24th Art Division Critiques

From a Possible View of Life

The total number of submissions for the Art Division saw a slight decrease compared to the 23rd, with the reduction mainly from overseas. Meanwhile, the number of submissions for video works increased. Whether they can be directly associated with the coronavirus pandemic or not is uncertain. At least the first half of the application period was unaffected. In any case, it is noteworthy that the total number of submissions was similar to the previous one, despite the hardships faced this time. For the judging, the coronavirus pandemic was not taken into account. What mattered was the individual works only. The Grand Prize was given to Prometheus Bound by KOIZUMI Meiro. This work was a collaboration with MUTO Masatane, an ALS patient known for various activities including his book, KEEP MOVING: genkai wo tsukuranai ikikata (life without setting limits, Seibundo-shinkosha, 2018). For the reason for the award, please refer to the comment by jury member HACHIYA Kazuhiko. I consider this work important for two reasons. Firstly, it is not just raising issues. It hits the audience hard by presenting various relationships such as seeing and being seen, voice and identity, and technology and body. In the process, it engages the audience in thinking. Secondly, this work appears to me that it is transmitted from where we ought to aim. Art is often considered predictive. However, many artworks actually project consequences that are predicted from where we are (i.e., current science and technology) into the future, and utopianize or dystopianize the results based on the current view of life (or the simple use of technology is making the artworks appear predictive, due to the name of art and the interpreter's rhetorical skills). This work is different. It urges us to think "slightly ahead" of science and technology, society, and ethics, from a possible view of life that is secluded from the current view. This view of life has no name. But this work has the power to make us believe that it is possible. A wide variety of works were selected for the Excellence Award: a pop-up book viewed through AR technology (Acqua Alta - Crossing the mirror by Adrien M & Claire B), bioart that makes the rhythmic movement of myocardial cells visible to the naked eye (Bricolage by Nathan THOMPSON / Guy BEN-ARY / Sebastian DIECKE), a video work experienced by listening to sounds in the dark (Sea, See, She - To you, who is yet to come by See by Your Ears (evala, Representative)), and a simple work in which five displays are winched up and swing (TH42PH10EK x 5 by Stefan TIEFENGRABER). However, all of these works reexamine the issue of technology and the body / life from different perspectives.The three New Face Award-winning works (The reluming apparatus by KOBAYASHI Hayate, Ether - liquid mirror by Kaito SAKUMA, and VOX-AUTOPOIESIS V -Mutual- by KOMIYA Chiku) are worthy of the award, as they each newly attempted to explore media including animation, surface oscillation, and musical notation. Many people might remember the Social Impact Award winner (Google Maps Hacks by Simon WECKERT), since it became a hot topic on social media. Many things have happened in the three years that I have served as a jury member. One thing noteworthy is the obvious fact that it is most important for the works to be experienced firsthand. Despite everyone's effort, including former jury member ABE Kazunao, to further enhance the exhibition, it was not accomplished last time. I hope that this time a performative exhibition in a real, physical environment will be materialized. Meanwhile, I wonder if there will be explosive "landing sites" that do not share a location. They may have already appeared. I expect they will come to the surface in the future.

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AKIBA Fuminori
Aesthetician and Associate Professor, Nagoya University