The Mechanisms of Seeing
Yosuke Ito's Lighting Loop
How we look at something determines (and is determined by) our experience of the world. For most of us it's a
seamless process going on in the networks of our brains, but shine a spotlight on that procedure and you can
reach a kind of post-modern enlightenment--the kind that raises more questions than it answers.
Tokyo-based artist Yosuke Ito has always coupled low technology and high ideas to highlight for art-goers the
processes by which we humans take in raw data and construct sense-making narratives. Yosuke considers
himself an aesthetic architect, and his current gallery construction, "Lighting Loop," at M55 Art, is a room-
sized sculpture using light, electricity and air as raw material; it breakes new ground for the artist in that it is
partly inspired by an overt political idea--the problems of the environmental crisis.
Colorful toy propellers stand propped in one corner of the gallery, powered in their spins by tiny solar cells. The
digital image of these spinning propellers is sent to a light projector, which throws both the digital images as
well as the shadows of the actual propellers onto the opposite gallery wall. The result is a kaleidoscopic array of
giant wind machines, the colored images intermingling with their shadowy doppelgangers.
A visitor examining “Lighting Loop” soon realizes that you understand the piece thanks to two distinct modes of
perception: the analytical scrutiny of the mini-infrastructure--the wires, little wind machines and playing-card-
sized solar panels--and the visual absorption of the image projected onto the wall. You catch yourself in a left-
brain/right-brain split; we analyze structures but absorb images. The implications are enormous, and not just for
environmental issues: Do we analyze our political ideas, or simply absorb them?