Sep 22, 2022
We’re Launching “Whatever New York” Dedicated to More Immersive Experiences!
Byline: Masashi KawamuraWhen I decided to return to Japan from New York four years ago, I didn’t think of it as a closure. Rather, it was an ideal opportunity to launch whatever.co in Japan as a company with both the imagination to come up with completely unique, sometimes crazy ideas, and the skills and expertise to turn those ideas into reality.Now that the US is emerging from COVID-19 restrictions and the need for participatory experiences has revived, I’ve decided it’s time to open “whatever New York” with a focus on North America and with a new partner who specializes in groundbreaking immersive experiences.   Leading this new chapter as my partner is Executive Creative Director Aramique Krauthamer. Aramique has been my friend for over 10 years, and I respected his creative mind even before I met him. His ability to launch Tool’s experiential team from scratch and grow it into an industry-leader was an eye-opener. After many exciting conversations, the time is right for Aramique to build on what he’s done with Tool and make whatever New York into a studio that breaks every mold.Leading the team with Aramique will be Executive Producer Jennifer Baker who was also his partner at Tool. With her multidisciplinary background and deep experience crossing all fields, I’m confident she’s the right driving force for this studio.If you’re based in North America and would like to create an immersive experience or whatever with us, please contact us. And we’re also looking to hire new friends now! Thank you for reading this far. And thank you to everyone who made whatever co. into what it is today. Oh, and as long as I have your attention…. At the same time as we’re launching whatever New York, whatever co also opened the world’s first Museum of Augmented Reality (MoAR). MoAR transforms whatever co Tokyo’s office building “WHEREVER” into a huge AR art gallery of unprecedented scale. We want to reimagine the concept of architecture by using buildings in busy public spaces as canvases for giant AR artworks that fuse the physical and the digital. Visitors can experience interactive and non-interactive AR works without downloading an app by simply scanning the QR code drawn on the exterior wall. From there, you’ll be able to  seamlessly appreciate the eye-popping pieces from any vantage point.  We hope that MoAR will help brighten people’s lives and show the possibilities of collaboration between AR and cityscapes. If you’re in Tokyo and have a chance to visit, please stop by. There are also plans to implement the MoAR in public spaces in the United States, so look out for those as well!
Mar 19, 2020
Do you wish to be “resurrected”? D.E.A.D., a platform to express your choice is now live.
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Whatever, a creative studio headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, released “Digital Employment After Death” (D.E.A.D.), a platform that allows you to declare if you wish (or not) to be “resurrected” digitally after death. https://dead.work/ You are not alone, if you have ever thought about bringing someone you lost back to life. It has been a recurring theme of various folklore, novels, and films. With the latest advancements in technologies, we are getting closer to the future where these wishes may come true… or at least virtually in the digital world. Last year, we took part in creating a TV show “Day of Reunion” by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK (aired on March 28, 2019). The show featured Mr. Tetsuro Degawa, a famous comedian in Japan, who reunited with his digitally “resurrected” mother he had lost 8 years before. There have been similar attempts before/after the show aired, and we see more and more deceased being “resurrected” around the world. Examples include Ms. Hibari Misora, a late national diva in Japan, who recently released a “new song” generated by AI technology. There was also a documentary featuring the reunification of a mother with the daughter she had lost using VR technology, aired by a Korean broadcaster MBC in 2020. Salvador Dali is now greeting guests at a museum in Miami. Obviously, there are mixed reactions from the public on these cases for various reasons. We decided to call this phenomenon “Digital Employment After Death,” or D.E.A.D for short, and started by investigating its current landscape. Seeing these types of content, which includes “digital resurrection” and “digital twin,” one might think it only concerns celebrities. However, as we regularly share data from our smartphones and computers, this can soon become an issue for the rest of us. There are no legal system yet to protect us, and we would also need to be prepared by educating ourselves on its ethical side of things. Our lives will eventually come to an end, but technologies may not allow us to let us go easily. Therefore, it is important that each of us has a choice to “design death”, by being able to choose if one wants to be “resurrected” or not. The online survey we conducted revealed that around 63% of people are opposed to “resurrection.” But having been involved with the “resurrection” ourselves, we see that this technology can also have a bright side, and would love to see a positive progress in this field. In doing so, we thought we would first need a tool for everyone to express their choices while alive. That is why we created this platform “D.E.A.D.” Would you like to be “resurrected” or not? Please let the world know of your choices.