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Daito Manabe’s ‘Phosphere’ piece opens the 2017 Sónar Festival

The Japanese artist’s installation kicks off SónarPLANTA and offers “an unprecedented spatial experience”


15 June 2017 12:20 PM


ACN | Barcelona

The Japanese New Media art studio Rhizomatiks, led by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi, showed off its ‘Phosphere’ installation on Wednesday. Phosphere is a robotic hybrid architecture in which synchronized mirrors, smoke machines, beams of light, and up to 24 video projectors combine to create “an unprecedented spatial experience”. “Lighting plays a key role. It is an installation that can be experienced using neither glasses nor drones. Three-dimensional objects are built only by the dancers and the interaction of the lighting,” explained Manabe.

Drawing from new contemporary dance music, as well as ‘projection mapping’, the Japanese artist’s piece also reproduces the process of crystallization of particular minerals, alluding to the geological world on which the Planta project is based. In comparison to earlier years, the installation tries to get the public to interact and experiment with the immersive experience that it offers.

The Phosphere superimposes the movements generated by dancers with the physical space of the installation, creating an expressive three-dimensional space. This effect is created by a computer system that combines two different spaces—the physical space and a second digitally generated space—on the same plane. The result of such a combination is “a new visual experience generated out of the moving geometry of all the elements”. The name of the installation, Phosphere, comes from the Greek words ‘phos’ (light) and ‘sphaíra’ (sphere).

Daito Manabe is a well-known digital artist. He was one of the personalities chosen to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Apple Macintosh, a celebration to which people such as graphic designer John Maeda and sound composer Hans Zimmer were also invited. Moreover, the Japanese artist has won important prizes such as the Prix Ars Electronica and several Cannes Festival Lions and he is a three-time Excellence Award winner at the Japan Media Arts Festival. Manabe also works as a composer and DJ with dance companies and artists, including Björk, Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Squarepusher and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

The SónarPLANTA is a joint initiative by Fundació Sorigué and Sónar Festival that started in 2014 and aims to carry out new artistic productions in the field of New Media and other emerging cultural forms related to new technology.



  • Daito Manabe’s ‘Phosphere’ (by Sonar)

  • Daito Manabe’s ‘Phosphere’ (by Sonar)