Tokyo-Based Media Artist, DJ, Programmer
Launched Rhizomatiks in 2006. Since 2015, has served alongside Motoi Ishibashi as co-director of Rhizomatiks Research, the firm’s division dedicated to exploring new possibilities in the realms of technical and artistic expression with a focus on R&D-intensive projects. Distinguished professor at Keio University SFC.
Manabe utilizes programming, sound design, and interaction design to develop stage production technology for both international large-scale events and entertainment projects while also collaborating with leading artists across a diverse range of genres.
As a media artist, Manabe takes a new approach to everyday materials and phenomenon. However, his end goal is not simply rich, high-definition realism by recognizing and recombining these elemental building blocks. Rather, his practice is informed by careful observation to discover and elucidate the essential potentiality inherent to the human body, data, programming, computers, and other phenomena.
Manabe is an innovator in data analysis and data visualization. Notable artist collaborations run the gamut from “Sensing Streams” installation created with Ryuichi Sakamoto; performances of the ancient Japanese dance “Sanbaso” with prominent actor Mansai Nomura; Verdi’s opera “Othello” as conducted by Andrea Battistoni; and concerts with pianist Lang Lang. As a recent example, Manabe was selected for a flagship commission and residency program in 2017 at the Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics, a national astronomy and astrophysics research center housed at the University of Manchester. His close partnership with researchers and scientists concretized in “Celestial Frequencies,” a groundbreaking data-driven audiovisual work projected onto the observatory itself.
In 2015, Manabe developed the imaging system for Björk’s music video “Mouth Mantra”, and oversaw the production of AR/VR live imaging for her “Quicksand” performance.
In performance with Nosaj Thing, Manabe has appeared at international music festivals including the Barcelona Sónar Festival 2017 and Coachella 2016. Having also directed a number of music videos for Nosaj Thing, his work on “Cold Stares ft. Chance the Rapper + The O’My’s” was recognized with an Award of Distinction in the Prix Ars Electronica’s Computer Animation/Film/VFX division. Further directorial work includes the music videos of artists such as Squarepusher, FaltyDL, and Timo Maas.
As a DJ with over two decades of experience, Manabe has opened for international artists such as Flying Lotus and Squarepusher during their Japan tours. His wide repertoire spans from hip-hop and IDM to juke, future bass, and trap. Manabe has also been invited to perform at numerous music festivals around the globe.
Manabe’s collaborations on dance performances with MIKIKO and ELEVENPLAY have showcased a wide array of technology including drones, robotics, machine learning, and even volumetric projection to create 3D images in the air from a massive volume of rays. Additional data-driven performances have explored innovative applications of dance data and machine learning. These collaborations have been performed at major festivals including Ars Electronica, Sónar (Barcelona), Scopitone (Nantes), and MUTEK (Mexico City) to widespread media acclaim (WIRED, Discovery Channel, etc.)
Manabe is actively involved in the development and implementation of media artist summits (notably, the Flying Tokyo lecture series) as well as other educational programs (media art workshops for high school students, etc.) designed to cultivate the next generation of creators.

Making of Björk Digital

Björk Digital, Tokyo      © Santiago_Felipe
Björk Digital, Tokyo      © Santiago_Felipe


© Sónar Festival, Commissioned by Sónar and Fundació Sorigué
© Sónar Festival, Commissioned by Sónar and Fundació Sorigué
© Sónar Festival, Commissioned by Sónar and Fundació Sorigué
© Sónar Festival, Commissioned by Sónar and Fundació Sorigué