15th Art Division Critiques
A social theory born of loss
Our everyday lives are teeming with technology that is, increasingly, readily available for anyone to use. Instead of prioritizing only technological developments in showing what they can do, artists are moving to strengthen the contents of their works--what they hope it will convey or express. The state of media arts today reveals that we are entering a new stage, one in which technology is just one means of supporting ideas and expression.
Particularly among video works, what stood out the most this year--more than any emphasis on technical aspects--was the variety of substantial content. Works that were cinematic and theatrical, comprehensive depictions traversing multiple expressive domains, held the promise of developing in all sorts of interesting ways. This means simply that media arts have expanded to encompass all manner of methods both old and new. The fact that this year's festival followed the Great East Japan Earthquake led to works that considered what their depictions meant in relation to society.
The unprecedented earthquake of March 11 was unlike any previous disaster in how plainly it has been revealed through technologies such as video and data analysis. Faced with forces of nature to sever the workings of the everyday, artists have sought to make creative use of media's openness and ability to bring people together. This mood of eagerness generated an enormous surge in the number of entries. Having witnessed loss, artists appear to have turned closer to home to focus on the practice of creative production.