Sound of Ikebana blooms where art and digital technology intersect


Kyoto, Japan – People don’t usually associate fashion shows with digital printing, but in the case of the research collaboration between Seiko Epson Corporation and Kyoto University, there is a lot of business potential where l high-tech art makes a podium.

“The objective of the joint research is to develop a business model facilitated by digital technology through which innovative art producers and fashion consumers can personalize and receive their orders on demand,” explained Naoko, head of the research of the joint research project Art Innovation Academia Industry. Tosa, professor at the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability at Kyoto University.

She creates digital art for fashion which is presented on a gallery screen using projection mapping. His acclaimed Sound of Ikebana project, which fuses the science and technology of sound with the Japanese essence of floral art, is an example of the collaboration between his team and Epson.

Tosa offers three ideas that beauty can be found in nature: 1) the hidden beauty that artists find in nature; 2) the beauty that scientists and mathematicians discover in the laws of nature and mathematical principles; 3) the beauty of scientific and mathematical discoveries visualized by computer scientists.

The combination of these ideas is evident in his Sound of Ikebana project, which involves the science of sound vibrations at specific frequencies, including baby crying. By altering some other parameters, such as the viscosity of the paint, the Tosa team produced dynamic sound-generated moving images using a synchronized setup consisting of two computers, a high-speed camera, equipment. lighting and audio and artistic equipment.

One of the two computers is used to adjust the frequency and type of wave in order to generate the desired forms of sound vibrations to which the paint mixtures respond physically – “color jump” – on a rubber base on a built-in speaker. A high-speed camera records the dynamic movements of the painting while being illuminated from different angles to accentuate the visually robust physical properties of the painting. The second computer is then used to format the images and produce the thematic artwork.

The process culminates in a choreographed series of aptly painted films ‘Sound of Ikebana: Four Seasons’, which becomes both the stage and the backdrop for a fashion show that showcases Tosa’s clothing line with its Sound of Ikebana creations. His team of students was responsible for choosing the types of clothing, including color, to use that best matched the work of art. “They agreed on black,” Tosa added.

The production phase is where Epson comes into the picture. The company has perfected its inkjet technology and supported innovative artists to express themselves more freely through digital printing.

Epson is also promoting its production model of reducing the number of stages in the supply chain from five to three. This type of rationalization would not only significantly reduce logistics costs and be more environmentally friendly, but also provide the consumer with more meaningful options.

Tosa and Epson hope that the innovative approach of merging art and fashion with business at the heart of the matter will encourage more artists to produce and sell custom-printed clothing on demand.

The video work and clothing of Tosa Sound of Ikebana are on display until January 9, 2022, at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, Harajuku, Tokyo.

Student fashion show at KyotoU / Epson press conference
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