Reflecting ON The BorderLINE


The ON The BorderLINE exhibition was held at Shibuya QWS, Tokyo, on 25-28 February 2021. In this post, the participants of this first student-led project of the STADHI Satellite Lab at Tokyo Tech reflect on the experience of creating artworks and share lessons learned from the event.

“I chose this lab because it was called Science & Art Lab,” Masamune Kawasaki, the 2nd year master’s student of the Engineering Sciences and Design course who directed the event, talked about his motivation in organizing the exhibition. After gaining experience in creating artworks and managing exhibitions outside the university in the previous year, he led the team of students from Nohara laboratory of the Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering Department at Tokyo Tech. “[…] I thought we could do it, so I suggested holding it at Tokyo Tech.”

The exhibition space in Shibuya QWS (Credits: Kazuyoshi Natada)

The student-centered event was partly supported by the Tokyo Tech World Research Hub Initiative (WRHI) through a programme that aims to integrate science/technology with art/design. Visitors were invited to experience the feeling of standing on various overlooked borderlines by engaging with a total of nine works purposefully made by nine students. Acting as both artists and management staff, the students carried out the project mostly online. The exhibition itself was held face-to-face in February 2021 under strict preventive measures put in place against COVID-19 infection in Tokyo. Despite the situation, more than 160 people visited the space and many expressed a great interest. Reflecting on the event here, some students share their honest views on the experience of holding the exhibition.


“Although before creating I thought it seemed too difficult, it was not difficult to create when I started.”

ON The BorderLINE was born from the urge to re-examine various ‘borders’ in the current uncertain and chaotic modern times. Trying to capture their own unique ‘borderline’ perspective, each artist translated it into exhibits. Utilizing their knowledge and field of expertise from studying at Tokyo Tech, each also aimed to achieve certain individual aspirations.

“I was trying to capture my feelings towards science and technology,” said Chihiro Wada about her work entitled Her artwork stemmed from her research at Tokyo Tech as a 2nd year Doctoral student with a specialization in gender studies. Her knowledge of cultural signs and text helped in the creation of the artwork: “I tried to evoke a culturally general mental reaction towards the work while at the same time trying to create a confusing effect to stimulate people’s interpretation.” Her final piece resembled mushroom clouds in black and white, which was intended to create an ambiguous, unstable and indescribable psychological landscape. While the making process was relatively simple, she felt that deciding on the final design of the work was a major challenge.

Some visitors shared their impressions of the artworks on a board purposefully prepared for the occasion. Their comments reflect thoughts born after interacting with the students during the exhibition. “I realized that the ‘white feelings’ are not always ‘pure white’ […],” was mentioned after understanding the detail behind color used in the Chihiro Wada was filled with awe by new and interesting interpretations of her work. “Through hearing their comments, I also re-interpreted my artwork,” she stated.

Concept photo of (Credit: Chihiro Wada)

Rei Sato, a 2nd year Master student of the Global Engineering for Development, Environment, and Society (GEDES) course, was inspired by a London-based quantum music project for his 複雑系の音色/Complex Network Tones. “I tried to create state-of-the-art artworks based on science (physics research) and art (music), which is a completely new concept all over the world.” Based on previous studies, he tried to implement the algorithm from scratch and developed the programming by himself to create an original music piece. A visitor asked, paraphrasing the artist: “So this is the sound of this (natural) world?”. Sato reflected on his participation in the show, “Although before creating, I thought it seemed too difficult, it was not difficult to create when I started”. One of the challenges that required much effort was to visually present his non-tangible work through a digital visualization of the music.

Rei Sato explaining his Complex Network Tones (Credit: Masamune Kawasaki)

In her Your Touch Makes Me Fragrant, Yuke Wang, 2nd year Master’s student of the Engineering Sciences and Design course, applied her theoretical olfactory research to interaction design. “I want to let people think about the relationship between humans and man-made things,” she said. Her interactive installation gave out an aroma when touched. She described the aroma as a metaphor for emotion and attachment. “Attachment makes artificial things emotional and special.” On a practical level, she especially pointed out how her technical background helped her in solving the problems she met in the making process.

The students spent months ‘translating’ their concepts into artworks, by sharing and discussing among each other while at the same time progressing with the overall event plan. Several WRHI members served as advisors, including Heather Barnett from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and Prof. Masahiko Hara and Dr. Giorgio Salani from Tokyo Tech. From them, the students received valuable feedback, technical hints to solve any bottlenecks, and overall guidance in materializing their ideas.


“Through hearing their comments, I also re-interpreted my artwork.”

During the event, visitors could enjoy the exhibits while interacting with the students at the space. Serving as hall staff, the students were ready to explain each artwork to the visitors. Sometimes the talks went beyond simple explanations of individual works and reached a re-questioning of various underlying concepts and thoughts.

“Although I think my idea was easy to understand, there were still many in the audience who did not understand the concept until I explained it to them,” said Yamei, who was in her 2nd year of the Engineering Sciences and Design master course. Her piece, 私たちの間/ Border Between Us, was a clay sculpture based on the concept of the ever-present border of communication. While she was comfortable to be totally free in expressing herself, she felt insecure at the same time. Without a proper background in art, she wondered how far she managed to successfully convey her message. However, comments from visitors helped her become more confident. “Oh, although it sounds sad that we cannot truly understand each other, the relationship between us is still warm just like your work shows,” was one of the meaningful responses she received from visitors. “I suppose that most of them (visitors) did feel it (the message).”

