Project Name : Where is God?

Primary Function : Installation

Unique Properties / Project Explanation :

Multiple self-portraits were taken using Apple’s MacBook Air program, Photo

Booth. The portraits were twisted and distorted using the effects of Photo

Booth. An Epson projector projects various photographs of the sky onto a

wall. The self-portraits represent Satan's role in this world, whereas the

projected sky photographs express God’s presence in this world. The

installation shows a contrast between God and Satan. On the far main wall is

a 2-D collage of my portrait. Hanging in various heights, sizes and lengths are

other self-portraits or partial self-portraits giving an appearance of coming out

or returning to the larger portrait. Therefore, I created a layered collage

expressing time, feelings and emotions in 2-D and 3-D styles. Recorded with

a low voice and spoken softly are Bible verses quoted from Genesis 3:2-4 in

both Japanese and English. The sounds of laughter and voices represent the

voice of the Holy Spirit which is whispered continually from a distance over

the audience. As light is seemingly born in the space, it creates refracted

images from the projector combined with accidental movements of wind upon

the transparencies. The light moves irregularly, surrounding the audience and

filling the space. The audience could realistically feel the movement of the

Holy Spirit.

This installation expresses the movement when a person begins faith, a

movement of their heart to believe in God.

Inspiration: Where is God?

I, who am not a Christian, had the opportunity to study English for two months

in 2018. The program was a total immersion English and Bible program

located on top of a beautiful, isolated mountain making it an ideal location for

both study and contemplation. Early in my studies, my purpose was to study

English; but later, I thought deeply about the Bible because of the school’s

chapel messages, Bible classes, Christian songs, skits, and relationships with

my friends.

In the Bible, God forbids the creation of figures to represent His glory. I could

not see God’s appearance represented in the Bible. But what about Satan? In

my exhibit I expressed Satan’s role through my self-portrait and I could

express God’s presence in direct opposition to Satan through the projected

light. In the path of faith, I stand with my face distorted as if I have doubt in

my heart. My face can be stretched and sculpted like clay. My face forms look

like Satan himself.

For two months, I asked myself, “Where is God?” As I walked to the school

each day I looked up and I saw the answer in the sky. God has always

existed. The shining sun, circling clouds, pounding rain and thundering

storms are all a part of God’s handiwork. By contrasting the image of the sky

which portrays God and with the self-portrait which represents Satan, I

explain my image of the Bible.

At the same time, I desire to express how difficult it is to show our distorted

face every day, but rather tend to hide or mask our true feelings. But when we

remove our masks, what we can see is the truth of ourselves allowing us to

be radiant.

The audience should be moved by the beauty of the sky’s changing colors

and by the light refracted off the thin, hanging films moving by minute winds.

The sky pictures are projected and the light is dispersed through the art

space. The deformed faces, performed by one person, depict the struggle of

people wearing masks and the difficulty of sharing one’s feelings from the

bottom of one’s heart. Ultimately, we are seen by God as unfaithful to Him.

One can imagine God’s view of people. Conversely, through communication,

knowledge and understanding brings a change of heart from one that is

warped and repulsed to sympathetic and understanding. This artwork is a

conversation starter that leads to ideas about doubts in our lives and

hopefully leads us to the place that answers our own questions of sin, fear,

doubt and ultimately find truth.

Production or Realization Technology (And Materials):

Occupying a darkened, enclosed room is essential for this installation to work

effectively, but it can also be done in a dimly lit room. This installation art was

created using the effects of MacBook Air’s Photo Booth on pictures taken of

my own face which were then printed from an EPSON EP-976A3 printer to

OHP film (Plus ink-jet OHP film A4IT-125PF). The OHP or transparency film

of various shapes and sizes are hung with transparent string, layered spatially

and separately, creating depth of emotion as well as expressing the passage

of time. Using an Epson LCD PROJECTOR EB-U32 connected to a DVD

player various sky photographs are projected through the suspended

transparency films. The projector’s light is dispersed and reflected onto the

surrounding walls. Interestingly, projectors from other companies cannot

produce this kind of refracted light. The voices quote Genesis 3:2-4 from the

New International Version and New Japanese Bible translations. These were

recorded on a Sony IC recorder and downloaded to Apple’s iMovie program

along with the sky photographs taken with a Canon EOS Kiss x5 which were

then burned to a DVD disc.

Specifications/Dimensions/Package/Technical/Properties:

The installation size is 260cm (W) x 240cm (H) x 450cm (D). This art work

can be displayed in a large or small enclosed area. The best condition for this

art display is a room that is totally dark, save the projector’s light. By using

the Epson projector and transparency films, the art project can be presented

anywhere.

Operation / Flow / Interaction:

This art installation has a message of self-realization and hope behind its

conception and realization. This piece of artwork carries a very positive

message which conveys the struggle to know where and who God is. This

installation expresses a dynamic flow with various moving parts. The

interaction is made possible by observing the various projections,

transparencies and sounds and connecting with one’s personal experience.

Project Duration and Location :

In 2017 my work was selected for the 20th Taro Okamoto Award and put on

official display at the Taro Okamoto Museum in Kawasaki, Japan. This art

work is the result of on-going experiments from the inspiration of this

installation piece which won the Okamoto Taro modern art prize title - Myself.

I have since tested several techniques, projectors and materials over the past

two years. In 2019, this art will be exhibited at the be here now gallery in

Karuizawa, Japan.

Research Abstract:

The reason I presented “Myself” in 2017 was trying to express the pain I had

felt as I nursed my parents for three years and then passed away. I finished

the daily care for my father who had dementia and my mother who had

terminal cancer. After their passing, I felt like my heart was empty. I did not

know what would happen in my life and felt like I was in a crisis daily, so I

created the art work to express and to walk through my feelings. I received a

letter from an observer who had a similar crisis but with different

circumstances. She saw my work and felt sympathy. Through this art piece,

she felt like she could have hope to continue living. This confirmed my desire

to be the artist that I am. In the fall of 2018, I entered a Christian English

School and encountered the God of the Bible. It was a difficult time as I was

not believer. I was able to see my true heart. I wondered what motivated me

to think deeply and to give me the energy to move. This creation expresses

my daily struggle of self-reflection, doubts and coming face to face with my

true heart.

The Creative/Research Challenge:

The most challenging part of this installation is to find the method of

expressing the contrast of God and Satan. The Bible prohibits idol worship or

creating an image of Him to be worshipped. Therefore, I was thinking about

how I could express God without a cross or idols. The answer was weather.

God exists everywhere. During my walks in the forest and observations of the

sky, I recognized that God exists. The warmth from the sun, the rain and

storms are all a part of God’s handiwork. I expressed God through the sky

photographs and I played the image of Satan. I use the effects of various

distorted faces to express the evilness of Satan. By displaying the two

conflicting sides, I hope to express the view of the Bible.

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