Ars Electronica 2018

2018. 09. 06

Digital Nature Group exhibited at Ars Electronica 2018 held from February 6th to February 10th.

We incorporated two further themes in this exhibition: “Beauty of Natural Resolution,” and “End to End Transformation of Material Things,” Based on this combination, we described the exhibition as “an attempt to update our aesthetics to the extent, where we sense something as being natural in our industrialized times.”

An important theme for this exhibition is the vernacular industrial society. To people living in advanced technological societies, “nature” is no longer the same as it was, when humans first emerged back in prehistory.

Exhibition Official Web Site:


Structure of Industrial Nature

Artist: Yoichi Ochiai

Since the 19th century trains have traveled on railroads which enable them to move with less friction and these structures are a component of dynamic cities. If a city is regarded as a box garden, the railroad is one of the dynamic components of the garden – like a fountain or a windmill. This installation fuses Japanese garden style and industrial structures to create dynamics and wabi-sabi.

Wavefront of Life: Kandagawa

Artist: Yoichi Ochiai

What color do you imagine on the surface of monochrome water? The colorization is a subjective process in our mind. Yet, image coloring by AI is becoming common. However, there is a limit to the accuracy of coloring by only learning generic datasets. Will the neural network behave subjectively, if trained based on personalized datasets? What colors will a neural network as an “externalized” artist use/see? The project explores the external-subjective process using a neural network that only learned from Yoichi Ochiai’s photo dataset.

Morphing Iterations of Vase and Flower

Artist: Yoichi Ochiai

A vase – as a vernacular in industrial society – mediates flowers, trees and nature. In this project the flower vase is produced with found material. Made of post-industrial natural matter, it is an aggregate of industrial jigs cutting out, supporting, and constructing flowers, trees, and natural objects.

Wavefront, Reflection, Pointillism of Sunlight and Sea waves

Artist: Yoichi Ochiai

Mackerels’ body patterns are optically imitating the sea and the sun. Here, the GAN process can be seen in their natural texture, a natural survival strategy. The canvas in this project is covered with stretched silver and painted with high resolution textures of mackerels. This optical mimicry of mackerels is a naturally generated scenery of horizons. It shows us “wabi-sabi,” the stabilization of instability between complexity and simplicity through the iterations towards nature.

Beyond the Iris

Artist: Chun Wei Ooi, Yoichi Ochiai
Beyond the Iris is a visualization of the light merged by our eye lens. The light undergoes a Fourier transformation, where the retina senses it and decodes it into the world as we know it. This work brings new perspectives of the raw information our eyes receive into a dimension that we can process.

Impulsed Air Chime: Insect / Impulsed Air Chime: Fish

Artist: Riku Iwasaki, Yoichi Ochiai

Wind chimes are traditional Japanese furniture. Here is the plasma chime, which, activated by high voltage, produces the impulse-sound in the glass tubes with metallic structures. This impulse-plasma-chime mimics the sounds of insects or fish. The generated plasma shakes the atmosphere, and its digitally generated randomness makes the sound of natural phenomena. The sound from the industrial structure of glass and machine permeates into the perspective of Digital Nature.

“Kesa” for lantern

Artist: Yuzuha Ito, Riku Iwasaki, Yoichi Ochiai

Kesa is the costume that a Buddhist monk wears. As Buddhist monks could not possess private property, they made Kesa to cover themselves by joining together torn pieces of cloth. This work is the “Kesa” for lantern, which was made using three-dimensionally shaped silk fabric produced by silkworms. The cloth lights in computationally fabricated organic shapes. This artwork inherits in its visual representation a classical Japanese way of lighting.


Artist: Shinnosuke Ando, Yoichi Ochiai

In Zen there is the word “雨滴聲”. This word means “if you look at things without being trapped by bias, everything is one and only.” In the anecdote behind this word the teacher preached this lesson through perception of the sound of rain. This work provides the reliving of this word through perception of the image projected on the falling beads.


Artist: Kohei Ogawa, Tatsuya Minagawa, Yoichi Ochiai

山川草木 is a 3-D printed vase that interacts with water. This vase expresses flowing water by capillary action. This property is provided by the capillary effect. We created a structure with a lot of thin tubes inside the 3-D model, which causes the capillary effect. The fresh color expression is realized by capillary action of water colored with edible pigment inside the 3-D print model made of transparent material.