The sculpture “Border Between Us” by Yamei (Credits: Yamei)

“[…] I am very glad I could have chance to apply the science communication theory I learned at Nohara laboratory,” Farah Fauzia, a 1st year Master student of GEDES course commented. Her work 社会apparatus/Society Apparatus was meant to convey the message that ‘it is fine to preserve our own color’ through unmixed colorful liquids inside laboratory vessels. Originally graduated from Chemical Engineering major before coming to Tokyo Tech, she tried to give a simple explanation of the scientific reason why the liquids could not get mixed to the visitors. “[I] wondered if there is also something in society that plays the role of surfactants,” one of the visitors commented on the work by using the technical term mentioned by the artists during the explanation. “I learned how to interact with visitors, especially using simple language […],” Fauzia reflected. Another memorable comment from some foreign-national visitors was: “They said they can relate to the concept. It (this artwork) was rather a ‘brave’ message to the Japanese society that was possible probably because of our diverse background.”

The numerous visitors to the exhibition included students, researchers, designers, creators, journalists, and business people. Some were foreign nationals, who enjoyed talking with students using a language other than Japanese. “I thought I had to prepare my business card and portfolio…” one of the students admitted when asked what they would do differently next time.

Visitors left many comments for the artists (Credit: Masamune Kawasaki)


“I learned that we had to pass lots of processes to exhibit artworks.”

“Attending the exhibition is not only about creating a fine work,” Rei Sato reflected. “[…] I think most of us did not consider them at all at first.” Most members of the 9-strong team acted as both artists and management staff for this exhibition and struggled to find a balance between working on personal pieces and planning the event. “I learned that we had to pass lots of processes to exhibit artworks,” one stated. Most students identified time management as the most challenging aspect of the whole experience. “It was truly hard work,” Masamune Kawasaki – who led the team – admitted during the final evaluation meeting.

The artists also served as staff during the event (Credits: Yuke Wang)

Under the COVID-19 infection risk, they needed to figure out how to smoothly carry out most of the production work online. For example, the team relied on the virtual layout of Shibuya QWS Playground to design the exhibition floor—since only limited people could visit the place during the preparation phase, and some trouble arose on the spot. “[…] You should leave enough time to test and adjust it in the exhibition space,” Yuke Wang reflected on her experience of taking long a time to find and fix a problem with her interactive installation that did not work well after its installation. “[…] Anything could happen during the exhibition time,” Farah Fauzia added, “It was very important to stay aware of overall exhibition space so we could respond swiftly.”

Another voiced a different opinion, “I think the most difficult part is generating good ideas”. The students spent months shaping their concepts into exhibits and went through a process of problem finding and solving in expressing their ideas. Chihiro Wada explored different ideas before finally settling on her [] work. “I just kept thinking and thinking through creating my piece. It was a lot of work, but I believed it was necessary to the current me,” she explained.

When asked whether making the artwork helped them become a better researcher, some students were unconvinced. “I am not sure that they are related but […] I think it makes me better person,” Yamei expressed. Yuke Wang, who produced two pieces for the exhibition, pointed out the difference between the two activities: “Doing research is trying to figure out “why” and trying to express clearly to let other people understand. No ambiguity. But making artwork is more about expressing yourself. And different people can have different understanding of your artwork. There can be ambiguity.” However, most of them also agree that there are similarities between artwork production and research activities. “I think the process of finding a question and solving it is similar,” Wang said. “It was practically a trial and error, or experiments,” another added. “By not giving up and facing the challenge, we will equip ourselves with the necessary skills to become a good researcher,” Fauzia argued.

“I just kept thinking and thinking through creating my piece. It was a lot of work, but I believed it was necessary to the current me.”


The students also shared personal impressions on their own pieces. “I like the texture and delicacy of my piece,” one of them honestly said. While others also stated they like their own pieces in terms of idea and quality, some felt not quite satisfied, “if I have more time, I can make them better.” Another student also added, “Next time, I would like […] to enhance the impact and message of the artwork.”

Some enjoyed receiving feedback and wanted to enable more interaction with the audience. “This experience is priceless,” one of the students summarized. For another student, through talking with various people with various background, one can also sell his/her own name. “This experience gives us a wide view not only of our artwork but also trigger future plans,” Rei Sato stated.

Visitors in the exhibition space (Credits: Farah Fauzia)

If there were opportunities in the future, all the students involved in the show agreed they would love to make artwork again. “Of course. I always have [a] strong desire of creating something,” Yamei eagerly stated. “I feel I need to express my thoughts not only through academic articles but also through art,” Chihiro Wada added. Another student also mentioned that this kind of experience is something that she probably could not easily come across in the future.

On the final evaluation meeting, event producer and director Masamune Kawasaki said he was glad this time there were some members who said they would want to experience the process again, “I think it was a good thing. We have experienced it once so we should be able to proceed more smoothly next time.” As all concerning issues (especially on the management side) were being evaluated, he hopes the event can be held annually. “We should collaborate with other universities,” one argued. During the event, some visitors from the architecture and literature department of another university came to talk about the overall exhibition with great interest. “It would be interesting to collaborate with them,” Kawasaki agreed.

He also pointed out his opinion that there might be something that can only be possible to be produced here in ScienceXArt Nohara Laboratory. “Unlike other laboratories, each individual has [a] different specialty, so the output will be different.” Different from art colleges who usually have a decided fixed output, university students (especially in non-art related majors) attempting to make artworks from original concepts may introduce interesting scientific innovations.

“This experience is priceless.”

Borrowing Prof. Kayoko Nohara’s words, through this exhibition, the Tokyo Tech students who specialize in science and technology have been trying to communicate with audience in a way that differ from your usual language. By integrating science/technology with art/design, they tried to explore media and tools that can capture the potential behind the organized chaos of the borderline. Reflecting on the experiences, they hoped the baton could be passed on to invite more audiences visiting whole new perspectives in future events.

