23rd Art Division Critiques
Bio-art, Bio-media and Bio-politics
The events surrounding the Aichi Triennale and its spill-overs at the 'Japan Unlimited' exhibition in Vienna commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Austria, created a difficult position, not only for the Japanese Media Art Community, but even more so for artists and culture workers with connections with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. My initial reasons for accepting the offer to become a Jury Member were to participate in the public debate about Media Art, to support, encourage and empower young artists. And because of these reasons, I did chose to continue my work for the Japan Media Arts Festival. I believe, that my position as an practicing artist enables me to have slightly different views on the artworks: I can retrace the steps the artists took to arrive at their final artworks, I do believe this gives me more more insights into the thinking processes of the genesis of artworks, but nevertheless it can be an interesting to be asked to judge your fellow artists: sometimes one is excited, sometimes underwhelmed, and sometimes it takes time, reflection and discussion with other jury members to understand what makes a work special. The selected artworks can only be a reflection of the interests and viewpoints of the jury. Some artworks resonate more with a specific jury member, some artworks resonate with more that one jury member, and very rarely an artwork resonates with the whole jury. Comparing works is still a challenging process, because of the width, breadth and depth of the Art Category. For this year, we used the following criteria in our assessment of submitted works: their artistic concept, the technical execution, and the overall contemporary theme that the work represents. The difficulty and challenge for artists is to create works that is not only new, well-executed and relevant, but also highly balanced. I believe we found that balance this year, and I am particularly excited that one artwork using biological processes that have been interpreted as miracles was chosen for the grand prize. With this decision, I do hope we can expand and redefine the notion of what is perceived as Media Art, and show that non-traditional, alchemic methods in Media Art production are not only welcome, but strongly encouraged.