The definition or identity has changed with the arrival of the internet. Behind pseudonyms and avatars, it is impossible to determine whether the disseminator or recipient of information is genuine. For example, Twitter has about 4.8 million bot accounts pretending to be real people. Identity is disorganized and imitated by a series of ones and zeros. In the Yamada Taro Project, these vague, changing identities are transposed and the private realm merges with the public. ‘Yamada Taro’ is the Japanese equivalent of Jan de Vries or John Smith, a common name that anyone could have and therefore includes anonymity. The alienating, blank figure of Yamada Taro wears an iPad as a mask and thus reflects the faces of passers-by. Yamada Taro continuously takes on the identity of whoever he encounters, forming an anonymous mannequin himself who blends into the crowd.

Katsuki Nogami is a visual artist from Japan. In 2015, he graduated from Musashino Art University in Kodairo, Japan, at the Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences. He participated in, among others, Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, and Topological Media Lab at Concordia University in Montreal. During LUNA you can encounter his Yamada Taros among the audience.

Image: (c) Tom Meixner