Written by Farah Fauzia, based on an interview by Dr. Giorgio Salani. Edited by Giorgio Salani.

Contributor: Chihiro Wada, Yuke Wang, Rei Sato, Farah Fauzia, Yamei

2021年2月25〜28日にON The BorderLINE展示会(が東京の渋谷QWSで開催されました。この学生中心のイベントは、科学・技術とアート・デザインの融合を目的としたプログラムである東京工業大学WRHIによって部分的にサポートされました。観客には、9人の学生が制作した9作品に触れ、見落とされがちなさまざまな境界線に立つ感覚を体験してもらいました。



また、Science x Artラボである野原研究室でしか作れないものがあるかもしれないという観客からの反応もありました。このイベントでは、科学・技術を専門とする東工大生たちが、いつもの言葉ではない形で、コミュニケーションを図ろうとしています。科学・技術をアート・デザインと統合することにより、彼らは境界線の組織化された混沌の背後にある可能性を受けとめ発信できるメディアとツールを探求しようとしました。

ON the borderLINE のイベントについてはこちら(。

25-28 February 2021: “On the border LINE” Exhibition


“ON the border LINE” was an exhibition based on re-examination of “border” in the current uncertain and chaotic modern times. Boundaries divide anything into two: this is science, this is not science; this is art, this is not art; this is seeing, this is hearing. What about the border itself? Much ambiguity is expected where boundaries are drawn. Students from the Dept. of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering at Tokyo Tech explored and translated this concept into exhibits, and invited visitors to take a look at the world from various borderline perspectives.”

The exhibition was held on 25-28 February 2021 at the Playground of Shibuya Scramble Square QWS in Tokyo. Despite strict preventive measures put in place against COVID-19 infection, more than 160 people visited the space during the 4-day face-to-face exhibition. The project aimed to re-frame various ambiguous boundaries in modern times under the current disarrayed global condition.

In 2020, our ‘normal’ everyday activities were suddenly disrupted by the spread of COVID-19. Since then, human life has been significantly affected. Countless visible borders, such as masks and social distancing, have become indispensable. At the same time, the ‘new normal’ has redefined various views of the world. However, amidst these uncertainties and disorder, there must be something that can only be captured at this very moment. Based on this feeling, this exhibition was held to invite visitors to experience the feeling of standing on various overlooked borderlines.

The show was directed by Masamune Kawasaki, 2nd year Master’s student of the Engineering Sciences and Design course. A total of nine works from Tokyo Tech students were exhibited.

Complex Tones (複雑系の音色) by Rei Sato

“If I didn’t see this work, I probably wouldn’t have encountered the world of quantum for the rest of my life…”
(impression from anonymous visitor)

Complex Tones (複雑系の音色)” by Rei Sato (Photo credit: artist)

Making use of knowledge from his field of interest – physics research – Rei Sato brought the visitors to listen to his mysterious ‘quantum music’. Referring to music that operates in quantum mechanic ways, quantum music has been recently recognized as a new music technology mainly in Western Europe. These tones enabled visitors to hear previously unperceived quantum interaction through music. This works as a border that connects people and complex systems. Chihiro Wada

“…we probably have been living while struggling to deal with this kind of dual opposition.” (impression from anonymous visitor)” by Chihiro Wada (Photo credit: artist)

Using a black and white theme, Chihiro Wada expressed her personal view of science and technology. The title represents the atomic bombing that happened on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 in her hometown of Hiroshima, which was also the birth of her complex feelings toward science. Specializing in the field of Gender Studies of Humanities, her view toward science and technology gradually changed after enrolling in Tokyo Tech, a concept she tried to convey through this work.

Your Touch Makes Me Fragrant by Yuke Wang

“The scent of artificial flowers was very mysterious. Just like a science fiction!” (impression from anonymous visitor)

Your Touch Makes Me Fragrant” by Yuke Wang (Photo credit: artist)

Through this ‘cyber flower’ interactive installation, Yuke Wang tried to explore the relationship between humans and artificial things. The ‘dead’ flower would become ‘alive’ with emotion and give out fragrance just like a real flower when coming in contact with a human. Having been working on olfactory research, Yuke Wang designed this artificial flower to give out a rose scent after being directly touched by the visitors.

“Border Between Us (私たちの間)” by Yamei

“I can watch this forever…” (impression from anonymous visitor)

“Border Between Us (私たちの間)” by Yamei, BACK (Photo credit: artist)
“Border Between Us (私たちの間)” by Yamei, FRONT (Photo credit: artist)

This sculpture work represented a mass of ‘love’, which exists with an unfilled gap. Through this work, Yamei expressed how ‘words’ are an important element in building relationships between people. The various expressions of love written on this work represent any means for people to express and listen, in the effort to understand and be understood. While the gap–border of communication exists forever, people are still yearning to build ‘love’ between them.

Face Myself by Ayano Nagata

“I didn’t know that just by having something else replaced your own face, your mind could be affected this much.” (impression from anonymous visitor)

Face Myself” by Ayano Nagata (Photo credit: artist)

Inspired by the mask that has become part of everyday life during the Coronavirus pandemic, this interactive installation was designed as a ‘mirror’ that can show different ‘faces’ of oneself. Through this work, Ayano Nagata tried to realize the desire of ‘choosing body and fashion that can express one’s personality without being bound by natural body’ in the future. In this AR-based installation, visitors could have their face replaced by non-human avatars while still wearing masks.

Society Apparatus (社会apparatus) by Farah Fauzia

“…I wonder if human also possess some kind of independent thing that will never get mixed.” (impression from anonymous visitor)

Society Apparatus (社会apparatus)” by Farah Fauzia (Photo credit: artist)

Making use of knowledge in Chemistry from her Chemical Engineering background, Farah Fauzia wanted to deliver the beauty of ‘layers’ that form in society. Through this colorful installation, visitors could directly see how various liquids would not blend even if they were mixed together due to their different characteristics. With this demonstration, she tried to convey her opinion that it should be fine to stay true to our own ‘color’ in society.

