No, Takehito Etani is not a Bigfoot impersonator, but rather an artist who creates unusual wearable devices, such as The Masticator — wearable headgear that gives audio feedback on the physical motion of chewing food — and Pimp My Heart, a device that amplifies a driver’s heartbeat through their car stereo. His latest piece, Transparent Footprints of Invisible Giants is no less unique and interesting, as he based that creation on a mythical legend.
Etani designed his Transparent Footprints of Invisible Giants in an “Urban Intervention” style using a pair of large, wooden feet connected to a pair of stilts. The feet feature cutouts with cameras positioned over them to provide a view of the ground underneath.
Headgear is also worn with a mounted camera pointing towards the sky and each unique view is transferred to a screen positioned on the face of the headgear, giving the wearer a sense of spatial awareness.
Etani also included an audio recorder to grab the local sounds when walking through any particular environment, which is used during his indoor exhibitions with the recorded imagery, providing an immersive point of view.
The artist came up with the idea for his piece after learning of a local legend told by a hermit he encountered while wandering a mountain in the Himalayas. The legend goes that long ago, invisible giants once roamed the Earth. They were so tall that their heads were above the clouds.
Despite their colossal stature, they were very gentle beings, and they walked slowly and carefully to avoid stepping on helpless humans and other creatures and trees.
Because they walked so carefully, eventually the eyes on their faces atrophied, and they sprouted new eyes on the bottoms of their feet so that they could carefully observe the earth they roamed. They also formed an extra eye on the tops of their heads in order to permanently gaze upward to the heavens.
After watching several videos of his creation, I had a chance to ask Etani a question regarding the video coalescence of the camera systems. Specifically if it was intentional that the ground images dictate what the sky would look like, i.e. walking on grass will give you a blue sky and maybe some tree branches overhead while walking on pavement gives you a blocked sky with buildings.
His reply was that it was more of a “planned coincident.” He explains:
The videos could be a bit boring if they are just long repetitive recordings of the ground surface and the open sky. The trees and buildings become nice punctuations and give some clues where the videos were shot.
Moreover, the videos are about the landscapes (or skyscapes) that human creates. Essentially, buildings are our footprints we are leaving in the sky in contrast to trees and open sky. I also have some control over how much of the sky and the buildings will be in the videos by using different lenses with different field of view.