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Tokyo certainly seems to be the land of giants lately. It was just last week that a giant prowling 3-D cat appeared looming over Shinjuku station, although the latest massive visitor does not appear quite as cuddly. On the morning of July 16th, many walking around Yoyogi Park in Tokyo looked up only to be greeted by the disturbing sight of the giant floating head of a very austere looking woman.
You can count Japanese rock star Takanori Nishikawa (T.M. Revolution) among those who recoiled in fear.
To those simply going about their business or on their morning work commute, the jarring sight might bring about fears of an alien invasion, a ghostly Junji Ito story come to life, or a particularly strange looking kaiju. Those who may have been following contemporary art collective [mé] might have had a clue, however. The mysterious head that hovered over Yoyogi Park was actually part of their latest artistic initiative, Masayume.
Masayume was the contribution of the group to the Tokyo Tokyo Festival, a festival promoting the art and culture of the city. Earlier in the year,[mé] took online submissions from anyone around the globe who was hopeful to have their face projected in gigantic fashion over the Tokyo skyline--in this case, a weather balloon.
The project was inspired by group member Haruka Kojin, who had a dream (nightmare?) of the floating head back in junior high school. Needless to say, with or without awareness of the festival, the enormous seemingly severed head was a jolting start to many people's morning! The head's launch was livestreamed on YouTube as well.
Some compared it to The Hanging Balloons by legendary horror manga artist Junji Ito.
As for the concept behind the Masayume project, the group explained in a statement that it is about facing our existence and current situation as humanity, which has obviously taken on a new meaning under the pandemic.
"A gigantic face of an existing someone floating up in the sky of Tokyo, on the occasion of human’s largest gathering once in four years. Such devastating scene would allow us to reexamine the unbelievable yet realistic experience of our existence in this huge world. The face floating up in the sky would be nobody special; it could be me or you."
Many took to Twitter in bewilderment and awe.
For more creative projects like Masayume, be sure to follow [mé] and the Tokyo Tokyo Festival.