The Boundary Line by Wang Hezheng

“This made me realize that the boundaries in the landscape are not just those created by humans.” (impression from anonymous visitor)

The Boundary Line” by Wang Hezheng (Photo credit: artist)

By following the hundreds of photos taken along the journey from Tokyo Tech to the Shibuya QWS venue that were displayed on the floor of exhibition hall, Wang Hezheng invited the visitors to re-discover the beauty of the inconspicuous scenery in daily life. Graduated from Architecture studies, she transformed the everyday landscape into novel scenery by noticing the ‘boundary line’ that divide the materials, colors, and spaces and let visitors to enjoy new perspectives.

Rethinking the Subject (主体再考) by Tomohiro Ichikawa

“It was interesting to express the current social situation and the emotions of people living in it.”
(impression from anonymous visitor)

Rethinking the Subject (主体再考)” by Tomohiro Ichikawa (Photo credit: artist)

This work expressed two systems – open and closed – using the flow of water. Tomohiro Ichikawa wanted to convey his view that current society – in chaos due to forces such as capitalism and the Coronavirus pandemic, has divided people into independent subjects. Having major interest in Psychology research, he tried to re-question the whole situation by positioning the ‘subject’ from different point of view together with the visitors.

Is it evolution or erosion (進化か、侵食か) by Natsumi Kato and Yuke Wang

“It was beautiful to contrast technology and tradition.” (impression from anonymous visitor)

Is it evolution or erosion (進化か、侵食か)” by Natsumi Kato and Yuke Wang (Photo credit: artists)

Using Kintsugi (金継ぎ) to connect traditional ceramic vessels and modern plastic cups, Kato and Wang tried to question the value of new things. As human lives become more efficient, some value is added but some is lost when things become more convenient. Is it evolution, or is it erosion? The set of new things born from different value aimed to ask such question to the visitors.


During the exhibition, visitors from diverse background could enjoy the exhibits while interacting with the students from Tokyo Tech. The communication went beyond the simple explanation of their works, and reached a phase of re-questioning of various concepts and thoughts. Among the most notable impressions from the visitors, some pointed out how the concept from each exhibit managed to be conveyed in an easy-to-understand manner compared with the usual art exhibitions. This was probably made possible due to integration of science and art as basis for the show.

This event is the first student-centered project conducted as part of the Satellite Lab STADHI of Tokyo Tech World Research Hub Initiative (WRHI), which aims to integrate science/technology with art/design and is organized by Nohara laboratory led by Prof. Kayoko Nohara. Among the supporters, Prof. Masahiko Hara and Dr. Giorgio Salani from Tokyo Tech acted as technical advisors, with Dr. Heather Barnett from Central Saint Martins, University Arts London, as honorary advisor.

The artists and organisers of the exhibition (Photo credit: G. Salani)

Written by Farah Fauzia

「ON the borderLINE」は、先の見えない混沌とした現代における「境界:Border」を見つめ直すことに基づく展覧会でした。境界は物事を二分します。これはサイエンス、これはサイエンスではない/これはアート、これはアートではない。しかし境界線上はどうでしょうか。きっと、多くのあいまいさからどっちつかずの混沌とした世界が広がっています。東京工業大学の融合理工学系の学生たちは、このコンセプトを調査して展示に変換し、観客たちをさまざまな境界線上で世界を見ることに誘いました。



4-8 Nov 2019: Reflecting on the Hacking Hearts project UK


The Hacking Heart hackathon was held at Central Saint Martins, London, UK, on 4-8 November 2019 (full programme here). Prof. Nohara and the team reflected on the interdisciplinary exchanges performed during their weeklong project. 

Illustration by Libby Morrell

“After day one I was a bit overwhelmed by the presentations – there’s a lot to absorb”. Participants and organisers of the Hacking Heart hackathon sat down 10 days later to reflect on the event. The project was a weeklong experimental collaboration between scientists and Art & Design students, held on 4-8 November 2019 at Central Saint Martins college (CSM) in London, UK. The activities were designed to interrogate and reimagine contemporary scientific research centred on heart disease, energy harvesting and cellular sensing. Talking to the organisers Dr Heather Barnett and Dr Ulrike Oberlack, the students described the initial difficulties in accessing scientific language and content delivered by the scientists, “I had more one-on-one experience discussing the research with the scientists that cleared up a lot of misunderstandings… it helped with our research and planning before we went to discuss it with the scientists”. Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Queen Mary University of London (Queen Mary) worked with the organisers and 12 students from across a range of postgraduate courses at CSM (MA Art and Science, MA Design Furniture, MA Graphic Communication Design, MA Industrial Design, MA Jewellery Design, and MA Performance Design and Practice). Over the course of the week, the workshops facilitated a fertile exchange of ideas between artists and scientists. Each of the three groups of students produced a performance, delivered to participants and members of the public in a symposium on the last day.

The workshops took place in the Grow Lab at CSM, a biology facility dedicated to art and design teaching and research.  Photo © Hacking Hearts CSM/TiTech 2019

Initially, the event presented the typical difficulties of working collaboratively. “At the beginning we have a lot of ideas about the project, about the Hacking Hearts, how to show that, but, finally, we should give up some of them, some things are not very strong or some things not very connected, not very related”. The students learned to sacrifice some ideas to build up a clear outcome. “It was that phrase that consumed my mind: that a horse designed by committee could look like a camel”, the group laughed.

