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Hide and Seek
Published: October 23 2019

    ‘Modulor’, invented by an Architect Le Corbusier, is a sequence or conception of an introduction of the proportion based on human bodies to the measurement system used in architecture and mechanical design. Of course it is used by Le Corbusier himself. The explication page of ‘Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut’ in website of Le Corbusier Foundation states: “The Chapel (as are all of Le Corbusier's structures) is laid out by means of the Modulor. It has therefore been possible to reduce the whole to ridiculously small dimensions, in places, without making the spectator aware of them. Le Cor¬busier acknowledges the fact that here is manifested the plastic issue which he has termed "ineffable space". The appreciation of the dimensions stops aside before the imperceptible”(*1). Modulor is just a proportion. The standard length used for computation is the height of human and the one of the state when human rises the arm upright. For example, in the case of European model, these lengths are supposed to be 183cm and 226cm respectively(*2). When an architect determines the size of the length in his/her design, the value in vicinity is selected from the set several ones provided from Modulor.
    “Standard”, that systematically conditions the dimensions of things are easier to understand by remembering of lumber. In Japan, plywood is usually sold in two main standard size: 3x6(1820mm x 910mm) and 4x8(2438mm x 1219mm), and there are various and not-continuous standards for square timber. It is expensive to try to make something in a different size. There are “industrial standards”. Then, Modulor is what kind of standard? We can say Modulor is conforming to “ideally aesthetic norm”. Idealized as a non-historical and general standard or tool, common from Parthenon to modern age, Modulor has“nomble d’or [golden ratio]” as its etymology, and is characterized to establish “aesthetic” criteria through “values”. Although based on the sizes of human body, Modulor doesn’t directly contribute the tactile and operational functions; Modulor is such a standard as a “norm” on limiting scales to ensure “beauty”.
    A proportion is established as connection of two ideas: beauty and human. In fact Modulor have not taken root as a privileged value (the existence of the above industrial standard may be one of the reasons), but we can find such a number or a proportion generally established in our life and society: a camera. A camera has lenses and image ratio. Contrary to that an architecture and architectural proportion can propagate via a drawing, a plan or idea itself, in case of a camera and photography, they themselves circulate. Usually a default size of cameras of images is 4:3 and it is so difficult to shoot movies at a ratio other than 4:3 or 16:9. As for images themselves, not only fixed images on paper but also digital data are distributed, and the numbers of pixel of screens for displaying digital image are often set accordingly. For example, 16:9, the typical aspect of image, is adopted for the display of Apple’s iPhone, from 6th generation to 8th generation.

