Having received a string of prestigious “Vimeo Staff Pick” badges for his videos, Japanese visual art director Kouhei Nakama has become something of an animation online star recently. A master of CG animation, Nakama creates elaborate, hyper-realistic textures and particles, which he puts to good artistic use by combining them with three-dimensional sculptures and expert use of lighting and camera panning to create his mobile compositions. A recurring theme in his work is the human body and its form; his preoccupation with the subject has even led Japan’s national broadcaster NHK to commission him for a video especially for the Rio Olympics. Today, we’re featuring one of his longer works, titled “Cycle”, which he released a month ago and equally demonstrates his digital prowess and artistic thinking.
Inspired by the never-ending cycle of decay and regeneration found in nature, Nakama created a series of minimalist scenes where this concept is explored in different ways. The video’s protagonist, a female dancer, seems to appear and disappear constantly, her body made of smaller circles, bubbles, spires and particles. For Nakama, this expresses the very nature of how our bodies regenerate themselves: “Human beings cannot be seen to change from the outside, but many organs and cells repeat the life and death cycle inside the body. In this video, I visualise this scene by magnifying and emphasizing it.” Playing with the concept of circadian rhythms and the ebb and flow of bioprocesses, Nakama creates a poetic dance of micro-animation that perfectly portrays how elaborate the human body is, and that transformation, change —even death— are part of the same, wondrous story of life.