“Be prepared to be enveloped by Murakami’s pixelated, LED world, which has its roots in 1990s game culture.” – Hyperallergic
The works in Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology make use of LEDs in a variety of styles and critically engage how the digital world influences many aspects of contemporary culture. In sculpture, the light is built into cubes of clear resin, each serving as an individual pixel. Instead of color emission resulting from light reflection, here, the sculptures emit light themselves, producing a different experience for the retina. Similarly, two-way mirrors bring viewers into the flat works walls as a matrix of pixels march before our eyes. There is a sense of something simultaneously primitive and futuristic floating across a minimalistic space map composed of binary 1’s and 0’s – digital pixels emerging from the screen to inhabit the real world, a nod to the Augmented Reality (AR) movement propelling the future upon us.
These works together create an AR like scenario. The installation littered with several hundred LED cubes, the lights create a space completely removed from the burgeoning Lower East Side of Manhattan. The 1-inch sparkling resin cubes have built-in batteries, unleashed from the constraints of electric power. For Murakami, who began as a scrappy urban artist on the streets of Tokyo in 2002, the cubes act as a new style of street art which the artist has been developing since his arrival in New York City in 2009. Beginning to experiment with light in 2012, he used luminescent paint on cube pieces and placed them in the streets, but found them not bright enough. In 2013 he gathered the chemical liquid in Glow Sticks and tried drawing with it, but ran into a myriad of practical problems as the light source would only last a few hours. It was two years later that he started experimenting with a variety of light-emitting diode lighting (LED), preferring the technology for its customizable qualities and sustainability.