86 Naoki Ito(Creative Director)

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Naoki Ito is the creative director of the creative lab "PARTY." "PARTY" creates interactive communication without language and contacts between cities and people. He has done creative direction for Nike, Google, Sony, MUJI etc. He also exhibited 'Digital Vegetables - by PARTY' at 'Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH' in 2017, which combined vegetables and technology. We asked Mr. Ito what we should do to make Tokyo and Roppongi attractive in the future.

update_2017.11.1 / photo_mariko tagashira / text_ryoh hasegawa

Exaggerate the sense and redefining 'touch'

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'Digital Vegetables by PARTY'
A huge greenhouse PARTY exhibited in the Grass Square of Tokyo Midtown for "Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH 2017". When you touch the vegetables planted in the greenhouse, the LEDs light up in various colors. You experience the interactive communication without words with vegetables, which is usually just an object you eat. 

Date: October 13 - November 5, 2017

Place: Grass Square, Midtown Garden, Tokyo Midtown 
http://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/event/designtouch/

I live in Hayama and I grow more than 100 kinds of vegetables there. The environment in Hayama is not the best for all the different types, but I like to experiment by putting some plants outside that are typically suited to be grown inside. They would show various faces to me. Sometimes some plants looked fine but when I touched them, I could feel they were not fine. Sometimes you understand things that you cannot put in words or see with your eyes by touching them.

I designed my installation 'Digital Vegetables' for "Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH 2017" with the intention to have the audience feel the relativity of 'non-language' and 'interactive' by the primitive type of communication, 'Touch,' which was the theme of the event.

When you eat vegetables they look very different from when you harvest them. If you see vegetables growing, some have colors to get the pollen carried, others have furry leaves, and so on. You feel their vitality to leave their seeds.

You can get information by touching, but the information changes by how you touch. If you touch softly, the leaves sway; if you touch with more force, the stem pushes you back. I find touching is a profound action.

However, there are not many chances to experience communication without words through touching. We do not think about an eggplant's 'survival strategy' when we eat it. Moreover, we do not have vegetable fields in the city.

I wanted to create an interactive conversation by exaggerating the touching communication in 'Digital Vegetables'. If you become more aware about vegetables, you may get a different feeling when you buy an eggplant for dinner in the underground supermarket on your way home.

Once you get that feeling, your everyday life may change. You may wonder "Was this mug cup so thick?" when you hold it differently, even if you have been using it every day. You get different information by how you touch, and you may become to like it more, or less, because of the new information. Touching creates the interactive conversation.

Conversation without words is the ultimate communication.

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'BIG SHADOW PROJECT'
An image installation event held in Shibuya to promote the software 'BLUE DRAGON' for Xbox 360™. Shadows of passers-by were enlarged to 40 meters tall, variously posed, and sometimes changed into a shadow of a 'dragon'. Ito did the art direction.

I got interested in interactive communication when I did the art direction for the installation event 'BIG SHADOW PROJECT' to promote the software 'BLUE DRAGON' for XBOX360 in 2006. We rented out a car park and projected the enlarged shadows of passers-by onto the building wall. It was just your shadow getting huge, but people really got into the feeling of themselves become giant. I felt the possibility of the communication without words when I saw the people's excitement.

Communication without words is like playing catch with your kids. Even if the parents do not say a word, they put their heart into the ball they throw, and the kids catch it. Without words, it is the ultimate communication.

Newborn babies do not know words, so they communicate by crying or gripping their Mother's hand. Communication without words is primitive and ultimate.

However, the communication must be interactive. To play catch, if you do not throw the ball back, it would not be communication.