Roppongi Hills

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On Sunday Izzy and I spent an afternoon at Roppongi Hills, a huge mall that has a million restaurants and shops, as well as a movie theater and the Mori Art Museum. I found out about an exhibit they had going on called Media Ambition Tokyo about mixing technology and art which I thought Izzy would like so we went to go check it out. The hotel we were staying at had discount tickets for admission to that exhibit and included another exhibit on Andy Warhol.

The Mori Art Museum is located high in a tall tower of Roppongi Hills and doubles as an observation tower but the weather was so rainy and terrible that we couldn’t see anything! The weather has been pretty cold here lately and isn’t making my Miami to Tokyo transition very easy, bah!

We looked at the Media exhibit first, and it was really interesting! They organized the exhibit into different installations. The first one we went into was a dark room covered in speakers all around which made repeating creepy sound effects in strobing patterns to make you really feel weird! I wish they would’ve picked more interesting sounds like nature sounds or something a little more concrete to really make you feel like you were there, but they were mostly just loud noises like airplanes taking off and other digital noise.

This chandelier is made of goose feathers and was very cool to look at! It rotated with air drafts.

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The next area was a room filled with huge balls that would change colors in a chain reaction when you would bump into one of them! Very cool! I want a room like this in my house!

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The next area had a bunch of cute circuit creatures! They were interactive and would make little cute sounds or light up when you pushed a button. This one was my favorite – the “button” was a little conductive metal panel shaped like the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus (wat).

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This pillar was also pretty cool – each light had a motion sensor near it and when you waved your hand over an area, all the light would light up in a rippling sort of pattern!

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The exhibit was pretty small but really cool! One thing I’ve always liked about Japan is how they integrate art and technology together so I knew this exhibit would probably be good.

Next we went to the Andy Warhol exhibit. I didn’t really know much about Andy Warhol, nor did I really care for his artwork (soup cans?) but I’m glad I got to go and see it because I learned a lot more about his art in the context of the times and contemporary social trends. We couldn’t take pictures in there so I can’t post any unfortunately but all the main works that are famous were on display like the soup cans, Marilyn Monroe and 80s celebrity portraits. One problem I have with Warhol is that the viewer doesn’t know (and Warhol won’t say) what the message of his artwork is – is he a master troll or really giving tribute to popular culture icons? Is he being sarcastic or earnest? I guess the art of it all lies in that duality but that just bothers me because I can’t know whether he’s just an accidental success or if there is a plan to all this stuff. It must’ve been nice to be an artist in the early 60s when anyone could be a mysterious hipster and attract a cult of followers – now everyone is a hipster!

Thank you for reading! My internet will get hooked up next week (hopefully) so I can update a bit more then.

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4 thoughts on “Roppongi Hills

  1. The first exhibition looks really cool! I like all the interactive stuff. I also saw the Andy Warhol exhibition, and basically felt the same way about it as you. Maybe I still don’t really like his work that much from an aesthetic point of view (except I would like a dress with the soup cans on and I thought the cat drawings were cute) but I can appreciate it more now that I’ve seen where it came from. Could have done without seeing his terrible films though!

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