The Birth stand /pendant type

“At the moment of fertilization, eggs emit light” Since early childhood, I have been fascinated by the enigmatic nature of life, and when I came across the above statement, my imagination was completely seized by this description of that almost magical moment when life itself is created. Strictly speaking, at the moment of fertilization, what actually happens is that the wavelength of the calcium ions inside the egg begins to change, as the atoms of calcium take on a slight positive charge. If we understand light as being a wavelength, I felt that those changes in the electric wavelength of the calcium ions could be interpreted as “light”. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity, in a research facility, to see that moment of fertilization myself through a microscope.What I was able to perceive visually at that moment what was not light being emitted, but something in a sense grotesque and yet at the same time beautiful, and which did indeed appear to be shining.The profound wonder of it all seemed to me to be encapsulated right there. That image of the countless tiny sperm swarming around the egg is something I still cannot get out of my head. I felt that I wanted to share the magic of this moment with the world. That inspiration informed the conceptualization of this work, THE BIRTH. Onto a spherical framework of wire rods (as used in Buckminster Fuller’s “Geodesic Dome”), I added light bulbs (as used in the “Taraxacum 88” lamp by Achille Castiglioni). I turned the bulbs inwards so that the structure is suggestive of the amazing phenomenon of the sperm bustling around the egg to fertilize it, and the light which is said to then emanate.In terms of the materials used in the construction (essentially only rods and circular holders), this is a very minimalist work. The reason for this is that the sight I observed through that microscope gave me a sense, in spite of the obvious complexity on the one hand, of the striking simplicity of life.I also was conscious of the desirability of creating a design that, like the Geodesic Dome, would potentially be suitable for mass production.Given that, increasingly, incandescent lamps (which convert a large part of their light into heat) are being replaced by the more efficient LED technology, a light source that faces inwards is no longer problematic. I even like to imagine that if Achille Castigliono were alive today, he might have made a version of the Taraxacum 88 using the more efficient LED technology and with the lights pointing inwards.Pointing the light bulbs inwards toward each other means that the light from multiple bulbs is reflected on the surface of each bulb. This is evocative of the way the fertilized egg repeats the process of cell division so that within a week it has multiplied two to three hundred times. Although THE BIRTH is a Stand lighting it sends out a flickering light, like the beating of a heart. This is representative of the repetitive spikes in the increase of the calcium ions (known as calcium oscillation) in the egg after fertilization. There is, in the world today, a huge amount of suffering caused by such issues as racism and terrorism. And given that nowadays it is even possible to bring about life by artificial means, so that the very significance of life can appear to be in a state of flux, it would seem appropriate to take a fresh look at exactly what “life” is. Through this work, THE BIRTH, my goal is to create a sense of intimacy with one of the fundamental mysteries of life, so that observers will be encouraged to re-think the value of life itself. 
「卵子は受精した瞬間に光を放つ。」 私は幼いころから生命の神秘に強く惹かれていたのだが、この記述を目にしてからというもの、生命誕生の瞬間における神秘性は私の中で一層特別な ものとなっている。縁あって専門家の研究室にて受精の瞬間を顕微鏡越しに見ることができた。その瞬間に私の目で感知できるような光が放たれることはなかったが、それはグロテスクでありながらも美しく、間違いなく輝いて見えた。それはまさに生命の神秘だった。卵子の周りに無数に群がる精子の様子は今も私の頭から離れない。 私はこの神秘的なシーンを多くの人と共有したい。厳密には、受精した瞬間、卵子内部ではカルシウムイオン(カルシウムの原子がプラスの電気を帯びたもの)の波長が変化する。光を波長と捉えるならば、そのカルシウムイオンの電子的な波長を"光"と表現できるのではないか、と私は考えた。その時に得たインスピレーションが、THE BIRTHの形態を決めている。Buckminster Fullerが考案したGeodesic Domeの線材の交点に、Achille CastiglioniがデザインしたTARAXACUM88の電球を内側に向けて取り付け たような構成によって、まさに卵子に群がる精子が見事に受精し、光を放つ姿を表現した。僅かなパーツ(アームと丸座の二種類)で構成されているのは、顕微鏡で受精のシーンを覗いた時に、生命は複雑でありながらも、極めてシンプルであると感じたからだ。また、それはGeodesic Domeと同様に、量産化を前提とするデザインにもなりうると考えた。エネルギーの多くを熱に変換してしまう白熱灯から、効率の良いLEDへと光源が入れ替わった今、光源が内を向き合うことも不都合ではない。 Achille Castiglioniが生きていれば、効率の良いLEDを用いてTARAXACUM88の電球を内側に向けたモデルを作ったのではないか、と私はひとり予想している。電球同士を内側に向けたことによって、電球の表面には周辺の複数の電球が映り込む。それは受精卵が一週間で200から300という数になるまで細胞分裂を繰り返すさまを想起させる。THE BIRTHはスタンドライトでありながら光の明滅を起こす。まるで心臓の鼓動のように。これは卵子が受精後に反復的なカルシウムイオンの上昇(カルシウムオシレーション)が起こることに由来している。 今日、人種差別や無差別テロといった人道的課題は尽きることがない。人工的に生命を創り出すことすらも可能になり「生命の重さ」が変化しているようにみえる今こそ、「生命」というものを改めて考える必要があるのではないか。「THE BIRTH」によって、生命の神秘を身近で感じることにより、一人でも多くの人が生命の尊さについて再認識するきっかけになることを、私は心から願っている。
 Materials : スチール、電球、ケーブル Dimensions : 470Φ × H1200, H600(stand type), 470Φ × H1000〜(pendant type)

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