Projects

Projects serve a crucial role in the IAMAS curriculum: they set the framework for students’ individual graduate research. Through these interdisciplinary Projects, we endeavor to measure the social significance of media creation, share the results of our work with society, and build an environment of strong collaboration with those outside the school. Through these cooperative activities, students acquire experience and know-how in multiple fields, and seek to effectively synthesize this knowledge to further advance research and technological development. Another aim of these projects is to help students develop planning skills, organizational ability, a comprehensive perspective on media creation, and management experience in guiding an idea through to its realization.

Art Thinking Project

Art Thinking Project

Research Representative(s):
Masahiro Kobayashi
Research Member(s):
Yasuhiko Ando

Research Period

2012 - Present

Research Outline

The purpose of this project is to support students in their diverse art research and practice: the presentation and planning of an artwork’s exhibition, performance, art criticism, etc. The project is conducted in seminar format, focusing on the presentation and discussion of each student’s activities, the discussion of readings, and the viewing and criticism of art exhibitions.

This year too we hope to refine the theme of our discussions based on these key concepts: media art, art and locality, and art and the body.

By making our way to as many exhibitions in as many places as we can, we aim to experience art in the present, at the same time studying texts that deal with creative expression.

The title Art Thinking Project, refers to thinking about the significance of artistic creation itself, as well as considering various social and cultural problems through the medium of artwork and art production.

Research Plan

The examination of materials (texts, digital books, exhibitions), discussion, the viewing of art exhibits, and the analysis of critical progress reports.
Prototyping Tomorrow Project

Prototyping Tomorrow Project

Research Representative(s):
Nobuya Suzuki
Research Member(s):
Kyo Akabane

Research Period

2014 - Present

Research Outline

The goal of this project is to conceptualize current social problems; and, by building cutting-edge prototypes, create a new vision of the future. Throughout our activities, we keep in mind the prototype’s actual creation process. Our prototypes – in addition to being examples of Interaction Design, design that prioritizes user experience – make use of information and communications technology while investigating the significance of this technology in society. What we call prototypes are not limited to actual functioning objects that can be experienced, but also include concepts, experimental endeavors that deal with educational workshops, social infrastructure, and more.

The main significance and value of prototyping lies in the thinking tools and the design process used in the realization of an idea. Accordingly, this project incorporates various approaches: IAMAS’s uniquely developed prototyping method, ordinary design thinking, Human Centered Design, service design, etc. While trying our hand at each method, we simultaneous investigate the method itself as an object of research. This project is not something a student does alone; rather, each engages with fellow students or the instructors in joint collaboration. This experience allows to students acquire a methodology that will help them to drive their own projects.

Research Plan

Students will experience the full sequence of the prototyping process. After establishing a research theme, we will come up with ideas derived from that theme. Then, we will create prototypes to bring those ideas to life. Finally, we will gather user feedback about our prototypes.

Faculty and students carry out group study sessions, gaining both knowledge and practical ability, and laying a foundation for their joint collaboration. Whenever the need arises, we will examine the thinking tools, design process, programming, etc. to be employed.

The primary activities of the project’s first section revolve around the development of a research theme and the acquisition of essential skills; the main goals are research and idea generation. The next objective is to build a prototype with the intention of displaying the work at our August exhibition. This exhibition and conferences taking place in September and March are milestones for the progress of our research.

New TOY Project

New TOY Project

Research Representative(s):
Ryota Kuwakubo
Research Member(s):
Tomoko Kanayama

Research Period

2016 - Present

Research Outline

Participants select their own theme, and, cycling through the three stages, “create,” “convey,” “consider,” use this theme to explore new forms of creation.

One of the great problems that contemporary society faces is the gap between academism and populism. Where places of academic research come into contact with wider society, a dilemma presents itself: the more specialization progresses, the less is conveyed to those outside of that specialization.

