exclusive video tour of masahiko sato's technologically-active exhibit at issey miyake, milan

exclusive video tour of masahiko sato's technologically-active exhibit at issey miyake, milan

during milan design week, at the issey miyake shop in milan, masahiko sato — professor at the graduate school of film and new media tokyo university of the arts — presented an exhibition of interactive installations and films that made use of technology to induce ‘sensations that has never been experienced before’. titled ‘my first me: know yourself like never before’, the show infilled the retail venue with participatory artworks that sought to give visitors a new understanding of themselves. works like ‘pool of fingerprints’ allow participants to discover parts of their body in otherwise unknown capacities, while ‘I am looking at me being watched by someone else’ gives visitors an eerie look at themselves through the eyes of a stranger.


designboom took an exclusive tour of the exhibition alongside masahiko sato, who offered personal insight into each aspect of the show. watch our video interview and discover the installations through the eyes of masahiko sato.

issey miyake masahiko sato
‘pool of fingerprints’: visitors scan their fingerprint, which then ‘swims’ into a sea of other prints 



‘pool of fingerprints’ is the first installation that welcomes visitors to the exhibition. sited on the first floor of the issey miyake store in milan, the artwork comprises two parts: a large digital display table, and a fingerprint scanner. what visitors find upon closer inspection of the digital screen is a ‘swimming’ tableau of tiny fingerprints, constantly moving across the surface of the screen. to whom do they belong, and how did they arrive there? — visitors, and via the fingerprint scanner located nearby. 

issey miyake masahiko sato
swimming around the digital screen, the installation offers the ‘first sensation of affection to your fingerprints’
image © designboom



participants scan their fingertips and watch as it is taken and transferred to the screen. there, it begins to move in rhythm and drift into the sea of other prints, lost in the abyss. of course, among the hundreds of tiny prints, it’s impossible to then identity which one belongs to each person, so masahiko sato has devised a way to retrieve it from the expanse. a second scan of your finger identifies your print among the others and ‘returns’ it to the front of the table. ‘you would realize that your fingerprints are lost in many other fingerprints in society,’ the artist says, ‘but at the same time, you may be able to attain a representation of yourself, that is the feelings of attachment or affection to your fingerprints for the first time since you were born.’

issey miyake masahiko sato
the fingerprints return to their human when the finger is scanned a second time
image © designboom



in the same room, ‘I am looking at me being watched by someone else’ offers a different re-interpretation of self. a pair of binoculars seem to offer visitors a peek through the window to the outside world, but instead, viewers are strangely greeted by the image of themselves, as they look through the binoculars. surprised by the sight, the urge for many is to try to locate the video camera that might be filming them. 

issey miyake masahiko sato
‘I am looking at me being watched by someone else’



however, what they find instead is another person, seated on a second story balcony in the shop, and looking at them through their own pair of binoculars. yes, you will see yourself for the first time through the eyes and brain of a total stranger. this stranger peeking at you looks friendly. he/she doesn’t look like a bad person, but what kind of interest does he/she have in looking at you?’

issey miyake masahiko sato
visitors experience the ‘first representation of looking at yourself through the eyes and brain of a stranger’



upstairs, visitors find ‘ride a swing with finger’, an installation comprising a tiny toy swing, and a digital screen. on the screen, images of a playground and park are seen through the eyes of an observer, while the toy swing is placed immediately in front. ‘with this work, you would actually experience riding a swing with your finger.’

issey miyake masahiko sato
‘ride a swing with finger’, the first feeling of riding a swing with your finger, instead of with your legs or hips



participants are prompted to place the tip of their finger on the swing, as if they were actually riding it.it allows your eyes to get information from visual cues of a swing that slowly sways, while somatosensory information of swinging with your finger is carried to your brain at the same time. then, your brain synthesizes these two pieces of information and reaches the conclusion that you are riding on a swing with your finger.’

issey miyake masahiko sato
the installation allows your eyes to get information from visual cues of a swing that slowly sways



also upstairs, a TV screen located in one of the shop’s retail spaces presents a selection of video works that embody sato’s experimentation with ‘new representations of human beings’. works include: A-POC-inside; ballet rotoscope; 2355 amodal perception ID; factory of idea; pythagora device of shadow; algorithm march; math appears; KURUSHI (‘I.Q’ european version).

exclusive video tour of masahiko sato's technologically-active exhibit at issey miyake, milan
masahiko sato’s library gives a peek into what the artist is reading
image © designboom



issey miyake opened its first flagship store in italy in 2017, at via bagutta 12. the historic building built in 19th century was faithfully restored and reborn into a store designed by tokujin yoshiokathrough this exhibition, issey miyake continues to explore new possibilities in its creation across diverse disciplines, and deliver messages about the discovery and joy of making things through design.

issey miyake masahiko sato
a collection of video work is displayed on a screen within one of the shop’s retail spaces 

issey miyake masahiko sato
the exhibition continues issey miyake’s exploration of new possibilities across diverse disciplines

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