29 July – 3 August: Concept Designing Report

The 10th Musashino Art University-Tokyo Institute of Technology joint workshop was held from July 29 to August 3, 2019.

The collaboration was sponsored by Modulex Inc. and brought together students from the two schools to share their knowledge and skills. Groups of five students combined science & technology and art & design approaches to create new ideas and artworks.

Each group created a single artwork based on the theme “Right Left”.
For some students from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, communications were very difficult because they have fundamentally different ways of thinking from Musashino Art University students. However, communications went beyond the mere use of words.
Drawings of sheets of paper were used as a whiteboard to create connections between the team.


Difficulties in communication can also have positive outcomes. They force one to enter another person’s mindset through face-to-face interaction. Once the overwhelming “otherness” of the other party is accepted, a “responsible relationship” is established. When we say “I understand you”, what we often imply is “I understand you the way I can understand.” There is no threat to the underlying assumptions of one’s cognitive framework.

However, as Levinas repeatedly points out, the responsibility for responding to others lies in the overwhelming “otherness” of inviolability, or “heterogeneity” (Levinas, 1986).

When faced with the “face” of another person, we are inevitably required to take some action.
Saying “I fail to understand you” does not mean the end of the communication. We ask ourselves, “What shall I do?” because the “otherness” of other people continues to prompt a dialogue even without any questions asked.

Here, communication loses the means of understanding others in a way that allows them to understand themselves, and makes it impossible to reverse the alienness of others. In this way, while being overwhelmed by the overwhelming heterogeneity of others, by continuing to direct words and gaze to others, a “responsible relationship” with others begins. We are vulnerable to the foreign nature of the other person, but we still fail to understand her/him (but we’re here, we are here). This may be important in communication.

All the artworks the students created had a “meaning” and a “story” that were crafted by communicating with each other, and they were all original and fun to look at.

Piano Bar Oto (音):

The wonderful idea of drinking sound. It made us think about the difference between what is shaped and what is not.

AI God (AIの神さま):
The idea that a QR code connected to AI is a god. It can be used as a satire for modern society.


Humans without left and right (左右をもたない人間):
The inconvenience of not having left and right. Someone’s freedom may be associated with someone else’s inconvenience.

Seeing things from the beginning (始まりから物事を見る):
A very philosophical work with a well-defined concept behind it. Is it possible for humans to see everything from the beginning to the end?

Products that change the position of the eyes (目の位置を変えるプロダクト):
It’s supposed to be here, it’s the freshness that changes the position of the eyes that you’re thinking about. It can be interpreted as “what is always there is not always there”.

References: Levinas Emmanuel (1986) “Time and Others”, Translated by Yoshihiko Harada, Tokyo: Hosei University Press.

(Photos © Nohara Lab 2019)


今回の作品のテーマは、「右 左」でした。学生たちはお互いにコミュニケーションをとりながら、グループで一つのアート作品を作り上げます。



「私はあなた(の言うこと)を理解した。」と言うとき、それはしばしば「私は私が理解できる形であなたの(言う)ことを理解した。」という事実にとどまります。そこには根源的な驚きや認識の枠組みが揺るがされるような脅威は感じられません。しかし、レヴィナスが繰り返し指摘するように、他者へ応答する責任が生じるのは、その不可侵の圧倒的「他者性」、別の言葉にすれば「異質さ」にあります(レヴィナス, 1986)。他者の「顔」に対面したとき、私たちは否応なく何らかの対応を要求されます。



Piano Bar Oto (音):





レヴィナス・エマニュエル. (1986). 『時間と他者』. 原田佳彦 (訳). 東京:法政大学出版局.