No matter how slight an idea or discovery, there are important points to consider: who will convey it, how will they convey it, and to whom will it be conveyed? When conducting research in media creation, it is of course important to scrutinize the contents of that research; however, one cannot ignore the problem of how to convey its results. For this reason, we will deal with creation as a consecutive process whose stages are “create,” “convey,” and “consider.”

We will not be concern ourselves about how our work matches the conventions established in existing genres – whether or not it conforms to ideas about what “art,” “design,” “entertainment,” or “engineering” is or should be. Rather, students can freely delve into their own areas of interest. In order to fully shift our attention to communication with people and society, we call our creations as “TOYs” and proceed from there.

Similarly, we will not fuss over whether or not we present our work in a conventional format. The venue – whether it be a commercial facility, public space, school, garden, etc. – the target audience for these presentations and opportunities for dialogue will be determined by our theme. Through these TOYs, we will attempt to communicate with a broad spectrum of people and society.

The aim of this approach is not to disparage each and every specific genre or specialty field. Rather, we seek to eventually illuminate and reevaluate the context of each, and to determine the contextual location of our own creations. For that purpose, we will take the opportunity to invite specialists and guests of various fields from within and without our school, and engage them in commentary and discussion.

Research Plan

  • Preliminary study
  • Research of reference materials, examples of prior work and exhibitions, etc.
  • Individual production and group review.
  • Public presentation (as an exhibition, workshop, or in some other form) and audience feedback.
  • Guest lecture and discussion.
  • Evaluation of personal work and the project as a whole.
HDII High-Definition Video Technology Creations Project

HDII High-Definition Video Technology Creations Project

Research Representative(s):
Shinjiro Maeda
Research Member(s):
Akira SegawaYasuko Imura

Research Period

2014 - Present

Research Outline

In the late the 2000s, large LCD televisions spread to nearly every home in Japan. After the full digitalization of broadcast television in 2012, the rapid boom of HD video may seem to have levelled off; however, the image environment that surrounds us has continued to climb to ever-higher resolutions. Now, it is not rare for a smart phone to be able to record 4K video; and, in 2016 the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications began experimental broadcasts with 8K video (a resolution 16 times greater than current HD).
When HD came onto the scene in the latter half of the 2000s, who could have imagined the extent of its popularization: that today it would be used in everything from digital signage to digital photo frames? The development of high resolution video does not simply enable the depiction of finer images than ever before; it has enabled a new form of creative expression to come into being. The goal of this project is to further explore image creation on the basis of these facts.

Research Plan

  • Survey /Equipment test
  • Discussion
  • Production of work/contents
  • Collaboration with film industry
  • Presentation of finished work:
  • e.g., open house
  • PJ Presentation session, etc.
Craft, Fabrication and Sustainability Project

Craft, Fabrication and Sustainability Project

Research Representative(s):
Shigeru Kobayashi
Research Member(s):
James Gibson||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Research Period

2014 - Present

Research Outline

We are searching for a new way of thinking for sustainable small businesses that combine handwork with digital fabrication. To do this, we collaborate with firms and individuals active in the fields like design and materials, sharing skills, knowhow, and techniques.

Digital fabrication – fabrication by tools that operate based on the input of computer data: printers, laser cutters, and CNC routers, etc. – is gaining wider and wider recognition under the name “Fab.” This movement is centered around public studios equipped with digital machine tools, and organizations like “FabLab,” a global network of such studios. There is even a movement amongst creators of handicrafts, crafts whose development centered around manual labor, to adopt some of Fab’s techniques. From a perspective of economic sustainability, we too will explore the possibility of a new industrial domain based on the pairing of these elements.

