Artificial Moons


Artificial Moons, 2020

"Artificial Moons" is a light sculpture themed around the existence born from a chain of coincidences. It explores the boundary between the cultural realities of the real and the virtual, based on the moon-viewing culture that has existed throughout East Asia since ancient times, tracing back to the Jomon period in Japan, 13,000 years ago. The unpredictable movements of multiple moons in virtual space, generated by an N-body simulation known from the three-body problem, are synchronized with a unique reflective lighting system in physical space, projecting their moonlight onto a massive 150-meter architectural structure.
This artwork, created and exhibited during the coronavirus pandemic, which shattered existing concepts, is a story about the existence of two cities, Makuhari New City and Makuhari City, wavering between the real and the virtual. It is also a ritual to imprint the fictional city in the mind. This is the beginning of a movement to transform a cultural desert into a cultural forest, symbolizing not the sun, the source of life, but the moon, the source of culture.
The artwork is exhibited in Makuhari New City, one of the vast reclaimed lands on the coast of Tokyo Bay, where development began in the 1970s. This area can be described as a cultural desert, lacking the history and traditions that serve as cultural foundations. With almost nothing to block the sun, straight roads, futuristic high-rise buildings, and distinct zoning for each area, this city evokes early VR spaces and can be seen as a city without a certain reality, despite its physical existence. Although it is part of Chiba City, it is sometimes mistakenly introduced as "Makuhari City" in news and other media. Taking the then-mayor of Chiba City's joke that "if everyone is mistaken, it would be interesting to create a fictional city called Makuhari City" seriously, the art project "Multilayered City 'Makuhari City'" was launched at METACITY, structurally exploring possible forms of cultural basic functions such as festivity, symbolism, and consensus formation in cities. This artwork was the first public art and urban monument of the fictional city "Makuhari City" at its inaugural exhibition, which was held with the support of Chiba City, and was displayed for one and a half months, attracting viewers from more than a kilometer away.
In Japan, there are festivals of unknown origin, such as the "Kebes Festival" and the "Kanda Festival," one of the three major festivals. Also, the design of the "city emblem," a symbol of cities, is sometimes created from puns or whims, as exemplified by the nine "Fu" in Fukuoka City's emblem and the nine "Ru" in Kurume City's emblem. The nine moons in the emblem of Makuhari City, by the way, come from the pun of "Ma" and "9" (Maku) in the nine circles. This artwork also incorporates the nine moons found in the city emblem. In other words, whether it is an anthropological ritual or a symbol for the cohesion of modern communities, it is not well known that there is not necessarily a convincing, legitimate history for everything that we see, participate in, and believe in daily.
Additionally, this artwork is featured in the Sci-Fi short story series "Makuhari City Chronicles," centered around the theme of Makuhari City and created as part of the "Multilayered City 'Makuhari City'" project. The artwork is also depicted in the Sci-Fi short story "Makuhari City ID Card" by Naoki Prize-winning author Satoshi Ogawa.
《Artificial Moons》は、偶然の連鎖から生まれる実在性をテーマとした光の彫刻である。東アジア一帯に古来から存在し、日本では紀元前13,000年前の縄文時代まで遡ることができる月見文化を下敷きに、実在と仮想の文化的リアリティの境界を探求する。仮想空間に存在する9つの月が三体問題で知られるN体シミュレーションにより予測不可能の動きを見せる。その動きを物理空間に存在する16台の独自の反射型照明システムに連動させ、150mもの巨大な建築物に仮想空間の月光を物理空間に映し出す。
本作品が展示された幕張新都心は、1970年代に整備が始まった東京湾海岸に存在する広大な埋立地の1つであり、文化の拠り所となる歴史や伝統が存在しない文化の砂漠とも言える地域である。太陽を遮るものがほとんどなく、まっすぐに続く道路と近未来的な高層ビル群、そしてエリアごとに用途が完全に分けられているこの都市は、初期のVR空間を思わせる、物理的に存在するのにも関わらず、ある種リアリティのない都市ともいえる。 また千葉市の一部にも関わらず、なぜか「幕張市」という行政区として、ニュースなどで間違って紹介されることがある。「みんなが間違うのであれば、幕張市という架空の都市を作るのも面白い」という当時の千葉市長の冗談を真に受け、祝祭性や象徴、合意形成など都市の文化的基本機能のありえる形を構成論的に探求するアートプロジェクト『多層都市「幕張市」』をMETACITYで立ち上げた。本作品は、千葉市の助成を受けて開催されたその設立記念展で、架空の都市である「幕張市」の初めてのパブリックアートであり都市のモニュメントとして、1.5ヶ月の間展示され、1 km以上先からも鑑賞された。
A unique reflective lighting system using 16 moving lights, one of the largest in the world, to produce natural light
A unique reflective lighting system using 16 moving lights, one of the largest in the world, to produce natural light


The TEA-ROOM + METACITY, Artificial Moons, 2020
150m hight building, Reflective lighting system with moving lights, N-body simulation in VR, PCs
Dimensions variable


Finalist of WIRED Creative Hack Award 2021 (Japan, 2021)


Artist: The TEA-ROOM (Ryuta Aoki)
Director: Ryuta Aoki
Software Design: Ryuta Aoki (VOLOCITEE)
Coding: Takeshi Doi (Unlit), Ryuta Aoki (VOLOCITEE)
Produced by: METACITY
[ Lighting System Dev ]
Design Direction: Eishi Katsumoto (Lighting Lab)
Technical Direction: Eishi Katsumoto (Lighting Lab), Michiyuki Ishita (PMAJ), Takeshi Doi (Unlit)
Production Management: Michiyuki Ishita (PMAJ)
Production Support: Takashi Shigetake (PMAJ), Keita Uno
Equipment Setup: m-tech style, C-COM
Material Verificiation: Eiji Katsumoto (Lighting Lab), Tokyo Lighting Design
Equipment Verification: Tokyo Lighting Design
[ Special Thanks ]
Mitsui Fudosan Residential, Kumagai Gumi, Noriko Shindo (Environmental Planning Laboratory Inc), Shin Aoyama (VOLOCITEE), Yoshihiko Kaneoya (Makuhari Messe), Makoto Hosoya, Junichi Takekawa (David Watts)

Past Exhibitions

Dec 2020 – Jan 2021: Makuhari City Exhibition

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