Gigantism and Microtism 

The standard Sawada determined to meet with his "Gigantism and microtism" series was, first and foremost, the creation of "manipulatable tools." The challenge for this series was physical limitations, especially weight. While overcoming the difficulties involved in the fabrication of miniaturized tools, the artist still allowed himself a certain scope of error, so long as the "microtistic" tools would "work." Meanwhile, making "gigantic" tools that can still be manipulated involved more than simple scale-based expansion. The larger an object became, the more it weighed. And that entailed a dramatic increase in resistance and friction between parts. Common sense dictates that tools that have been enlarged during fabrication processes, even while carefully following the motif set in the design blueprint, should in no way be movable by human power alone. Such enlarged tools should be subjected to strong physical constraints—yet Sawada's works can in fact be "used" (i.e., moved in ways appropriate for each tool). Viewers may be naturally astonished bythis overcoming of real-world problems in these works, a sense that would be diminished if machines were used to control and move these tools.

Sawada called the first work of this series "Gigantism & microtism: the case of the Monkey Wrench." Why, when there are many tools to select from, did the artist choose the monkey wrench? The answer is simple: it is highly manipulatable. Sawada also wanted to select a tool that was readily recognized by most people; its "scaled expression" would thus become more strikingly apparent. The uses of a monkey wrench, here demonstrated in enlarged form, would be familiar to most viewers, and the actions performed during monkey wrench use would rise spontaneously in the minds of said viewers. The end result would be frank surprise. The motif "Gigantism & microtism" thus serves as means for clear communication of the striking aspects of these works.


Translated by Robert Plautz


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© 2016 Masaya Sawada