『TOKYO ART CITY by NAKED』 - A conversation with Mr. Ryotaro Muramatsu, the scheming entertainer – First half

– It’s raining. Information is flowing. Neon signs are shining, and individual devices are all interconnected. We’re enveloped in a vortex of light. –

This is a report on TOKYO ART CITY by NAKED, an exhibition which took as its concept the idea that “the city is a work of art”. Besides reporting on this event, we have also interviewed its creative director, Mr. Ryotaro Muramatsu.


Mr. Ryotaro Muramatsu


■ – Shinjuku – Shibuya – Nameless… – Tokyo Station –

TOKYO ART CITY by NAKED was held in the Shibuya Hikarie from the past 21 December to 12 January. This event consisted of a representation of Tokyo created with projection mapping.
Once you’ve passed through the entrance you see panels replicating Shinjuku’s billboard-filled streets. At the end you can see the Tokyo Government Office. Entering further into the exhibition, you’re overwhelmed by the gigantic models of Tokyo’s symbolic buildings and neighborhoods. You see DoCoMo Tower rise behind the Tokyo Government Office, then Tokyo Tower to the right and the The National Museum of Modern Art to the left. In between each building there are other groups of “nameless buildings”. Further to the right side there is also the airport.
All of these models are colored by the projection mapping, and shine brightly.

Shinjuku’s billboard street (at the back you can see the Tokyo Government Office)

――What is the concept behind this event?

Mr. Muramatsu: A city is an accumulation of people’s activities, of their daily lives, all the way from the past to the present moment.
Art is connected to the word “artificial”, which essentially means it is man-made. So people’s activities, what they work on with their hands, can all be considered art. A city is an accumulation of art. That is how we came up with the concept of “a city is a work of art”.

As you advance through the exhibition, the streets of Shibuya appear more or less in the middle of the room. In the very center you can see the Shibuya Hikarie, and next to it is the Omotesando Hills. The city of Shibuya is curved in on itself, resembling that scene from the movie “Inception”. This curved Shibuya extends all the way up until it touches the ceiling. The length and width of the ceiling is covered with fluorescent tubes which represent the flow of automobile traffic.
If you walk around and look at this model of Shibuya from behind, you will see a stack of lights representing the different lines of the underground trains.

――What can you tell us about the district of Shibuya?

Mr. Muramatsu: Shibuya is a valley, so we wanted to represent its many slopes and hills by applying a curvature to the terrain.
It is all centered around the pedestrian scramble, where many different kinds of culture and information originate. It is a district full of diversity. Also, apart from the overground areas, it also has extensive underground streets which are also expanding.

On the other hand, the fact that our model touches the ceiling is a representation of physical space and the infosphere, the way in which our boundary with virtual space is disappearing.



In the center is the Shibuya Hikarie

Shibuya’s underground

Models of Shibuya and Tokyo Tower

Once you traverse all of Shibuya, at the far end you find Tokyo Station. In 2012, one of the now classic examples of projection mapping, the “TOKYO HIKARI VISION”, was overlaid onto Tokyo Station. Here too, in the model, it is being projected.
These visuals are one of the highlights.
They start by showing the building of Tokyo Station as it was 100 years ago, and gradually move forwards, showing us the history of Tokyo. According to Mr. Muramatsu, Tokyo has undergone many periods of scrap and build, without ever stopping, and is therefore a city which is always “moving”. This is what he wanted to portray.
Once the visuals flow back until the present moment, it starts expanding on a journey all over the world. Festivals from different locations are recreated using sound and 3D graphics. All of this crosses over the frame of Tokyo Station, and you truly experience a flood of information.
The screening lasts only 15 minutes or so, but anyone who passes by becomes transfixed in fascination and can’t stop watching.


――What did you want to achieve with this event?

Mr. Muramatsu: Basically, I really wanted to create a giant model, a diorama. I wanted people to enter into this giant model and become “inhabitants” of this space in order to “experience” the city we call Tokyo.
I think that projection mapping provides a form of AR (augmented reality). By adding CG to the models I wanted to expand the sense of reality and visualize the “chaotic city” of Tokyo, with a horizontal axis (the city’s expansion) and a vertical axis (the passage of time).

In the second half of this report we will go into more depth on the charms of projection mapping, and continue our interview with Mr. Ryotaro Muramatsu.


>>Continuing onto the second half

(Article by: Kenichi Nakamura)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.


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