STORY Nov 17, 2016
 

The Bigface boxes appear at the Ars Electronica

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On August, face enlarging boxes were put on exhibition at the Maker Faire Tokyo. The following month, we took those very same boxes on a trip to Austria.
They were put on display at the Ars Electronica that was held in Linz, Austria.

To put it shortly, they were as successful as they were in Tokyo.

Both Japan and Austria share the same kind of humor when it comes to enlarging someone's face.
We truly felt that both humor and region can get too restrictive.
1971 Born in Tokyo . Daily Portal Z webmaster . Mainly active in the Internet and Shinjuku . I have appeared in the street view as pigeon.

What is Ars Electronica?

Ars Electronica is a media arts centered festival held in the small town of Linz, Austria.
Since it focuses on media arts, you won't see the usual oil paintings or sculptures on display, but rather art pieces made with computers or projectors.

For example this one.
A huge trumpet that shoots bubbles (it does make a sound too)
A huge trumpet that shoots bubbles (it does make a sound too)
天井から床までの光る棒
天井から床までの光る棒
Stones sliding on top of a diagonal board
Stones sliding on top of a diagonal board
There was a sculpture too but the one carving it was actually a robot
There was a sculpture too but the one carving it was actually a robot
Although media arts is still a rather new field, the ceremony was attended by the town mayor along with members of the EU, with everyone formally dressed. They were drinking cocktails at the lounge as well. Rather than counterculture, it was super main culture.

Also, there are some awards held at the Ars Electronica. Up until now some of the only Japanese winners have been Maywa Denki, Rhizomatiks (who take care of Perfume's performances), and Ryuichi Sakamoto. What I want to say with all this is that "It's extremely well done".
The ceremony stage. It seems they were holding an end-of-the-year jumbo raffle.
The ceremony stage. It seems they were holding an end-of-the-year jumbo raffle.

Why was I at Linz?

It's not like we won a pass to the Ars Electronica (we didn't apply), we were invited. Some staff member happened to see the large face masks workshop we presented in April at Osaka. At first they asked if we would like to put the same thing on display.
Make your own face with papercraft workshop
Make your own face with papercraft workshop
However this is a workshop that takes about 2 hours per participant. Besides, the instructions must be given in German to the Austrian visitors. It seemed impossible to achieve.
If this was in the style of a NHK professional it would go like "I will take the job" and then a narration would begin, but in our case we just ran away.

For the Maker Faire Tokyo we created face enlarging boxes made with lens so, we told them that we had something even better and they allowed us to change the contents of the exhibition.
And that is how we managed this. Hayashi, our tech expert Yoshida, Ando, Betsuyaku
And that is how we managed this. Hayashi, our tech expert Yoshida, Ando, Betsuyaku
We couldn't manage to take a group photo so we just put individual pictures together, but it ended up looking like an Outrage movie poster. Everyone with huge heads.

Austrians too, make weird faces when their heads get huge

We prepared a total of 18 head enlarging boxes. You must be this ready if you're visiting the hometown of the House of Habsburg (I studied some Austrian history before our trip. Once there, I realized I should have studied the language).
We placed them on the floor so people could try them out freely
We placed them on the floor so people could try them out freely
This is our new face enlarging box model, we made a version with 4 sides.
Your face will look big from any side
Your face will look big from any side
Not only the front side of your face, but also the sides and back of your head will be enlarged. The sides look very funny when you slowly turn around. We went with it and enlarged even the back of the head.

And so into the real deal. The exhibition was held on September from the 9th to the 11th.
This is how our booth looked during the 3 days of the event.
This is how our booth looked during the 3 days of the event.
Seeing people from a foreign country having fun putting cardboard boxes over their heads gave us a very strange feeling of accomplishment. I thought the same when we did the banknotes bathtub in San Francisco but, I'm glad we could interact with such a distant and foreign country like Austria.

You can also see me making a smug face in the background on the picture above. About 500 people tried our boxes over the course of the 3 days, I think.
Check out this short compilation video of people having some laughs with them
Girls too
Girls too
As well as boys
As well as boys
Parents and their children
Parents and their children
Elderly couples too (Austrian elderly couples get along very well)
Elderly couples too (Austrian elderly couples get along very well)
Together with the Austrian Hebocon organizer
Together with the Austrian Hebocon organizer
Two beauties
Two beauties
The one next to me in the left picture is the Hebocon organizer from Austria. As you would expect from the person managing Hebocon, he just went on to put a box over his head and struck a pose. I wonder if he would like to become a writer for Daily Portal Z.

The girls to the right were quite the beauties so our tech expert Yoshida talked them into trying the boxes (what a gallant man), although it's hard to appreciate their good looks with such huge heads.

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