Installation view “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    “Three Spaces” by Naoki Miyasaka, held at Tokyo Arts Space Hongo from Aug. 31st 2019 to Sep. 29th, is an exhibition related to “design of standard”, in which our body view space.
    Miyasaka shows three main types of works. The long white room is roughly divided into front and back areas by a pair of white structure, as tall as human height, that are placed on the each middle of walls of the long side. First of all, these are the work Angle mort 2. Next, in the front area (inlet side), two white three-dimensional objets on two pedestals, and another work of same series is put on the corner of the back area. There will be mentioned later.
    At another corner is the gate-shaped white structure Surspace 2. The thickness is thicker at foot, and gets thinner as it gets closer to the ceiling. That is to say, the passage portion of the gate has a shape of quadrangular pyramid whose base is on the floor. A viewer can pass through the quadrangular-pyramid-shaped passage of the thick gate. At the top of the pyramid a HD camera is mounted and pointing straight down. It shoots the floor vertically. A liquid crystal display stands on the floor in front of the gate, and it shows the sight of the HD camera in real time. When a viewer pass through the gate, the camera sees his/her head and so the image of the human from the top appears on the display, which is erected vertically. The angle doesn’t catch the edges of the gate. Unless anyone pass through the gate, the whole display shows only the grey floor. The quadrangular-pyramid-shaped pass-through is same to the shooting angle of the camera. When you pass through the gate, you enter the angle of the camera view.
    “Angle of camera view”. As to human, we say “sight”. Miyasaka’s works is motivated from those “angle” and “sight”.
Angle mort 2, which divides the room into two area as aforementioned, are two pillars, and the sections have trapezoid shape. The bottom side of the trapezoid meets the wall. The pair structure have same form and facing, and when a viewer stands between them, he/she would see the side of pillar responding to the top side of trapezoid section and cannot see the hypotenuse sides. Now you know, these trapezoid section corresponds to the angle of view of the person who stands in the center.
    It needs detailed explanation for three solid objets on pedestals. Two of the three 3 spaces central 25mm and 3 spaces angular 25mm have three hexagonal pyramid frustums facing each other. For the moment, let's call the three frustums A, B, and C for one solid. Three square pillars connect frustum A-B, B-C, C-A respectively. They also seem as passageways that allows you to move between the three parts A, B and C. A hexagonal pyramid frustum has top-face, bottom-face and six sides, you see. When you walk around the solid, if you choose appropriately the top-face and three of six sides from pyramid A, you find the four side meet at the one point. The intersection is located at the center of “passage” leading to A. That is, the overlapping shape of two quadrangular pyramids whose the apexes are located on the center of two each paths both leading to A, forms the hexagonal pyramid frustum A. The same applies to B and C. To repeat, each three hexagonal pyramid frustums is the crossing(overlapping) shape of two quadrangular pyramids. We can compare these quadrangular pyramids to the “quadrangular pyramid” of Surspace 2, namely the angle of the camera view. So the hexagonal pyramid frustum is the shape of space that fits within both the angles of views of two cameras. Imagine a bee. The bee flying in the frustum is always captured by both cameras. Or it is possible to analogize the quadrangular pyramid to “sight”, both two person each standing in the paths never miss the bee in sight. Two solid objets have such conditioned geometrical composition and the overall shape alters depending on the positional relationship of three paths. When the centers of paths draw equilateral triangle, the overall shapes is naturally symmetrical in the three directions. If they draw isosceles, the shape gets asymmetrical.
    The last solid 3 spaces straight 50mm is a little different. There is only one “passageway” and the “point of view” are arranged straightly along this path. As for this solid, two persons’ angles of view overlaps on the direction in which they are facing each other. Two quadrangular pyramids are overlapped as their bottoms facing, so form as an octahedron that squashed in the direction of the path. And of course the fields of view for each opposite outer directions are not overlapped and appear each in the shape of quadrangular pyramids. But in any case, it is the same as the aforementioned two solid works in that it is a shape imitating a space where the angles of views from some assumed plural viewpoints overlap.
    The camera which cannot capture the support of itself, the pillar which simulates the angle of view of viewers, and the model of space with no hiding place. To say again, all Miyasaka’s works relate to “angle” and “sight”.

Installation view “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    The leaflet distributed at “Three Spaces” venue states:

    [Miyasaka] studies the conception of space which emerges variously according to our cognitive ways. […] Now he researches about Modulor, supported by Le Corbusider Foundation and Institut Français. He applies Modulor by Le Corbusier to methods to recognize a physical perception of persons, by making artworks applies sequences of Modulor to dimensions of personal bodies.

Although the works displayed in this exhibition are in different series from that of works that “applies sequences of Modulor to dimensions of personal bodies”, we can interpret them with the term “standard” or “regulation”. In the following sentence, I discuss “standard of seeing” and that it is marked in the exhibition space and appears as an object. And you remember, sometimes “standard” have close connection to “norm” supporting the idea of “beauty”.

