x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Multimedia memories

Masashi Yokota, the 26-year-old Tokyo artist, has devised a painstaking technique of multimedia presentation that renders memories into three dimensions. It is evocative and mysterious, spartan yet emotional, impersonal yet universal.


Masashi Yokota is that rarest of things: original. The 26-year-old Tokyo artist has devised a painstaking technique of multimedia presentation that renders memories into three dimensions. It is evocative and mysterious, spartan yet emotional, impersonal yet universal. Yokota's work has been exhibited at more than 50 festivals, including this week's Japan Expo in Paris, and won an excellence award at this year's Tokyo Video Festival. If you watch the pieces Yokota has provided, your reaction is likely to be: what is that and how does he do it? Here's how: First, he films a short scene, typically understated but nostalgic (for example, father and child kicking a ball at the far end of a park). Then he prints the film frame by frame on photographic paper. Now comes the hard part: for several weeks he spends 15 hours a day, morning to evening, pasting the thousands of frames one in front of the other - but with bits gradually being cut out, which creates a 3D diorama. He films the assembly of this diorama, also frame by frame. In reply to e-mailed questions from The National, which he answered with the help of an online translation tool, he summarised his work as: "Air and feelings and the memory that there is in the space. Something invisible to our eyes. Something which I cannot express by the words."