“It was that phrase that consumed my mind: that a horse designed by committee could look like a camel”

On the first day, the scientists shared their work in biotechnologies for the students to hack over the course of the week, ending with a public symposium on 8th November. Dr Thomas Iskratsch (Queen Mary) presented his research on biotechnological approaches for preventing and curing heart disease. Integrating biology with engineering, bioengineering solutions employ a combination of cells, signals and materials to create tissues outside the body that “will give us insights into disease processes, which in the future might aid design of novel drugs”. Dr Iskratsch researches the ways in which heart cells measure muscular stiffness by using simplified systems to investigate specific parameters in isolation, such as rigidity or shape. The students were invited to respond to his research and develop a “transdisciplinary translation” of its contents, as part of a wider effort to create a “third place bridging science/tech and art/design through communication”, as the organisers described. 

The participants collaborated for 4 days before presenting their responses in a public symposium. Photo © Hacking Hearts CSM/TiTech 2019

The research discussed by Prof. Wataru Hijikata (Tokyo Tech) provided additional food for thought. His presentation gave a quick overview of his work on energy harvesting systems that can be implanted in the human body, such as those required to power artificial heart pumps. The students responded to this work by creating props for a performance built around the idea of natural and artificial heartbeats. This inspired a question about accuracy during the symposium’s Q&A, as according to the students, by engaging with scientific content artists can “try to accurately communicate [in a] very certain and interesting way to a wider public audience, or you can go down the route where you’re just using as a jumping-off point, something to interpret, something to inspire you”.

The experience also changed the scientists’ own perception of what could be possible through collaboration with artists. On a straightforward level, Hijikata had to censor the content of his presentation to avoid discussing ethically challenging methods, such as the use of animal testing in research. This triggered a sort of suspicion about scientific procedures but resulted in a positive artistic outcome. For the scientist, “some disturbances are necessary for making impressive emotional performances”. He admired the performance about the beating hearts, which showed the essence (if not the details) of his research had been received appropriately by the students. For him, the value of art lies in translating scientific information into emotions. He compared his experience of the performance with that of watching the Japanese martial art of Kendo, “you’re very close in that moment – there’s no distance”. This was a superb achievement for the students. “I think that a lot of artists would aspire to this”, the organisers noted.

CSM students used lighted-up heart-like props and suggestive videos in their performance. Photo © Hacking Hearts CSM/TiTech 2019

By working with people with “different disciplinary knowledge, methods and mindsets”, the participants explored and reinterpreted social, ethical and philosophical dimensions of scientific research. In her role as Social Scientist in Residence at CSM, Prof. Nohara observed and reflected on the hybrid nature of those interactions. The team observed, “I guess the creative process generally goes through several phases of diversion, conversion, diversion, conversion, diversion, conversion. It’s sort of when you hit a problem, you then open it up and then have to close it down, and then you’ve got another problem”. The social dimension involved in collaborating with others can lead to the attempt to include all voices and “embrace everything”. But achieving a definite outcome requires some final convergence of views. This was compared to an artist’s creative process, embracing all ideas at the start only to reject, select and develop components later.

During the hackathon, thinking creatively was promoted by exercises such as exploring alternative meanings for the words used in the scientific presentations. “It was really interesting how we all had different kind of ideas about some of the words”, the students convened, pointing out differences in specialised knowledge and personal interests among the participants. “So, the strategy worked in inviting inspiration?”. A student confirmed, “I think that helped everyone open up and look at it a little bit more creatively [free] instead of just thinking in terms of […] how to interpret that research”.

“The ‘right’ is when you’re feeling connected enough to the artwork so that what you’re proposing has some sort of plausibility to it, but far enough away so that it is not a one-on-one translation”

Another team of CSM students proposed a “symbiotic ecology system between human body and plants”. Photo © Hacking Hearts CSM/TiTech 2019

The programme of events concluded on 8th November with a public symposium, during which the scientists presented their work to the audience and the students performed work created in response to the discussions held during the week-long activities. Four students entered the stage in the dark holding heart-like luminous objects while a projected video asked, “Can you distinguish between the different heartbeats? Healthy heart, unhealthy heart, pacemaker, artificial heart”. The audience was invited to participate in the performance and answer the question by beating different materials. Their active engagement surprised even the artists, “it was amazing that in one moment […] was interacting and it was very beautiful to see that”. This mimicked the contents of the presentation given by Prof. Hijikata but provided an alternative take on the issues. 

Dr Iskratsch from Queen Mary presented his work on Bioengineering Approaches for Heart Disease. Photo © Hacking Hearts CSM/TiTech 2019

Finally, the participants agreed on the importance of having a symposium at the end of the week, “I think that even though we know that there was no specific outcome required, there was – because of the symposium. I think without that, we may not have formulated pieces that were ready to show”. The participants appreciated the pressure given by the tight schedule and linked their productivity to it, “It wasn’t stressful. It was more trying to come up with creative solutions in order to get to a place where we were satisfied that the audience would have something somewhat finished to interpret”.

“So that was quite nice to go out of your comfort zone and I feel like I want to push that a bit further maybe in my own work”

Beyond the success of the project for the team and their audience, the experience left a mark on individual artists, e.g. inspiring further performative elements and using materials closer to those the scientists employ in their work. “So that was quite nice to go out of your comfort zone and I feel like I want to push that a bit further maybe in my own work”. The discussion concluded with positive remarks about continuing the collaboration with Dr Iskratsch, who is also based in London, and plans for a potential exhibition at the Science Museum to produce a physical body of work aside from the performances.

