About SUN, his ongoing extensive media art project

Text: Yusuke Shono, Translation: Benoit Palop

YOSHIROTTEN is a multimedia artist known for his ability to seamlessly blend digital and physical art, nature and humanity, design and art, and other diverse fields. He recently unveiled his genesis NFT project, titled SUN, which features a ubiquitous image in various forms such as screen-based artworks, physical installations, and more. The artworks evoke a sense that the digital world is gradually infiltrating the physical realm. As the National Stadium prepares to host the installation on March 31st, which coincides with YOSHIROTTEN’s first NFT drop, we spoke with the artist to learn more about the inspiration behind the project.

First, can you give us the lowdown on how the SUN project came about?

In 2020, the pandemic forced me to stay home and put all my projects on hold, causing me to feel anxious about losing what I had made and planned to create. Despite this setback, I saw an opportunity to re-evaluate my daily routine and made it my mission to create something every day. As someone who had always connected with others through my creative output, I believed that making things was my way to go. I started this project without any intention of releasing it to the public, motivated by the fact that the sun rises daily. Thus, SUN was born.

As SUN is a project developed in various media, I’d like to know if you had, during the creative process, a clear idea of the form it would take. Or did it develop naturally?

Indeed it did. The initial unveiling of SUN was an installation at Rainbow Disco Club, an outdoor event in Shizuoka. At that time, I presented SUN as a three-dimensional object. As I continued exploring the project, I became increasingly interested in creating a multimedia art form incorporating various elements, such as video, computer graphics, installations, music, and other media art forms. My approach involves creating a digital presence, such as NFTs, which exist as physical objects, and experiencing them in their natural environment, with back and forth between the digital and physical realms.

The sun is also a real entity. Why did you choose it as the core component?

In 2018, I held a large-scale solo exhibition titled FUTURE NATURE, based on the premise that “looking at things through a different lens can reveal new perspectives”. With this idea in mind, I created an installation that explored the possibility of seeing things that are typically invisible to us. This installation, SUN, depicted a silver ocean spreading beneath the earth’s mantle, with the silver sun at its center representing the earth’s core. The colors of this image represented the daily scenes reflected in the silver sun.

This time, you are also releasing your work as NFT. Can you expand on this?

As an artist creating digital artwork, I have always felt uncomfortable with the situation where people think that art has no value unless it is printed or made into a physical object. I think the truth is that the work’s raw state is shown on display. Although there have been artists like Rafaël Rozendaal who have presented their work on the internet and sold domains and USBs, it has been difficult for most digital artists to give value to it as a work of art. When Foundation came out, I was thrilled because a bunch of artists I like were on it. I was excited about a world where digital art is flat out in the world, transcending borders and economic barriers, just like the artists who publish their songs on BANDCAMP.
But then, works for speculative purposes started to stand out, and it might be a bit different. Amidst all this, I thought SUN would be a good fit for NFT. Even if you are not an expert, you can simply enjoy the art or give something important to someone on a particular day, such as a birthday or the foundation of a company.

When you worked on this NFT drop, did you find any possibilities or interesting aspects unique to NFT?

I did! I added a feature into my NFT where the color changes over a year before returning to its initial color. This characteristic allowed me to enhance the experience for collectors and fans. Moving forward, I am considering adapting this concept to suit different mediums such as bringing this feature to a three-dimensional work or adding movement to a video work.

The media nature of NFTs creates a unique relationship with personal experience and time. I also heard you plan to make a lodging facility as part of the SUN project. Is that true?

Yes. I plan to create a lodging facility called the SUN HOUSE. The program would begin at midnight, and the experience would be centered around the time between check-in and the real sunrise. I envision creating works that engage our senses, including images, flat surfaces and smells. As the morning sun rises, the artwork and natural light would merge, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of nature. I hope this experience will leave people with a sense of awe and appreciation for the amazing planet we live on.

I definitely would like to experience it.

Also, at the reception event for the installation at the National Stadium (March 31st), there will be a live performance by a Mexican female artist called Debit, who uses AI and other tools to recreate instruments that were used in the festivals of the Mayan civilization. It is truly a festival of the sun.

Sounds great! Did you choose the NFT sale to be open to the public on March 31st to coincide with the reception?

Yes, we did. We made the 31st coincide with the installation at the National Stadium. And this time our partner company has developed a new technology: a physical card with built-in NFC that issues a digital wallet for storing NFTs. The product’s name is NFTag, which can be issued as a ‘cold wallet’ to store NFTs in an environment that is not connected to the internet.

Eventually, technologies such as wallets will become invisible, so it would be great to be a stepping stone in that sense.

Only a few people can install wallets and purchase crypto assets like that regularly. It would be better if no such threshold existed so that it would be new.