The city of Tokyo is known for its hypnotizing bright neon lights and signage that lines the streets—a distinction that makes it feel different from anywhere else in the world. But, what if this striking visual characteristic was the norm rather than the exception? Japanese architect Daigo Ishii imagines how this would look in Worldwide Tokyo-lization Project, a series that takes this aesthetic and applies it to cities around the globe.
Ishii has envisioned six places as Tokyo-themed landscapes, including: New York, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, La Paz, Paris, and Venice. Taking the form of animated GIFs, each place shows a present-day view and then switches to its Tokyo-fication. The once-calm streets are bombarded with advertisements, kawaii characters, and a lot of color. Copenhagen's subdued buildings are lit with glittering signage while the Eiffel Tower gets a cherryblossom makeover.
This stark transformation strikes the heart of Ishii’s project, which explores the idea of locality—if elements from one culture are placed into another context, does the host city maintain its own identity, or does it become a brand new place? With Tokyo’s powerful visual culture, the line is often blurred.
Worldwide Tokyo-lization Project, originally produced as a video piece, is now on display at the 2016 Venice Biennale through November 27, 2016.
Above: New York City
La Paz, Bolivia