Nonotak Studio Experiments with Illusions of Light and Infinity

From LEDs and hacked projectors, it’s an overload for the senses.

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May 4 2016, 3:00pm

Photo courtesy Arnaud Deprez

Photo courtesy Arnaud Deprez

Nonotak Studio is a Paris-based duo that merges architecture and sculpture to create light and sound installations. For FUTURE FORWARD, The Creators Project's partnership with the all-new Prius, we commissioned Nonotak to create an original work that echoes the all-new Prius’ precise design. The studio is designing Hoshi, a sculptural and immersive experience that plays with the ideas of maximalism and minimalism, complexity and simplicity.

Art is not something to look at, it’s something to feel. That is one of the ideas that infuses much of the work created by Nonotak Studio, composed of illustrator Noemi Schipfer and musician and architect Takami Nakamoto. The two use complex light and sound programming with custom LEDs and hacked projectors along with smoke, fabric, mirrors—and a soundscape to create an immersive environment.

The members of Nonotak see their work not as interactive machines, but as pieces that are alive in their own right. “In term of visuals, we always use really simple 2D shapes like lines, squares, triangles, circles, and the idea is to find how we can position them into space to create a 3D object,” says Schipfer. These include straight lines, perfect curves, geometric shapes and other precise visual elements. “The space is also important because it’s an indicator of scale and it affects proportions when we design an installation.”

Image courtesy Liz Cowie

Each member of Nonotak brings in different approaches, Schipfer is skilled in visual power and Nakamoto has a background in physical structure and aural experience. The two have been relentless in finding new elements, materials, and techniques to incorporate into their work since teaming up in 2011. Nonotak productions are not just installations, but performances and have been shown at galleries and festivals from Tokyo to Kaunas, Lithuania. Recent pieces like Late Speculation and Horizon feel more like an electronic music show than a gallery exhibition, activating and overwhelming the viewer’s senses.

Though Nakamoto says they “don’t want to be too explicit about” Hoshi, the work the two are developing for The Creators Project, he does describe that it will aim to “create an infinite room filled of light reflections and sound. It will be the first time we are going to create an enveloping environment of that scale.”

Nonotak’s recent work PLUME v.1, placed two mirrors in perfect 90-degree angles with a line behind it. In the reflection, the line would take on the appearance of a square. Hoshi pushes that concept to new heights and uses huge angled glass mirrored surfaces and lights to create a large-scale illusion, but in this case they are placed in a circle to divide up the “infinite room,” playing with the viewer’s depth of reflection.

There is a heavy physical reality behind it,” says Nakamoto, pointing out that this differs from the team’s more ephemeral approach, using “lighter medias” in many of its other work. “On this one I would say we are designing a heavy sculpture and a light installation at the same time.”

He adds that it shares the “minimalist aesthetic” of many of their other works, which use clean lines, LED lights, and deceptively simple patterns to create a hypnotic feel. This level of technical complexity at such a large scale is pushing Nonotak to a higher level of creating immersive space in their work.

“Technically we made all the angles of the installation of Hoshi modulable in order to be able to change the diameter of the piece and see how it changes the looks of the reflection,” says Schipfer. “It’s going to be the first time we will play with actual infinity and I’m really excited about it.”

Image courtesy Liz Cowie

The Future Forward event series presented by the all-new Prius will take place in three cities: in New York on June 4th, in Chicago on June 18th, and in LA on June 25. We will be posting full-length behind-the-scenes video profiles leading up to the kickoff event in New York City. RSVP for the Future Forward event series here

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