Data.matrix | Ryoji Ikeda

Singapore Art Museum at 8Q | Trans-Cool Tokyo

19 November 2010 – 13 February 2011

The exhibition consists of 44 works selected from the 4,000 piece-collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT Collection). From Yayoi Kusama’s pioneering works of Japanese Pop Art to Yasumasa Morimura’s role-playing in multiple identity-expressing portraits from the 1980s, the exhibition provides an opportunity to review works by these groundbreaking artists yielding a context for examining how Japanese artists have established their own creative identities within the context of pop culture since the second half of the 1990s.

This exhibition reveals a particular attitude palpable in these young creators from Tokyo, maintaining a degree of skepticism while interpreting and changing the present age through the medium of its pop culture. The exhibition title, “Trans-Cool” means “Beyond being cool”, indicating that Tokyo offers an overture of the urban culture of Asia, which is a new type of “Cool,” to the world. It is the organizer’s hope that, through contemporary art, this exhibition will reach beyond Tokyo to contribute to the process of forming identities and fostering communication throughout Asia.

Technology in Modern Life

Japan is a nation known for its technological advance, as a result, many artists have re-examined the relationship between art, science and technology in their art.

Underpinning many of such artworks is the concept of shintaichi (or embodied knowledge) – of how society’s view of technology has evolved into one that views technology as not coming in conflict with the human body, but instead integrates and becomes one with the human body.

The exhibition was a row of projectors in black boxes which synchronized with the lightings in the room to give a full-body audiovisual experience.



Ryoji Ikeda compiled data of sine waves and and pixels to create computer generated visuals. The audio accompanying the visual are hypnotic, and when paired together gives visitors a perceptive view of technology.

I entered the exhibition while it was in a dark state. I saw the 10 images flashed by 10 projectors all at once and even though i have never seen any visuals like that before, i already had a connection in my mind that it was technology-induced. Many more visuals came up after, and i was blown away when a sudden flash of light blinded my eyes, the entire room became white and a long beep came out. The effect was close to photosensitive epilepsy. I was afraid at one moment, and then calmed down after a realization that i was actually scared by technology. I think everyone in this day and age can relate to technology at some level which is directly related to the amount of it they use. Ryoji Ikeda smartly conbimed these two elements to create an effect that everyone can understand.

I think that technology played a huge part in my life ever since i was a young boy playing the Gameboy. From utter pixelation to high definition graphics, i have been through the advancement of technology. He subtly identified the limit of technology coming into conflict with our bodies.

With that, you know that beyond a doubt, technology will only be part of our lives, and not our life itself.



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