“Flowers” by Naked: fusion of millenary traditions and innovative multimedia technologies

“Flowers” by Naked is an example of the fusion of traditional Japanese motifs with multimedia technologists, embodied in 12 installations with the use of mappings, video projections, lighting solutions, smells and sounds.

“Flowers” by Naked is the fourth of the series  “Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)  Japan art exhibitions” created under the concept of “flowers, traditions and innovations ”. Since 2016, these exhibitions have been held at various locations in Japan by the creative company NAKED Inc., known for their 3D projections, installations, and mappings. The last event, that took place in the Nijo Castle at the end of 2018, gathered more than 300 thousand visitors.

Flowers” by Naked is filled with poetic symbolism and natural motifs. Using new digital languages, it tells us about local Japanese traditions and customs, such as yakibana, tea ceremony and waka (traditional Japanese poetry). Ambient sounds, light design, and different kinds of incense fill up the exhibition halls and are catalysts of emotions and new sensations. Overall,  the ethereal prevails over the material, the tactile over the observant and the sensual over the informative.

Undoubtedly, the central exhibition characters are flowers and art compositions, art installations and themed areas made of them. The exhibition opens with a huge symbolic book with a video projection, surrounded by live compositions of fresh flowers. Walking along the flower carpet, the visitor enters the first themed area with three tsukubai (washbasins); each of them is filled with a special floral scent.

In the same room there are three interactive video projection Window in antiquity and modernity is located, made in cooperation with the Shino school of Kodo. This artistic solution is one of the most interesting. According to the author of the project Ryotaro Muramatsu, the windows symbolically connect the present and the past, and represent the “kumikou” ritual, whose symbolic meaning consists of the harmonious selection of special aromas of incense, waka (traditional Japanese poetry) and ancient literary works. Thus, the visitor, opening a virtual round window, participates in one of the most ancient ceremonies.

The second thematic zone represents an installation of long stylized bamboo stalks called the Bamboo Whisper which personifies a talking bamboo grove through forest melodies and sounds.

The central space of the exhibition Tea Room, Harmony of the Mind is a kind of shashitsu, that in Japanese tradition designates the architectural space used for the tea ceremony. It is an immersive digital installation, whose centre is a tea tree, made by local artists. According to the authors, new technologies are used to convey atmosphere and harmony, the two most important elements of the tea ceremony.

Spring flowers and Cherry Blossom flutter are two multisensory spaces that transfer the visitors to the world of cherry blossoms. The second one represents an interactive projection on the floor, which, depending on the movement, reproduces the human traces on the water surface.

The exhibition culmination is the largest open connected multisensorial area, filled with a variety of smells, visual elements and colours. Here the visitors can smell delicate flower scents, in the secret garden using a mobile application, and can find the magic formula of their personal fragrance. In addition, there is origami exhibition, herbal tea tasting area and video projection with traditional Japanese graphics.

“Flowers” by Naked, rich in sensations and easy to perceive, is an essentially commercial product, whose purpose is to sell perfume products after the exhibition visit. Not unexpectedly, the exhibition is located in the commercial center, in the heart of Tokyo. Despite this, the subtle and competent narration, skilfully woven from a variety of Japanese motifs, into which modern art installations with the use of new multimedia technologies are harmoniously interwoven, are the reflection of sensitivity and a sign of deep respect of contemporary Japanese artists for traditions and culture of their country.