Commons Forum #3
“What is reality? A conversation between Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Naotaka Fujii”

  • Forum
© Jörg Baumann

What is this “reality” that we believe we experience every day? As rapidly developing XR technology destabilizes and revises our perception and awareness of reality, it asks us to question the boundary between what is “reality” and what is not. A Conversation with the Sun (VR), an experiential performance piece by film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul made in collaboration with Japanese VR creators, has been gathering international attention. The unique performance awakens senses laying dormant deep within our unconscious memories, overlapping the origins of life and death with the movements of the sun.
In this forum, organized with the support of Miraikan, a scientist and an artist will discuss the philosophical and scientific question, “What is reality?” How will Naotaka Fujii, a neuroscientist who has been researching SR (substitutional reality) for many years, interpret the realities and alternate worlds in Weerasethakul’s work, and the “rift” where their boundaries blend into one another? Bringing the perspectives of these two figures together, to discuss issues such as the expanding expressive possibilities in VR technology and film, is certain to open up new horizons.

Panelists | Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Film director, Artist), Naotaka Fujii (CTO of Hacosco Inc., Medical doctor, Brain scientist)
Moderator | Yumi Miyahara (Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation)


Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1970. He is currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Apichatpong began making films and video shorts in 1994 and completed his first feature in 2000. Apichatpong is recognized as a major international filmmaker and visual artist. His works are characterized by their use of non-linear storytelling, often dealing with themes of memory, identity, desire, and history. His works have won him widespread international recognition and awards, including the Cannes Jury Prize in 2021 for “Memoria”, his first film shot outside of Thailand. He also won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010 with “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”. His “Tropical Malady” won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2004 and Blissfully Yours won the Cannes Un Certain Regard Award in 2002. His large-scale video installation “Primitive” (2009) is a multidisciplinary creation that has toured many museums, including the Haus der Kunst in Munich. He participated in documenta thirteen (2012) and won the Gold Prize at the 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013) for his collaboration with Chai Siris. In the same year, he was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize. In 2016, he held his first large-scale solo exhibition in Thailand at the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai. His recent installations include “Constellations” (2018), “Fiction” (2018), “SleepCinemaHotel” (2018), “A Minor History” (2021, 2022), and “Solarium” (2023).

Courtesy of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Photo by Supatra Srithongkum and Sutiwat Kumpai

Naotaka Fujii
Naotaka Fujii is a medical doctor, brain scientist, and CTO of Hacosco Inc. He is also the Representative Director of the XR Consortium and Brain Tech Consortium. He is a specially-appointed professor at Tohoku University. After graduating from Tohoku University School of Medicine, Fujii received his PhD from the same university. He has been a researcher at the McGovern Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 1998. Deputy Team Leader at RIKEN Brain Science Institute since 2004, Team Leader since 2008; started Hacosco Inc. in 2014; Professor at Digital Hollywood University Graduate School since 2018. His research theme is “Reality Science”. His major publications include “The Connected Brain” (winner of the Mainichi Publication Culture Award), “Introduction to Social Brains”, “The Expanding Brain”, and “Living with the Brain”.


March 10th [Sun]/16:30-18:00
*Reception opens 30 minutes before the show time.

Performance times

90 min.


Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, 7F Innovation Hall
2-3-6 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064

How to participate

Free / Booking essential.

Book now


Japanese(with English interpretation)


Organized by Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, and Theater Commons Tokyo Executive Committee
Support | Reality Science Lab