16th Entertainment Division Critiques

Entertainment= A Look into the Future

Of the four categories in the Japan Media Arts Festival, the entertainment field, which is intimately linked with technology and industry, has seen changes occur at an especially rapid rate. Many of the works that were submitted in this category also provide us with a look into the future of media arts. The series of events and reactions that greeted the three-woman techno-pop group Perfume, who were awarded the Grand Prize in this year's event, are a perfect indication of the state of entertainment today. Per fume creates impressive expressions with their bodies and costumes by deftly utilizing motion-capture systems, distance sensors, and image analysis. But most remarkably, they also allow their fans to make free use of motion-capture data on a website called Perfume Global Site. What is evident in Per fume's activities, making them especially deserving of the Grand Prize, is the fact that the shared culture that has emerged over the last several years through the proliferation of social network services and creative commons licenses seems to have at last become linked to the world of economics and industry.
There are also other works that splendidly combine hardware and software such as KURATAS, a huge engine-driven robot with a four-limbed human form; necomimi, which uses a Pop approach to link brain waves and gadgetry; OGATA Hisato's display at Tokyo SkyTree in which an ultra-massive, three-dimensional polygon is effortlessly manipulated; and Nukeme's Glitch Embroidery and IDPW's Whatever Button, which poke fun at the other side of digital fabrication and Facebook. The refreshing jumble of elements in these works, ranging from small to large and soft to hard and approaching the level of creative chaos, is particularly notable. In many of the works that use conventional media such as video or games, there is a distinct sense of rich, mature expression and subtle detail that also conveys the profound depth of this field. These works contain a glimpse of the future, and every one of the artists who participated in this year's event is helping to create the future of entertainment. Thank you for your efforts!

KUBOTA Akihiro
Artist and Professor, Tama Art University
Born in 1960 in Osaka Prefecture, KUBOTA is a professor of art and media in the Information Design Department of Tama Art University. He earned his doctorate at the University of Tokyo School of Engineering. He has pioneered the development and synthesis of a broad spectrum of hybrid creative endeavors, including satellite art (artsat.jp), bioart (bioart.jp), digital fabrication (fablabjapan.org), and sound performance with instruments he has invented (hemokosa.com). He is the author of Kieyuku konpyu-taa (Disappearing Computer-Human Inter face; Iwanami Shoten, 1999), co-author of Post-Techno(logy) Music (Ohmura Shoten, 2001), and translation supervisor of the Japanese editions of FORM+ CODE in Design, Architecture, and Art (Casey REAS, Chandler MCWILLIAMS, LUST; BNN, 2011), Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information (Manuel LIMA; BNN, 2012), Generative Art: A Practical Guide Using Processing (Mat t PEARSON; BNN, 2012), and Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (Nicolas COLLINS; O'Reilly Japan, 2013).