7th Art Division Critiques
In the Art Division that made a new start this year after some system changes, we received more than 900 applications, and most of the applications from abroad were also concentrated in this division. This well demonstrates the international spread of the media arts and, at the same time, that many artists shared or paid attention to the concepts underlying the Media Arts Festival. Most of the artists engaged in interactive arts, Web arts, and installations and films employing digital technology are in pursuit not of traditional views of arts or aesthetic sense, but of new themes and expressions that only media arts can provide. In recent years, as Japanese artists focusing on interactive arts played an active role in the international community, and the interest in animation, games, and mobile contents increases, world attention has come to be focused on the role Japan plays in the field of media arts. In this sense, the new start of the Art Division was a well-timed move.
As the works submitted this year were of high quality overall and diversified in kind, it was not easy to narrow them down to several prizewinners. For example, there were many interactive works that had won prizes in some internationally renowned art contests, such as SIGGRAPH and Ars Electronica. From among the many works eligible for acceptance and prizes, final prizewinning and winning works were selected, giving due consideration to the expressions and areas that the media arts are now opening up and to the fact that they should be suitable for the Art Division. As the media arts is an area where young artists can relatively easily demonstrate their talents, screening was conducted fairly, irrespective of the applicants' reputation, the number of prizes won at other contests, or their home countries. Among the many prominent works submitted from abroad, young Japanese artists fared relatively well in the screening process, which seems to reflect the above-mentioned active role that the Japanese media arts community is playing in the international arena. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that there were many other excellent works other than those listed here.