Award-winning Works
Art Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

Social Impact Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • TASAKA Hiroko
    Curator of the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
    Evaluation of Works to Confront Oneʼs Own Values
    This was my last year as a jury member. Although I
    never got used to the judging process until the end,
    what I realized through three years of judging was that
    the more opportunities to encounter works that arouse
    mixed opinions and are controversial, the more the
    jury members’ existing values and common sense are
    shaken, leading to the birth of new perspectives and
    discoveries. At the same time, the jury becomes bare
    when facing the works, ultimately being responsible for
    how well they understand and represent the message
    of each work. In this sense, this year’s judging process
    was full of thought-provoking discoveries, as well as
    opportunities to question my own values. This must
    have something to do with being in the post-pandemic
    time. However, this does not mean that many works
    contained a message directly linked to the COVID-19
    pandemic; rather, through the works we frequently
    found the development of new visions fostered under
    the limitations in creative activities, communication, and
    traveling. Encounters with such a group of works also
    gave me hope. I wrote the previous Jury Critiques in
    a tense circumstance right before Japan’s declaration
    of a state of emergency for the second time, and the
    situation is still tense this year, even without a state
    of emergency. Considering these circumstances, approximately 1,800 entries to the Art Division is a great
    success, even though slightly decreased from the 24th.
    This year’s Grand Prize went to Sun and Moon Room
    by “Sun and Moon Room” Production Team. While using
    technology to control the trajectory of moving sunlight,
    the system allows visitors to directly experience the
    movement of light using various functions. This system
    was materialized through community-based research
    and collaboration with people from various fields, and
    was highly praised by the jury. Sun and Moon Room is
    a site-specific work, characterized by collaborative production, instead of an individual artist’s production. This
    work materializes the nature-human relationship in an
    increasingly online-centered life through technological
    implementation and collaboration with a local community. I think this is a strong point of this work. Every
    piece of art, especially those of Media Arts, is a result
    of various collaborations of not only individual artists
    but also various other people, including technologi
    cal collaborators. While such collaborations are often
    overlooked in a framework focused on artists, which is
    typical in the Art Division, I found this as a great opportunity to emphasize the importance of collaboration
    in the creative process.
    In the Excellence Award-winner, Yamahyo Crossing
    by YAMAUCHI Shota, the artist himself travels back and
    forth between real and online worlds, parodying people’s desire to immerse themselves in an online game
    that became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    mEat me by Theresa SCHUBERT criticizes the consumerist hierarchies between humans and animals through
    her own performance, based on the concept of eating
    cultured meat made from serum extracted from her own
    blood. These two works are completely different—mEat
    me in particular appears to be a shocking performance
    and title—but both evoked empathy. In both works, solo
    artists attempt to critically portray the social structure
    and system by using their own body, while realizing humorous expressions.
    The Special Achievement Award went to TONE
    Yasunao, a pioneer of glitch and noise music. He formed
    the music improvisation group, Group Ongaku, in 1960
    with KOSUGI Takehisa, MIZUNO Shuko, SHIOMI Mieko,
    and others. Since then, he has been actively working
    beyond the boundaries between music and art.
    While developing theoretical views to objectify audio
    media, he has realized media expression by thoroughly
    criticizing music itself. I think this award winning is
    extremely significant.
    Lastly, the issues of copyright and right of publicity associated with reproduced media are becoming
    more complex now, as media expressions are created
    with state-of-the-art technologies, including AI. In the
    judging process, however, I think it is unclear who is
    responsible for these issues, including legal decisions.
    The jury is in a position to only judge the quality of
    media expression, and I believe that active discussion on this will strengthen the foundation for future
    media expression.
    Performing Arts Producer, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]
    It Had Already Started
    How will we look back on the year 2021 that passed
    with the COVID-19 pandemic?
    Yamahyo Crossing by YAMAUCHI Shota and Uber
    Existence by HANAGATA Shin capture people living
    in the era shifting into that of the metaverse, referring
    to digital contents and services that are increasingly
    sought after amid the pandemic. Against the backdrop
    of a social structure that became more distinct due to
    the pandemic, the latter work can be connected to Who
    else if not you? by Daniel WETZEL / TANAKA Miyuki
    Shunya x N sketch, which makes viewers conscious of
    their position in a community and of society. Furthermore, social distancing gave inspiration to S . P . A . C .
    E . by ELEVENPLAY x Rhizomatiks, which proposes
    new physical and visual expressions by combining photo shooting, machine learning, and image processing
    In 2021, more than a year had passed since the
    pandemic started. What left an impression was the
    performative works, which carefully scoop up a foregrounding and accelerating, already-changing reality,
    instead of “the extraordinary” itself, and examine or use
    it as a catalyst for an experiment.
    As a final note, expressions using AI technology in
    fact outnumbered works inspired by the pandemic. The
    number may have already been on the rise for the past
    few years, yet the motivations and interests of artists
    span a wide range from the possibility of societal changes and environmental control via machine intervention,
    reconsideration of the machine-human relationship and
    a new aesthetic arising from there, to practical issues
    such as social disparities caused by the data set bias.
    Unfortunately, the level of technical achievement and
    its relevance to the final expression were sometimes
    hard to evaluate, based on the application documentation alone, leaving some issues. However, I expect a
    deepening of AI and creativity in the future, including
    examination of learned information and outputting it
    as expression.
