25th Art Division Critiques

Evaluation of Works to Confront Oneʼs Own Values

This was my last year as a jury member. Although I
never got used to the judging process until the end,
what I realized through three years of judging was that
the more opportunities to encounter works that arouse
mixed opinions and are controversial, the more the
jury members’ existing values and common sense are
shaken, leading to the birth of new perspectives and
discoveries. At the same time, the jury becomes bare
when facing the works, ultimately being responsible for
how well they understand and represent the message
of each work. In this sense, this year’s judging process
was full of thought-provoking discoveries, as well as
opportunities to question my own values. This must
have something to do with being in the post-pandemic
time. However, this does not mean that many works
contained a message directly linked to the COVID-19
pandemic; rather, through the works we frequently
found the development of new visions fostered under
the limitations in creative activities, communication, and
traveling. Encounters with such a group of works also
gave me hope. I wrote the previous Jury Critiques in
a tense circumstance right before Japan’s declaration
of a state of emergency for the second time, and the
situation is still tense this year, even without a state
of emergency. Considering these circumstances, approximately 1,800 entries to the Art Division is a great
success, even though slightly decreased from the 24th.
This year’s Grand Prize went to Sun and Moon Room
by “Sun and Moon Room” Production Team. While using
technology to control the trajectory of moving sunlight,
the system allows visitors to directly experience the
movement of light using various functions. This system
was materialized through community-based research
and collaboration with people from various fields, and
was highly praised by the jury. Sun and Moon Room is
a site-specific work, characterized by collaborative production, instead of an individual artist’s production. This
work materializes the nature-human relationship in an
increasingly online-centered life through technological
implementation and collaboration with a local community. I think this is a strong point of this work.
piece of art, especially those of Media Arts, is a result
of various collaborations of not only individual artists
but also various other people, including technologi
cal collaborators. While such collaborations are often
overlooked in a framework focused on artists, which is
typical in the Art Division, I found this as a great opportunity to emphasize the importance of collaboration
in the creative process.
In the Excellence Award-winner, Yamahyo Crossing
by YAMAUCHI Shota, the artist himself travels back and
forth between real and online worlds, parodying people’s desire to immerse themselves in an online game
that became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
mEat me by Theresa SCHUBERT criticizes the consumerist hierarchies between humans and animals through
her own performance, based on the concept of eating
cultured meat made from serum extracted from her own
blood. These two works are completely different—mEat
me in particular appears to be a shocking performance
and title—but both evoked empathy. In both works, solo
artists attempt to critically portray the social structure
and system by using their own body, while realizing humorous expressions.
The Special Achievement Award went to TONE
Yasunao, a pioneer of glitch and noise music. He formed
the music improvisation group, Group Ongaku, in 1960
with KOSUGI Takehisa, MIZUNO Shuko, SHIOMI Mieko,
and others. Since then, he has been actively working
beyond the boundaries between music and art.
While developing theoretical views to objectify audio
media, he has realized media expression by thoroughly
criticizing music itself. I think this award winning is
extremely significant.
Lastly, the issues of copyright and right of publicity associated with reproduced media are becoming
more complex now, as media expressions are created
with state-of-the-art technologies, including AI. In the
judging process, however, I think it is unclear who is
responsible for these issues, including legal decisions.
The jury is in a position to only judge the quality of
media expression, and I believe that active discussion on this will strengthen the foundation for future
media expression.

Curator of the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Born in Tokyo. TASAKA's main projects include Eizo wo meguru boken Vol. 5 Kiroku ha kanou ka (Quest for Vision Vol.5 - Spelling Dystopia) (2012-13), Takatani Shiro akarui heya (Shiro Takatani: La Chambre Claire) (2013-14), Apichappon Uiirasetakun boreitachi (Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Ghosts in the Darkness) (2016-17), the Ekusupandeddo shinema saiko (Japanese Expanded Cinema Revisited) exhibit (2017), and the Second to 12th Yebisu International Festivals for Art & Alternative Visions (2009-20).