Noteworthy Press Releases from Japan

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Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation

Initiative for Regional Revitalization through Preservation of Local Art and Culture


Immersive Art Exhibit “Digital × Hokusai [Prologue]”
– Reality in the 170th Year, as Seen through Cutting-Edge Technologies
November 1, 2019 (Fri.) to March 1, 2020 (Sun.)

■Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation (headquarters in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; President Fukuzo Inoue; hereinafter “NTT East”) is currently pursuing a new approach to regional revitalization by gathering digitalized data of local art and culture in NTT East’s telecommunications buildings, and by using cutting-edge technology to disseminate regions’ treasured artistic and cultural artifacts.

■To promote the concept of this initiative, NTT East, in collaboration with Ars Techne Innovation Corp. (headquarters in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture; President, CEO and CTO Iwao Kubota), conducting the “Digital × Hokusai [Prologue]” immersive art exhibition beginning on November 1, 2019 (Fri.)

1. Background and Purpose
Recently, NTT East has been engaged, alongside our local clients, in initiatives to pass on regional culture by utilizing ICT in fields such as agriculture, ceramics and sake brewing.

In the course of these activities, we have heard many local voices, inspired by the danger of cultural asset destruction etc. due to recent natural disasters or aging, and by a shortage of people willing to carry on local cultural traditions, who tell us they “want to protect local art and culture, both material and immaterial”.

In addition, with advances in high-resolution image processing technology, AR/VR, 3D, projection mapping and other similar technologies, the breadth of digital archiving* activities has rapidly expanded, leading many to voice a desire to “communicate new regional attractions through our art and culture, and link these efforts to regional revitalization”.

In order to meet these societal demands, NTT East aims to serve as a connective tissue by gathering and disseminating data which records local art and culture that are in danger of losing to the ages, thereby “connecting regions to regions” and “connecting Japan to the world”.

* Initiatives to digitize public-domain intellectual property, including books and published materials, public documents, works of art, museum holdings, and historical materials, and to enable sharing/use of same as digital information on the internet.   

2. Overview of Initiative
By utilizing the distinctive “secure closed-network environment”, “low latency” and “disaster resistance” of our Telecom Buildings and high-speed networks, NTT East is working to provide the “cultural asset rights protections”, “smooth content transmission”, “disaster recovery”* and other needs demanded by digital archiving activities for arts and culture.
By gathering and disseminating digital data which combines our company’s resources with content provided by our cooperating partners, NTT East is transcending the limits of time and space to broaden “opportunities for contact” with art and culture, and is expanding the “territory of expression” through VR, projection mapping and other methods distinctive to the digital age, thus allowing regional art and culture to be communicated to the world more compellingly than ever before.

* Measures for recovery from damage caused by natural disasters etc., or preventive measures to minimize such damage.
Alliance with Cooperating Partners
This initiative will move forward in collaboration with entities that own digitization technologies optimized for cultural artifacts and works of art, and with various partners that own material and/or immaterial cultural assets.* NTT East will make proposals individually to local governments, educational institutions, art galleries, museums, corporations and other groups that are considering making use of digital archiving to pass on local art and culture or pursue regional revitalization.

* E.g., paintings, festivals, music, sculpture, handicraft, documents, storytelling, traditional buildings, temples and shrines.

3. Immersive Art Exhibit “Digital × Hokusai [Prologue]”
As a first step in this initiative, NTT East will hold an immersive art exhibition focusing on the works of Katsuhika Hokusai, a symbol of Japanese art and culture.

This exhibition will be held in collaboration with K.K. Ars Techne Innovation/K.K. Ars Techne, the only organization in the world to receive official certification for master replica paintings from the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum and the Musée d’Orsay in France.

Details of Exhibition
Title: Digital × Hokusai [Prologue] – Reality in the 170th Year, as Seen through Cutting-Edge Technologies
Date: November 1, 2019 (Fri.) to March 1, 2020 (Sun.)
Gallery Operating Hours: 11 am to 6 pm (last admission 30 minutes before closing time)
Location: Tokyo Opera City Tower 4F, NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC]
Gallery Closed On: Monday
* When a Monday is a holiday or a substitute holiday, the gallery will be closed on the immediately following day.
The gallery will also be closed for year-end holidays (December 28 to January 6) and building maintenance inspection dates (February 9)
Admission Fee:  Free

Overview of Exhibition
“Katsuhika Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, held by the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum” is Japan’s preeminent Hokusai collection, but due to its delicacy and other reasons, the collection has rarely been exhibited to the public. The Ars Techne Group, our collaborating partner in this project, skillfully utilizes distinctive image processing technologies etc. to create two-billion-pixel digital images, thereby successfully reproducing even the texture of individual fibers of Japanese paper.

This art exhibit will be the first public exhibition of 47 certified master replicas of works held by the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum, which were produced from this digital data. The exhibit will also include 12 master artworks certified by the Musée d’Orsay.

In addition, the exhibit will offer a futuristic entertainment experience allowing visitors to utilize various digital applications – including 4K digitally-distributed paintings, naked-eye VR, and moving art pictures – to sense and savor the new realities uncovered by digitization and the mysteries of Hokusai which have had such a huge impact on the world.

* Ars Techne Group Technologies:

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation, Public Relations Office

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