ART VIBES! ROPPONGI!
Text & Photos: Wesley Sin
Roppongi is a district in Minato,Tokyo, and its name in Japanese literally means “six trees”. The area was close to several US military installations after World War II, so a lot of bars and clubs started their businesses there, making Roppongi a destination for fun and entertainment. Over the past 10 years, the completion of Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, two multi-functional development projects, brought the area a different kind of atmosphere, one of art and fashion. Not only are there museums like Mori Art Museum, The National Art Center Tokyo, 21_21 Design Sight and Santory Museum, but visitors will also find a lot of interesting installation art on display on the streets. An annual art festival, “Roppongi Art Night” has been held since 2009, celebrating the new art vibe happening in Roppongi.
In 2016, Roppongi Art Night was moved from spring to autumn; and extended from 1 day to 3 days. The program also expanded to include various exhibitions, installations, and performing art by talented artists from all over the world. The most notable program is the collaboration between artist, Kohei Nawa, planter, Seijun Nishihata, and balloon designer, Daisy Balloon. This incredible collaboration transported the audience into a magical wonderland by setting up the main stage with a white deer sculpture, illuminated balloons and dancing performers. Another performance by a French group, Compagnie des Quidams, also caught viewers’ eyes. Performers with white costumes transformed into glowing horses as they danced. All participants had plenty of fun by running around Roppongi and experiencing the vibrant energy of art at night.
Missed the Art Night in October? There is still an amazing art show happening at the Roppongi Mori Art Museum which continues until Jan 9th, 2017. The exhibition titled “The Universe and Art” offers a diverse selection of around 200 items from across the globe and down the centuries, in multiple genres. The entire exhibition includes 4 sections: 1)“How have humans through the ages viewed the universe?” 2)”The universe as space-time, a new view of life – Do Aliens Exist?” and 3) “Space travel & the future of humanity”. The fourth, and most interesting section, is the digital installation by Team Lab, a recent popular design company and art curator. This interactive installation lets viewers look around freely in the space surrounded by projections on all sides. Viewers enter into a dream-like world with a Japanese mythical bird and crow chasing each other, crashing into each other, scattering, and then turn into flowers. Audience members are encouraged to walk, sit, or lie down in the venue and feel the marvelous projection from different angles. A truly unique and wonderful experience on many sensory levels. Team Lab will be hosting more digital installations in different cities in 2017 including Taipei, Singapore and London. You will find all upcoming schedules on their website (www.team-lab.net).