Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media - Yamaguchi, Japan
04 / 04 / 2021 - 04 / 07 / 2021

A new project by Ho Tzu Nyen, an acclaimed artist from Singapore World premiere: “Kyoto School” themed moving image installation incorporating VR.

This is an exhibition to announce the new work by Ho Tzu Nyen, who is an internationally well-known Singaporean artist.

Ho Tzu Nyen is a leading artist from Singapore who has been transforming a wide array of historical and philosophical texts, into artworks across a range of different formats, including video, installation, and theatrical performance. In recent years, he has focused his energies on the situation of Japan during WWII, and the way this relates to the history of Southeast Asia.

The new work introduced at this exhibition is themed on the “Kyoto School,” an informal network around the philosophers Kitaro Nishida and Hajime Tanabe, which was highly influential in the intellectual circles in Japan in the 1930s-40s. Incorporating elements of virtual reality (VR) and refracted through an anime aesthetic, the installation is being realized in collaboration with YCAM.

Restaging history by way of VR and animation

One starting point of Voice of Void, is “The World-Historical Standpoint and Japan,” a roundtable discussion by the so-called ”Big Four of the Kyoto School” – Keiji Nishitani (1900-1990), Masaaki Kosaka (1900-1969), Iwao Koyama (1905-1993), and Shigetaka Suzuki (1907-1988) – at the end of November 1941, shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor. By restaging this discussion, the work explores the complex and often contradictory contexts around the extended network of “Kyoto School” in the 1930s and 1940s.

Voice of Void combines elements of 3D animation and anime aesthetics, using a combination of video projections and VR technology, to create an immersive experience in which the audience is invited to slip beneath the uneasy skins of these characters.

Ho Tzu Nyen breaks down public history by accumulating images, texts and biographies to expose the complexity of history with all its fictions and contradictions, while YCAM continues to explore new forms of artistic expression such as VR and other cutting-edge technologies. Their most recent collaboration results in a work that presents a fresh perspective on a convoluted moment of Japanese history involving masters and students, lecturers and audiences, perpetrators and victims.

Link: https://www.ycam.jp/en/events/2021/voice-of-void/