8th Study of Design Fundamentals Seminar “The basic problems of the modern science technology civilization from the viewpoint of the BioSpeaker”

May 27th, 2019 (Monday)

We welcomed Ayumi Yasutomi from the University of Tokyo Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, and musician Yusuke Kataoka to talk about “The basic problems of the modern science technology civilization from the viewpoint of the BioSpeaker”. The venue was well attended, with about 30 people taking part. Professor Toru Koga of our university’s Faculty of Design recounts the events of the day.

Place a crumpled-up sheet of newspaper inside a cardboard box, open a small hole in the box, and place a wired speaker unit on that hole. With just these simple steps, your cardboard speaker is complete. And this new speaker rings with a surprisingly lively sound.

Ayumi Yasutomi of the University of Tokyo describes this secret as “a mystery”. There isn’t anything in this universe that we understand due to science. Furthermore, we can’t use science to explain why the logic that upholds science itself is correct. This takes root in Wittgenstein’s idea of “what one cannot speak,” and therefore it is a mystery. Humans live inside this ocean of the unknowable and establish their technology on top of it. However, we forget about this, acting like there’s nothing that we can’t explain, trying to keep nature, the events of the world, and even our selves under control.

While Yasutomi continues to expand upon this explanation, beside her, musician Yusuke Kataoka is playfully building a cardboard speaker. With that unit, he plays a recording of a child’s humming. It was a strangely nostalgic song, one that I thought I had never heard before, yet felt strangely familiar. Why does this succession of sounds, ignoring chord progression, somehow become music? It gives me this sense of mystery.

“There is no mystery; there is no mystery anywhere.” The controlled people who fill our surroundings repeat this mantra, suffocating the ones who live. But when the objects that we create are rearranged and put together in a form that we can’t even imagine, from inside that connection, a new “mystery” emerges. Experiences and connections like these give us freedom, breathing new life into us. This is probably the true meaning of technology and the true meaning of design.

To these two, the people that feel this sense of mystery are “blunt celebrities.” The speaker lives and exists in response to people like this. This is because it was freed from a controlled, suppressed state, because the cardboard resonates in unison with the newspaper, creating a brand new, complex vibration, standing on its own and continuing to reverberate. According to Kataoka, music is a very light thing. Technology that has the power to make people light is truly a technology that lives.

At Kyushu University’s Faculty of Design, we are tackling the fundamental theory of design studies with the objective of systematizing design.


Ayumi Yasutomi
After graduating from Kyoto University worked at a bank before, returning to the university to complete her Ph.D. in economics at the Graduate School of Economics and Faculty of Ecconomics, Kyoto University. She is currently a professor at the University of Tokyo Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia. She started dressing as a woman from 2013, and in addition to writing and public speaking, she also works in a wide range of fields such as painting and music.

Yusuke Kataoka
A musician who uses not only conventional instruments, but things found in daily life to perform music with all type of places and people. He began as an independent learner before entering a music college but found himself unable to withstand the world of musical practice, so he dropped out and began working as a commercial studio musician. Today he conducts improvisational musical sessions at facilities for the disabled and elderly.

Ayumu Yasutomi
Yusuke Kataoka
Toru Koga


May 27th, 2019 (Monday), 4:30 - 6:30 pm


Kyushu University Ohashi Campus, Design Commons 2F

4-9-1 Shiobaru, Minami-ku, Fukuoka


Toru Koga (Kyushu University Faculty of Design)



  • Ayumu Yasutomi University of Tokyo Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia
  • Yusuke Kataoka Musician
  • Toru Koga Faculty of Design, Kyushu University


This is an archive of images, videos and documents recording our activities up until now.
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Design for LGBTs and an Inclusive Society
Ohashi campus
Ohashi campus
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Ohashi campus
Ohashi campus