2021.7.1(Thu) - 9.3(Fri)
25st Japan Media Arts Festival Executive Committee
MIYATA Ryohei(Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan)
KUSAHARA Machiko(Researcher in Media Art and Media Archaeology / Professor Emeritus at Waseda University / Doctor of Engineering)
FURUKAWA Taku(Animation Artist)
TATEHATA Akira(President, Tama Art University)
2022.9.16(Fri) - 26(Mon)
Miraikan - The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
CINEMA Chupki TABATA, IKEBUKURO HUMAX CINEMAS, CROSS SHINJUKU VISION, Art Museum of Nature and Human Non-Homogeneity
CINEMA Chupki TABATA, Intel K.K.
Austrian Cultural Forum Tokyo
Omnibus Japan Inc.
CROSS SPACE Co., Ltd.
HUMAX CINEMA INC.
Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
Bungotakada-shi Kanko Machizukuri Kabushiki Kaisha
Curator of the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Researcher in Media Art and Media Archaeology / Professor Emeritus at Waseda University / Doctor of Engineering
Despite the continuing worldwide situation that is unfavorable for productions and exhibitions, we received many outstanding entries from Japan and abroad. I would like to express my sincere respect for the artists who produce creative, diverse, and free-spirited expressions, and for people who support them. While the unexpected surprises, humor, and highly perfected stories of the works gave us great pleasure, there were also many commentaries and problem presentations about social issues, including growing international tensions, environmental issues, discrimination, and bias. The Art Division’s Grand Prize winner, Sun and Moon Room and the Social Impact Award winner, Bio Sculpture, present the harmony between humans and nature through media technology. Works including mEat me, Dislocation, Yallah!, and DARWIN’S INCIDENT, demonstrate the ability of art to influence our worldview by covering serious issues of modern society. One noticeable trend of the entries this year was a keen insight into the current situation where mainstream communication has shifted to the virtual space, and the real-virtual boundary and our sense of identity are shaken due to ongoing major changes to society today, namely the pandemic, popularization of VR, and the emergence of the metaverse. From their discerning focal points, Yamahyo Crossing, Uber Existence and viewers:1 demonstrate the ability of artists and the infinite potential of art to transform the depressing influence of the pandemic into highly original artworks.
President, Tama Art University
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Japan Media Arts Festival. It can be said that this festival has significantly contributed to the maturation of the new field of Media Arts over the past quarter century. Although the judging this year again took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of entries was 3,537, almost the same as that of an average year. The Japan Media Arts Festival seems to have been able to cope with this irregular situation relatively smoothly, as part of the application and screening process has always been conducted online. It has always responded to the trends of the times in an agile and flexible manner. In the past quarter century, Media Arts, in which the definition of each genre has been in constant flux, has adapted to changes in social conditions and technologies, and the nature of individual genres has been vividly clarified. As always, notable works were selected for the Social Impact Award which evaluates realworld impact, the U-18 Award given for creators under age 18, and the Festival Platform Award which calls for projects that take advantage of the characteristics of equipment and facilities of Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. The Grand Prize in the Art Division was Sun and Moon Room. This site-specific work was installed at the Art Museum of Nature and Human Non-Homogeneity in Bungotakada City, Oita Prefecture. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the work’s concept of playing with sunlight is definitely intriguing, along with its theme of improving the viewer’s physical ability through being outdoors. The Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division went to the TV program Naoki Urasawa presents Manben neo -Yoshikazu Yasuhiko-. This is indeed an entertaining work that extensively documents the drawing skills of a guest manga artist from a variety of perspectives. The Japan Media Arts Festival opens its doors to wide-ranging works, from avant-garde experimental works to well-known popular content, and I am convinced that this is what comprises its unique attraction.
The first words of the jury after completing the tough task included “during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The term “COVID-19” was again used like a prefix this year. I found really interesting works especially in the Art and Entertainment Divisions, including those that boldly challenge this no-end-in-sight situation, cynically enjoy the situation, and attempt to create a space and time by making full use of smartphones and VR. As for the Animation and Manga Divisions, I have not heard much about pandemic-affected lifestyle changes, probably because, with or without the pandemic, their production process is rather solitary and requires spending a long time doing physical work indoors. For the past three years, there have been no opportunities worldwide for filmmakers and directors to physically get together (such as film festivals), although some hybrid events have been held. Meanwhile, it is great to see an emergence of directors and filmmakers who spend their time producing feature-length animated films, largely by themselves or with a small group, such as YAMAMURA Koji and last year’s Grand Prize winner IWAISAWA Kenji. This trend can be found worldwide. It is also great to see in recent years a steady increase in opportunities (in addition to the Japan Media Arts Festival) to showcase artists’ works in various fields to the world, and to support the globalization of training and production opportunities for young artists.