TenGuSan's first solo exhibition is held in Harajuku, Tokyo.

During September 23rd to 30th, 2022, TenGuSan held his first solo exhibition, DanMaku, at BLACKPEARLS Gallery in Harajuku, Tokyo. The exhibition presented more than 20 photographs shoot by TenGuSan, and 6 figurine products from UnDeR20.

From 2019 to 2022, I started working as a video uploader on Chinese video site Bilibili, where I share my photographic works and insights gained from studying photography in Japan. Over the course of three years, I have uploaded and published over 120 video programs.

In its early years, Bilibili somewhat learnt from Japanese ACGN video site Niconico. Their biggest feature is the Danmaku (literally “bullet screen”), which allows real-time comments from viewers to fly across the screen like bullets. These flying comments are ironed onto the video at any time in various colors, speeds and sizes.

Danmaku is actually a niche subcultural derivative in Japan, but has been widely accepted by the public in China. Most people don't see such flying comments as a distraction at all; instead, they find them an integral part of the video. They even wait until there are many flying comments before watching a video, as they are not interested in "clean" videos.

These Danmakus are either comments of the video itself, or expressions of agreement or disagreement to other comments. However, the number of words that can be sent and the time they stay on the screen are limited, so most of the flying comments are nothing more than an expression of subjective feelings, making it difficult for them to form logical, complete and objective reviews.

Moreover, it is often the case that flying comments will appear on unrelated scenes, creating a lag in information. In order to counteract the distraction of too many flying comments, video websites have developed a function called "Post-positioned Danmakus”, where the AI automatically identifies the subjects of the screen and separates them from the background, with flying comments passing behind them. It's amazing how this function inadvertently gives a 3D effect to footages that are otherwise flat.

As I publish more and more videos and have more and more followers, my photos also get to be obscured and even three-dimensionalized by flying comments. People were actively expressing their emotions on the photos, through similar or opposite opinions. Such comments obviously impact the viewing experience, but the viewers are so entertained that the photography itself seems to become no longer important. Sometimes, I, as a photographer, also feel very much confused.
At least in Japan, a serious photographer regards photography as a process of thinking, shooting, developing, enlarging, editing, framing and exhibiting. But as smartphones have become more popular, the medium of displaying and viewing photography has also changed.

Photographers seem to be quite willing to edit their photos into videos and publish them on the Internet together with BGM. Today's viewers are no longer confined to looking at paper-based photographs, photo albums or decently framed exhibitions. On a glass screen smaller than 5 inches, many people think they are feeling the magic of photography.

Whereas it used to be that photography critics and photographers worked together to create a certain era of photography, today everyone can have a voice with Danmaku. I think the flying comments mean nothing for the photos themselves, but for video sites and even the Internet ecosystem, they seem to be valuable assets.

It seems to be a liberalisation and equalisation of the right of speech, which seems to be very important especially in China. But it's also like being in a football stadium where tens of thousands of people are talking and thinking that if they are loud enough, they will be heard. But how many messages are actually being effectively and accurately conveyed?

These are the questions that have been confusing and worrying me, so I started the project 'Danmaku', where I took some of the photos that have appeared in the videos over the past three years and framed and edited them into a book. Yes, I appropriated photos from my own video account and presented them in a traditional way. Maybe this project is not perfect, but if it can enlighten other photographers a little bit, I, also as a photographer, would feel greatly honored.


Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $99 away from free shipping.
No more products available for purchase