21st Art Division Critiques
Changing Things, with an Unchanging Spirit
Initially, what I felt as a juror was the same thing I felt before, when this art festival celebrated its 20th anni- versary--that more than ever "media art / Media Arts" are following the usual path all new cultural domains tra- verse in establishing themselves, having completed an initial period of "dissimilation" and "leaping away" from conventional ways of looking at things, and now pro- ceeding through a longer process of transformation. We have long repeated the deliberate appeal that this realm is "a new, innovative art quite different from convention- al art." Then, even after it attains dramatic popularity, while looking askance at its far-reaching expansion and becoming compulsory education, we wait for media art / Media Arts to become truly ordinary, hoping that the day will come before your life and mine end. However, when looking over this year's entries, I felt I should not be so pessimistic.Stated from the standpoint of preconceptions and vague notions held by people regarding certain genres, the popular image of this realm these past ten or so years has likely been of something "near-futuristic and sharp." For example, the enigmatic, tranquil landscape of the Grand Prize winner, Interstices / Opus I - Opus II is perhaps an element that embodies the "cool and stylish" aspect of this realm. A part of that can also be glimpsed in the severity of Datum Point, winner of the Excellence Award, and its animation technique achieved solely by motions made with the hand. Con- versely, other award-winning works attempt to depict the world through pure discoveries and somehow leave an unknowing impression.At the various contemporary art festivals (Venice, Kassel, Münster) in 2017, here and there appeared "contemporary works of art that struggled to use AR/ VR," creating memorable contract with esoteric, con- ventional works that fail to intuitively communicate a context that appeals to society. Both the artist and viewer continue to evolve, and our past selves no longer exist. However, I believe what remains unchanged is the spirit of this realm--that is, a delicate approach show- ing, not just struggling with, serious and difficult things, in a playful and whimsical manner.