Aug. 22, 2014 | By Alec

While the famous and ritualistic Japanese tea ceremony has been practiced for hundreds of years throughout the land of the rising sun, it was always a concept open for interpretation. The objects and motions associated with it were never dogmatically fixed; instead various styles and representations have been used and enjoyed throughout Japanese history.

And at the TEDx Tokyo 2014, Japanese artist Taketo Kobayashi shared his modern interpretation of the Tea Ceremony with his audience, in which he teamed up with a New York rapper and used originally designed ritualistic attributes made with a 3D printer.

Watch Taketo Kobayashi's performance at TEDx Tokyo here:

As the artist explained to, his interpretation of the Tea ceremony, filled with references to technological advances, is a part of his XSENSE project. 'The concept itself is cutting edge. Japanese tea Ceremony is [always] considered as a "tradition", but the tea ceremony was avant-garde, [a] free form of art. The Tea master had a part as a curator of art and crafts, and always introduced a cutting edge to that art'.

Taketo Kobayashi developed his tea ceremony in collaboration with a tea master from the 'Ura-senke' style, a type of ceremony that has been practiced since the sixteenth century. Together, they worked on a contemporary tea-ceremony with a cutting edge design in which a prominent role was given to the technology of 3D printing. To make these objects, the artist worked with the Japanese 3D printing company DMM.make, using a Materialise EOS printer. The attributes used during the ceremony were designed using Lightwave 3D software.

This modern interpretation of the tea ceremony is part of the project XSENSE, in which he collaborates with painter/artist SENSE. His partner's paintings inspire and give colour to Taketo Kobayashi various 3D creations. Together they seek to 're-define Japanese sub-culture as "art" and bring it to world through modern technology'. In this, the Japanese-style animism that dates back to the Jomon Era places a central role.

"The Japanese have worshiped energy and the spirit of nature. Old trees, big rocks, and mountains were subjects of worship. Traditional Japanese craftsmen searched for humble and unassuming qualities to allow this energy to enter their physical sense and aid their work process."

And through their modern and technological interpretations of art, the duo behind XSENSE seeks to show that this sensibility is still true for industrial machinery and other technological advances: "this belief and feeling of animism has come down in all Japanese arts and craft all the way down to modern Japanese sub-culture like, anime, manga."

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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