Agency for Cultural Affairs, Goverment of Japan
Creator’s Voice Shurijo Castle × HIGA Satoru

Discovering the Ryukyu identity in the ideology of “passing tides” 

For this project, HIGA Satoru visited Shurijo Castle in Okinawa, the symbol of the Ryukyu Kingdom and setting for his artwork. He is using information such as 3D data of Shurijo Castle to create a digital inspirational piece based on a Ryukyu Kingdom motif. After his tour of Okinawa, we asked him about the mood he sensed there and the artwork he’s envisioning.

—Please share what impressions you had from the onsite tour.

I’m from Okinawa, but moved to Tokyo soon after graduating from high school, so I really felt on this trip that I actually didn’t know much about Okinawa. In particular, everything I learned about the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom was new to me. As I learned, I sensed the spirit of Ryukyu and Okinawa. It’s the small island’s unique identity of “flowing and making skillful use of the passing tides.” That’s why I plan to make “passing tides” the keyword of my artwork. I hit on this idea while touring Shurijo Castle, which is located on a “long mai” site where, according to feng shui, a great amount of life force accumulates. I think this skillful use of the passing tides is the ideology of Ryukyu.

HIGA looks out on the city of Naha from Shurijo Castle.
HIGA visits Shurijo Castle.

—Please tell us about the artwork you are planning to create.

For this artwork, I want to seamlessly link multiple symbolic scenes to communicate the “passing tides” I sensed from Ryukyu and Okinawa. Also, since the exhibit site is an open space where the sun shines in, multiple large monitors will function as windows that frame images that spatially expand beyond the monitors. I’d like for sensors to detect the position of the viewer’s head, and to use projection technology that makes viewers feel as if there truly is an expansive space behind the monitors. At the same time, I’m thinking about whether I can do something interesting using spatial connections between the sky and ocean.

A test video by HIGA for the exhibit that uses a 3D model of Shurijo Castle.


HIGA Satoru
Born in Okinawa Prefecture in 1983, HIGA Satoru is a visual artist and programmer who uses computers as a tool to create new forms of expression. Leveraging sophisticated programming techniques such as real-time 3D graphics and computer vision as well as his experience with a diverse array of projects, HIGA has been involved in a wide range of creative activities that include installations, stage direction, VJing, live performances, and virtual reality products. After founding Backspace Productions Inc. in 2019, he recently directed the 3D video concert footage for musician Millennium Parade, as well as the footage for PUNPEE's latest concert, "Sofa Kingdomcome".
BACKSPACE Productions Inc.
Established in 2019, BACKSPACE Productions Inc. is a production team made up of artists and programmers who share the same impulses towards digital art, new media art, and a DIY spirit. Their work spans audio-visual design, R&D, hardware design/production, and more. The BACKSPACE team is unique in that it uses diverse and specialized technologies and experiences, rooted in its members’ advanced programming skills, to generate visual and other content as well as install frameworks and systems to showcase that content.