during milan design week, an exhibition by masahiko sato — professor at the graduate school of film and new media tokyo university of the arts — is being presented at the issey miyake shop in milan. titled ‘my first me: know yourself like never before’, the show is an iteration of ideas from sato’s latest book ‘new ways of understanding’, comprising interactive installations and film works that make use of technology to induce ‘sensations that has never been experienced before’. through expressive media and video — including the film ‘ballet rotoscope’, previously published by designboom — sato posits that humans can become aware of something about themselves that they have never known before…

masahiko sato issey miyake
‘pool of fingerprints’ provides ‘a first sensation of affection to your fingerprints’



‘how much do you know about yourself?,’ asks sato. ‘you know your name, your face, your height and weight, your parents and siblings, your friends, your favorite food, the music you frequently listen to, the schools you graduated from, and your past. maybe you know yourself more than anyone else in this universe.’


except, things changed in the advent of technological advancement. as early as the release of recording devices, people first learned what they sounded like, from an objective point of view. before that, you could only hear your voice from inside of you. the example of a recorded voice provides some sato with insight on human recognition, among which there are two major points: there is still a possibility for people to experience a new version of themselves; and that the development of verification technologies — such as face or fingerprint authentication — allows society/technology to know more us than we do ourselves. for the exhibition at the issey miyake shop in milan, visitors experience four installations around this theme.

masahiko sato issey miyake
visitors realize that their fingerprints are lost within the many other fingerprints of society



the installation ‘pool of fingerprints’ seeks to provide visitors a physical and emotional narrative around their fingerprints:


you and your fingerprints are in an inseparable relationship, but you have no way of knowing how the patterns of your fingerprints look like. more than that, you are too indifferent to know about your fingerprints. fingerprints are unique and their patterns are quite different from one to another. however, if the fingerprints of a person next to you and your fingerprints are presented at the same time in front of you, you may not know which fingerprints are yours. but our society has entered into the era where your fingerprints can be accurately and instantly, identified to be yours. with this work ‘pool of fingerprints’, you would realize that your fingerprints are lost in many other fingerprints in society. 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.

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



‘I am looking at me being watched by someone else’ gives the impression of looking at yourself through the eyes and brain of a stranger’: 


cameras and monitors have rapidly become common in our society, and we are now able to see ourselves objectively through these devices. you may have happened to see yourself taken, in a rather cold-hearted way, by a camera displayed at the storefront of an electrical appliance store or by a surveillance camera. in those cameras, you might look unfamiliar to yourself or you might have felt like it was not you. with this work, you would experience taking a peek of yourself being watched by someone else. 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?

masahiko sato issey miyake
‘ride a swing with finger’ offers new interpretations of a childhood passtime



‘ride a swing with finger’ allows visitors to feel like they’re riding a swing with their finger, instead of with their legs or hips:


I think everyone had experiences of riding a swing when we were little. at that time, it was nothing unusual to sit or stand on a swing. with this work, however, you would actually experience riding a swing with your finger. 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. undoubtedly, riding a swing with your finger is your ‘my first me’ experience.



watch a ballerina’s movements mesmerizingly traced by algorithmically-generated geometries
see more about the project on designboom here



finally, the exhibition presents a selection of video works that embody sato’s experimentation with ‘new representations of human beings’: 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).

masahiko sato issey miyake
the film traces the lines and curves of the dancer’s body as she moves



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 yoshioka.



‘A-POC-inside’ was created for issey miyake and expresses the movements of fashion models 

masahiko sato issey miyake
still from the film, ‘A-POC-inside’

masahiko sato issey miyake
still from the film animation, ‘factory of idea’