• Noboru Tsubaki, Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence, has described his artistic goal as saying 'something constructive' in the face of destructiveness caused by humans or nature. Once a minimalist, he turned to macroscale work that blends elements of innocence with those of menace. Here, a giant teddy bear is force-fed 'depleted uranium.'

    Noboru Tsubaki, Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence, has described his artistic goal as saying 'something constructive' in the face of destructiveness caused by humans or nature. Once a minimalist, he turned to macroscale work that blends elements of innocence with those of menace. Here, a giant teddy bear is force-fed 'depleted uranium.'

    Photo courtesy / Noboru Tsubaki

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  • In this work, a larger-than-life locust lands on a luxury hotel.

    In this work, a larger-than-life locust lands on a luxury hotel.

    Photo / Noboru Tsubaki

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Media artist Tsubaki plans 'Soul'-ful talk

Noboru Tsubaki, Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence, has described his artistic goal as saying 'something constructive' in the face of destructiveness caused by humans or nature. Once a minimalist, he turned to macroscale work that blends elements of innocence with those of menace. Here, a giant teddy bear is force-fed 'depleted uranium.'


Japanese media artist Noboru Tsubaki, whose work includes a 110-foot-long inflatable locust, has been named the 2006 Ida Ely Rubin Artist-in-Residence at MIT.

Tsubaki will give a public presentation, "Prosthetic Restoration of Your Soul: The Art of Noboru Tsubaki," on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. in Room 141 of the Stata Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Born in Tokyo, Tsubaki has worked in a number of media, including large-scale outdoor installation, interactive networked media, robotic sculpture and community cultural projects. In the 1980s, he made the transition from minimal art to working on huge objects, including the giant locust, which was hung off the side of the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Japan.

After being involved in a devastating earthquake in Japan in 1996, Tsubaki realized he could use his artwork to propose solutions to the world's problems. After the 9/11 attacks on America, he expanded that idea into the "UN Application Project," which includes a large five-legged robotic vehicle designed to clear land mines.

"My aim is to provide solutions for some of the world's problems through my art," he said on his unboy.org web site in March 2004. "I believe that if governments and corporations refuse to address issues relating to politics and religion then art projects must be the ones to say something constructive."

Tsubaki, who is the head of the Space Design Section at Kyoto University of Art and Design, will be at MIT from Oct. 30 through Nov. 9. He will work with students and faculty in media arts and sciences, sustainable energy, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Technology Culture Forum.

The Ida Ely Rubin Artists-in-Residence Fund was established in 1998 by MIT benefactor Margaret McDermott in honor of veteran Council for the Arts member Ida Ely Rubin to support artist-in-residence programs in visual arts.

For more information on the Oct. 30 event, call x3-2341.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 25, 2006 (download PDF).


Topics: Arts, Special events and guest speakers

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