THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN ISSUE_05 OF CYBR MAGAZINE

Hiroto Ikeuchi is a Japanese artist who creates incredible functional headsets structured from a cyberpunk aesthetic. His work is world renowned appearing across culture in music, movies and magazines across the globe due to his exceptionally strong vision complimented by his engineering prowess meaning these cyberpunk headpieces are integrated with useable technology like virtual reality, bluetooth and more. 

Ikeuchi’s creations often hide either proportions of or the entire face, exploring privacy from a new angle. The artist talked to us about his interest in VR stating “I also find VR gives us the ability to protect ourselves from new threats such as face recognition by hiding our eyes.” But in this new era of viral outbreak and fear Ikeuchi’s work is given a new perspective, covering the face doesn’t seem so strange anymore, and having technology to protect the wearer, whether for privacy or health, seems to be on everyone’s mind.

Hiroto Ikeuchi graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo with his work making it clear he would pioneer his own cyberpunk mindset. For his graduation production he presented a hybrid diorama based on the idea that the inside of Ikeuchi’s personal computer, his closest possession, could also be interpreted as a secret base.

It is without doubt that even with the functional aspects of his designs removed that his work has a strong artistic meaning. It is a balance between design and form like no other, and one that is fused into reality, able to be interpreted from the everyday to global events.

Ikeuchi is heavily influenced by Cyberpunk, which is no real surprise given the aesthetic and execution of his creations. Speaking exclusively with CYBR Ikeuchi told us:

“The movies that have influenced me the most are Star Wars, The Matrix, and Juvenile [a Japanese movie]. All of them are movies and animations I had seen by the time I was a teenager and I was heavily inspired by the silhouettes of machines. After I was twenty years old, I learned about William Gibson’s work. The phrase ‘the future is here, not just ubiquity’ is proof that he has been at the forefront and the present of cyberpunk ideas but, not originally defined as cyberpunk. I am amazed and inspired to create from a broad perspective without omitting the genre and without omitting the near future.”

Gibson of course is the forefather of Cyberpunk and to see that Ikeuchi draws his main inspiration from him is testament to the design and vision that the artist has. A vision that has an incredible imagination of what the future could look like, down to understanding the micro nuances needed to bring the vision to life.

The attention to detail in his creations is second to none, we asked about the technical functions of some of his works: 

“I love VR headsets with Bluetooth connectivity, I also like being able to link to drones. When Bluetooth and VR appeared in the world, I was delighted to be approaching the future I have imagined. I am very happy with the result of using them in my creations, and being able to link them together.”

But Ikeuchi doesn’t just create headpieces, in a collaborative project with Skeletonics he designed a full size exoskeleton robot that enshrines a human. The exoskeleton is equipped with monitors and cameras as well as robotic controls that allow the pilot to see and guide the suit. The whole creation looks like something from science-fiction, anime and the mind of Ridley Scott all rolled into one. 

Skeletonics is potentially evermore sci-fi than the artist himself as encompassed by the company’s vision statement: “We will create an evolved human race by expanding our body functions and create a world of an evolved human race”.

Amazingly the colossal project only took weeks for Ikeuchi to design, which is an incredible achievement of design, with Ikeuchi admitting “There is no doubt that the challenging 1/1 scale of the exoskeleton has influenced my later works.” 

As the world comes to terms with new ways of living and undeniable cultural shifts, our identity, connection to technology and reliance on masks is all going to change. Hiroto Ikeuchi’s work already spans all three and perhaps now his headpieces and masks will become more prominent in the mainstream expanding the cyberpunk aesthetic.

We asked Ikeuchi how he saw the world of technology and wearables unfolding after the epidemic, his answer was simple: “Unpredictable. Exactly as William Gibson says – The future is here, not just ubiquity.“

To find out more on HIroto Ikeuchi you can follow @_ikeuchi on Instagram where custom orders and purchases of his works can be made via direct message.