If you've ever watched Japanese news programs, you know that they are masters of the art of building dioramas. Often, just hours after a major accident or event, Japanese news shows roll out elaborate miniature models that somehow seem more intimate than the computer graphics used by Western news orgs. Now that craftsmanship has been applied to the entire city of Tokyo in a work called "Tokyo City Symphony."
The model offers a stunningly detailed display of 3D projection mapping on a miniature model of the city of Tokyo at a 1:1000 scale. At times, it looks as though artist Takashi Murakami painted the city with a light brush. The display undulates with colorful visuals, changing the textures of buildings, and intermittently layers the entire scene with fireworks and laser shows.
Created by the Mori Building Company, the people behind Japan's Roppongi Hills international complex at the center of Tokyo, and directed by Takafumi Tsuchiya, the production is designed to help promote the city as fun and futuristic. (Presumably with the goal of attracting new, international business.) The site also allows visitors to create their own unique visual mash-ups of the city's light show by tapping a sequence on their keyboards. Those light shows can then be saved and shared via social media.
Perhaps what's most amazing about the installation is that, despite its totally artificial and deliberately retro approach, it accurately replicates the sense of entering Tokyo's neon valleys and sprawling cityscape for the first time.
You can watch the entire presentation in the video below, or try creating your own light show here.