「Hacking Heart」ハッカソンプロジェクト(は、2019年11月4〜8日に英国ロンドンのセントラルセントマーチンズ大学(CSM)で開催された、科学者とアート&デザインの学生による1週間にわたる実験的なコラボレーションワークショップです。東京工業大学とロンドンのクイーンメアリー大学の研究者が、CSMのさまざまな大学院コースからの12人の学生と協働しました。





2017-2019: UK visit on Science Communication Report

Science Communication/Science & Engineering Design for Global Talents – Overseas Programme

Some reports from the past participants available:
UK programe final report_2019
UK program final report_2018
UK program final report_2017

Further information here.

① ロンドン科学博物館 (London Science Museum) での研修
② Science Communication Research Group (SCRG)  ロンドン科学博物館やロンドン芸術大学CSMを含む複数の機関を訪問し調査するプログラム
その他、英国王立研究所 (Royal Institution)での研修などがあります。
UK programe final report_2019
UK program final report_2018
UK program final report_2017

21 Dec 2019: Prof. Nohara as Panelist of the ToDai IIS Forum Design-Led Engineering @Shibuya QWS

Prof. Kayoko Nohara acted as a panelist at the Value Creation Design Forum sponsored by the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), The University of Tokyo.

Saturday, December 21, 2019 14: 00-19: 30 @ Shibuya QWS Scramble Hall

Programme – Part 1: Practice and systematization of design-driven engineering

Is a design that links engineering research and future society possible? How?

The speakers introduced recent practices and research cases by DLX Design Lab and discussed design methodology.


Speakers: Yuichi Washida (Hitotsubashi University), Kayoko Nohara (Tokyo Institute of Technology), Toshiki Shinno (The University of Tokyo), Miles Pennington (The University of Tokyo), Yukiko Matsunaga (The University of Tokyo), Mitsuru Muramatsu (The University of Tokyo), Midori Yamazaki (The University of Tokyo), Kensei Miyoshi (The University of Tokyo)

Programme – Part 2: Education for design-driven engineering

What kind of education is needed to develop professionals who can conduct design-driven engineering?

Experts in design engineering education from companies and universities were invited to discuss.
Speakers: Noriko Kamiyama (Dyson), Teruyuki Kaduchi (Osaka University of Arts), Keita Watanabe (Meiji University), Shunji Yamanaka (The University of Tokyo)

More info on the event can be found here

Photos © Shibuya QWS 2019

The Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo, is promoting “Value Creation Design (Design-Led X)” based on the concept of “value creation through a fusion of engineering and design perspectives”. We have rediscovered the value of engineering technology from the viewpoint of design and set this approach to give new goals to engineering research: we call it “design-driven engineering”. This is an attempt to significantly change the academic and artistic approaches that currently define this field.

(Photos © Nohara Lab 2019)

価値創造デザインフォーラム 東京大学生産技術研究所(IIS)
2019年12月21日(土)14:00~19:30 @渋谷QWS内スクランブルホール

– 第1部 デザイン駆動工学の実践と体系化

工学研究と未来の社会をつなぐデザインはどのように可能か? DLX Design Labによる最近の実践・研究事例を紹介し、デザインの方法論を議論。
登壇者:鷲田祐一(一橋大学)、野原佳代子(東京工業大学)、新野俊樹(東京大学)、Miles Pennington(東京大学)、松永行子(東京大学)、村松充(東京大学)、山崎みどり(東京大学)、三好賢聖(東京大学)

第2部 デザイン駆動工学のための教育
デザイン駆動工学を実践する人材を育てるためにはどのような教育が必要か? 企業や大学からデザインエンジニアリング教育に関わる方を招き議論。


東京大学生産技術研究所(IIS)は、「工学とデザイン視点の融合による価値創造」をコンセプトとする取り組み『価値創造デザイン(Design-Led X)』を推進しています。

Dr. Betti joined the Debate in the “Urban and Infrastructure in the 100-years of Life”

Tokyo Institute of Technology Industry-Academia Collaborative Program
“Urban and Infrastructure in the 100-years of Life”
5th Workshop “Town”

Date: 19 December 2019
Time: 13:30~17:45
Venue: Tokyo Tech Ookayama Campus, Main Building, 3rd Meeting Room

Betti joined the debate and gave a speech as a commentator.
Her words which includes “to build better futures, you first need to imagine them” remains in us.

場所:東工大大岡山キャンパス 本館第3会議室 276号室

”To build better futures, you first need to imagine them.” で始まるコメントが、私たちの議論に広いサステナビリティの視点と新鮮な気づきをもたらしてくれました。

4-8 Nov 2019: Hacking Hearts Project


Hacking Hearts was an exciting experimental project designed to interrogate and reimagine contemporary scientific research centered on heart disease, energy harvesting and cellular sensing. The activities resulted from the collaboration between Tokyo Institute of Technology and two British universities: Central Saint Martins College (CSM) at the University of the Arts London (UAL) and Queen Mary University of London. 

Illustration by Libby Morrell

The event was held on 4-8 November 2019 at the Grow Lab at UAL, in the UK. Bioengineering scientists presented their research to a team of art students, worked together for a few days and on the last day the students performed their original responses in a public symposium. A series of “creative translation processes” were employed in the deconstruction and reconstruction of cutting-edge mechanical engineering and biotechnology information through art and design practices. As Social Scientist in Residence at UAL, Prof. Nohara observed and analyzed communications and interactions among all the participants during the workshop and how arguments in science and engineering were translated, reworded and re-expressed for a team of art and design graduate students. The project team included Dr. Heather Barnett, Dr. Ulrike Oberlac and Dr. Betti Marenko of UAL, Dr. Wataru Hijikata of Tokyo Tech, and Dr. Thomas Iscratch of Queen Mary University. 

