kirsty boyle :: robotics artist

karakuri.info documentary

2006 – present Producer, Researcher and Writer of ‘karakuri.info’ – a documentary film in development.

Produced with the support of The Japan Foundation.

Modern robot figures in present day Japan continue to fascinate and excite the world’s imagination. This documentary explores this vision to show its many dimensions and its origins.

For the Japanese people the phrase ” co-existence with robots ” is almost natural, but what most are not aware of is that Japan’s ease with robots has existed for hundreds of years. ‘Karakuri’ = a mechanical device to tease, trick, or take a person by surprise. Central to the Karakuri philosophy is concealment of technology, to evoke feelings and emotions and a sense of hidden inner magic. Karakuri is the starting point from which Japan’s love of robots and technology has developed.

This is a contemporary look at an ancient craft seen through a modern day cultural phenomenon. The story exposes mysterious and unanswered questions about the origins of the Karakuri craft: how did it originate and where exactly did it come from? What is the historical, cultural and contemporary value of the practice? How will this ancient tradition continue in the future?

The film narrates several personal journeys which seek to answer these questions. A journey of an arts tradition which has traveled through time from ancient history to the present day. Through mutual respect and admiration the contrasting old/new, east/west metaphors are contextualised and provide a common bond between the characters. This relationship forms an important theme and sets an intimate and personal tone to the film.

It is through these key characters involved in the tradition today that the craft continues to survive.

Producer: Kirsty Boyle
Director: Eddie Martin

Test screening at the Robot Film Festival, Chauvel Cinema, Sydney in April 2007.