Installation view “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    Hide and Seek. I remember that words in Miyasaka’s exhibition space. As its name says, it is the play of hiding and seeking. When I talk about something “is captured in the angle of view or sight”, I also do about an existence “hiding” from the range — as like that I pursue and turn my eyes casually to such an existence.
     When I pass through the gate of Surspace 2, I cannot hide. Seeing the relay movie on display, I move back and front, left and right, or near to the edge as possible, or close my hand from outside of the gate to the edge of the angle. I play with the limit of the angle of view, as if I pitch carefully the sight of “it” in hide and seek. Nobody shouts “I found it!” in this exhibition room. Or I stand at the center of Angle mort 2, and try to adjust subtly my standing point and eye’s position in order not to see the hypotenuse sides. Oh yes, now there is no hidden space by these pillars in this exhibition room — except the back of the gate. Now I’m it. If there is another viewer, I never miss him/her as long as I stand here. Or if he/she go behind the gate, the camera catch him/her. It is another it. How many its would be in this room? The three solid works by Miyasaka, which represent overlapped sights, show the area where two to three its are keeping a watch — or, I, standing outside of these sculpture and looking down them, have not yet been found by its in the spaces of these solid works.
    Viewing angle in exhibition room. Of course the physical status of our viewing angle doesn’t change wherever: in exhibition or in daily life or in intertwined space. And a design of exhibition — for example, displaying painting, a margin around a sculpture, spacing of works, the specifications of caption and the tour — is based on and cannot ignore the certain sight of human as the standard. A painting requires a viewing distance that catch the entire of the painting in the sight. So a sculpture on pedestal does. Usually we display some works distantly so that they cannot to be seen at once, but occasionally we dare design to make them seen suddenly at once. The depth of room and its wraparound shape, and its proportion could closely relate to the exhibition design or be the prerequisite for it.
    Our sights are generally common. In playing hide and seek, when it’s eye is seen to my eye, also my eye is seen to it’s eye; but not always if the one had wide angle. And in multiplayer shooter, our sights are equal although they are not as accurate as real eyes.
    An exhibition room is usually designed assuming that there is only one viewer at once. Or, a viewer him/herself designs his/her own viewing as if there is only him/her in the exhibition room. An exhibition design responds such viewer’s psychological condition. As for a viewer, it is normalized that another viewer is just a casual existence, who attends in the exhibition at same time by chance, and so should be reduced from the original viewing experience. Besides, no one can see the other’s sight and we can only presuppose uncertainly what others see depending on the movement of their eyes. To repeat, however, when your eye is within my sight, also my eye is within your sight. The two angles of sight whose apexes are located at each eyes — this angle is not quadrangular pyramid as cameras, but an elliptic cone with fuzzy edge — are overlapped facing or obliquely, like Miyasaka’s works.

