15th Art Division Critiques
Post 3.11 art that questions the essence of all things
Defining media arts is no easy task, because traditional art forms like painting or sculpture were also media for conveying expression. At the same time, technological newness is not enough on its own. Therefore, my approach toward selection criteria was to remain conscious of media characteristics in a broad sense while choosing works that broke through or expanded on conventional artistic concepts. I looked for works that focused more on external struggle than internal conflict, on transcending self and individual through interaction with others, and in doing so highlighted the indeterminate emotionality of society and the times. In a post-post-modern world, installation models that incorporate technology and science will become more and more important. This need not necessarily be limited to the institutionalized time-space of the museum but will surely be carried out on the street, out in the world, and on a global scale to create installations that transcend the borders of older works.
This year's jury deliberations would not have been possible had we ignored the perspective of post-3.11 art. The incidents of 3.11 created echoes of many different questions in artists. Some took a political approach while others created works that appear superficially unrelated. 3.11 asks us to redefine ourselves in some way; it questions our morality, our worldview, and indeed our very existence.
Among the works this year were many from the old media of film, and the Grand Prize winner, which questioned the nature of memory and existence, was exceptionally good. In digital photography, from photography's own struggle in the midst of the transformation from analog to digital emerged works and artists that rewarded attentive viewing. Although perhaps subdued, photography has reconfirmed its place on the front lines of contemporary art.