Sneakers (Insectautomobilogy)

Sneakers (Insectautomobilogy)

Sneakers (Insectautomobilogy) is a series that examines the relationship between human beings and social systems.

The preceding series Insectautomobilogy / What is an aesthetic? originated from a conversation I had with my friend in which we discussed the resemblance of automobiles and insects and the words of my mentor “Swarm intelligence (the collective unconscious) plays a fundamental role in the formation of society.” Presented as a prediction to the future of society, it comprised installations of photographs and videos that explored the possibility of a scenario in which mass-produced automobiles—when viewed as a unit of a swarm, like insects—may one day acquire swarm intelligence and take over human society.

“Sneakers were created to cope with the asphalt laid down for cars, and the shape of sneakers is also somewhat similar to that of cars.”
This time again, the idea came to me while I was taking a walk with my girlfriend.

I’ve come to a realization that design ideas of sneakers, automobiles, and modern architecture that embrace the beauty of curves all derive inspiration from neighboring domains. If that is the case, what is the aesthetic value of “attractiveness,” which I too have been drawn to throughout my life?

Attractiveness stimulates our emotions, appeals to our affection, and sometimes incites us. In the past, the aesthetics of machines, speed, and dynamism brought about by the advancement of technology drove people toward progressivism and totalitarianism and also encouraged the aestheticization of politics.

The beauty of curves seen in cars and sneakers serves as one of the gauges of beauty in the global economy and subconscious propaganda for the future we are driven toward. Resulting from a world connected by the Internet, it has been, over the years, unconsciously shared and produced via a filter of multinational sensibilities—and developed through the process of elimination based on marketing principles.

This series comprises digital collages of images gathered from StockX.com and other online auction websites. StockX, modeled on the stock market system, seemed to be a perfect place to collect images, as it is a direct representation of the logic of finance that runs behind contemporary aesthetics.

When an image is converted from a bitmap to vector graphics in Illustrator, the gradation information in the photo is temporarily lost, and it becomes a mass or a collection of complex, smooth paths. The software breaks up pixel rows of different colors that constitute the pseudo-gradation of a three-dimensional photograph, then recombines the image according to the shapes of the paths.

The resulting images in the early stages bore semblance to architectural works or ruins, but gradually, they started to resemble the shapes of spaceships, fighter planes, or racing cars. I initially began the series to pay homage to The Letter Racers, a series by RAMM:ΣLL: ZΣΣ, whom I admire.

As my work progressed, shapes reminiscent of living creatures began to emerge. Things that looked like fish, turtles—which are reptiles—amphibians like frogs, and children of monsters—chimeras—were born. The process of collage, in which the elements and context of an object are dismantled, transformed, and integrated into something else, seemed to me to be an appropriate way to represent a cluster of life with swarm intelligence.


Born in 1992, Kanagawa, Japan. Based in Tokyo and Shonan.
He has had a solo exhibition “Live in Fluctuations” Little Big Man Gallery (Los Angeles, 2020); “The Magician’s Nephew” rin art association (Takasaki, 2019); “Insectautomobilogy / What is an aesthetic?” G/P gallery (Tokyo, 2017); and his works have been featured in major group exhibitions such as “Hello World―For the Post-Human Age” ART TOWER MITO (Mito, 2018) “GIVE ME YESTERDAY” Fondazione Prada (Milan, 2016); He collaborated with Dunhill Spring / Summer collection 2020 led by Mark Weston, and worked on the campaign image for Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall / Winter Collection 2019 led by Virgil Abloh. His works have been added to a collection at major institutions like Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. His photo book ‘Everything_1’ (2016) and ‘Everything_2’ (2020) was published by Newfave.


© Kenta Cobayashi

06:25:21 JST