This Artist Teaches You to Find Pattern in Disorder

Interdisciplinary artist Shohei Fujimoto’s latest wave of creations are these abstract, minimalist, black and white visuals, Repeating Patterns. Produced with C++ open source coding software openFrameworks, each graphic design presents a different abstract design as a living, moving organism.


Shohei is well known as an installation artist – not only exhibiting his work in Japan but also around the world, including Europe, America and the Middle East.


Shohei’s Repeating Patterns, produced in his base in Tokyo and distributed to the world via Instagram, may have an abstract aesthetic but it reminds its viewers to try to see order in the bigger picture. Though each image may seem to be abstract, formed of repetition, intersecting paths and lines, and ever-evolving dimensions, a systematic order is, in fact, in charge.


We spoke to the artist to get his word on the visuals.

THE PLUS: What’s the concept behind the series?
Shohei Fujimoto:
The visuals I’m making are like life phenomena that are given a minimum of information and certain rules and are rebuilt autonomously. By scraping off the visual information and viewing it with a flat viewpoint, viewers can focus on details from the whole visual. They seems to resemble insects under a magnifying glass and provide new viewpoints and discoveries for viewers.


TP: What is your opinion on minimalist aesthetics?
I think the thought of what is necessary and what can be shared is similar to thinking about algorithms. Also, removing unnecessary things is to create a new space (virtual space, physical space). I think how to both capture and handle the space is an important thought in visual creation and installation creation.


TP: Your work sometimes engages with sound art and music. What is the connection between sound and visual for you in your work?
Sound is a powerful medium that improves the visual experience and influences the visual worldview. In other words, by entering the sound, you can extend the visual. I use primitive sound when using sounds for visual. It is not my purpose to establish it as music, but it is important to me that the sound is associated with visuals. It is also important for me to add a sense of reality to the order of the algorithm.


TP: You often work with colour for your installation work. Why have you gone with black and white for this series?
Actually, as with creating visuals, I’m trying to make it simple when choosing colours in installation creation. Sometimes I decide to use colours as a kind of limitation. In visual creation, my important element as a component of visuals is “motion” and “vitality”, so I want to treat colour information as simple as possible. By handling colour information as 0 (black) or 1 (white), I think that I can encourage the viewer to focus on “motion” and “vitality”.


TP: What attracts you to repetition?
I don’t get bored when I watching repeating patterns. I have a sense that I can see the repeating patterns. That sense may be close to the feeling while looking at the ocean, or the feeling while looking at the movement of ants crawling on the ground. I do not know the scientific basis, but I think that it is a sense that mankind has in common. In order to realize repetition and patterns, need an algorithm that keeps constant processing. I will provide the algorithm and the computer will do it. Algorithms leave the human hands, become visualised as visuals, continue circulating like a natural phenomenon, and produce unexpected results. Also, I think that it is possible that the viewer can understand the rules of the algorithm of phenomenon and that a more comfortable visual experience can be provided by the fact that the repetition and the pattern are constant.


TP: How do you come up with a new motion graphic design?
I often get inspiration from the movement of light and natural phenomenon that I see in my everyday life. I rebuild a fragmentary image that I kept in my head using programming. I think about what kind of expressions will be interesting, and at the same time what kind of algorithms can be combined to realize it. Also, I combine elements of visuals I made in the past to express another.


TP: How do your motion graphic designs relate to your installation work?
Actually, the feeling when I’m making both is the same. Ultimately, I want to create an immersive space (or objects) that I cannot experience on the screen. I’m thinking the visuals posted on the Instagram are materials for subliming the feeling inside of me to installation creation. There are various restrictions such as budget constraints, physical constraints, mechanical constraints, electrical constraints, etc. when creating an installation. On the contrary, the screen has almost no restrictions. I think it is important to continue to expand the visuals in a highly flexible environment without being bound by constraints.


TP: Is your process experimental or precise?
It is very experimental. When things designed in my head do not work as I desire, you will try and error many times and gradually approach my image. Also, when I’m making another idea comes out, it is also often to switch direction by selecting that. The visuals posting to the Instagram is my thought process itself.


TP: What projects do you have coming up?
I’m planning to create the new art installation using the laser this summer. It is a new work of the series “power of one #surface”.