Author: Michael Yoshimura


Studio: MArch Thesis

Advisor: Johan Voordouw

Year: 2019 – 2020

Project Description

The thesis uses the medium of the science-fiction short film to address the potential of architecture to narrate the contemporary notion of Shinto techno animism. Shinto animism, traditionally found within elements in nature, has been translated in contemporary Japanese technological culture into techno-animism. The site for this short film is in a shotengai – a local street market. Here, the shotengai urban typology becomes the architectural trope and catalyst from which the thesis explores the relationship of techno-animism’s implications on space.

Seminal works of Japanese science-fiction will be studied to situate the relation between technology and its animation and reveal how techno-animism manifests itself in various ways through characters, cities, or objects. The short film uses multiple digital techniques such as three-dimensional modelling, animation, video software, and on-sight filming organized by a production time-line specific to the animation industry.

The thesis interprets techno-animism’s spatial consequences to range from vast infrastructures to the minute household item, each interconnected through spiritual kami. Shinto beliefs are complex and ever-changing. Space and object become a metaphor which relates Shinto myth with everyday reality. The thesis stands as a personal expression and interpretation of these contemporary techno-animistic beliefs. Just as the incense burning around the Ise shrine allows for purification to bring forth the kami, the literal atmosphere of space portrayed are meant to evoke the meaning of a techno-animist world.