“My films allow there to be a dynamic place to have a discussion and to talk about a particular issue. They have a kind of darkness that makes you question the future.” Keiichi Matsuda
Keiichi Matsuda is a filmmaker and future-facing designer. His films, installations and futuristic cities, raise questions about today’s society and the way in which technology is consumed. Check out Hyper Reality to immerse in some of his work. Ahead of our event next week, Libreria spoke to Keiichi about building visionary worlds and the collective power to define future technology.
“I wanted to build this utopian world in my image, withholding any judgement, and be able to explore the impact of technology on everyday life” says Keiichi. Viewers are actively immersed in an ultra futuristic world in Hyper Reality. The film was an unexpected success story, “I didn’t expect such organic and viral growth of those videos. The film was getting 200,000 hits a day and there were people constantly commenting on it” he says.
Merger, Keiichi’s latest release explores the future of work, AI automation, and productivity as an ideology. “Productivity being this idea where you are able to do your work in the shortest amount of time, which frees up your day to do what you want. In reality, people just end up doing more work. The environment becomes competitive based upon how much work people can do. The film is to understand what the future of work might be and also encourage people to discuss alternatives.” Keiichi’s work not only shines a light on future technology, but often uses that technology to give viewers a full immersive experience. Merger can be viewed through a virtual reality (VR) set and on a smartphone in full 360. On a browser, users can interact through click and drag. Augmented reality (AR) features heavily in his work, and he has just spent the last year working in Silicon Valley, as creative director for Leap Motion, building AR technology himself.
The possibilities of going beyond conventional design has always been of interest to Keiichi. “In 2009 I was studying architecture, the iPhone had just come out, social media had only just begun and was on the rise. People were looking very starry eyed and optimistic about the future. I always felt there was a perverse sense of how strong this optimism was. There were a lot of things not being discussed within the space.” In his view, “all designers should be asking what could we look like living in the future. We should always be thinking about what’s coming.”
The fascination of what the utopian world looks like and the opportunities it can bring, has to be countered with the realism of what technology has done thus far. “It has created new problems as well. There’s both positives and negatives” Keiichi remarks. Throughout his work, there’s a real message. Not that technology is something to be feared, but that it should be questioned further. “Everybody on this planet has a duty to be concerned for the future. Technology plays an important role in politics, economy, the way we see ourselves and our friends. I don’t want to scare people through my work, I’m just trying to provide a new perspective to something that feels familiar to us.”
Keiichi doesn’t believe that people have strong opinions about what they want the future to be, especially when it comes to technology. “If people are more vocal, then we as a collective have an idea of what we want tech to be. Tech companies don’t have that much imagination. People should be driving the technology.” It used to be people’s needs that drove technology, but now governments are often on the back foot, only bringing out the regulation when the technology already exists. “Art, culture, science and technology have broken down. We’ve become consumers of this technology rather than participating in the creation of the technology.” Undeterred, Keiichi still has hope, “I’m a designer, if we can have good ideas we should be able to inspire a better world.” In his view, “the best way to conceptualise the different outcomes of what our world looks like in 20 years, is through design and fiction. If we can do that and have that discussion, then we can steer the way the world is going.”
Join Keiichi Matsuda for an evening of discussion with the creators of acclaimed graphic novel Square Eyes, Anna Mill and Luke Jones. The event is being held at Libreria on the 30th January, sign up here.