17th Art Division Critiques

Connecting Memories of Love, Alongside Songs of Resistance

While reviewing the entries I felt the potential for serious inquiry into society and creativity by bountifulmedia. As I wrote in my commentary on the work by Carsten NICOLAI which won the Grand Prize (p.22), I could feel a love towards art connecting past media with the present, as well as the medium of past reproductive art, such as books, being rediscovered through the individual and mature gaze of the artists. Cutting-edge experiments in humanity's fathomless cultural resources and history cross over genres, offering the joy of witnessing exciting moments that open up an unknown world. Entered in the graphic art field and winner of the Excellence Award, The Big Atlas of LA Pools by Benedikt GROSS uses open source tools to map the 43,000 swimming pools in Los Angeles as well as sex offenders, compiled into 74 volumes and 6,000 pages, a social odyssey hinting at a relationship with data that at first appears disassociated. What is integrated into the book as an enormous graphic image is a stand against the peculiar instability of digital society, whereby precious original data and software can one day suddenly disappear from the Internet or become disabled. On the other hand, Societe Anonyme says the format for The SKOR Codex, a winner of a New Face Award and whose final form is also a book, was chosen as a "universal future time capsule" for later decoding, unwaveringly trusting in this cultural storage device which will continue for thousands of years. Though it is widely known that GPS and other advanced science and technologies were developed in connection with military technology, recent systems are now using these around the world in social networks and for cultural expression. Many of the original aims are hidden by the shadow of these entertainmenttools. I once experienced a shudder seeing footage at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival of young soldiers operating drones and dropping bombs as if playing a video game, all while simply watching a computer screen in a relaxed everyday environment far from the war zone. James BRIDLE's Dronestagram won an Excellence Award and defines the sites of bombings by drones in non-combat areas, searching for the place name and then using online distribution functions along with aerial images of the land to tell people about the attack. Reversing the use of media and protesting the slaughter of weaponry, it further presents problems in i ts very platform, to which anyone can upload. The reason is that the content is mainly being used as a device provoking visual thrills and the enjoyment of looking down at land from the sky.Situation Rooms won the Excellence Award and its authors, the unit Rimini Protokoll, were also invited to Tokyo for the performing arts event Festival/Tokyo to stage 100% Tokyo, which reconstructed the city's population from statistics. The title is derived from the name of the room installed underneath the White House in the KENNEDY era to be used during emergencies as a 24-hour situation analysis center. It became famous as the place where 13 people, including President OBAMA, were when they watched the video of the killing of Osama bin LADEN. Narratives of 20 people, each with differing experiences related to weapons, are set up in 20 rooms. The audience traces the narration and videos intersecting virtually with people connected to weapons and arms, exploring their own position. With the audience members interweaving with each other through the videos, this was a work that encouraged a rediscovery and critiquing of murderous weaponry.LAU Hochi's New Face Award-winner Learn to be a Machine | DistantObject #1 was a satirical performanceful l of humor about interactive art. Amor MUNOZ's Maquila Region 4 emboldened workers on low wages, using signals to relay their characters through a type of stitched barcodes. Both of these New Face Award-winning works resonated with a sense of humanity. The main role in MIHARA Soichiro's Excellence Award-winner the blank to overcome was bubble soap repeating a process of extinction and regeneration, delicately expressing the ephemerality of art in the post-3.11 nihility of the present, as well as the volition of artists who, despite this, have to keep on questioning.

Art Critic
Born in Tokyo, OKABE was co-curator of The Japanese Avant-Gardes 1910-1970 exhibition at the National Modern Art Museum of Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, 1986-87, and Lecturer on Non-Occidental Art History at École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, 1993-95. She was a professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Musashino Art University, 1999-2011, and a visiting scholar at New York University, 2006-07. She launched the Hanshin Art Project af ter the Hanshin-Awaji Ear thquake of 1995, as well as the Georges Rousse Art Project in Miyagi in 2013 after the Great Earthquake in Tohoku. She founded the Culture Power website for interaction with supporters of contemporary art. She is an advisor to the Shiseido Gallery. Her written works include Art Seed: Art Documentary Films on the Pompidou Center Collection and Art, Women, Image. She also directed the video Atsuko Tanaka: Another Gutai.