Echo of Reality

The last gallery, containing a single work titled Echo of Reality by Kotaro Maetani (born in Wakayama Prefecture in 1984), was shut away behind two heavy curtains. Inside, a huge red light was visible in the back of the large room, but the utter blackness made it impossible to navigate through the space or see if anyone or anything else was there. Inching toward the light, you eventually arrived at a pulsing glow with an obscure, capsule-like shape -- a projected image without any visible source. Resonating through the room was the sound of crackling flames, imbuing the work with the hypnotic power of a hearth. Though in some ways the simplest piece in the show, Maetani's perfectly realized effort was a mind-altering experience that called our grasp of the physical world into question.

(quoted from an article of artscape, written by Christopher Stephens)

A new concept of "reality" can be reproduced by the information of just one pixel and sound abstracted from some video materials. Beyond a huge frosted glass, a 42” backlit digital display is on the wall. The display shows the color and glimmering (just 1 pixel information) abstracted from a movie of roaring fire. Outside of the glass case, the sounds of the movie are resonating through the gallery space. Through this installation, I’m trying to find a new possibility of video expression other than only pursuing the technologies of high resolution and accurate reproductivity. Viewing and hearing things through this structure, audiences’ imagination and memory will access to more profound reality.

(Statement by Kotaro Maetani)

映像の画面内の1ピクセルが持つ情報だけを拡大すると、色彩と明度の変化のみが見える。映像というメディアは詰まるところ、色彩と明度を持った多くの光の粒子の運動にすぎない。粒子の集合体が相対的に関係することで「何か」を表象しているから、私たちはそれを「何か」であると認識するのである。ビデオインスタレーション“Echo of Reality”は、自然現象としての炎の有様を、「映像」としてではなく「光と音の現象」として再表出させることで、映像のデバイスを用いながらも、通常の「映像」が表現し得ないリアリティーを顕在化させる試みである。


The sparkling TV set in our modern living room might have same function as fire flame surrounded by our ancestors in ancient times. Around it, we share not only the space but also blinking of lights. The light Morse code emitted from light house also transmits some meanings by various rhythms of glimmering of lights. This is a work to reconsider the value of still/motion images through fire images which is simplified into color, motion, changing degree of blightness and obscure shape. Even if the projected video includes just the minimum informations, we can connect the image into actual fire because our ready informations in our memory reacts to the video image. This indicates primitive and new relationship at the same time between humankind and all kinds of images.

(Kotaro Maetani, 2016)


(前谷 康太郎, 2016)

Road Movies

Related to ‘distance’ project (includes ‘further/nearer’, ‘landscape(slit)’, 2012-), I start to make a new series of video works ‘road movies’. In this series, I use mosaic effect to modify on-vehicle video images which were taken at various times (at the daytime, before the evening, the evening and the night) whereas I had used original structure to film ‘further/nearer’ and ‘landscape(slit)’ . Through the mosaic effecting, the video images are abstracted to minimum elements (brightness, form, color and motion). Through viewing these minimum elements on the monitor or on the screen, we are able to regard them as the images of runnning on a car because we can associate the elements with our past memory of fading scenery outside a car. If they are still images without any motion, it would be more difficult for us to recognise them like that. Regardless of motion or still image, the clearer it is, the less our imagination is needed. This series of works are hymns given to our wide ranged memory about the dynamic scenery we had seen and to our imagination that can remind ourselves of it. Standing at the place one step further from where we can see everything clearly, we will be able to recognise how all kinds of images come.

(Kotaro Maetani, 2015)


(前谷 康太郎, 2015)


Though the history of so-called motion picture is just about 120 years, the progress of the circumstance around this medium is remarkable. However, even in a situation like this, I think there might have been totally different history of video. For example, could Morse code by the searchlight not be called as a kind of video expression? It converts language character encoding into glimmering of the light. I think that video (this is also glimmering of the light) might be able to convey something as our ancestors felt each other by staring the same fire in open air, or as sigh and sobbing can convey human common feelings. I refresh my thought when I stand in front of the works of Maetani. In contrast with many modern videos, which put importance on record and reproduction of the society, his works try to be somewhere else than the concept. Also, we should pay attention to the fact that his works are silent like paintings are. History of the video, we have just stepped into it.

(Hisanori Gogota, 2013)


(後々田 寿徳, 2013)


What we should see is also present in the out-of-focused region. Generally, the focused images show what the object is and make us recognize the details of it. On the other hand, out-of-focused images show abstract and minimum features of the object like colors, outlines or brightnesses. I think that here is the purity of lights which couldn't be seen in the focused images. We shouldn't forget that focused images occupy only the small portion of the long way out-of-focused light journey. In almost all works of this exhibition, I used a common camera-like structure outside of digital imaging apparatuses (video camera and digital camera) in the process of filming. This structure is similar to a pinhole camera, but because it has a larger aperture than it, the object generally becomes unfocused and imperfect image. Instead of entity, there is the purity of light here, which traces another aspect of the world. Through this kind of images, we can get farther recognition about from where and how the images come through optical instruments. Two video installations “further/nearer 2012, 2014” represent this concept the most briefly. These contents are not synthesized but actually taken by using an original camera obscura, video camera, high power light source and a car loaded with it. According to the distance between the obscura and the light source, the outline of an orange rectangle (or a horizontal line) sharpens or blurs. Here, the rectangle goes back and forth between two regions which are focused and out-of-focused.

(Kotaro Maetani, 2012)

「distance」プロジェクトにおいて主軸となる作品「further/nearer」,「further/nearer 2014」は、9ページに示した自作のオブスクラと、それに対して照射した500Wのパーライトの光源をゆっくりと遠ざけることによって撮影されたものである。これにより焦点はゆっくりと合ってくるが、遠ざかることによって輝度は減少してゆく。通常の映像においては、「焦点が合っている」ということが最優先事項であるが、この「焦点が合っている」という地平が存在すると仮定した場合、その地平と垂直に交わるベクトルを持った映像が「further/nearer」であり、「distance」プロジェクトに包含される全ての作品が示す所でもある。

(前谷 康太郎, 2012)