Mechanical Watches and the Identity of Animacy, An Essence of Life|2023.10/13 fri.〜12/24 sun.|Seiko Seed

Watches are one of the most familiar "machines" to people.
At this very moment, various watches and clocks of
various people around the world are ticking the same time in order to tell "time,"
an important information that is indispensable for human life.

Seiko has continuously honed its proprietary technologies to
pursue the fundamental function of watches: telling time.
In the process, we have discovered that there are added dimensions like beauty and enjoyment,
offering new charms that extend beyond their fundamental function of telling time.

This exhibition, titled Forest of Mechanism,
focuses on such "fascination of watches that dwell beyond their functions.”

For the 2023 edition of Forest of Mechanism,
three outside creative groups — nomena, siro, and TANGENT —
and the Seiko Design Center Department have ingeniously crafted artworks.
These pieces are inspired by the enduring legacy of Seiko's technological prowess,
specifically centered around the mechanical watch.
Exhibition director Kentaro Hirase has thoughtfully curated
these diverse creations within a dedicated space known as the Seiko Seed.

We hope that you will experience the diverse charms that lie beyond the technology of
"mechanisms" which has continued to evolve through the ages up to the present day.



* No watches are for sales.

DESIGNART TOKYO 2023 "Forest of mechanism 2023"


Hall Map

  • 1

    A Collage of Chained Rhythm nomena

  • 2

    Drops of Time siro

  • 3

    Heart of Time TANGENT

  • 4

    Fragments of Time Seiko Watch Corporation Design center Dept.

  • 5

    Mechanical Watches

  • 6

    Making Movie

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Exhibition Director:Kentaro Hirase

1986 Born in San Francisco.
Graduated from Keio University SFC, Akira Wakita Laboratory.
Graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduate School of Film and New Media, Masahiko Sato Laboratory.
2013 Founded "CANOPUS", a design studio that focuses on "Media Design".
2020 Founded "gogatsu", a movie and video planning office, with Masahiko Sato and Yutaro Seki.
With "Media Design" as the axis of his activities, he is constantly searching for new expressions in various media such as video, movies, digital contents, graphics, and products.

Mechanical Watches and the Identity of Animacy, An Essence of Life

Something strange happened.

In modern times, most of what we call "machines" are powered by electricity.
We have no doubt about the power of electricity; in fact, we even feel as if being electrically powered is a guarantee of precision and accuracy.

That is why we are so impressed by the existence of mechanical watches.

Consider one simple fact: this small machine, marking time without any deviation, derives its energy not from electricity, but from the mechanical force of a hand-wound spring.
We are also fascinated by the intricately elaborate mechanism enabling its operation and the inherent beauty it exhibits.

This exhibition was initiated by four creative groups who all felt this irresistible inspiration, interpreting the charm of mechanical watches from their own unique perspectives and reconstructing them through their own expressions.

However, in the midst of all this, something strange happened.

As these creators delved into their projects, an unexpected common keyword began to emerge from all of them, as if by design.

Animacy = An essence of life

When watch components exhibit organic-like behavior, resembling life even though they are lifeless themselves, it's not uncommon for humans to sense an intangible "essence of life" within them—a cognitive phenomenon.

However, the behavior of this mechanical watch is rather the opposite.
It is a straightforward machine that unceasingly keeps its hands moving with unmatched accuracy and regularity. That is what a watch is.

So, what led them to find "Animacy" in the mechanical watch?

This exhibition was consequently reconstructed as an attempt to glimpse the true nature of "Animacy" found within watches from four different perspectives through the motif of mechanical watches.

Needless to say, a mechanical watch, tirelessly in motion as long as its mainspring is wound, can also be seen as a symbol of permanence, especially for those of us dependent on less sustainable energy sources.

As we observe the modest yet powerful movement of the hands, we find ourselves contemplating whether this machine, with a history of over 700 years, holds enigmatic hints about the future we are journeying into.

Exhibition Director
Kentaro Hirase