Hiroshi Matoba: Digital Fukuwarai

  • ©1997, Hiroshi Matoba

  • ©1997, Hiroshi Matoba



    Digital Fukuwarai


Creation Year:



    Interactive Installation


    10' x 7' x 10'


Artist Statement:

    Fukuwarai is a classical Japanese game in which a paper face is cut into pieces and a player tries to place the pieces onto a model face while blindfolded. It was a popular family game and a tradition that helped maintain family ties, until video games took over the home.

    In Digital Fukuwarai, two video cameras capture the images of two participants’ faces. The images are then decomposed into many jigsaw-shaped pieces, which are presented in random arrangements on a screen. The pieces are dynamically updated from the real-time video images and are never still, even while both participants are moving them simultaneously. The participants compete to assemble the pieces into their respective faces. Changing one’s facial expression and moving one’s head is helpful in identifying the connectivity among the pieces. Alternatively, they can simply mix parts of their faces in collaboration. Reorganized versions of their faces, or faces mixed with other faces, may be more attractive than the original faces. In either case, facial expressiveness and head movement are key components of this interactive art.