24th Entertainment Division Critiques
Entertainment Solves Problems
I am writing this article a few days before the second declaration of the state of emergency. The tension is naturally rising. I have no intention to stock up on face masks and toilet paper. No other situation has encouraged people to stay home as much as now. I am thinking of buying a new bookshelf to reacquaint myself with more works. There is still no scientific evidence that Media Arts can be a quick remedy for the novel coronavirus. Whether or not art and performing arts are essential and urgent is always questioned, and those who engage in them seek the next way to live while constantly being asked about the necessity of artistic expression itself. Entertainment unconditionally relaxes the exhausted and hardened minds of people. Despite the ambivalence about the arts and entertainment, creators attempt to produce new works and face the audience. This is very encouraging. Among them, GEKIDAN NOMEETS swiftly integrated the vibe of their work into the timeline, while many other performers were lagging behind. It created a new economic circle even before the national compensation for cultural activities was established. This is a great achievement. The depth of this brand-new approach only increases as the performances accumulate. The Grand Prize winner, ON-GAKU: OUR SOUND, was unanimously selected by the jury, even though it was produced before the coronavirus pandemic. Each jury member may have valued different aspects of the work. I felt proud that an animation created using the classic rotoscoping technique won the Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division of the Japan Media Arts Festival today--an era with abundant techniques and technologies. I highly recommend watching it if you haven't yet. You will surely encounter new sounds that you have never heard before. As for RakugakiAR, I highly regarded how it brightens up people's lives while staying home, in addition to its quality. As the name suggests, rough freehand drawings are given life and start moving in augmented reality. A manga artist used it to successfully build a new relationship with the readers. AVATAR ROBOT CAFE is a socially implemented work that provided social roles to people with severe disabilities such as ALS patients, and people who have difficulty going out for various reasons. Communications with customers at the physically distant café were enabled by sensing slight movements of their functioning body parts. One of the participating ALS patients commented that she was moved by the fact that she was able to help others. 0107 - b moll has a modern vibe with a cool urban ambience and commuter trains moving in certain directions. The economy quietly moves on despite the coronavirus pandemic, and the work contains beautiful strings of lights along the ground that exist even before dawn. I found excellent taste in UNREAL LIFE, as it uses the unique expression of pixel art as a guide to a different world, instead of a nostalgic approach. Canari is a visual experience that can only be achieved in VR. By synchronizing the placement of each track with the viewer's perspective, it will eventually gain even more depth. All works were attempts to newly establish a sense of density that is being lost in the real world. From the Entertainment Division, SAKUMA Akira was nominated for the Special Achievement Award. He planned and created from scratch Momotaro Dentetsu (Momotaro Electric Railway), in 1988, and its new series has also been well received. Since that time, his design has been taking into account not only what happens within the screen, but also how the game content will affect the outside of the screen, i.e., reality. Whenever I encounter many excellent works as a jury member, I wonder if we can solve social problems by utilizing the sensibilities of Media Arts. The more serious the problem is, the more I feel responsible that entertainment should provide a solution. My term as a jury member ends this year. I will be involved in arts and performing arts as an artist or a consumer. I will expand Media Arts in a direction that is not confused by the term "non-essential and non-urgent."