First colloquium: September 5 at 4pm with Ryohei Nakatsu & Naoko Tosa

For our first colloquium, held on 05 Sep 2018 (Wednesday), we will have Adjunct Professor, Kyoto University &Former Professor, National University of Singapore Ryohei Nakatsu and artist Naoko Tosa to give a joined talk on the topic “What Kind of Change Would We Face in the 21st Century?” followed by “Invisible Beauty 福”
The talk will be started at 4:00 pm in M6094 Future Cinema Studio.

Date: 05 Sep 2018 (Wednesday)
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: M6094 Future Cinema Studio, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, 18 Tat Hong Avenue, Kowloon Tong

First topic: What Kind of Change Would We Face in the 21st Century?
Speaker: Ryohei Nakatsu

As AI and Information Technology are advancing rapidly, it is expected that the technological singularity would come around 2045 when the capability of AI would surpass all aspect of human intelligence. In the basis of this hypothesis, there is the Western belief initiated by Plato that logical thinking is the basis of human intelligence. We have believed that this belief should be the guiding principle even in the 21st century. However, recently several new phenomena such as the election of Trump to the US president and Brexit occur that conflict with this principle and therefore could not be expected by most people. What is happening? This is a very important question to think and decide the future direction of Singapore as well as Japan. I will talk about this in my presentation.

About the Speaker:
Ryohei Nakatsu received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electronic engineering from Kyoto University in 1969, 1971 and 1982 respectively. After joining NTT in 1971, he mainly worked on speech recognition technology. In 1994, he joined ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute) as Director of ATR Media Integration & Communications Research Laboratories. In 2002 he became Professor at School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin University. Since March 2008 until December 2014 he was Professor at National University of Singapore (NUS) and Director of Interactive & Digital Media Institute (IDMI) at NUS. Now he is serving as Adjunct Professor at Kyoto University Design School. His research interests include interactive media, entertainment technologies and communication robot/agent. He received in 1996 the best paper award from the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, the best paper awards from Virtual Reality Society of Japan, and in 2000 the best paper award from Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence. Also, he received in 2010 IEEE Kansai Section medal, in 2011 IEEE Virtual Reality Service Award and in 2012 IFIP TC14 Contribution Award. He is a fellow of the IEEE since 2001 and a life fellow since 2014. Also, he is a fellow of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers Japan (IEICE-J) since 2001 and Virtual Reality Society of Japan since 2012. Also, he is a honorary member of Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.

For more information on Ryohei Nakatsu and future colloquium sessions, please visit

Second topic: Invisible Beauty 福
Speaker: Naoko Tosa

Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Japanese artist Naoto Tosa. A pioneering media artist, Tosa is internationally renowned for her use of cutting-edge technology to produce works that channel traditional Japanese culture. Curated by Junji Ito, the exhibition showcases innovative media works from series such as ‘Sound of Ikebana’, ‘Genesis’ and ‘Space Flower’ as well as a new series entitled ‘Four Gods’. These works will be presented alongside a selection of her digital photographs. The show combines art and science to capture the invisible beauty of the world we live in.

Tosa’s 1985 video artwork, entitled ‘An Expression’, features sound she generated using a light sensor which read the brightness of a TV monitor. It broke new ground for video artwork and was acquired by MOMA New York. Tosa’s most celebrated creation, ‘Sound of Ikebana’ (Ikebana, 生け花, means flower arrangement in Japanese) is an extension of this previous work. She passes sound vibrations through coloured fluids like paints and oils and captures the mesmerising movement of colours via high-speed camera. The organic, elegant movements are displayed in colours and textures carefully selected according to cultural and historical colour iconography. ‘Sound of Ikebana’ was projected on the exterior wall of Art Science Museum in Singapore in 2014 and on large screens in Times Square, New York in 2017 in partnership with the Japan Society Gallery and Time Square Arts.

While maintaining her Japanese aesthetics, Tosa explores the origin of all life with ‘Genesis’. By capturing the movement and interaction of Japanese ink and dry ice bubbles inside a highly viscous fluid, she re-creates the fluctuating but alluring moment of creation itself. The artist explains it is a “hyper-natural form of art” that is too complicated to grasp and can only be captured using a high-speed camera.

Tosa’s ‘Space Flower’ series is an homage to Rimpa, a historical school of Japanese painting founded in Kyoto in the 17th century. Dramatic composition, luxurious use of precious substances like gold and pearls and backgrounds of gold leaf are common features of Rimpa. The ‘Space Flower’ series combines references from Rimpa painting even though the subject matter is drawn from subjects ranging from Japanese Oiran (a traditional courtesan) to jungles in space. Two works from the series, ‘Thunder God’ and ‘Wind God’ are Tosa’s homage to Sotatsu Tawaraya’s famous piece ‘Wind God and Thunder God.’

Tosa’s latest series of work, ‘Four Gods’ focuses on four mythological creatures from Chinese constellations, the Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix, Blue Turtle and White Tiger. The four creatures each represent a direction, a season, and also elements of life such as wood, fire, metal and water. The creatures are culturally important in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, and are portrayed as guardians of the people in ancient relics found throughout the region and in Feng shui. The concept of ‘Four Gods’ emerged in Tosa’s digital artwork at the Yeosu Marine Expo (Korea) in 2012 and was later honoured by the Expo committee.

This is the first time the artist will introduce a new series of works in a gallery space. Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong will transform itself into a multimedia environment for this exhibition, with high-tech equipment generously provided by TELMIC Corp allowing Tosa’s work to be experienced in the most dynamic manner possible. Tosa Naoko: Invisible Beauty 福, will be on view from 4 August to 2 September 2018.

About Naoko Tosa
Naoko Tosa is an internationally renowned Japanese media artist. After receiving PhD from the University of Tokyo, she was artist fellow at the Centre for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT from 2002 to 2004. Currently she is a professor at Kyoto University. Her artworks have been focusing the expression of Japanese tradition and culture utilizing technology. She exhibited her artworks at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the New York Metropolitan Art Museum, ARS Electronica, etc. In 1997, the L’Oreal Grand Prix awarded her art and science first prize. In 2012 she exhibited her artwork on LED screen of 250mx30m at Yeosu Expo in Korea. She has been appointed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan as a Japan Cultural Envoy 2016. Museum Collection: The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The National Museum of Art, Osaka/Japan, The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama/Japan, Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya/Japan, and Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Takamatsu/Japan