Emotoscope, the emotional time machine


The Japanese artist Kenichi Okada works a lot with how the perception of the moving image interlaces with the viewer’s emotional state. Emotoscope, for example, is a sort of portable camera device, which is capable of changing the viewpoint of whomever films, hence presenting the footage under a different light. What actually happens is that Emotoscope playbacks the video in a grainy, silent movie style, casting onto the image a feel of ancient marvelous stories, which are still impressed onto the very minds of the people who experienced them. What pushed Okada to build this sort of device was the desire to retrieve neglected moments in time, all unique in their sensibility. Unfortunately he takes for granted a bunch of premises which actually bear exclusively on the individual’s perception of the videos. Meaning is solely generated when people react as he expects them to. Namely, only if the epiphany of nostalgia finds its way to the users. It is also interesting to notice the theme of emptiness and the absence, somehow typically Japanese. Japanese culture has a tendency to describe itself through fill and void, simultaneously exhibiting fascination and repulsion with it. The extreme projection of technology comes in where human action fails. In a similar vein Emotoscope tries to save the shooter of the footage, just as much as the big robot of the anime tries to save humanity from a painful destiny.

Tony Canonico