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What Impression did 'Ambient Weaving' Leave on the Visitors? A Report from Ars Electronica 2022

At Ars Electronica 2022, one of the world's largest events in the field of art, cutting-edge technology, and culture, 'Ambient Weaving' jointly developed by ZOZO NEXT Inc., the Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory at UTokyo, and Hosoo Co., Ltd., was awarded the Honorary Mention in the STARTS (Innovation at the Nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS) category.
How was 'Ambient Weaving' exhibited at Ars Electronica 2022, held from September 7 to 11 in Linz, Austria's third-largest city after Vienna and Graz, and how was it evaluated by the visitors? Here's a report.
Located about 150km west of Vienna along the Danube River, Linz is a city of about 200,000 people. The city is dedicated to promoting contemporary art and was designated as a European Capital of Culture in 2009 and a UNESCO City of Creativity in 2014.
Hauptplatz (Main Square) in the center of Linz
Hauptplatz (Main Square) in the center of Linz

A large-scale event held for the first time in three years, attracting many visitors from Japan

The Ars Electronica, which started in 1979 as part of the International Bruckner Festival, began to be held as an independent event from 1986. The scale expanded in 1996 when the Ars Electronica Center, which functions as a museum and an art museum, and the Ars Electronica Future Lab, a research institute, were established. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been held mainly online for the past two years, but this year it returned to a large-scale on-site event for the first time in three years.
This year's main venue was Johannes Kepler University. The previous venue used before the pandemic had become outdated, so the main venue was changed. Exhibitions were also held at other venues in Linz, including the Ars Electronica Center and the Lentos Art Museum.
Yasuaki Kakehi (Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory, University of Tokyo) setting up the exhibit
Yasuaki Kakehi (Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory, University of Tokyo) setting up the exhibit
The 'Ambient Weaving' exhibition was held inside the main venue, Johannes Kepler University. Setup began two days before the opening date. Preparation was proceeded with local procurement of materials like wood, and minor adjustments to the exhibition's spacing and lighting were made according to the size and brightness of the exhibition space.
The start of Ars Electronica 2022 was at 10 am on September 7th. Even before the start time, artists from other booths came to see 'Ambient Weaving', indicating a high level of interest in the Honorary Mention-winning piece. The attendees were mainly from Europe, but there were also many from Japan. A tour was organized from Japan especially to visit Ars Electronica 2022, and many businesspeople visited the event.
The 'Ambient Weaving' exhibition was conducted with three works. The first work, 'Wave of Warmth,' uses a Leuco Dye that changes color with heat, visualizing invisible environmental information through the medium of fabric.
The second work, 'Drifting Colors,' involves weaving special tubes into the weft of the fabric, and the color changes as water containing dye seeps into these tubes. This piece uses a technique called chromatography. When color water is sucked up from the edge of the fabric, the colors are separated inside the thread, creating color patterns.
The third work is 'Woven Glow,' which uses a luminescent material that glows when electrified, woven in the form of a foil. This luminescent material is woven into the weft, and by controlling it with a computer, the pattern of the fabric can be switched like an animation.
Scenes from the 'Ambient Weaving' exhibit
Scenes from the 'Ambient Weaving' exhibit
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