Research Plan

Employing digital machine tools and partnering with those in the handicraft field, we will give life to our ideas for furniture and interior decorations in 1:1 scale. By exhibiting our works at events such as the Maker Faire and conducting experimental marketing, we will investigate their viability as products. Communication during the project will be conducted in both English and Japanese.
Enhanced Experience Environment Project

Enhanced Experience Environment Project

Research Representative(s):
Masami Hirabayashi
Research Member(s):
Takahiro Kobayashi

Research Period

2015 - Present

Research Outline

It is conjectured that when humankind has achieved the Singularity – the point at which artificial intelligence has surpassed the collective intelligence of humanity – the world will undergo a great paradigm shift. Conventional extrapolative methods of technological forecasting will become impossible. In this project, while considering the potential impact of the Singularity, we will conduct research towards the creation of an environment that will allow for the expansion of our experience.

Our work will revolve around topics like real space, information space such as the internet, and intelligent robots. In order to bring our desired future-oriented experiences to life, we will consider how to practically apply our command of existing technology to realize our ideas in areas such as creative expression, computer systems, and service.

Research Plan

To start off, we will establish study sessions to share knowledge about contemporary research trends and basic technology in order to conjecture what a post-singularity future might be like. We will hold these sessions based on the needs of the participants; so, whatever the participant’s knowledge at the time of enrollment, any deficient areas can be made up for with adequate motivation.

We take as our objectives those experiences which merit expansion and the creation of environments where such expansion can be realized. Students will hypothesize which events and situations might be conducive to this, and progress in their work either individually or in teams.

Because we hope to provide opportunities for the practical development of events and exhibitions that function as enhanced experience environments, we will improve our work through experiments in actual society and user tests.

The results of our work will not be research alone; we also stress importance of creative expression and entertainment that can serve to expand experience. Therefore, we aim to develop our work through a variety of methods: presentations at academic conferences, exhibitions at events, implementing events themselves, exhibitions as artwork, etc.

IAMAS Library Archive Project

IAMAS Library Archive Project

Research Representative(s):
Masahiro Kobayashi
Research Member(s):
Shinjiro MaedaShigeru MatsuiYasuko Imura

Research Period

2016 - Present

Research Outline

The “Library Archive Project” focuses around Media Art, a field created by the exchange between art and information science. The goal of the project is to redefine the “Media Creation” that IAMAS champions, and to consider this creation from the viewpoint of the past, present, and future.

The library is a place where scholarly information is systematically gather, stored, and presented. Nowadays, such information is not limited to books; its continuous, unbounded spread includes digital information, video, and social media. The applications of this kind of information are readily apparent. The digitalization of printed materials, classification techniques, tagging, research into information retrieval methods, and their use as intellectual property: such matters have become the foundation upon which we build our ideas about the structure of modern society.

This project identifies the library as a space where one can tangibly feel the cycle of knowledge acquisition; and, through archival research – documentation by means of the collection and compilation of empirical information; the reorganization and revision of knowledge – create new works and put media research into practice. In particular, we focus on designing environments for the collection, compilation, and viewing of documents related to works of media art; and, we consider the many possibilities for the exhibition, reproduction, and reenactment of these works.

Through such research activities, this projects aims to consider the function of the library, and to create a library worthy of IAMAS.

Research Plan

In this project, we will empirically put forward new content without regard to existing academic fields; we hypothesize that the creation of a work takes shape based on the method of its presentation. This project will basically be conducted in seminar format. Activities traditionally associated with the library also fall within its scope; we plan to link those more conventional activities with opportunities to present our original results.

  1. Planning and leading a public book club, similar activities.
  2. Devising library layout, design.
  3. Investigating, implementing the digitization of the library’s collection.
  4. Proposing an original IAMAS method of organizing materials.
  5. Making practical use of the library for archival research.
Neo Co-Creation

Neo Co-Creation

Research Representative(s):
Tomoko Kanayama
Research Member(s):
James GibsonTakahiro Kobayashi
Web:
http://neo.iamas.ac.jp/

Research Period

2015 - Present

Research Outline

The goal of this project is the building of a sustainable co-creation society in the Mototsu city Neo region of Gifu (formerly Neo village). We will pursue this through exchange with the local people who have created and transmitted various cultural practices for hundreds of years, as well as creative members from outside the community.