The 5-day program included a range of activities which ended with a public participatory event on Nov 8th:

  • Nov 4th: Introduction and scientific presentations / demonstrations
  • Nov 5th: Practical activities / discussions to unpack the science and start ‘hacking’
  • Nov 6th-7th: Students work in small groups to develop ideas in critical / creative response to the scientific research.
  • Nov 8th: Presentation of outcomes to the visiting researchers + public symposium in the evening.

The international research team will continue to develop methods to combine different skills and ways of thinking to acquire fresh perspectives and ideas through communication using various tools, collectively called Communication-Driven Hybrid Method. Over 5 days of activities and discussions, the participants of Hacking Hearts explored techniques to share knowledge across disciplines and understanding each other beyond cultural borders. The project produced in-depth reflections and lessons learned which will inform future participation between science & technology and art & design practitioners. Interviews with participants and conclusions drawn from the event are discussed in more details in this article.

More information on the event program can be found on UAL’s website



「Hacking Hearts」は、心臓病、環境発電、細胞センシングを中心とした現代の科学研究を調査し、再考するために計画された刺激的な実験プロジェクトです。この活動は、東京工業大学と、ロンドン芸術大学(UAL)のセントラル・セント・マーチンズカレッジ(CSM)とロンドンのクイーンメアリー大学のコラボレーションから生まれました。

このイベントは、2019年11月4〜8日に英国のUALのGrow Labで開催されました。バイオエンジニアリングの科学者は、芸術の学生のチームに研究を発表し、数日間一緒に働き、最終日には学生が公開シンポジウムで独自の発表をしました。


  • 11月4日:イントロダクションと科学のプレゼンテーション/デモンストレーション
  • 11月5日:科学を解き放ち、「ハッキング」を開始するための実践的な活動/ディスカッション
  • 11月6日〜7日:グループワーク、科学的研究に対する批判的/創造的な反応のアイデアの開発
  • 11月8日:研究者の成果発表、公開シンポジウム

イベントプログラムの詳細については:UALのウェブサイト ( から。


27 Nov 2019: Fake & Reality of Shibuya ~Shibuya Museuming @Shibuya QWS

Shibuya. The city of “symbol” and “abstract”.

Many of us are attracted to the beautiful chaos of ” the fake” and “the real”, but we seldom ask ourselves why. What exactly does “fake” and “real” mean? What is “the fake” and “the real” of Shibuya? Perhaps, it is within this complex entanglement that lies the fascinating truth of the city.

People, architecture, industry, movies, pictures, music, dance, language, discussion… these products of human life seem to add so much value to Shibuya, to the point where Shibuya is no longer just a city… but a “museum”. Shibuya has evolved and always led the forefront of our lives. Only when we face the city can we understand the true value and creativity of our lives.

In this event, we bring you panel discussions with authorities from different creative backgrounds and interactions with the environment.

Fake & Reality of Shibuya ~Shibuya Museuming

Event Information:

♦︎ Date & Time: Wednesday, 27 November 2019   18:30~20:30(Open: 18:00)
♦︎ Venue: CROSS PARK(SHIBUYA QWS)2-24-12, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Shibuya Scramble Square Ⅰ(East Wing)15F
♦︎ Admission Fee:Free (Pre-registration)
♦︎ Capacity:50 persons
♦︎ Organizer:SHIBUYA QWS, Tokyo Institute of Technology
♦︎ Speakers:
Dr. Ulrike Oberlack (Tokyo Tech World Research Hub Initiative, Specially Appointed Professor, Light and Jewelry Design)
Yoshiaki Nishino (Director of Intermediatheque)
♦︎ Facilitators
Shohei Kawasaki  (Concent, Inc., Editorial Design)
Shogo Egashira  (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Master’s student, Material Engineering/Museology)
♦︎ Coordinators
Norihiro Kawasaki  (Concent, Inc., Graphic Design)
Kayoko Nohara (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor, Translation Studies/Communication)

Detailed information  here.

Event Report Summary

PART 1 : Shibuya Museum Concept

  1. Museum in Japan and UK
    – Cultural financial strength of the country, symbol of national power, cultural activity base
    – Example in London: Sense making and storytelling in UK museum (stimulate visitor, create interactive experiences, foster deeper engagement and further thinking)
  2. Extension of Japanese Museum characteristics
    – In term of ability of attracting visitors, Shibuya city stands out as “planned exhibiton”
  3. Breakthrough from “HAKOMONO” restraint
    – Mobile museum in daily space that does not have building, which can be made possible by removing the ‘HAKO’
  4. Creation of value system
    – Museum: accepts all and mixed things of what left behind as a result of human activities
    – It is important to convey subjective things objectively


  • What is the attractive point of Shibuya?
    – FICTION, COPY (mass production), FAKE
    – The real value of what was created by FAKE, just like the other world when seeing Halloween event
    – If novel expressions continuously being brought out, it may become an icon of the awakening city
  • Try to see Shibuya from different angle.
    From participants:
    – “I was impressed that the word ‘Platform’ will be the keyword instead of ‘Museum’ from now on” (Graduate school staff in their 30s)
    – “The space in Shibuya, where I usually come to play casually, has never looked as glittering as it is today” (Teenage college student)
    – “Each topic reminded me of the connection with my daily work.” (Museum curator in his 50s)
    – “Halloween, Mona Lisa, literature… it was interesting because the explanations from various perspectives were connected.” (Railway facilities maintenance staff in their 20s).

Event Reflection

(written by Chihiro Wada, Doctoral student of Tokyo Tech)

Discussion about “Mobile Museum” by Prof. Nishino was very intertesting. I thought it was a good example of an exhibition that was freed from ‘HAKOMONO’ restratint. The “mobile” concept is arguably the keyword of the 21st century, but I was surprised that it extended to museums. If “anywhere” is realized, I would like also realize the “anyone” by exhibiting for free.

