As a precursor to releasing 12 works from WOW20, we have launched ‘the WOW20th Anniversary Movie Logo Internal Competition,’ involving visual media using the WOW20 logo. The task requires expressing WOW20, and completed with the logo, within 30 seconds. The 22 entries created by 25 participants are, unlike their normal creations, explosive expressions of each individual designer’s personality. It made us predict new diversity in the future WOW20 pieces. Here at wowlab, we will introduce the top 7 entries with interviews from the creators. For this episode, Vol.6, we introduce ‘Folding Screen’, created by Kouhei Nakama.
Kouhei Nakama (Visual Art Director)
Participated in ‘NHK Sports Program Opening Movie’ “ISSEY MIYAKE ‘3D Steam Stretch’ Concept Movie” ‘LEXUS BY THE BEAUTY’ ‘aikuchi – Concept Movie’ ‘SHIZUKU by BLUEVOX!’, and more.
His original work, ‘DIFFUSION’ ‘CYCLE’ ‘MAKIN’ MOVES’, got a lot of attention from oversea media, such as Vimeo’s Staff Pick.
- Tell us about the idea behind Folding Screen.
The motif is a ‘folding screen.’ I wanted to include the WOW20 logo in the theme and to “express hare centering on ‘celebration,’” so I thought up the folding screen from the words ‘hare and ke’ (a dichotomy of extraordinary/ordinary). The folding screen has traditionally been used to segregate the everyday space on celebratory occasions, thus separating hare and ke. Since the WOW20 website also takes ‘wa’ (harmony) as its theme, I had the Japanese wa in mind when choosing the folding screen. I divide the ‘hare and ke’ using the colors of gold and black. At the beginning of the folding screen, I used a recognizable jagged pattern of mountain and valley folds to depict two Ws next to each other. In the bird’s-eye cut I used rhombus shapes to create Os, thus intentionally including ‘WOW.’
▲The bird’s-eye cut that appears in the beginning. It spells WOW, with the jagged pattern representing Ws and the rhombus shapes Os.
- Even within the ‘wa’ theme, I sense a personal touch.
Although I made wa the theme, I wanted to avoid using it directly as a motif. For the contact prints, I didn’t want to use directly animals and plants, the so-called traditional beauties of nature. As I wanted to add my own preferences, I used algorithms. For example, the pattern of red dots that appears after the folding screen structure. This is a use of distance called Voronoi that I also employed in aikuchi – Concept Movie. It’s an algorithm that attempts to maintain equal distance between all dots, and if you draw a line exactly in-between the dots, this is the pattern you get. I used this pattern thinking it looked like a tree. I thought that not only this Voronoi, but all golden patterns later on in the folding screen look like wa patterns when traced, which is why I made the particle traces into lines.
I simply used this principle to express wa without using concrete motifs of creatures and plants. Japanese people are familiar with wa, so they recognize it just by seeing red, golden, and black colors or symbols, or a foliage scrollwork. But I wonder if a foreigner would see the wa the same way a Japanese person does? I’ve also incorporated that question into this work.
- What aspects of the works should we pay attention to?
An actual folding screen does not have animated images. I imagined it would be fascinating if they did move. Also, it’s never transparent. Since its original function was to partition space, it would be pointless if you could see through to the other side. This folding screen also has an element of antinomy or antithesis.
It would be interesting to create a folding screen that has animations using something like half-screens and that is see-through, wouldn’t it? I don’t know what it would be like if I actually made one, but I do think it would be fascinating if it did exist.
- Was there anything you struggled with?
I made this over the course of about a week and used contact prints. 30 seconds of CG really involves a lot of work. I decided on general concepts, like ‘let’s use a folding screen,’ and then developed them as I was making it. If I decide everything beforehand, I’ll have to use the picture even if it doesn’t turn out good. But normally when I work, I have scripts and promises to live up to, so I can’t really work in this way. I think it would be difficult to work like this if there’s a lot of people involved in the CG-making and the photography. But I really felt that when I’m doing the direction and CG all by myself, then thinking and making at the same time is the best way to make good pictures and to create interesting art.
- Is there any process in your usual workflow that you enjoy particularly?
Actually, I started my career as an assistant at a post-production studio. So I’ve always enjoyed editing film. I don’t draw pictures myself, so I let a machine calculate the picture I want overnight. Then, I stitch together the rendered images in the morning. That stitching work always excites me. I do like thinking things up, but I enjoy more the process when it gradually takes shape. In the end, there’s that feeling of ‘Yes, now it’s being made,’ which is not as present when it’s all in your head. Of course, while it’s all fun when the result is good, it’s quite depressing when it’s bad (laughter).