensating in an attempt to recreate the impressions I got in my childhood. I had never seen a pilaf machine before, but I think the Macross reguard was an influence. I like the land battle type Gundam.
The science fiction writer and acclaimed futurist Arthur C. Clark is famous for saying, “the future is not to be forecast, but created.” And through your practice you make actual artifacts of the once fictional. This being a restatement, in all of the manga which so beautifully conceptualizes your artistic tradition a dualism of warring forces also seems ubiquitous. This leads me to ask, do good and evil forces exist in the world your designs inhabit? If so, what do you imagine them to be?
I believe that my work is merely a bricolage of materials that seem to be ubiquitous in the future today, creating the present.
Some may look at your work and label it High Kosupure (Cosplay), where as others will call it fine technocentric sculpture. If cosplay, its role becomes the grasp for the nostalgic, a playful release, or for a deeper immersion into fantasy as escape from real world limitations and demands. Does your art as extension of the imagination seek to bring hope to its wearers at all? If you instinctively answer “no”, or that, “I haven’t thought about it”, surely there must be a deeper sentiment beneath what you do. Thoughts?
I’m open to any interpretation. Just as this body of work has been reconfigured to transcend its ready-made meaning, it is open to anyone’s interpretation.
You have collaborated with great creatives from high fashion to musical arts, but specifically you have made an AR piece with the eye wear brand Gentlemonster. With this being said, I also hear that you have plans for entering into architectural design sometime in the future. So this leads to my question, what are your opinions about 3D design in general, and has the NFT/Metaverse fad caught your interest yet?
I am very interested in all of them, and I find it fascinating that 3D and NFT are not complete on their own, but can reopen existing fields by combining existence with mass, passage of time, etc.
Are there any technological advances that excite you that haven’t yet been popularly embraced? Your professors and colleagues from Tama Art University are involved in arguably some of the most cutting edge technological endeavors in the world. Have you come across any secret projects there that you cannot wait to utilize in your practice?
Electronic paper, robotic arms and assistive suits are fascinating. At my university, a professor once launched a work of art into space as a satellite. I would like to be involved in a project like that.
All images with courtesy of Ikeuchi Hiroto