Symbolising both the strength and fragility of love, a red silk thread is frequently used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean mythologies to connect people who are destined to be together. Can design and biotechnology bring a new meaning to this “red thread of fate”?
Silk that glows and emits oxytocin, a social-bonding “love” hormone, is woven into intertwining fabrics by Japanese artists, then passed into the hands of a Hong Kong architectural design team to flutter and hang as a contemporary love shrine. Bathed in artificial moonlight, the shrine is a spiritual space where faiths, intentions, emotions and wishes intertwine. Visitors are invited to contemplate love and bonding in a time of social distancing, and how biotechnology is bringing ancient mythologies into the future.
Sputniko! is a Japanese-British artist based in Tokyo. Sputniko! creates film and multimedia installation works which explore the social, cultural and ethical implications of emerging technologies. Her recent exhibitions include “Broken Nature” at the Milan International Design Triennale (2019), “Future and the Arts” at the Mori Art Museum (2019) and “Nature” at the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial (2019). In 2013, she became an Assistant Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directed the Design Fiction Group. From 2019, she has been an Associate Professor of Design at Tokyo University of the Arts, where she directs the Design Civics Group. Sputniko! is a TED Fellow and gave her TED talk at TED2019. She was also selected as one of the Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum, and presented and moderated sessions at Davos 2020. To date, her works have been included in the permanent collections of institutions such as the V&A Museum, London, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.
Napp Studio & Architects is a design office that works across spectrum between spaces and objects, from architecture, interiors and exhibitions to furniture and products. As architects, we approach design through series and layers of rigorous operations—eg. social, formal, practical, structural and environmental—which are translated to any scale.
Managing Director – Aron Tsang
Architectural Designer – Wesley Ho
Born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1982, Masaya Kushino studied Fashion Design at Kyoto Creative Design College. Soon after graduating, he made the leap to study in Italy, receiving a Fashion Design Master Diploma from Istituto Marangoni, Milan. Masaya subsequently returned to Japan and, currently based in Kyoto, he continues to create footwear designs influenced by traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
Design & Production Manager
Taro Kagami is a Tokyo-based architect. In 2011 he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Waseda University, and in 2017, a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. From 2011-14 he worked as a copywriter at Dentsu Inc in Tokyo. His chief interest is in how urban spatial conditions affect physical and mental well-being. Currently he is CEO and Co-Founder of SEN Inc, a vision-driven design company.
Born in 1992, Kaito Sakuma spent his childhood in Brazil and Japan. Today he is a sound artist working in fields ranging from digital media to real space. Taking “raw existence” as his theme, he creates sound spaces that aim to expand cognition. In recent years, Sakuma has also been creating sound sculptures using mirrored surfaces as a motif. Recent exhibitions include the Chichibugahama Art Festival (2020), “Wall Sound” (2020), “AnyTokyo” and “vertigo” (2019). His Ether – Liquid Mirror (2020) won the New Face Award in the Art Division of the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival.