Yoshioka Tokujin, according to the artist statement, likes “recreating undeterminate phenomena, such as light, snow, storms and wind, which do not have a distinct shape or color.” To recreate snow, for instance, he built a room out of clear plastic and filled it halfway with feathers, then uses two electric fans to blow them about. The fan comes on for 35 seconds, then goes off for a couple of minutes while the feathers gently settle into drifts.
He also makes huge slabs of optical glass that resemble blocks of water and produce magical refraction patterns as you look at or through them; one of these, at 4.5 meters long, is the world’s largest single piece of optical glass.
As spectacular as these earlier pieces were, the best part of the show was the stop-action animation films made by an Indonesian artist group called Tromarama. If you think it takes a lot of work to do clay-mation, you should see what these guys do! For instance, they animated one film by carving 402 woodcuts into plywood, but one piece constituted many, many frames of the film – they would make one gouge, photograph it, make another gouge, photograph it, and repeat until the entire figure emerges from the black-painted wood background!
They also did a film that used 12 kilograms of buttons and 1 kilo of beads, all painstakingly arranged into pictures and designs. Another film used 210 pieces of batik on cotton, each about 6 x 18 inches. (And we know how time-consuming it is to produce a batik to an exacting pattern!)
This is termite art at its most mesmerizing.