I was also impressed that Prof. Nishino said that it was interesting because it was “subjective.” Even in the work of Izumi Kizara, which I am currently analyzing, the main characters are looking at things “subjectively” with a short-sighted eye, so it is important to have something that is not worth looking at “objectively”. What is being discussed about as worthwhile is appearing as irrelevant. What is “real”? It feels like an eternal question that seems both easy and not. Perhaps, the question of “What is it for you? What is it for me? What is it for both you and me?” should also be a set.

I pesonally hate Shibuya, so I do not agree with the discourse that Shibuya is “attractive”. However, I think it is a fact that “a lot of people gather”. When I took a Norwegian friend to Shibuya, I remember (she/he) exclaimed “(So many people!) Very Tokyo!” when seeing Scramble Square. Speaking of “Japanese culture”, I personally think that the conflict between the dynasty culture of Kyoto and merchant culture of Edo is interesting. So when I talk about “Japanese culture”, by connecting the broadcast between Kyoto and Shibuya, talking in “Shibuya” seems make the significance come into view.

QWSアカデミア(東工大 presents):Fake & Reality of Shibuya ~渋谷を博物館にする by 野原研
日時 : 2019年11月27日 18:30-20:30
場所 : Shibuya Scramble Square 15階 Shibuya QWS 内CROSS PARK
一般参加者 : 73名
参加費: 無料


西野 嘉章(インターメディアテク館長)
野原 佳代子 (東工大教授 翻訳学・コミュニケーション)
Dr. Ulrike Oberlack (東工大WRHI特任教授 光とジュエリーデザイン)
江頭 昇吾(東工大 修士課程学生 材料工学/博物館学)
川崎 昌平(株式会社コンセント 編集デザイン)


PART 1 : 渋谷 MUSEUM構想
・ロンドンの例 Sense making and storytelling in UK museum
2. 日本のMUSEUM特性の延長線
3. ハコモノ拘束からの打開
4. 価値体系の創造

―FICTION 虚構性 ―COPY 量産 ―FAKE 偽物
・これからはMuseumではなくPlatformという言葉がキーワードになるということが印象に残った。(30代 大学院職員)
・普段何気なく遊びに来ている渋谷の空間が今日ほどキラキラしたものに見えたときはない。(10代 大学生)
・1つ1つの話題に日々の仕事とのつながりが想起された。(50代 美術館学芸員)
・ハロウィン、モナリザ、文学…様々な視点からの説明がつながり、面白かった。(20代 鉄道系施設メンテナンス)




東工大 和田千寛

2-30 Oct 2019: “Creative Expression” course

“Creative Expression” course was held on October 2019. This course deals with “art thinking”, with the main focus of exploring the challenge to find intersection of art with science and find ideas for innovation.

Lecturer: Hiroshi Tsuda


  1. Wednesday, 10/2: What is Art Thinking? : Art Thinking Focus, Idea Lecture, Free Discussion
  2. Wednesday, 10/16: Art Thinking Drawing: Art Thinking Practice Method, Free Discussion
  3. Wednesday, 10/30: Science essay by art thinking: Create works (essays, etc.) with the theme of “your research theme and the world surrounding it” or “technology and landscape”


(Photos © TiTech 2019)



1回 10/2 (水)アートシンキングとは?:アートシンキングの着眼点、発想の講義、フリーディスカッション
2回 10/16(水)アートシンキングのデッサン: アートシンキングの実践方法、フリーディスカッション
3回 10/30(水)アートシンキングによるサイエンスエッセイ「あなたの研究テーマと、それを取り巻く世界」あるいは「テクノロジーと風景」をテーマに作品(エッセイなど)をつくる

31 July- 5 August 2019: Concept Designing

Following the workshop in February 2018, Concept Designing Joint Workshop was held under support from Rakuten Beauty Co., Ltd., with 31 participants. In this workshop, students will build concept from given theme using various communication methods and ideas, create some kind of prototype design, and give group presentation.

Date & Time: July 31st (Tuesday) -August 5th (Saturday) 15: 00-19: 00
Venue: (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Musashino Art University Roppongi D Lounge)
Participants: 15 Tokyo Institute of Technology students + 16 Musashino Art University students

Event Documentations: 

Photos © Nohara Lab 2019

[Information: From now on, the Concept Designing report could be found here in DeepMode website (previously on Creative Flow website)]

【今回から、コンセプト・デザイニング報告はCreative Flow WEBサイトから、こちらDeepModeサイトにお引っ越ししました】


参加者:東工大生15名  武蔵野美術大学生16名

1日目 7月31日(火):武蔵野美術大学六本木Dラウンジにて。武蔵野美術大学古堅教授と東京工業大学野原教授による事前講義を終えて、グループメンバー初顔合わせ。今年のお題は「似合う」「のようなもの」(お題は1つだけでも2つ使っても可)。早速話し合いを始めてアイディア出しに取り組みます。
2日目 8月1日(水):武蔵野美術大学六本木Dラウンジにて。武蔵野美術大学の袴田教授による「美術思考」についての講義。1日目の話し合いをもとにアイディアを形にしていきます。
3日目 8月2日(木):東京工業大学大岡山キャンパスにて。この日は中間発表でスタート。黙々と制作を始めたチーム、買い出しに向かうチーム、まだアイディア出し中のチームと取り組みもさまざまです。
4日目 8月3日(金)東京工業大学大岡山キャンパスにて。制作も大詰めに。
WS5日目 8月4日(土)東京工業大学大岡山キャンパス共創コモンズにて発表会。4日間の集大成を発表しました。先生方や外部ゲストから鋭い講評もありましたが、笑いのあるなごやかな発表かいとなりました。