15th Art Division Critiques

Depth of meaning of expression over dependence on technology

Looking back through the history of art, one realizes there are two lines of descent: a lineage woven from the dynamism of hard-to-define emotional values like beauty and creativity, and a lineage woven from a worldview opened up by science and technology. Media arts probably descend from this second lineage. The discovery of anatomy and the rules of perspective accelerated the artistic adventure of the Renaissance, and the arrival of technologies such as the camera, the airship, the satellite, the electron microscope, and computer graphics have further expanded humanity's vision, each time dramatically transforming the way the world is depicted. If we are to examine media arts and honor its brilliant achievements, I believe we should begin by looking at how it reminds us of the way technological advances have made possible the kind of world we see. I was personally moved by The Saddest Day of My Youth, which uses color-field animation to present the artist's memory of watching the failed launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. There's something about feeling the technology of the Space Shuttle as "media" that brings an awareness of it as part of the world's reality. The highly philosophical and literary Grand Prize winner Que voz feio (plain voices) left a good impression, but in the sense of ruminating on technology it seemed to me to reside in the domain of conventional video art.

HARA Kenya
Graphic Designer
Born in Okayama Prefecture in 1958, HARA is a professor at Musashino Art University and representative of the Nippon Design Center. He is concerned with designing "circumstances" as much as "things." Since 2002 he has been a member of the Advisory Board of MUJI, where he is in charge of art direction. Through exhibitions and other projects designed from an original perspective, including RE-DESIGN and HAPTIC, he explores design possibilities latent in the everyday and in human sense perceptions. Recent works include commercial product designs for companies such as AGF, JT and KENZO, the Matsuya Ginza renewal project, Mori Building VI, and design direction for the Daikanyama Tsutaya Book Store. His books include Design no Design (Design of Design, Iwanami Shoten, 2003), and Nihon no Design (Design of Japan, Iwanami Shoten, 2011).