Surspace 2 “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    A video game Forbidden Siren has a mechanics called “sightjacking”(*3). The purpose of the game is to solve the enigma in the village or escape from there avoiding the insane villagers’ eye and attacking. Sightjacking is a function that a player see the sights of villagers who are wandering periodically. Via their sight relayed, it enables players to confirm where the dangerous villagers wander and what they catch in sight, so this information is useful for hiding from them. The sight is displayed on full screen, so players image the quadrangular pyramid of the sight. But it is difficult to confirm that the pyramid as displayed information coincides the detection zone of villager’s “seeking” as one of game mechanics. According to “The Aesthetics of Video Games” by a video game researcher Shinji Matsunaga, video game is understood with the structure consist of three elements: “game mechanics”, “fiction”, and the syntax what connect significantly other two elements. In Forbidden Siren, the detection zone falls in game mechanics and the jacked sight of villager falls in fiction, and while playing players understand that when the player character enters the sight in the (fiction) world, it means that it enters the detection zone (game mechanics), so the villager notice it and begin to attack.
    Ordinarily the exhibition is different from video game; it is not apparatus with game mechanics, that is implemented “rule”, say a set of conditional statements physically or electronically or with programming. That is not necessarily so in case of media art, interactive art or performance, but “Three Space” has not such properties. There only traditional and unplugged sculptural objects and unconditioned relay system. So nothing actually changes no matter where a viewer stands or moves to. Such characteristics are related to the conventions of “exhibition”. The fact an exhibition room is usually designed as so that there is only one viewer at once strongly conditions or be conditioned by the conception that anyone who visits at any time will be provided the possibility of viewing the same content". To question this condition that has been accompanied the idea of white cube and recently gets taken up for discussion due to the development of the medium of “interactivity” would be a kind of modernistic and formalistic question about the medium of exhibition, which is depended on not only its physical characteristics or technical system but also the institution and conventions.
    Well, Miyasaka’s “Three Spaces” does not have any physical or electronic or programmed interactive mechanics. However, game mechanics are often implemented by shared awareness and compliance of the participants. In case of chess, a piece can be physically put anywhere on a board. It is human that moves the pieces according to the rules and makes the chess game work; This is why so ad hoc handicap would be possible. To contrary, in the case of soccer, it is far difficult to change the physical law to make movement of the ball slower for the sake of beginners. And video games has no a handicap unless it is implemented electronically. When human implement and realize the rule of game psychologically, it can be altered minorly or largely on necessary or will. Let’s say it simply “to follow the rules”. A game relying on psychological mechanics is played only between persons who “follow the rules”.
    Think a solitary play. For example, a gaming of walking only in the white part of a zebra crossing. The exposed asphalt is lava, so it’s game over when I step there. If the game is over, you can give up buying food as a penalty. Or get reward for success, you can. Or walking a curb, finish cleanup at a certain time limit, play fancy RPG with dolls. In these cases, you can follow the rules by only yourself. Well, let’s ignore trivial problems: there is not competition, the judgement would be self-righteous or the fiction is too ridiculous; and so I dare not define these plays as “games” after this. “To run a rule assuming it exists”, in the above expression, “to follow the rules” can be done by one person. And there is such a “fiction” which is a faint effect overwritten on real time and space. (Note that the use of the word "fiction" here does not correspond to Matsunaga’s).

Surspace 2 “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    Hide and Seek is a game physically implemented. Whether a player is found by it is depended on his/her hiding from it’s sight: visible or invisible. It is, of course, not entirely psychological game because there is camouflage and “seeing what is under the nose” (in the first place, playing game depends on psychological consents; no player go home without permission), but hide and seek is not so much psychologically dependent as “solitary play” I argued above.
    A TV program titled “Chase” is developed “hide and seek” as reality show: “contestants(fugitives)”, what consisted of entertainers, flee from “hunters”, who put on black suits, within determined area (“game board”) for a limited time for prize(*4). Here what I want to refer is that there should be crew including cameraman who shoots the contestants and audio technicians. You can understand their existences as you have general literacy, when you see that the hiding contestants appears in the screen and comments something seeing the screen. And also a bird-eye camera can often capture the technicians around the contestants. I can’t be sure but it is reasonable that hunters “pretend to not see” the technicians around the contestant. While the contestant him/herself is invisible, it is plain that there is a contestant when technical staffs are gathering. We don't know whether they "pretend not to see" or “approach them carelessly” after all, whether or not, unlike the naïve physical and optical condition of hide and seek, the conditions go the game are depending on that the players (hunters) abide by a certain rule or gentlemen’s agreement.
    To return to our subject. It is psychologically possible for a single person implement a system of rules including “seeing” as the important element. For this or by this, “seeing” and “the range you see” appears as some outlined objects in your experience. This “outlined” objects are not literally visual. Once again in video games, when an enemy character does “that move” then “that thing” happens: this causing is recognitive and so “outlined”. In sports, its minute playing are supported by awareness of movement or atmosphere which is hard to put into words but distinctly recognized as “that”. A baseball batter sees a ball and swings a bat instinctively. There is a momentary and precise mathematics of perception that goes beyond human recitation. Batter can recognize this as “this”, and sometimes force it into words(*5). We are also able to such a keen recognition about “seeing”, “seeing a certain range”, and “the range we see”. I cannot help from being “concrete” aware of my own seeing and its range when I see the works of “Three Spaces”. What I want to say in “concrete” is may not be limited to the level of concreteness to the extent I can express in words. It would be such an extra “seeing” or that specific and ineffable characteristics of “seeing” which are like what is found in momentary movement of a ball or vast “atmosphere” of entire game status by athletes as an example. We can enter into the mode in which we can see those “seeing”, at any time, in any way. Of course it is too early to cast the exhibition and a potentiality of “seeing” into the negatively-established value as “ineffable one” by taking sports as an example. However, we can do and see “simple and plentiful variation of seeing”, or to say “a little other seeing”, what is able to be outlined and executable by instinctive awareness even though we have not enough vocabulary yet.

