SonarPLANTA in Barcelona will debut ‘phosphere’, the new work by Daito Manabe

In June, Sónar and the Fundació Sorigué will present the immersive environment ‘phosphere’, created for SonarPLANTA by Japanese new media art studio Rhizomatiks.

  • This year, the Japanese New Media art studio Rhizomatiks, led by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi, has been selected to produce the work to be premiered in SonarPLANTA. Based in Tokyo, its laboratory Rhizomatiks Research is dedicated to exploring the new artistic possibilities of technology. Its activity is established in the field of new media, the art of data and other research and development projects that have yet to be seen on a global scale.

  • The ‘phosphere’ (‘sphere of light’) installation is a significant step forward for the new forms of immersive creation that will have special prominence at Sónar+D 2017. This large-scale piece 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, drawing from the world of new contemporary dance music, as well as the vocabulary of “projection mapping”.

  • Throught the use of the most advanced digital technology, ‘phosphere’ will reproduce the processes of crystallization of particular minerals in a physical space, alluding to the geological world in which the PLANTA project of the Fundació Sorigué in Balaguer (Lleida) is founded. The movements in of the work is also inspired by data collected from the magnetic fields surrounding the Earth.

  • Rhizomatiks founder, Daito Manabe, is considered to be one of the world’s most renowned digital artists. A creative programmer and interactive designer, his work continuously pushes at the boundaries of his discipline towards still unexplored technological and creative territories. Manabe was one of 11 key personalities chosen to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Apple Macintosh, a list that also included luminaries such as graphic designer John Maeda and sound composer Hans Zimmer.

  • Daito Manabe’s curriculum lists prizes such as the Prix Ars Electronica, several Cannes Festival Lions, and three times Excellence Award winner at the Japan Media Arts Festival. Manabe (who will be also appearing as part of a concert and a talk in Sónar 2017) is a composer and DJ and typically works with dance companies and artists including Björk, Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Squarepusher and Ryuichi Sakamoto among many others. His regular collaborations with the dance company ELEVENPLAY and Japanese pop group PERFUME are also worth mentioning.

  • SonarPLANTA is the joint initiative of Sónar and Fundació Sorigué, which first began in 2014, aiming to promote and celebrate reasearc and experimentation in the field of creative languages around New Media technology and art. Every year SonarPLANTA invites recognised working artists to present a large format New Media Art project to be premiered during the three days of Sónar Barcelona. SonarPLANTA uses PLANTA, the project promoted by the Sorigué business group and the Sorigué Foundation, as its working basis and inspiration. The artwork “Earthworks” presented by the British studio Semiconductor during the last SonarPLANTA edition in 2016, has been recently adquired by the Fundació Sorigué contemporary art collection as part of the PLANTA project.


From object to light: the crystallization of space through technology

The name of the piece is derived from the Greek word “phos” (light) and “sphaira” (sphere). The resulting combination “phosphere” (“sphere of light”) is a new term to define an experience in a changing space formed by light.

The “phosphere” installation superimposes the movement generated from a dance stage with the physical space of the installation, creating a totally new three-dimensional expressive space, originating from unique geometry.

“phosphere” is an experience built by a computer system that combines two different spaces on the same plane: the physical space of the room, and another digitally generated in a computer. Through multiple video projectors, mirrors, and meticulous optical calculation technology, both dimensions are synchronized to generate a new visual experience from the moving geometry of all elements.

“phosphere” offers a new form of stereoscopy from an effect we could call “crystallized space”, in comparison to the visual and spatial structures created by minerals whose designs surpass human imagination. The work replicates this process by means of the most advanced digital technology.


Digital artist, programmer, designer and DJ, this multifaceted technologist is considered by Apple to be one of the 30 most important creators in the world.

The work of Daito Manabe reinterprets familiar themes and phenomena from different viewpoints, to integrate them in new ways. Based in Tokyo, Daito Manabe is an artist, DJ and programmer. He founded Rhizomatics in 2006 and since 2015 has worked with Motoi Ishibashi at Rhizomatiks Research carrying out large-scale R&D projects. He also develops projects in collaboration with different genre artists, maximising the use of interactive design and programming languages.

Manabe was chosen as one of 11 key personalities to celebrate Mac’s 30th birthday by Apple, a list also including figures like sound composer Hans Zimmer, graphic designer John Maeda, photographer Nick Knight and Fashion designer Iris van Herpen.

In 2008 he created the piece “electric stimulus to face-test” in which his own face was used like a device. The work has since been shown in more than 30 cities around the world. Manabe has been invited to major international art and technology festivals such as Ars Electronica (Linz), STRP Festival (Eindhoven), Resonate (Serbia) and Sónar (Barcelona) to present his installations and performances. In 2011 “particles”, co-produced with Motoi Ishibashi, won the Ars Interactive Electronica Prix.

He was also distinguished with Honorary Mentions for “Perfume Global Site” (2012) and “Sound of Honda / Ayrton Senna 1989” (2013). For “Ayrton Senna 1989”, he was responsible for the installation and data analysis, winning the Grand Prix in 2014 in the Titanium & Integrated section of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and 15 prizes including 6 gold and 6 silver in 8 Sections. While at the Japan Media Arts Festival he has twice won the Grand Prix, three times the Prize for Excellence and received jury mentions on 8 occasions.

The DJ career of Daito Manabe has spanned more than 20 years. He has participated in various shows in Japan alongside artists including Flying Lotus and Squarepusher, and has been invited to numerous international festivals.

As a creator he has collaborated with both Japanese and international musicians. In

addition to directing videos for Nosaj Thing, FaltyDL, Squarepusher, Timo Maas, Yasuyuki Okamura and Etsuko Yakushimaru; he worked with Ryuichi Sakamoto on the “Sensing Streams” installation. He is also responsible for the visual and programming direction of Nosaj Thing’s live set and the technical direction of the Perfume live shows.

In 2011 he began his collaboration with dance company ELEVENPLAY for the production of works using mechanical learning technologies such as artificial vision, in order to create new corporal expressions and other technologies including drones and robotic arms. These works have been presented at festivals like Sónar (Barcelona), receiving plaudits from related media such as WIRED and Discovery Channel.

More information: www.daito.ws


On July 25, 2016 Rhizomatiks Co., Ltd. celebrated its tenth anniversary. It was founded in 2006 with a large-scale commitment to social change and connecting and promoting collaboration between media art, industry and business. During the last decade the spectrum of its creative reach has grown in tandem with the ever-increasing role that media art plays in society.

From its early works for museums, theatres, advertising and promotion, Rhizomatiks has provided its experience to a wide range of projects including Paris Fashion Week, Milan Expo 2015, important artist tours and even in educational endeavours in order to nurture the next generation of creators.

Rhizomatiks was founded with a passion for experimentation and artistic research. After reaching maturity and developing a solid foundation contributing to the good of humanity, its goals are increasing.

Rhizomatiks has expanded so that it may to deliver high level creation combined with the demanding technical expertise that will be required in the coming decade and since 2016 has established three new divisions: Research, Architecture and Design.

Committed to pushing the limits of possibility, Rhizomatiks will redouble its collaboration with artists and scientists of global standing for a mutual exchange of experience and inspiration, forging unexplored creative territories that contribute to the progression of art and society.

After a decade of research and innovative expression, Rhizomatiks can look back with pride on the road travelled to date, and awaits promising new future alliances.

More information: https://rhizomatiks.com/