Tokyo based designer, innovator, artist, and educator, Matthew Waldman brings a scientific crypto-zoological perspective to the fantastic by creating biologically plausible representations of incredible creatures. His project; The Fairy Labor Union sparks a re-examination of childhood fantasies by attempting to reconnect an adult audience with lost memories and sensations. By locating these fantastical subjects within the banal situation of a labor union Waldman creates a dichotomy between ordinary working life and an extraordinary hidden world with the fairy labor union becoming the vehicle of communication.
The work subtly references contemporary gay culture through the inescapable euphemism fairy, it’s a contradiction that makes a powerful statement, more of a playground taunt than an expression of innocence.
Matthew Waldman is also the creator of NOOKA, a brand that explored universal communication via interface design and physical product and was an early champion of passive intelligence for interface design. The NOOKANOOKA is the physical expression of optimism for the future, an expression of technoprogressivism via a higher dimensional creature. The NOOKANOOKA mascot was a 3D canvas for artist collaboration for the NOOKA brand while it was active, including Shin Tanaka, Mark Landwehr, and Hello Kitty.
In 2017, Waldman moved back to Tokyo after a 27+ year absence to start a professorship at Keio University Graduate School of Media Design (KMD), where he teaches innovation design and founded the SAMCARA design research lab. His consulting work is conducted via his new studio SAN-Q.
Professor Waldman founded the SAMCARA “evolution by design” research lab at KMD in the Fall of 2017. SAMCARA seeks to build a new language for the circular economy and to prepare innovators to embrace a new era of design that has an increased focus on bio-design, circular design and material design. SAMCARA participates in the International BioDesign Challenge in New York City each year and works with Japanese corporations to develop new approaches to their businesses to face the challenges of this century.