Angle mort 2 “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    When I walk around the white solid works 3 spaces… series on pedestals, I outline and am aware of my cone-shaped sight what sees the scene in which I see them or them are seen; and also of another viewer’s sight — whichever he/she is virtual or actually exists. You and I see the solid work on pedestal and we see each other across it. Clearly I can imagine a certain range that my cone-shaped sight and your cone-shaped sight are overlapped, this range is transparent but surely exists; but it is hard to show it by drawing in midair. When I and you wanders in this space, my and your sight cones are extended in front of each and they are occasionally overlapped, or not. The line stretched in front of me and the one of you meet at the intersection. From the distances between the intersection and each of us and the angle between two lines, we can compute the range we can see in common and so never miss the bee. The human sight as specificity of “seeing range” which can be computed from its physical properties of our eyeball that can be compared to a camera or lens. And that is in general the same between you and me, and not much different among many people.
    HD cameras. One mounted at the gate of Surspace 2 has very different specificities from our sight. A rectangle boundary, its clarity and narrow angle. It is distinctly different from our buffered and wide oval sight. But the “seeings” relation of between me and the camera and the one between you and me, who both are human, are the same in that both relation are practical overlapping of two concrete “cones”. The gate is looking down at someone. I see that from, say, the opposite side of the room. The person what I see now is captured by that camera cone, too. Its sight is relayed to the display whose front face are not seen from here. My sight is not relayed to anywhere — here’s one question I won’t answer: Why did Miyasaka relay the camera to the display?

3 spaces straight 50mm “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    Standard. We have a roughly same standard of the “body” and it often relates to the norms which underpin the idea of “beauty” politically, conventionally and nationally. Modulor. Standard must be shared with a community and applied to something real and continue to be applied for its existence. We humans are endowed with our own “standard of seeing” and we are well aware of that cameras have “standards of seeing” which are different from ours even though resemble to ours by aesthetic and industrial reasons.
    Such diverse and heterogeneous “seeings” are unique not only to HD camera in Miyasaka’s exhibition, but also cameras that are ubiquitous today — now, each smartphone has three lenses with different angles of view. This “uniqueness” is determined by not only industrial and physical necessities. How to turn the camera, to use it, to expect or swing it. In this period when “camera” is most omnipresent in human history, each “apparatuses of seeing” have subtle differences from each other and overflowing in the time and space. Smartphones, drones, surveillance cameras, laptop cameras, satellites, drive recorders(*6). Let’s also count these: Myopia, hyperopia, and phenomenal blindness. Telescopes, microscopes and glasses.

3 spaces central 25mm “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space

    A “system of rules” for seeing. We can invent them concretely in Miyasaka’s exhibition. Say, to wait the comer hiding the blind side made by works… well, I would like stop to talk that here. The main focus of this critical apparatus are neither an establishment, articulation of certain rules for the exhibition nor conditonalization and inventing determined “game”. The issue is that the semi-imagined “following the rules(-like-thing)” or “trying to follow the rules(-like-thing)” about “seeing” boot up our careful recognition, imagination and speculation related to “seeing” “to see” “that we’re seeing” and its range and ability, bias and function, desire.
    I tried to take photographs of installation view of “Three Spaces” as materials for critique, with my iPhone 6s. I don’t know why, it was difficult to take, I could not get satisfactory composition, even regardless of exposure. It is sloppy to take them roughly. I tried to take some “good photos”, holding iPhone 6s in right hand, seeing the scene shot by the camera of iPhone 6s, which has 12 million pixels and F 2.2, displayed on the Retina screen, which has 5.5 inch width and 1920 x 1080 pixel, and also seeing the iPhone itself, in front of those white objects.

