21st Art Division Critiques

My Three Years as a Juror

I have been involved in screening submissions for three years. My appreciation of the many entries has led to an interest in the changing trends I see in the works each year.Among the entries submitted for the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival, my first year on the jury, the most memorably to me were works addressing themes re- lated to the state of society and the environment. At the time, people around the world were astonished by the intensity of media utilization, epitomized by the Is- lamic State. I felt that these works were in sync with the achievement of an environment in which individuals and groups can communicate with the "world."I was somewhat surprised that the following year's entries included several works in which this "world" leaned toward the self. The perspective dramatically shifted from the world at large to the small world of the individual. One of the reasons behind this is perhaps the shift as media, a tool for individuals, has become free from hardware and as simple to use as a pencil on paper, due to the rapid performance improvements of mobile devices and other technologies.This is similar to when books became available in large volume to the general public after Gutenberg be- gan moveable type printing, and the contents of books changed from the large world of the Bible and mythol- ogy to the small personal world of suffering and love, as depicted by best-selling Goethe works.In my third year of screening entries for the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival, I saw a new trend in the submitted works. Several entries contained a message that, through senses and perceptions, posed the ques- tion, "What is this world in which we exist?"The expression of art created on the theme of the "extraordinary" up until the 19th century moved into the 20th century when the artist's point of view looked to the "ordinary." This jolted what had been common sense up to that point, but from the latter half of the 20th century the artist's perspective changed from gaz- ing at the world from an ordinary point of view to trying to recapture the world itself. These changes in art span- ning more than 100 years, which I have experienced in just three years, have been extremely educational for me.

Born in 1950 in Aichi Prefecture, FUJIMOTO graduated from the Department of Musicology of Osaka University of Arts. Among his major solo exhibitions are Audio Picnic at the Museum, held one day each year from 1997 to 2006 (Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City), Reading to Another Dimension (Center for Contemporary Graphic Art and Tyler Graphic Archive Collection [CCGA], 2001), Here and There (Nagoya City Art Museum, 2006), ÉCHO—Son Virtuel (Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007), Philosophical Toys (Otani Memorial Art Museum, 2007), +/- (The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2007), and Relations (Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, 2007). His major group exhibitions include the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Since the mid-1980s, he has been creating devices and sound objects that visualize “sound” in everyday life. Through installations, performances and workshops he has conducted activities to reveal a new form of perception through the experience of “sound in space.”