Q's Views (2022)

by Hiroki NISHINO.

Q's Views #1-#3 are part of an ongoing series of digital still images that aim to provide a visual experience of the unbridgeable gap between believers and non-believers of conspiracy theories in today's surreal socio-political situations in the post-truth world, through hybrid image portraits synthesized from AI-generated "fake" images of Hillary Clinton.


Hybrid image is a technique for creating an image that is perceived as one image from afar, but as another image up close, using an optical illusion based on the way the human visual system performs multi-scale processing of images.


For each work, we use generative AI to create a normal portrait of Hillary Clinton and then transform it into a grotesque variant based on conspiracy theories. These images are then synthesized into a hybrid image to embed an optical illusion in which a normal portrait of her suddenly transforms into a grotesque variant when the viewer approaches.


Therefore, as viewers come closer to the threshold of visual perception of the hybrid image, the artwork triggers a sudden realization that conspiracy theorists perceive Hillary Clinton as an entirely different person, thus accentuating the insurmountable divergence in perceived realities between believers and non-believers of conspiracy theories. It is important to acknowledge that even the "normal" portraits themselves are AI-generated fabrications, rendering them as fake images devoid of authenticity. In this work, nothing is genuine, and everything is deliberately fabricated.


Thus, as artworks of visual sarcasm, Q's Views #1-#3 refer to our post-truth era, where facts and reality must be all questioned, as generative AIs are used to produce high-fidelity images for fake news and propaganda today, significantly enhancing alienation and division in perceived realities in the same world that we share.

American Derivation: Three Kings (Fair Use Portrait #1-#3) (2016)

by Hiroki Nishino.

American Derivation: Three Kings (Fair Use Portrait #1-#3) is a study of NIME (new interfaces for musical instruments) as a small artwork, which aims to embody the concept of fair use in the form of a digital musical instrument. Its appearance and sound output are derived from copyrighted audio and visual materials, which are transformed according to the guidelines of fair use to avoid copyright infringement.

As fair use is a concept originated in the United States, we utilized the materials by three American iconic singers (Elvis Presley, James Brown, and Michael Jackson). The digital instrument associates each physical pixel made of a Nanoblock(TM) in low resolution portraits of the singers with a ‘microsound’ (short sound fragment) taken from their songs. Each microsound is utilized to perform granular synthesis, when the user touches the physical pixel.

Included in
The SIGCHI Art.CHI Catalogue, The ACM SIGCHI Conference 2016, San Jose, USA

Photo by Johannes Gramm

Oberhausen Requiem: A site-specific electroacoustic live performance (2007)

by Hiroki Nishino.

Oberhausen Requiem (see also Color Plate E) is a site-specific electroacoustic live performance designed and implemented for the huge Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany, and captured on video. The original live performance took place multiple times on 8 and 22 September 2007. The Gasometer is not functional as industrial space today but is still one of the im- portant symbols of the city and is sometimes described as an “industrial cathedral.” The recorded acoustic aspect of the piece consists of one track, largely due to the fact that the extraordinarily long and intense reverberations inside the Gasometer make it impossible to realize effective multi-channel sound projection. The piece became an acoustic/psychoacoustic experiment that included the interference between the original sounds, their reflections and reverberations, and the perceptual illusion of directionality in mono sound resulting from Doppler and other acoustic effects that took place inside the Gasometer.

The piece also reflects the historical context of the Gasometer. Musically the piece involves industrial and war-related sounds, as well as a string drone at the finale that implies the rebirth of the city. Similarly, local newspaper articles related to the Gasometer were distributed to the audience during the performances. The audience was encouraged to walk around inside the Gasometer during the performance with glowing penlights so that they could simultaneously experience the acoustic variations of the space and visually participate in its creation.

The first Leonardo Art/Science Student Contest (Leonardo Journal, 2008),
Digital Content Award (Asiagraph, 2008),
The Mono@Gasometer Competition (Deutche Gesellschaft Fur Elektroakustische Musik (DEGEM), 2007).

A Very Short Futuristic Sketch (2007)

by Hiroki Nishino.

This is indeed a very simple remix of one of my live performance pieces. The interest that I had in remixing the piece is to investigate how very simple techniques such as resampling and copy & paste can transform the original piece when the techniques are applied to very short fragments.

Some fragments involved in the remix are indeed quite short and within the microsound time-scale (in the classification of musical time-scales by Roads (Roads, Curtis., Microsound. The MIT Press, 2004, p.3) )

I was also interested in exploring (or revisiting) a futuristic appearance with intense sound materials after techno/noise decades.

Each of the stereo channels is completely independent and even panning is not applied to the sound materials. While I still haven’t worked the further extension of the idea at all since then, this piece is a sketch for an extended multi-channel piece, which I was planning to compose (and that’s how the title was given to this piece.)

A Short Drone Study (2006)

by Hiroki Nishino.

This short tape piece focuses on the gradual traditions of drones with some investigation on internal/external harmonic structures.

Tre Marie (2006)

by Hiroki Nishino, Annie On Ni Wan, and Pamela Pietro.

Tre Marie is an interactive audio-visual dance improvised performance. The system in progress is a RF-ID (radio-frequency identification) technology for dance performance, which improvises, live visuals on stage. The performance is a reconstructed architecture of space that encodes the spatial aesthetics of the interaction between human, theatrical and cinematic space.

Self-Portrait of My Life (2005)

by Hiroki Nishino.

I moved to a new city, after spending most of my life in my hometown, to do a PhD program. So far, as a typical international PhD student here, my life is led just between my apartment and the university. I know this never seems so exciting and I definitely agree if someone says my life seems so boring. But what I have learned about life so far, is that the beauty of life sometimes depends on how we see the things around us. So, I decided to write a short tape piece using only the recordings of the sounds of the things around me in my PhD student life. This is not only a tape piece, but more like a private letter to my friends to tell them that I am doing fine in a new city and to write what my life is like here.

Sudden Death (2001)

by Hiroki Nishino, Shin'ichiro Toyoda, and Hiroki Sasaoka.

Minimalism X (2001)

by Hiroki Nishino.

Minimalism X is a live performance piece, the system of which is built on Max/MSP. This system consist of a number of pitch-shifters that are partly controlled by simple algorithms and many delay lines.

The piece explores the transformation of the eight recording files (or so, I don’t remember much), which are taken from my life around then. Music as the metaphysical portrait of an anonymous life, back then in Tokyo.