Neo is a region of abundant natural and cultural heritage. This includes the Nogo Hakusan Shrine, opened by seventh century monk Shonin Taichi; Noh theater and Kyogen comedies, passed down from the Keicho era (late 16th to early 17th century) as oral tradition; and the Usuzumi cherry blossoms, over 1500 years old. In Neo – as in other mountain villages – people’s livelihoods are intertwined with production, giving rise to many tools and cultural forms. However, 40% or more of the region is made up of marginal villages, villages with increasingly severe problems: a rapidly aging population, a lack of successors, empty houses, and harmful vermin. However, the people of Neo have a great force of will and sense to maintaining their livelihood by fostering their skill and culture, much greater than that of “outsiders” and the autonomous systems of the contemporary age.

There is a transformation approaching our civilization, a bloated civilization that continually creates new things as it breaks the old. In this context, we will use new techniques and perspectives to reassess the wisdom, skill, and experience of a region whose time cycles with nature. Through this, we will contemplate a future sustainable society, steady-state economy, and what it means “to live.”

Research Plan

The year we will hold new creative activities using the records of our fieldwork concentrated around the marginal villages of north Neo. We do this from our old base of operations (Neocoza) as well as other uninhabited houses we have newly been allowed to use. We seek activities connected to a shape for Neo's future different from that of a disappearing marginal village. Additionally, we will go on to think about a cyclical, sustainable society from through activities related to topics like energy and technology or agriculture and community with our cultivation work on fallow land.

We will proceed through collaboration with local people and groups, forestry organizations and local government, and schools.

Technology for Welfare Project

Technology for Welfare Project

Research Representative(s):
Koji Yamada
Research Member(s):
Takahiro Kobayashi

Research Period

2014 - Present

Research Outline

For we who live in contemporary society, not only our lifestyles but also our values our diversifying. Through this project we aim to increase the future quality of life by using technology to solve the problems and defects that those of us who live in such an era occasionally feel. Taking “welfare” in a broad sense of the word, we make various familiar topics and interests the focus of our work. Our previous activities have dealt with people with disabilities, developing countries, forestry, child education, and diet.

We will engage in fieldwork with related parties and discuss what we discover in the hope of presenting new solutions and perspectives that those involved might not have thought of. Finally, we will consider how what we can do to make our proposals sustainable after the project’s conclusion, taking into account how things can be improved for those involved.

Research Plan

From time to time, we will take opportunities to exchange opinions with people working in areas related to the project member's desired topics. Together, we will discuss methods for our proposals. We will proceed with the project while taking into account the schedule of various presentation conferences and exhibitions.

Platform for Creation in Future

Platform for Creation in Future

Research Representative(s):
Akitsugu Maebayashi
Web:
http://sozonoplatform.blogspot.jp/

Research Period

2014 - Present

Research Outline

In this project, we will widen our thoughts’ range of motion and search for the shape that creation will take in the coming era by investigating topics in contemporary society, sharing in the expertise of those active in various fields like art, design, thought, and lifestyle.

Previous workshops and lectures:

