Toshi Endo

interview with: toshiendo (2005/08/30)
tags: soundtoys, artist, journal, interview, text
journal contents

Toshi Endo: What is you project and your work about?

The project is called "Safeplaces". Its about finding that safeplace you've always wanted on the web. Carefree, not serious, just about having fun and being able to play. There is no intellectual objective to it; just to play. Much like the idea of Soundtoys "sound" & "toy". Toy. Safeplaces is a multimedia toy.

On a personal level, why do you make this work?

At the time I created "Safeplaces" I thought there was the need for more playful exhibits on the web. I thought it was time to do my bit and add my little vision to cyberspace. I wanted give people something to play with, something to have some random fun with. its for everyone!

Would you like to tell us how you made the piece?

The piece to some time to make. I would work on it a couple of hours a day after I finished my real work.

It's all made in flash, with a little help from soundedit 16. The execution of the flash was very simple. I used nothing but the most basic flash principles to create "Safeplaces". Tell Targets, Variables, etc.

It took about four to five months to complete. So i was able to give myself heaps of time just to keep on layering these principles until I decided I was finished -- great fun.

How do you define "soundtoys" ?

well, its such a wonderful word. Can't define it anymore than that really. Its just happens to combine two of my favourite things together. My passion for music... "sound"... and my love of playful objects... "toys".

"Soundtoys"... nuff said. :)

How long have you been working in this area?
about 4 years.

Were you an artist/ musician first who got into using computers/the net, or did you respond to the net as a medium in an artistic way?

When I first started in the web I never really saw myself as an artist. I would always use something more generic like web designer. I always had a passion for art, I love paintings, I love technology, I enjoy drawing but the term artist is something I am always reserved about using.

It wasn't till I started creating work for the web and responding to it in an artistic way did I start to believe that maybe I am an artist. I found my neiche in the world and found a medium I could believe in and stand up for in a theorectical and philosophical way.

And its because of the web (and technology) have I started to cross into other mediums such as DV and sound.

What/ who has influenced you in your work? (themes, other artists etc)

Many things have directly or indirectly influence the way i go about creating my pieces.

I've have a great love for videogames (especially Nintendo games) for I believe they are great (and often misunderstood and underplayed) examples of true interactive art.

Artists such as Matt Owens of who inspired me to become a mutimedia artistas well as for the beautiful aesthetic and their geo-political messages that they channel through their artwork.

These are web artists that inspire me. But much of my inspiration comes from outside the web itself:

Nature. I love nature.
Music. That too.
Other Mediums of Art. I love DV footage.
My dear friends and family. uh huh.

Are there any other artists covering the same field as you?

Yes. Definitely. But I think its a matter of them inspiring me to create art in the first place.
Hi-res! I LOVE THEM!, (once again). nintendo, etc.

Do you see this work as art?

I think my mates have an easier time calling my work art that I do! ;)
Safeplaces does resemble a lot of what I believe in so in some respects I do
call it art but foremost I would call it a toy. The art of making toys.

With regard to 'soundtoys' especially, why do you think the audio visual form is so key to the net?

Please see question on importance of visual aspects in the new relationship
of audio visual.

What defines the aesthetics of new interactive art.?

As much as it defines itself. The aesthetic is defined by you the creator of a piece. But if we choose to define the aesthetic then we must define the fashion that dictates it. Fashion always changes from one time to the next.

So its always best let the definition stay loose starting from what you
think it is and allowing it to be adaptable from one day to the next.

How important is the visual aspect in the 'new' relationship of the audio visual.?

I think there must always be a balance when it comes to any relationship with audio visual providing that you are offering both audio elements and visual elements as part of your experience. Say you're listening to music, do you place as much importance on the cover art as you do the music itself?

For me the relationship must be balanced as each key element in an interactive experience owes itself and 'relates' itself to the other elements within the structure. This balance also allows the user to create the relationships between audio and visual elements. By allowing them to create these relationships you allow the user to be that one step closer to being involved with the experience.

Does the net promote visual awareness that is unique to it?

I think thus far it has promoted itself the best that it can. With forums such as soundtoys or ResFest and even OneDotZero. But I think there is more room to increase the awareness of net art in the ArtWorld. I cant helping seeing multimedia works still placed in little computer boxes in a small corner of a gallery space somewhere. Its about achieving the same amount of respect it (multimedia art) deserves as any other work of art -- the fact that multimedia art is still young means that there is plenty of space to grow and at the same time doesn't make it any less important than any other medium.

How novel do you feel generative music and interactivity is?

Well, it can be just as novel as anything else really. It all depends how the end product turns out. The idea itself may sound novel to few but much can achieved in this field to create some very powerful if not at first innocent looking applications / works.

Reason is a great example of a sound toy which looks innocent and novel at first but after a while it grows up to be a very powerful application!

I think we must remember that its not the medium which makes itself novel but the concept. Anything can be destined for greatness if you have a great concept -- regardless of medium.

Do you think there is a history to audio visual work?

Abosolutely, and it goes much father back than most people think. It also depends on where we draw the line to distinguish multimedia art form other art forms. The first film that combined sound, whenever that was... a long time ago (but a short time for art history). Then theres the classic videogame "pong", remember that? It was an audio visual experience that
demanded influence from the user. Back in the late 70's, early 80's. Even rumors that the internet is a cold war relic. Designed to help bases contact each other during a miscile crisis.

Its has a young but still fascinating history.

Would you describe yourself as a multimedia artist, a net.artist, programmer, or none of the above?

I dabble in many different mediums at the moment... Net, DV, music, etc.
Each medium can cross boundaries and be applicable for different spaces. So
I gotta say multimedia artist.

What software do you use most and why?

Definitely FlashMX. Its has a bit of a learning curve but its so easy just to jam out cool little ideas, like pen on paper. You can create to the coolest objects from the most simple principles but if you wish to expand your knowledge flashMX has heaps more scope for growth.

Reason is another application I love. A fantastic soundtoy!

Can you recommend some urls to soundtoys?