Kawaguchi Yoichiro was once a professor at the School of Art and Design, the University of Tsukuba and the Research into Artifacts, Center for Engineering (RACE), the University of Tokyo. Since 2000, he has been a professor at the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, the University of Tokyo. In the 1970s, before computer became widely accessible, Kawaguchi had already started programming and creating computer graphics animation. In 1976, he delved into the development of Growth Model, a computer programming project that aimed to simulate the propagation and proliferation of organic cells; the results of this project were first published at the renowned international event of computer animation, SIGGRAPPH. Because Growth Model was integrated with the initial concept of artificial life, its innovative and advanced perspective caused a sensation at the time, making Kawaguchi the first Asian artist awarded by SIGGRAPH. In 1995, he was appointed one of the representative artists of Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, marking the official beginning of introducing computer art into contemporary art. In 2013, He received the Award from the Ministry of Education in the Art Encouragement Prizes and Medal with Purple Ribbon.
Kawaguchi was born on Tanegashima, a subtropical island in the Kagoshima Prefecture. The island also houses Japan's largest aerospace research and space launching center. Kawaguchi spent his childhood and adolescence on the island, collecting insects and plants in the woods and by the rivers in daytime and gazing into the vast starry sky at night, fantasizing all kinds of space adventures. Later, Kawaguchi entered Kyushu Institute of Design, where he began studying computer graphics. Fascinated by the Cambrian Explosion occurred around 500 million years ago and possible extraterrestrial life forms in the universe around 500 million years later, Kawaguchi had been pondering on the question: "How can one employ computer graphics to create a bionic life form and give 'it' the ability to grow by itself?" As he explored this question, he became profoundly influenced by how D'Arcy W. Thompson employed mathematical and physical concepts to explain biological phenomena in his famous work, On Growth and Form. In addition, the concept of Sadrsya (resemblance, or visual correspondence) discussed in The Transformation of Nature in Art by the Indian philosopher, Ananda Coomaraswamy, not only corresponded to the visual simulation of organic forms in Kawaguchi's work, it also enabled him to incorporate abstract elements such as the fragility and temporality of life into his work. Zero-Gravity Paradise: Kawaguchi Yoichiro's Algorithmic Evolution features how Kawaguchi has employed advanced new media technology to re-interpret natural life and its various states along with the artist's fruitful research and results in nearly three decades.
The exhibition reveals Kawaguchi's artistic journey, encapsulating his diversified creative work and its context. From the large coral-like sculpture, Growth, displayed at the entrance of the museum, audience is led into Kawaguchi's extraordinary world of artistic creation and perceptive observations on life. Meanwhile, the theme of this exhibition is twofold: on view on the museum's 1st floor are artworks derived from Growth Model, which range from sketches and drafts, experiments done with computer programming, hi-definition CG animation, to sculptures and interactive installations. On the 2nd floor, audience can see a wide spectrum of artworks based on the topic of "Artificial Life" dating from the 1990s until today. These works are utterly different from those of the early period. While viewing the creative integration of traditional Japanese culture and Kawaguchi's computer graphic images, audience can also take pleasure in the interactive work elaborately designed by the artist. Zero-Gravity Paradise: Kawaguchi Yoichiro's Algorithmic Evolution illustrates life's sensibility and mathematical rationality. The two seemingly contradictory realms are ingeniously integrated in unison via modern technology, introducing more potentiality for humanity and the society. This is precisely where the unique charm of Kawaguchi's computer art resides.