3 spaces angular 25mm “Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces”, Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, 2019.8.31-9.29
Photo:Ken Kato Photo courtesy:Tokyo Arts and Space


*1 http://www.fondationlecorbusier.fr/corbuweb/morpheus.aspx?sysId=13&IrisObjectId=5147&sysLanguage=en-en&itemPos=3&itemCount=5&sysParentName=Home&sysParentId=11, last access date: 2019.10.7

*2 The National Museum of Western Art, Japan - "NMWA Architecture Brochure” PDF file, https://www.nmwa.go.jp/jp/about/pdf/Brochure_jp_d.pdf, last access date: 2019.10.7

*3 Forbidden Siren is a horror video game for PlayStation 2 published and developed by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2003 in Japan. In horror games, “sight” is an important element both as theme and, above all, as a game mechanics. For example, in Fatal Frame series by Tecmo Inc. (now Koei Tecmo Games) features the taking photos of ghosts by camera. Also in free video game SCP - Containment Breach, developed by Joonas Rikkonen ‘Regalis’, the enemy character SCP-173, which appears from the beginning of the game, approaches and attacks the player at high speed only when it is not in his/her sight.

*4 Chase (in Japan, “Run for Money: To-So-Chu”) is TV program airing on Fuji Television Network since 2004. In theme parks and shopping centers that was chartered, ”Contestants” of 7 to 20 people according to the length of broadcast, try to escape from ”hunters”. Hunters in black suits and sunglasses are placed in the area. A contestant who ran off a hunter until the time limit is up, or gave up at a certain point gets a cash prize dependent on how long he/she’s run.

*5 I remember an interesting episode about a batter perceiving the movement of the ball instantly. An art critic Michael Fried ask Rosalind Krauss: “Do you know who Frank thinks is the greatest living American?” Fried said it is Ted Williams, a hitter of Red Socks. “Ted Williams sees faster than any other living human. He sees so fast that when the ball comes over the plate — 90 miles an hour — he can see the stitches. So he hits the ball right out of the park. That’s why Frank thinks he’s a genius.” (Krauss, The Optical Unconscious, 1994, MIT Press, p.7)
    This episode shows the Fried’s (thought by Krauss) modernistic perspective following Greenberg’s. But this treating of “dynamic vision” is different from one in my text. The former aims to bring out the problem of time to see formalistically the painting from these topics as William’s precise dynamic vision and enormous number of perceptual operations. But my text treats the precision of batter’s dynamic vision not as such a transcendent seeing, but as a just well-trained seeing. Whether we can become a “genius” of “seeing” or not, anyway we can become a trained “pro-am”.
*6 These instants given are based on Kosuke Nagata’s “Politics of the Photographable: on Wolfgang Staehle's ‘Untitled’” in “Pan-no-Pan 03” (ed. Kiritorimederu, 2018). This treatise takes as the subject Staehle's ‘Untitled”(2001), which accidentally captured September 11 Attacks, to discuss contemporary various “photographic apparatus” and surroundings, referring to Alexander Galloway’s “Protocol” based on Gilles Deleuze’s diagram.


Euske Oiwa
Artist born in 1993. Researching at Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Film and New Media, Doctoral Course. Interesting in media such as installation, fiction, critique and deceiving. Recent Works: Solo Exhibition “Slow Actor” (2018, Komagome SOKO), Exhibition Review Series on Bijutsu Techo Web, contributing a treatise to “Pan-no-Pan 04” (ed. Kiritorimederu), published in Nov. 2019, and part-time lecturer at Kyoto City University of Arts in 2019. euskeoiwa.com

Related exhibition

TOKAS-Emerging 2019 [Part2]
Naoki Miyasaka:Three Spaces
Period: August 31 - September 29, 2019
Venue: Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo


Last Updated on October 25 2019

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