Omote, technology of the soul

Omote, last month’s performance realised by Japanese digital artist Nobumichi Asai (with the help of French artist Paul Lacroix for developing the overall system of real-time face tracking and the one of make-up artist Hiroto Kuwahara) impressed the world of art with its high level of technologic precision that changed at full speed and very subtly the face of Japanese model Yuka Sekimizu.

But, beyond the level of accuracy of this never-made experience - even if face-mapping technology already exists before –, it is important to take into consideration the idea carried out by Nobumichi Asai that stands closer to aesthetics philosophy and pure expression of beauty than usual marketing initiatives of face-morphing cosmetics commercials.


 photo: nobumichiasai.tumblr.com
 

 “I always considered face to be the most delicate yet powerful medium for art”, explains Nobumichi Asai. “I got interested in the possibility of face mapping, its potential in expressing something extraordinary. But, I wanted to focus on the expression of beauty and make-up art instead of technological gimmicks and impacts. As we spent more time on the project, we became more aware of its similarities with Nogaku’s Omote masks [Nogaku is Japan’s classical musical plays], and explored further possibilities through Integration of latest technology and classical Japanese art.” 

Additionally, Nobumichi Asai and his team conceived the project by integrating influence of japanimation art form - Nobumichi Asai quotes manga as a big influence – and processed the project with ultramodern tools like OptiTrack sensors for speedy response, and by developing an original program C++ to reduce minimal delay.


OMOTE /  3D laser scaning photo: nobumichiasai.tumblr.com

Omote
OMOTE / Making Real-Time Tracking test by Opti-Track photo: nobumichiasai.tumblr.com

But, the core of the project stays mostly a very traditional way of expressing beauty, and especially Japanese beauty, to the world. “In Nogaku, face is considered as [mirror] that reflects human soul, a separation between Omote (exterior) and Ura (interior)”. So, thank you Mr Asai for stressing out the importance to link as you did technological expression and soul considerations in such a harmonious project.
 

Laurent Catala

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