YOSHIROTTEN’s “FLUID GARDEN” Is a Cool-Hued Sanctuary Amidst Summer

The multidisciplinary artist enlightens Hypebeast with his creative process, the challenges with the project, and more about the installation’s second phase.

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Earlier this week, YOSHIROTTEN unveiled his latest installation in Hong Kong. Titled “FLUID GARDEN,” the installation takes the stage inside LANDMARK Atrium in the city’s bustling Central district. “FLUID GARDEN” is built around the mall’s signature fountain on its retail podium level, where its classic appearance has been reimagined in a fantastical yet familiar manner.

Synonymous with YOSHIROTTEN’s usual approach, the installation serves as an immersive and spatial interplay with digital art. Imbued with his iconic futuristic aesthetics, “FLUID GARDEN” features a palm tree and digital pool right next to the reimagined fountain.“Sofas” that boast a spherical yet angular form are decked around the space in a corresponding metallic turquoise – a recurring color that permeates the entire exhibit.

As “FLUID GARDEN” catches the tail end of summer, YOSHIROTTEN is also gearing up to welcome the autumnal season. In September, the installation will relocate to the BELOWGROUND space in the mall’s basement, where it will transform into its second phase, “MOON LANDING.”

Before “FLUID GARDEN” opened its doors to the public, Hypebeast caught up with YOSHIROTTEN to learn more about his creative process, the challenges he faced with the project, and how the installation will transform into its second phase.

Can you tell us how the project came to fruition?

I did an exhibition at THE SHOPHOUSE last year, and after a while, they reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in tailoring an installation for LANDMARK. I was intrigued when they showed me photos of the mall – I immediately started thinking about ways to approach and commence the project. I then suggested a few concepts to them, and the installation you see today was from that pool of ideas.

Was the execution difficult? Considering you weren’t physically in Hong Kong during the planning process.

Yeah, it’s been eight years since I last came to Hong Kong. Even for THE SHOPHOUSE exhibition last time, I had to work and coordinate with everyone remotely. I had doubts too, and wondered whether I’d be able to handle such a large-scale project in the same manner. But after seeing shots of the location, I was reassured that this is a challenge I’m willing to take. I was drawn to the fountain at the center of the mall, it felt very significant, and I was really feeling it.

How did the concept of “FLUID GARDEN” come about?

I didn’t want the installation to simply just be inside the mall – I want it to be something more than that. Whether it’s people walking by or hanging around the space, I want it to be an interactive experience that unites everyone and everything that comes into it.

What do the words “fluid” and “garden” symbolize in this installation?

One of the first ideas that came to mind when I saw the location was to build a new kind of “garden” around the iconic fountain. I also knew I wanted to create a digital water surface to go with it, and that’s where the “fluid” aspect comes in.

I spent some time studying various kinds of water puddles, lakes, and any body of water that I have access to. That’s when I started to look into microorganisms – I was fascinated by how freely they moved, how they group up, and the way they split. That’s when the thought of incorporating it into my graphic design came along.

“I want visitors to use this area to create their own, meditative space within the mall.”

How did you begin the creative process for this project?

At first, I wanted to fit the installation around the theme of the location. I actually started with 3D puzzles, and I was making them from scratch and experimenting with shapes. Light is something I use in my work a lot, so I had my eyes on materials with reflective surfaces. I also wanted visitors to sit and immerse themselves in the installation, which is why I came up with the sofas. They work like puzzle pieces and are scattered around the space. As final touches, I also implemented motion graphics to enhance and emulate the textures and movements of water.

How did you settle on the color palette for this installation?

As concepts of “future” and “nature” are something I frequently explore in my work, I tend to gravitate towards metallic finishes and colors that give off a futuristic vibe. Since the installation will be here until the end of August, I wanted to infuse a refreshing mood that complements the summer climate, which is why I went with a cool tone palette. The main element of “FLUID GARDEN” is water, and so I settled on turquoise blue with slight gradation effects as the central color scheme. The fountain in the mall has never been coated in another color before, which makes this an exciting opportunity for me.

Seeing the final outcome in real life, are there anything that’s different from how you envisioned it initially?

To be honest, I went through quite a few rounds of revision before the whole design was finalized. Initially, I contemplated a different material for the palm tree and even thought of making the pool bigger. Looking at it now, the platform turned out a little shorter than I imagined, but overall everything is pretty much the same as what I foresaw in the final stages.

I did change the number of sofas on display though – there are nine sofas in total, but instead of grouping them all in one place, we’ve placed some downstairs at BELOWGROUND as hints for the second phase.

The pool is paired with sensors so that when you walk over it, the graphic moves around like a puddle. This is also the first time I attempted interactive art like this, and it was a little difficult when it comes to fine-tuning. The sensors are actually located on the palm tree, and we were still tweaking it up until this morning.

What do you want the visitors to get from the experience?

The mall is a place where people come to eat, shop, and meet up with friends. It does get crowded at times, and that’s when everything feels rushed and stressful for the people inside it. I wanted to create a space where people can slow down and take their time, just like how they would at a garden or a park. I want visitors to use this area to create their own, meditative space within the mall. Even when everything around them feels very fast, they can use this space to temporarily wind down and relax.

The mall’s ceilings are fitted with windows, so the shadows that the palm tree creates will appear differently throughout the day. At night, the bright lights from the shops around will reflect on the installation, as the surfaces are all metallic – it’ll be a different vibe entirely.

We’re curious to see how the installation will morph into its second phase in September. Can you share more details about the transformation?

There are nine sofas in total, but they actually all fit together like puzzle pieces. Right now they’re scattered all over, but in September, all the pieces will be united to represent the moon. The installation then will also celebrate a special full moon as well, so stay tuned as I cannot disclose any more at this point.

How do the two phases, both individually and combined, form the narrative of “FLUID GARDEN”?

In a sense, I’m collaborating with the people in this space through their imaginations. I want visitors to learn or receive something new from their time in the garden, it could be the discovery of a new self for instance. When this transforms into the second phase, it also creates an opportunity for those who’ve experienced the first phase to gather together here again. By sharing this experience with everyone, I’m also creating something new.

Any hints on other projects you’re currently working on?

My next project is coming up on August 19 and 20 in Japan. It’s actually for Summer Sonic, and I’m creating beaches, parks, gardens, and arenas across a whole street. I’ll also be collaborating with some of the musicians there, so stay tuned for now. After that, I’ll be back here in Hong Kong to finish the second phase.

The first phase of Yoshirotten’s “FLUID GARDEN” will be on view in LANDMARK ATRIUM, Hong Kong until August 31. From September 1 – 30, it will open for its second phase at the mall’s BELOWGROUND space.

LANDMARK ATRIUM
15 Queen’s Road Central,
Central, Hong Kong

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