18th Entertainment Division Critiques

Gossip, Scandal, and Entertainment

In the mature information society of today, the negative entertainment of gossip and scandal has become normalized. This has been particularly prominent in Japan this year. Something happens and instantly captures people's attention, with the change in situation shared in real time. There is an attraction here that is hard to resist. As an artist I find something discomforting about creating work in such an environment. In short, this is the question of whether or not fiction whose departure point is an individual's imagination can oppose such a phenomenon where mass media and Internet interlock, and the complexities of reality short-circuit. Through the judging for this year's festival, once again I came into contact with many works. What I could feel there was that, rather than stumbling over this issue, the superb works of entertainment were actually looking ahead to the reality to come.
In both Ingress and Noramoji Project, many players come and go across the Web and reality to discover and create new values. Those values exist on a different axis to the economic cycle of manufacture and consumption. Moreover, they are gently suggesting that globalization and localization are not simply opposing concepts.
handiii and Kintsugi, on the other hand, are bold attempts to convert enforced inconvenience and the loss of a body part into fun for the user and creator. Both works, while simultaneously nullifying the word "deficiency", cut deeply into our notions of the body. As artificial intelligence draws ever closely, this will surely develop as an important inquiry.
This year there is once again a strong representation of video works. Video artists have likely been able to retain the image frame for their output. When played, this might be a screen or it might be a mobile device. It has laid bare how consequently a work comes about through the complicity of artist and audience.
On reflection, the Media Arts are expanding alongside technology, continuing to defy definition. And I have a hunch that this fluidity will outstrip negative entertainment.

IIDA Kazutoshi
Game Creator and Professor, College of Image Arts and Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
Born in 1968 in Tokyo. IIDA began his career as a director with Aquanaut’s Holiday (PlayStation) in 1995. He also created such games as Tails of the Sun (PlayStation), Doshin the Giant (Nintendo 64DD), Discipline: The Birth of the Empire (WiiWare), Evangelion the Movie: Third Impact (PSP), and LINE easy diver (LINE GAME). He is known for his unique conceptualization style, thinking outside the box. In 2011, he was in charge of story and direction of Songs of ANAGURA: Missing Researchers & Their Remaining Devices, the permanent exhibition of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) and which won an Excellence Award in the Entertainment Division at the 15th Japan Media Arts Festival. He is also the author of many books and articles.