Ravensbourne Postgraduate | Miyazaki’s Flow – Data Visalisation research
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Miyazaki’s Flow – Data Visalisation research

MA Communication Design students have been working in a collaborative short project of a concept for a diagramatic representation illustrating the life and work of Hayao Miyazaki. This project responded to the idea of undertaking a process of research to explore the concept of flow through data visualisation.

The group integrated by Anushree Palkhiwala, Maria Cristina Sgro’ and Un Ko expressed how Miyazaki’s name is usually associated with the Studio Ghibli more than his own life or his face. This was students’ reason to emphasise his face, his ideas and creative process. After researching in-depth, students created a narrative of Miyazaki’s strong life incidences into his characters or the storyline of his movies. This is the main reason to design this collectable’s kit for the tactile, interactive physical aspect and the fact that he himself and his mind is the self-representation of his life phases or segments. Perhaps, his life is what made most of the storyline for his movies.

“When he was a child, Hayao Miyazaki dreamed of flight. Some nights, he imagined his body skimming the clouds above the Japanese cities of Utsunomiya and Kanuma, where he grew up; on others, the magic would suddenly cut out, and he would twist and hurtle downwards, waking with a jump before he hit the earth.

His father, Katsuji, ran a company called Miyazaki Airplane, which manufactured tail fins for Japanese fighter planes during the Second World War. When he visited the factory, young Hayao was spellbound by the mechanised cleverness of the parts: the way this wire joined to this mast and operated that rudder, and so on. But he made no conscious connection between the objects his father made every day and the places his mind took him at night.

“In my head, they were totally separate,” he says, and then chuckles. “It’s probably a great psychoanalytic study case. I loved aeroplanes because they were incredible machines, but the speed and the height of flying – these were things that were easy to understand as a child. I think a lot of people have the dreams I had.”

In Japan, Miyazaki’s animations are as popular as blockbusters, and around the world, families and cinephiles both anticipate his new work like children counting down to Christmas Day. John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Disney and a co-founder of Pixar, describes him as “one of the greatest film-makers of our time”. I’d broadly agree, although I’d replace “our” with “all”.

He has made 11 films, and his latest, The Wind Rises, will be his last. The first 10 were made, first and foremost, for children. Most have bold, young heroines, under 10 years old or in their early teens, and all show a deep-rooted love, even awe, of nature. ” (via Robbie Collin)