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between #1 #2 #3


Urushi, FRP


Tomoya Ishibashi  Mitsuhiro Kyoden  Kotaro Shima  Masaru Mizuochi

Tkahisa Hashimoto  Toshiyuki Numa  Kanako Shintaku  Yuta Hikichi

Based on the question of "what kind of a thing will it turn out to be when a brand-new intellect with no history or context tries to interpret a traditional Japanese craft item?",
we made AI which had experienced learning through contemporary images interpret the traditional Japanese Urushi lacquerware and had a craftsman then create sculptures by hand.

We uploaded an image of an Urushi-lacquered Buddhist altar (a stand for placing Buddha statues and mortuary tablets. They are commonly used as items for worshiping the ancestors in Japanese families.), created by an Urushi craftsman who was one of our members, into an image recognition AI which had learned only through "modern images" such as those of electronic equipment and urban buildings.


Things resembling robot parts and objects of unknown identity similar to deep sea creatures grew one after another out of the Buddhist altar when it was “seen” by AI, and they looked like new photographs of supernatural beings.

Based on the images generated by AI, 3D shapes were created and painted with Urushi. We interpreted the unknown objects born from a Buddhist altar as a type of Buddhist altar fittings and created their sculptures with a motif of a "trio" which is the minimum constituent element for traditional Buddhist items. We named these unidentified objects “between”, implying the distance between our clumsy communication with AI which only knows modern images, and added numbers for each of them.


This is a project aiming at reconstruction of a traditional Japanese craft from the viewpoint of modern technology.


By using CG, digital tools, computation and artificial intelligence technologies to approach the history and the process of modeling and production of a traditional Japanese craft from a new perspective, this project aims at bringing new developments to the expressions of the craft and its possibilities for the industry.


In total, twelve members have participated in the project including craftsmen and artists for traditional crafts, AI engineers, designers, photographers and so on.

In the first part of the project which consisted of "between #1, #2, #3", artificial intelligence which is often spoken of in the context of efficiency and of being a marvel was treated as "a neighbor who gives unpredictable answers", and through the cooperation of artificial intelligence with craftmanship, we attempted to expand the formability of the craft of Urushi lacquerware.


In the second part of the project which resulted in "between #4 Black Aura", with a focus on the aesthetic texture of Urushi, we introduced 3D modeling and the 3DCG technology, and along with exploring the charm of Urushi from the viewpoint of technology, we attempted to expand its formability and production process.

Support: KOGEI Hackathon

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