Cyberpunk Art Meets Japanese Fashion

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Cyberpunk Art Meets Japanese Fashion
April 4, 2018

In Japanese artist Hiroto Ikeuchi's designs, you'll find clusters of plastic, circuit boards, and electrical wiring.At first glance, you might not think his cyberpunk-style masks, headsets, and other pieces would functional, but they are. Every last piece.

 

Take a look at his apocalyptic gadgets:

Meet the Tokyo-based artist, Hiroto Ikeuchi.

Youtube/Archipel

 

His designs take the shape of masks, headsets, goggles, earphones and dioramas, all decked out with unmistakable cyberpunk fixings.

 

If you've seen "The Matrix" trilogy or Ridley Scott's 1982 "Blade Runner," you probably have a good grip on the cyberpunk concept.Cyberpunk is defined as a science-fiction subgenre of steampunk that usually features computer technology dominating futuristic urban societies.

 

Cyberpunk began as a literary genre before trickling into film. Ikeuchi told Business Insider that only recently had he seen "Blade Runner" and learned about cyberpunk in general.

 

Ikeuchi says he's inspired by William Gibson's 1984 novel "Neuromancer," which is credited for kicking the cyberpunk genre into high gear.

Cyberpunk also has a niche in Japanese culture.Japanese cyberpunk is considered a subgenre within a subgenre, and is evident in Japanese media like "Ghost in the Shell."

 

All in all, think computer hackers, dystopian cities, electrical wires, Burning Man-esque apocalyptic gear such as masks and goggles, and the relationship between humans and technology.

 

Here's a look at Ikeuchi's work. It consists of functioning objects modified to emulate fantastical Cyberpunk wear.

 

With this head piece, the foundation is the virtual reality (VR) goggles and earphones.

 

Ikeuchi then builds upon it with electrical components and materials, including some from manufacturing company 3M. He says, though, that no electrical engineering is involved in construction.For pieces involving VR, Ikeuchi says he uses goggles from various brands, including some Chinese manufacturers.

Ikeuchi Products

 

Most of the goggles he uses involve placing a smartphone inside for use. This gray head piece has 3D K & J goggles installed.

 

A small portion of his pieces are available online through a web store in Japan, as well as through occasional social media sales promoted by Ikeuchi himself. The rest can be bought at art exhibitions held throughout Japan, like this VR-equipped headset.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

This one was recently shown at a Tokyo gallery's 2018 Readymade Exhibition and costs 220,000 Japanese Yen, or $2,079 USD. The lapel attached to the hoodie above is a transmitter that allows for Bluetooth connectivity.

 

A user takes the headset for a test run back in 2016.This monocular-style VR headset was also showcased at the Readymade Exhibition.Ikeuchi's designs extend beyond VR gear and into masks and spectacles.

 

This mask is one of the few pieces listed for sale on Japanese online pop culture site Otaku Mode. It sells for a casual $2,056.The mask includes earmuffs and a respirator.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

 

This one's at a slightly lower price of $1,247.These earphones are for sale and actually work. They're listed at $453. Behold: The dystopian equivalent of a pair of Beats.

 

Then there are these purple earphones. They're also priced at $453.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

 

It takes four weeks to produce and ship out to the customer, according to the website.There's also this little flash drive fella for $270.

Ikeuchi has developed other flash drives, but the tank is the only one for sale on the online store.

 

Ikeuchi's work has been embraced by modern Japanese culture. His designs have been featured in editorial photoshoots.Ikeuchi's designs were used as a prop for an oil painting done by Japanese artist Hiroki Yamamoto.The painting is titled "The Third Kind."

 

The Japanese rock group A9 featured Ikeuchi's designs in its 2017 album cover release.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

 

Ikeuchi's designs were featured in the band's promotional photos as well.And an Ikeuchi mask found its way into a music video starring Japanese artist Toriena.

 

Dioramas and installations are also among Ikeuchi's artworks.

 

This figure is inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai's "Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji," a series of landscape paintings depicting the Japanese volcano from different perspectives and in different seasons.Ikeuchi drew inspiration specifically from the ninth part of the series, Fuji View Field.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

 

This planetarium diorama projects bits of lights onto the device's surroundings, emulating a starry night.Ikeuchi's "Fantasy Captured in Plastic Models: A Desk Diorama" was featured in the Austrian arts, tech and innovation festival Ars Electronica.

 

The piece exhibited in 2013's "TOTAL RECALL: The Evolution of Memory,"which focused on artists and scientists and their work exploring the idea of how memory can be stored, in nature and in technology.

 

The desk diorama depicts a military fortress with toy soldiers standing guard of a processor, therefore protecting a portion of Ikeuchi's memory from online treachery.

 

In 2015, Ikeuchi partnered with Japanese robotics company Skeletonics Co.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

 

Skeletonics is known for building exoskeletal robots, not with electricity but machinery that mimics the movements of the wearer. The Tokyo-based company's products are for various purposes, including for use in the entertainment business, and can be rented out for exhibitions or events.

 

Skeletonics supplied the technology while Ikeuchi provided his eye for design.It's the first collaboration between Ikeuchi and Skeletonics. The model Ikeuchi built with the company is called the MPS-15sk, or "Multi."

 

It's completely wearable, with a tablet embedded into the front armor for the user to use as a guide and speakers installed in the shoulders to play music.

 

Some of Ikeuchi's pieces have also been categorized as "readymades," a term coined by 20th century conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp to describe the modification of ordinary manufactured objects.

 

This functioning analog Polaroid camera is modified with additional camera and eyewear accessories.This reflective telescope is also considered one of Ikeuchi's readymades.

Ikeuchi Products/Tumblr

 

The diorama is entitled "Autour de la lune," or Around the Moon.

 

Note the tiny soldiers as part of the diorama.

Ikeuchi also cyberpunk-d this iPhone case.I can't imagine it being too back-pocket-friendly though.

 

He even built a diorama around this laptop.

It's completely functioning, just embedded into the cluster of electric panels and wiring that the artist is known for.Ikeuchi says his work has not yet been featured in film or any kind of conference yet, only in music videos, cosplay and exhibitions, and due to the delicate nature of his work, he can only supply his designs in Japan.

 

But Ikeuchi says he would like to expand his reach overseas.Considering how many Burning Man-goers would find his work appealing, not to mention useful when needing to tramp around in the Nevada Desert, that may be a possibility someday.

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