Intangible Forms by Shohei Fujimoto; Credit: ARTECHOUSE DC

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Japanese multimedia artist Shohei Fujimoto’s latest artistic work was commissioned as part of ARTECHOUSE NYC’s current series of technology-driven exhibitions. Originally shown in New York City at ARTECHOUSE’s Chelsea Market location and later traveling to Montreal, Fujimoto’s Intangible Forms is now on display at D.C.’s ARTECHOUSE through March 5. 

Nestled on Maryland Avenue SW, ARTECHOUSE focuses on immersive experiences—its exhibit space is located in the building’s basement, completely sealed off from natural light. Set in a soundscape inspired by the Japanese Shinto shrines, Intangible Forms works to create a meditative experience for visitors, and to explore the world—its physical elements and the empty spaces in between—through intangible properties such as light and sound. 

The focal piece of Fujimoto’s show, “intangible #form,” sits in the main room, which also serves as the entry point for the eight other installations. As the press release describes, “‘intangible #form’ is a series of kinetic red lasers that make the intangible tangible through a modular ‘performance.’” The laser beams move in one uniform, wavelike motion before flashing straight up, then off again into distinct, divergent diagonals. The continuous light show is entrancing to watch, and its placement in the center of the exhibit ensures viewers come back repeatedly during their visit to see the piece in all its stages and at all its angles. 

The XR Bar, conveniently just up the steps from “intangible #form,” serves cocktails that tie in elements of the exhibit. The drinks are inspired by the installation piece of the same name and use a unique ingredient list to evoke similar themes. One drink takes inspiration from “power of one” in the way it “explores the idea that the greater whole is made up of smaller components of nature” and fuses several flavors—lime, mint, berry, and jalapeno—“into one harmonious drink.” Pan over your cocktail using the ARTECHOUSE XR app camera and you will see complementary onscreen visuals that bring a multisensory experience to each drink.

Each installation in the exhibit takes on a unique form and style, but all elicit a sort of optical and digital illusion. As the press release explains, these illusions are accomplished through computer programming where mathematics and precision are used to display synchronized flashing lights that create different structures, shapes, and lines. “Often, [Fujimoto] refers to code and the mathematical operations as the invisible markers that create form,” notes the website. “Sculpting imagery not in a particular shape, but sculpting the mathematical operations behind the image to give shape.” This also creates real-time projections that depict images that behave like living organisms in the way they appear to move and react to stimuli such as light and sound.

Throughout the exhibit, the installations are accompanied with explanations of Fujimoto’s artistic process, covering both the thinking behind each work as well as the digital process to construct these pieces. While the installations are captivating on their own, the descriptions are useful for visitors to better understand what they are seeing—or not seeing—and enhancing what Intangible Forms describes as a “meditative opportunity to pause, reflect, and exist outside of normal space and time.” 

Intangible Forms by Shohei Fujimoto is on display through March 5 at ARTECHOUSE. $17–$25.