DERIVE. Future Cities [Cody Ellingham interview]
DERIVE. Future Cities [Cody Ellingham interview]
DERIVE is a project by Cody Ellingham that uses photo, video, and animation technology to enable users to see cities of the past and the future.

The Future Cities exhibition itself will be held on December 1 and 2 in Tokyo. It will be a conceptual interactive art installation exploring dreams of the future and the past.
It is created from 3D scanning of Tokyo using a special process developed by the DERIVE team. The shape of the city is modified by computers to create a new virtual dream – a space of light and opportunities disconnected from the physical world.

We contacted Cody personally and found out how he sees the future of cities and why it is worth visiting this exhibition.
[Please introduce your project to our audience and why in your opinion people should visit your exhibition?]

Future Cities is a new project from DERIVE.

DERIVE started as a photography series in 2016, exploring the neon nights of Japan, and has rapidly grown to include multimedia, virtual reality, and short films exploring some of the world's largest metropolises. In the latest exhibition DERIVE collaborators, including Cody Ellingham, Ruben Fro, and Masashi Imagawa, are focussed on the theme of what the next generation of city might look and feel like, specifically Tokyo.

The exhibition will be held over two days in Tokyo (December 1 & 2, 2018)
[Which technologies do you use in your work?]

The cities of today are defined by concrete and steel, but we feel the city of the future will be defined more by the material of light. 20th and 21st century architecture and infrastructure will be modified and extended through illumination and projection mapping to create new kinds of spaces, so the Future Cities exhibition is primarily focussed on projection mapping and video.

[In your opinion what are the important things in modern clothing to interact with the city?]

Clothing today is going through a revolution from the ground up. Functionality and fashions are coming together in new ways and we see a trend towards clothing that fits and supports a wide range of human bodies and movements.

[How can you describe your future of cities?]

Cities are highly efficient machines of networks for connecting human beings, with over half the world's population living in some form of city. Cities are where artwork, business, education and science are most productive.With this project we are not saying 'this is what the future will look like', but instead we want to start the conversation about how it might look and feel. We want to explore motion, flow, and the way A.I. might 'see' the city alongside human eye.
[Describe your opinion on the role of the cities in the nearest future. Will agglomeration replace the countries?]

Tokyo is a city, but it is also a concept. The city has a population of 9 million people, but if you consider the Greater Tokyo Area, and all the people who are attracted by its gravitational pull, that number is closer to 40 million. This trend of agglomeration will continue globally.

[What sci-fi elements (books, movies, art) are you most inspired by?]

In sci-fi films and media there is a tendency to 'play it safe' and rift on themes that have come before. Even the most amazing visual effects and blockbuster films still often recycle the same future concepts.
Future Cities is inspired not by any specific 'style' or 'look', by the futurism of 1960s architecture and that existed during the early space-age. Though the world has advanced beyond this tech quite considerably, the optimism and passion for the future that existed then is what we are trying to start a dialogue with again.
[Do you really think that cyberpunk and technocratic future will appear in our world?]

The word cyberpunk is used a lot today, but this idea of a dystopian world of rogue A.I. And mega-corporations is already history. Just as the dark ages were followed by the Renaissance, the City of the future may be safer, cleaner, more beautiful and more human than ever before. There may be massive changes in society, and some of them may not be good, but the overall trend will be towards humanism and creativity we believe.


Art Director, Photographer : Cody Ellingham.
VR & Unity Creator : Ruben Fro.
3D Creator : Masashi Imagawa.
Sound Artist : SJF.

Open Hours:

December 1 & 2, 2018
11:00 ~ 20:00
¥1000 (entry includes companion booklet)
Place : ARTnShelter, 2 minutes from Samezu Station (Keikyu line, from Shinagawa).

Facebook event.