23rd Entertainment Division Critiques

A New Stratum for Entertainment

Today, while major changes occur in a variety of fields, geological indications tell us that we have entered the Anthropocene era. It is argued that in the approximately 4.6 billion years of the earth's history, the human era began developing as a new geological layer. As humans created various tools of their own concoction, they went on to create a wide range of civilizations, cultures, and customs. The field of media expression and entertainment has perhaps also entered a new phase in recent years. At the beginning of the 20th century, a wave of innovation came about. The internet has now become commonplace and we are about to implement a 5G network. Devices have followed Moore's Law and become smaller, bringing dynamic changes to our everyday life and environment. In the field of creative expression, in particular, cheaper prices of technology devices and the sharing of a wide range of expertise have given many people the option of becoming artists. The era of impressing others through use of the latest technologies has ended, and now our work is evaluated for the nature and meaning of its content, as well as whether or not that content is implemented in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Today, the issue is no longer just about technology, but rather, how we sort and choose among the many, easily accessible tools, and also what our intention and philosophy is for maximizing the use of such tools. As a result, I believe we have arrived at a time when we must do away with the evaluation criteria that tells us, "digital is new, analog is old." This is perhaps best symbolized by Shadows as Athletes, the Entertainment Division's Grand Prize-winner. While perspective-shifting discoveries and their resulting aesthetics are analog, these are also new discoveries. As children, many of us may suddenly have noticed how beautiful shadows were. I felt that the mindful manner of the video's creation has helped us to remember some minutiae that had somehow been forgotten. For Ogiri AI and Chihara-Engineer, which received the Excellence Award, AI is the key component. Rather than something complex, however, it is presented as entertainment that anyone can enjoy. Entertainment is often said to be a potential tool to provide an entry point for issues that are difficult to understand. The way in which this work uses intricate and sophisticated technology to take its expression to the level of comedy, which entails delicate nuances that are difficult to express, makes it worthy of this award. New Logos Order also created an unusual space made possible only through entertainment and content that captivated the fans, not only through their own participation but also by weaving a satirical contemporary story. The Entertainment Division involves a variety of other work selected from a wide range of categories including games, videos, websites, and services. I felt that it has expanded beyond the realm of mere entertainment that provides fun to one that indicates the true meaning of what it means "to entertain." There are many problems in our society today. We look to entertainment to help us forget these issues as well as contemplate and experience them, and these points in fact can all coexist according to the times. Various media are starting to redefine their respective role as they make their content accessible to everyone, regardless of their age, gender, or level of literacy. Today, at a time when we see new media content and ideas being born every day, the Japan Media Arts Festival brings this into view and, by reviewing the recent past, gives examples of what areas have developed and in what ways, thereby providing an incentive to learn what society today is seeking. Just as it occurs in the widely ranging discussions held among the judges, if others gave even a little thought to things like how media content is being created and why it is that they are seeing it today, they would likely understand the multifaceted appeal of entertainment media. Today, as programming and design are becoming incorporated into school curricula in Japan, there might come a time when we all will be playing a role in creating such media content. It is my hope that this festival will serve as a catalyst for people to enjoy these creations that are packed with so much power

SAITO Seiichi
Creative Director and CEO, Rhizomatiks Co., Ltd.
Technical Director. Representative, Rhizomatiks.