  • IWASAKI Hideo
    Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
    Message to the Applicants Who Unfortunately Missed Awards
    My first message as a new member of the jury is that
    those who missed the awards should not lose confidence or become more impatient than necessary. The
    Japan Media Arts Festival has a history and its own
    unique magnetic field and context. As a jury member,
    I sincerely faced the entries, had serious discussions,
    and reached conclusions, while respecting that context. However, in not a few cases, the jury might have
    failed to fully take into account the assumptions and
    conditions of the entries, which were created and presented in their own specific contexts, and not for the
    purpose of the Arts Festival. There might be a work
    that would not receive an award, or conversely, win an
    award if even one member of the jury had been different. For those who were not selected, I sincerely hope
    that they will continue to work passionately and present
    their work to the world.
    An unexpectedly big hurdle in the judging process
    was that many entries, such as VR and site-specific
    works, could not be experienced in person. Despite our
    desperate efforts to gather information and supplement
    it with our imaginations, there were many frustrating
    moments. Meanwhile, a little more effort from the applicants might have helped in avoiding some issues, such
    as those related to the composition of the work, especially the technical information (materials, mechanisms,
    level of implementation, etc.). In fact, quite a few works
    were rejected because they lacked such descriptions
    and were unable to be evaluated. Although it is understandable that some artists intentionally avoid detailed
    descriptions of the composition when exhibiting the
    actual works, proper provision of technical information
    formed a very important basis in the judging process.
    Nevertheless, I have gained many insights and
    learned a lot through the screening of this year’s abundant entries. I am grateful for the opportunity and look
    forward to another chance to encounter ambitious
    works that will further “show off” the multifaceted nature
    and potential of Media Arts.
  • HACHIYA Kazuhiko
    Artist and Associate Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts
    This Yearʼs Judging and a Concerning Trend
    During the call for entries this year, I was afraid of seeing a major decrease in the number of entries, since
    many exhibitions were canceled due to the COVID-19
    pandemic. However, I was relieved to see many entries,
    much the same as in previous years. As for the quality, there were many excellent works just like last year,
    thanks to the applicants as well as the Art Division selection committee members, who were responsible for
    the preliminary screening and went through quite a few
    entries. Thanks to their efforts, we were able to evaluate
    many quality entries again this year. However, no entry
    this year showed overwhelming superiority that would
    be considered indisputably worthy of the Grand Prize,
    so judging the Grand Prize candidates required careful
    consideration from various points of view. Personally, I
    think that the Grand Prize winner, Sun and Moon Room,
    is a valuable example of utilizing this field in a rural area,
    and has the power to propel people to visit the site and
    experience the artwork firsthand.
    As for the Excellence Award, Social Impact Award,
    and New Face Award, a great deal of time was spent
    discussing which award should go to which work. The
    works that unfortunately missed the awards were listed
    in the Jury Selections, resulting in a considerably larger number than last year. I would like to note that the
    difference between the Jury Selections and the Awardwinning Works was within a narrow margin.
    One thing that concerned me during this year’s judging was the trend from overseas entries; a considerably
    large number of works were about climate change and
    CO2 reduction. Although I recognize the significance of
    the SDGs, I felt that the excessive abundance of works
    with these themes might be an indication of the artists giving up on thinking. My idea of art is an activity
    that starts from an individual’s awareness of an issue,
    and is shaped into a piece after repeated research and
    verification. I also think casually using only something
    considered to be “social justice” as a theme is actually
    risky. To my relief, “real” diversity was found among the
    entries from Japan, but I wanted to note this point as a
    finding from the judging process.
  • Christophe CHARLES
    Artist / Professor, Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Musashino Art University
    On the Experience of Artworks and Trends
    Each of the jury member’s expertise and taste are inevitably reflected in the selection of works. One juror may
    rate a work highly, but if others do not, the work will not
    be selected, which is sad, but overall, the jurors were
    not so divided in their opinions. Therefore, it is likely that
    the selected works reflect a global vision of the state
    of Media Arts, rather than just a personal perspective.
    One remaining problem is that most of the works
    are installation (interactive/participative/performative)
    works, and the only way to “experience” them is through
    their documentation. The jury has to imagine the “reality”
    of the work from its documentation. The quality of the
    audiovisual recording and archiving of the work and the
    design of the presentation is becoming more and more
    important, and artists should consider the recording as
    part of the work and work seriously on its archiving, in
    order to have their work recognized.
    Another problem that jurors need to be aware of
    is the need to accurately identify plagiarism or works
    that are even partial imitations of other works. As the
    number of artists increases year by year and the media
    of communication become more efficient, fashions become stronger and stronger. Many works look similar
    because they deal with the same themes and use the
    same techniques. The lack of originality and the absence of surprise makes it important for us to look for
    the differences hidden in forms and techniques that are
    too similar. As has often been the case, and especially
    nowadays, due to the easy availability of information on
    contemporary works and production tools, such fashions have unfortunately led to a leveling off of ideas,
    aesthetics, and techniques. In any case, the Japan
    Media Arts Festival is a great place to get an overview
    of the current state of so-called “media art” worldwide,
    and I am very grateful to have been invited to participate
    in the jury.