16th Art Division Critiques

Media Art: Inseparable from Its Epoch

Just what is a "Media Arts Festival"? Is such a thing necessary? If it is, what form should it take?
Other questions simultaneously arise: Is it possible to properly evaluate media artworks in this day and age? Assuming it is, from what viewpoint is evaluation possible?
For this year's festival, I viewed a great many works in my capacity as juror. The experience forced me to think about the process of creating a work of art.As I pondered what sort of criteria I should use to choose certain works over others, I came around to this question: Does the work move or shock me in a way that only art can? In other words, I did not think about definitions, about whether a work did or did not constitute "media art."
Each work has its own particular value, and this value is absolute, not something that can be judged in relative terms. Even works not selected for recognition this time inspired me to imagine them giving birth to interesting new works in the future, and to speculate about their eventual impact on the world of art.
One would hope that the Media Arts Festival exhibition represents the culmination of a process of evaluating new, unprecedented artistic efforts that point to new directions. In that respect the present schedule of calling for works in the summer, selecting them in the autumn, and exhibiting them in the winter is simply too short.
If we cannot allow a bit more time for this process, then we must question the value of perpetuating it.There must be a shared recognition that the quality of the exhibition is the single most significant factor revealing the quality of the festival itself. It is meaningless if the works selected for this exhibition cannot be viewed directly, rather than in the form of files or images on the web.
The media arts are a form of art that is inseparable from its epoch. The era when photography was a personal medium is long over; visual media have constantly evolved from photography to film to video to digital movies. With the Internet environment reaching fruition, the ongoing proliferation of moving-image works is of great interest to me.

Born in 1963, TAKATANI began creating performances and installations in 1984 as a member of the art collective Dumb Type. Later individual projects included visual direction for SAKAMOTO Ryuichi's opera LIFE in 1999, participation in the 2007 Arctic expedition of the UK-based Cape Farewell project on climate change, and a collaborative installation that same year with SAKAMOTO at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, LIFE-fluid, invisible, inaudible... In 2008 he created and staged the performance La Chambre Claire at Theater der Welt in Germany. In 2010 his installation in collaboration with NAKAYA Fujiko, CLOUD FOREST, was produced at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, and in 2012 he created and staged the performance CHROMA at Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts.