Digital Art Source is taking five.
Five questions to five people who are showing up on our radar.
Some have been here from the beginning, some have recently hit the scene.

 
Browse other links at Digital Art Source
digital art
collections
pop
architecture
theory
tools
sound
games
journal
cinema
design
school
photo
software
market
network
   
   
digitalartsource
home

-
join our
mailing list

-
recommend
a site

-
contact
-
about
 
©1999-2010
digital art source
Kinya Hanada

Kinya Hanada, also known as Mumbleboy, is an artist known for his Flash work and handmade dolls. Check out Kinya at http://www.mumbleboy.com


Scott Weiland:

Art, design, technology and culture are rapidly converging, mixing and generating new hybrids. How have you been a part of this scene and what are your new projects?

Kinya Hanada:

I think it depends on how you define "scene". If it's a scene where you might find like minded people hanging out regularly, I don't think I've had much input, but if it's a more loosely defined scene in which social interaction is not necesarry, I may have had some recognition for my work. Having work on the internet, i can bypass trappings of more traditional media for artwork like galleries and television and get to the audience individualy. I think it is much less sort of public as well. A viewer can have a more personal relation to the work without having to deal with whether the work is consistent with viewer's peers tastes. I think my work in particular works well via the internet because it's sort of the work some people like, but not everyone, so if those who like it want to share it with others they can, but if they want to keep it to themselves, they can. What I hear from them often and it's irelevant in the big scheme of things, but they tell me that they have seen a lot of web animation and other things made with flash and they've had enough of it and didn't want to see any more until they ran into my work. This is not my opinion, I think there's lots of great things made with flash out there, but I think it is good that I may have been able to help some people stay open mided about the media. I have been working a lot with music related projects: music animation, album art and VJ. The VJ-ing in particular is a lot of fun, to do something live in front of the audience. With the help of my friend Karl, we've come up with a way to take pictures of people there and embed their faces into the projected animation. We want to take this even further and make it into an interactive installation in the future.

Scott Weiland:

Your work with Flash is definitely unique. What interests me about it is the way that it seems to be "Flash for Flash's sake." Once you have seen enough Flash, you get to know what to expect from the effect. You seem to be speaking to those people who know the effects of Flash like a language, but you aren't using it to say anything in particular, except "This is Flash." You are mumbling in Flash.

Kinya Hanada:

I am not sure if I make Flash for Flash's sake really. It just happned to be the medium that seems most compatible with what I want to do. I guess I am mostly known for my Flash work, but I don't really have much of a status in the Flash community as far as I know. There are some Flash events which I've made some efforts to be part of, but came up empty. That's OK though. I never set out to please just that community, but it's nice to hear stuff like a friend who has a daughter who is very picky about what she watches, but she likes my stuff. I can't pretend that I have something important to say because I don't think I have anything to say that hasn't been said already, but I don't want to think my work is purely just aesthetics. I did actually do a MFA program, so I should be on top of it and have my artist statement ready, but I found that thinking too hard about what I'm making kind of bogged me down to the point where I wasn't making anything at all. It took me a while to get going again. People say different things about my work and one thing I hear sometimes is that it's sort of sinister in some ways. That's not something I consciously set out to make, but I think I am sort of going about a very round about way to find out things. Who knows maybe in 10 years time, I'd be making very direct and clear cut sort of work.

Scott Weiland:

The dolls you make are sort of connected to a sense of craft and the human touch. Are you now interested in performing with digital media(the VJ work)? Is this also a sort of human touch?

Kinya Hanada:

I like making the dolls. It helps me to take a break from computerland. I don't know if it's that different though from using Flash. I find drawing in Flash a sort of an intuitive process. Flash does help to make it more precise, but you're still pretty much dragging the mouse around and clicking it too, so the result may seem devoid of himan touch, but the process is still a matter of eye hand coordination. The VJ thing, I don't know if it's that much more human(?), but it's a lot more social and more imediately gratifying maybe. I don't know how other VJ's do it, but the way I have it set up, I have an interface that calls up flash movie clips and they can be changed or layered in real time, so it's sort of chaotic and somtimes you get some unpredictable combinations of things. I have been interested in doing interactive sorts of things for sometime whether it's digital or not. I did plan a gallery show one time in which the audience was sort forced into interaction, but I never got the gallery space, so I didn't get to play out the idea. I haven't had such precise ideas about interactivity since then, but it would be great to explore that some more. One of my intial influences for wanting to going to compuetr graphics was this Japanese children's tv show called Ugo Ugo Lhuga. It was the most entertaining and cutting-edge show. It had some great interactive segements for example, there was this virtual sumo in which characters that kids drew would battle each other from home by screaming into microphones. The louder the scream, the stronger your character was and you could push the opponent's character off the stage.

Scott Weiland:

My interpretation of the work is that with the choice and mix of imagery and movement, the works are playfully non-narrative...and that lack of narrative makes me focus on the effect of the medium. To me they say, "This is Flash...with all the knobs turned to level 10." So to me, they are about Flash and I can just sit back and watch. I am attracted to works such as this, that either augment the intended use or normative role of media(most use Flash with a very predictable narrative intent) or use the guise of narrative through imagery or a more sophisticated apparatus (such as in the Stan Douglas piece, "Win, Place, Show") to strip the media down to it's effect or bare apparatus, however sophisticated and subtle it may be to perceive. Either strategy is about understanding the inherent narrative already within media.

Kinya Hanada:

Well, I think I never had any intentions of doing any narrative work since I sort of started with just still images and Flash was a way to make the image move. I may have visual ideas about some movements, but nothing tht is realted to a storyline. My first love of the arts was literature actually and I read voraciously as a child, so naturally I tried to write my own stories and realised pretty quickly that I was no good at it. So, I tend to stay way from anything that has me writing up a storyline for it first. I would love to collaborate with writers if I can find people who can write material that would work for me.

Scott Weiland:

What other experiences, such as the TV show you mentioned, have you recognized as influencing your current direction?

Kinya Hanada:

Well, I am not good at keeping track of when and where I have been inspired, but there are a couple of things I can think of off my head. Whenever I look at any stuff by Archigram, it's such a great mix of graphics and environment, I am very inspired to want to make something that combines graphics and the world at large. Also the music video work by Michel Gondry is very inspiring to me. He has a knack for being able to mix together different elements perfect choreographed. I don't think I could ever make anything like him until I have been able to learn some other media as well, but I am inspired none the less to want to try experimental kinds of things.

Scott Weiland:

Yeah, I really like that Chemical Brothers piece that Michel Gondry did...very slick editing but pretty low-tech in the way that the scenes are simple and the actor's moves are simple, but within this other sort of sophistication.

Kinya Hanada:

I agree. I have been thinking about how I could combine Flash and video for a while. I don't know anything about filmmaking, so I don't think it'd be wise for me to do anything very planned out like Gondry's work. I think instead I think I'd shoot random footage, edit it down and bring in flash here and there.

Scott Weiland:

Have you sold alot of stuff through the mumbleboy collection? Do you have a following in that area?

Kinya Hanada:

I've sold a lot of dolls over the years. I've started numbering them a few years ago and the number is up in the 400's. I've made just as many or maybe even more before that, so I think the totall is probably somewhere around a thousand. I'm not sure if I have a following, but it seems like when somebody gets one, their friend or family does the same a lot of the times. They are only available in a few stores, but i think if they were in more stores, they'd be more popular. I don't think I want to make any more than I already do though. It's pretty time-consuming. I've been trying to push the mumbleboy adoption program, but of the hundreds of dolls out there, only about 20 or so people have sent in info and pics. I guess it's hard to get people to do all that. Myabe I'll have to make it easier with forms to fill out or something.

Scott Weiland:

I've used the real-time video editing software called Imag/ine to experiment with the VJ thing...this program lets you use a live video feed and any saved quicktime movies you have on your desktop. Maybe this would work somehow with Flash pieces saved out as quicktime clips. What is your set-up like when you VJ?

Kinya Hanada:

I use a Flash interface which was originally made by Michiko Swiggs of the Seattle band IQU. They used it on their tour for visuals. I had my friend Karl revise the interface to be able to show more stuff and in separate layers and also do the picture import thing that I think I mentioned before. I haven't heard of Imag/ine, but it sounds a lot like this program called Image Dive which I found recently. It's specifically made for VJ-ing and supports differnt formats, so with it, I'll be able to show quicktime along with flash. It's only available in Japanese versaion and I haven't able to get a copy here yet, but it should open up a whole new aspect to VJ-ing. It has a lot of samples which look like your typical rave VJ stuff and also various kind of wipes, so anyone can become an instant VJ with it, but i'll see if I can use it in a more interesting way.

   
Take 5 Interview series ©2002,2003 Digital Art Source
Digital Art Source-Take 5 Interviews
Beryl
Graham
Kinya
Hanada
Carlos J. Gomez
de Llarena
Vicente
Razo
Bradley
Wester

Digital Art Source-Digital Mentors
Alan
Sondheim
Darko
Fritz
Netochka
Nezvanova
Brad
Brace
Mary-Anne
Breeze
Vander
McClain
Andreas
Broekmann
Joseph
Nechvatal
Mark
von Schlegell