  • First Session: “Entomophagy for Survival”
    Instructor: Kenichi Nonaka (Professor, Rikkyo University)
  • Second Session: “An Idea Called ‘Self Building’”
    Instructor: Yosuke Shimizu (Representative, Doppo Village), Daisuke Kurokawa (Chairman, Woodworking Studio Yui)
  • Third Session: “The Nation and the Internet”
    Instructor: Shinichiro Wada (Associate Professor, Chubu University)
  • Fourth Session: “Francis Alÿs: A Story Born on the Borderline”
    Instructor: Kazuhiko Yoshizaki (Curator, Museum of National Art, Tokyo)
  • Fifth Session: Workshop, “Adult Dietary Education”
    Instructor: Kousei and Megumi Shimizu (Restaurant Manager, “Tricolore”)
  • Sixth Session: “Weak Robots: The Possibilities of Inability”
    Instructor: Michio Okada (Professor, Toyohashi University of Technology)
  • Seventh Session: “Regions Being Built: Ibi District and Ikeda Town”
    Instructor: Shuhei Tsuchikawa (Manager, Tsuchikawa Shoten)
  • Eight Meeting: “Draw, Draw, Draw a Picture! : What You Need to Live the Now”
    Instructor: Arthur Birnard (Poet)
  • Ninth Session: “Mt. Kinsho and Myoujourin Temple”
    Instructor: Seiun Tomita (Head Priest, Myoujourin Temple)
  • Tenth Session: “Itosihro’s Small-Scale Hydroelectric Power: The Power of Potential Autonomy”
    Instructor: Akihide Hirano (Vice Chief Director, Regional Renaissance Agency)
  • Eleventh Session: “Listening to the Voice of Earth; the Sound of Time: From Life and Livelifood in Gujo Hachiman”
    Instructor: Hiroto Inoue (Producer, Gujo Hachiman Music Festival)
NxPC.Lab

NxPC.Lab

Research Representative(s):
Masami Hirabayashi
Web:
http://nxpclab.info/

Research Period

2016 - Present

Research Outline

In the NxPC.Lab (Next-dimension Plural media Club experience Laboratory) project, we present research on technology which expands the sense of presence of music venues like live houses and clubs, and which leads the way toward the next stage of communication in the music space.

Nowadays, interactivity and inclusivity in our media experiences is becoming a matter of course. The same is true for music: it is possible to expand an audience’s experience using technology that facilitates the interaction of artist, viewer, venue and online space, and to expand the music’s sense of presence.

In this project, we will conduct practical research: holding music events in which to carry out the examination, research, and development of new technology applicable to the music venue.

We will hold study groups as necessary to learn technological fundamentals as we experiment through our events. From new attempts at DJ’ing and VJ’ing to experimentation and event management within the venue space, it is possible for members to participate in a variety of areas.

Besides events held within the school, we aim to conduct events in large cities like Tokyo, Nagoya, or Kyoto once per year, collaborating with the Enhanced Experience Environment Project and the Media and Small Railways Project.

Tarutetsu II

Research Representative(s):
Tomoko Kanayama
Research Member(s):
Masami Hirabayashi

Research Period

2017 - Present

Research Outline

Starting in 2012, we began various endeavors on the Tarumi Tetsudo Line, one of Gifu’s local railways. In 2012, we reenacted John Cage’s Prepaid Train; we planned and implemented the Christmas Train, a train outfitted with AR (Augmented Reality); the Persimmon Café Train, which revised and designed regional resources; and Club Train, which made use of sound, light, and image.

From 2013, we implemented experimental installations as well as the Club Train and Live Train once or twice a year as the Media・Region・Railway Project. Our previous efforts conceived of local train lines not as transportation mediums, but as a form of spatial media or as a media space. By designing new installations for that space, we generated new values, and connected the Okumino Soul Train, Trainspotting, club Train 2016, etc. with the creation of new demands in contemporary society.

In Tarutetsu II, will attempt to create new things and ideas, making use of the Tarumi Tetsudo railways and its surrounding region and environment. We will do this based on our previous activities as well as interactive design that allows for regional revitalization and a circular economy, and our endeavors to connect the urban and mountain regions.

Place・Senses・Media

Research Representative(s):
Akitsugu Maebayashi

Research Period

2017 - Present

Research Outline

“Place” is where elements like history, geography, and human activity intertwine and change. Is there a way that we can open the sense and knowledge about that space to begin a new back and forth exchange? In this project, we search for a new mode of artistic expression, using a multifaceted approach to reinterpret our relationship to space: we will examine this with sensory media like phonography, photography, and visual art, all while incorporating an anthropological approach.

We will convey the results of our research through fieldwork, study sessions and work showings; attempts to develop an appropriate methodology by interacting with researchers in multiple fields, work production, and exhibitions.