©︎ Nara University

23rd Entertainment Division New Face Award

Buddience

Website

AKAMATSU Takuta / TSUYUKI Takuya / TATSUZAWA Kengo / OZAKI Fuya [Japan]

Outline

A project undertaken by Nara University students who conducted AI-analysis of facial configurations of Buddhist statues. Using emotion-recognition AI, facial expression analysis was conducted to quantify the emotional states and ages of 216 Buddhist statues. As a study of Buddhist statues from a new perspective using technology, its findings were compiled and published as online web content as well as in a full report. The web content offers viewers a chance to upload a photo of their own face and let AI quantify their emotional state, then find a Buddhist statue that has a similar emotional affect. This project applies an objective, technology-based approach to a sensory and spiritual world, presenting new interpretations and expressions of Buddhist statues. Its goal is to engage those who have never had an interest in history or Buddhist statues, and has been featured in various media outlets, including television, newspapers, radio, and websites.

Reason

An overall image of the Buddha’s physiognomy. His anger, sadness, and archaic smile. These holy figures are richly expressive. As denoted by the term “emo,” our emotions today fluctuate constantly as we are exposed to situations that change in line with the growing amount of information that exists. The Buddhist statues, more than ever before, speak to our “emo”-ness through a variety of expressions. This project lets us reappreciate the breadth, depth, inclusiveness, and friendliness of charming Buddhist statues in a way that is unique to our time. The design of the website, which has a retro-futuristic computer feel, is simple yet also expressive of the dignified, mysterious world of the Buddha. (TOKITA Takahashi)