Popular Immersive Light Show Returns to SF Japantown

After its initial success two years ago, a popular immersive art show will come back to San Francisco in November.

The Dandelion Project, a digital art exhibition created by artist Ryotaro Muramatsu and Naked Inc. from Japan, had its U.S. debut in San Francisco’s Japantown in late 2021 and early 2022. More than 15,000 people came to see the interactive show, according to the Japantown Community Benefit District, which oversees the launch of the event.

Grace Horikiri, executive director of the district, said the details of the comeback are still being finalized, but she expects the show to take place in a Japantown mall throughout November.

A participant uses a smartphone to interact with the 2021 Dandelion Project light show in Japantown. | Source: Japantown Community Benefit District

The project, which has exhibitions in different cities in Asia, will be free and open to the public. It allows participants to use their phones to interact with the screen to “blow up” the dandelion, symbolizing spreading peace to the world. The participant’s name and the dandelion will “fly” away and appear on other screens in the world where the Dandelion Project has exhibitions.

“To be able to pray and wish for peace and to have everyone else join in on it was very important,” Horikiri said. “It’s much-needed right now.”

The return of the show is part of Japantown’s events to welcome the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), as tens of thousands of visitors from Asia are expected to arrive in San Francisco for the summit.

“One of the themes of the APEC summit is innovation,” Horikiri said. “Japantown is meeting folks not only here but abroad to bring innovation into our community.”

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