23rd Art Division Critiques
Shift from Diverse Expressionist Art to Media Art
Last year three of the jury members in the Art Divi- sion were new, which changed the direction of the Art Division within media arts. Previously, we evaluated a diverse field of expression including kinetic art, film, animation and contemporary art--in a wide range of different fields all grouped together, while consider- ing each genre-specific feature. However, this year we shifted direction to clarify our policy of judging informa- tion design and media art as the core of the Art Division. This can be seen as a shift from diversity in a catch-all group to identifying diversity with a narrow focus on media art.Japanese artists won the Grand Prize and the Excel- lent Awards, and the themes presented encompassed extremely contemporary scientific motifs such as AI, A- LIFE, bio art, robotics and multiple dimensions. These works were created with intricate systems, unique pro- cesses and concepts. In some respects these artists are already recognized, but their works far surpassed that of other candidates. This kind of meticulous art- istry is beginning to be seen as a particularly Japanese characteristic. This art also demonstrates that works steeped in subculture design are not Japan's only ex- ports. These artists do not just stand on their own, but represent a diverse pool of talented people who play important roles in group work in other productions and corporate projects. This combination of multifaceted professionalism among mid-career artists has aug- mented the substance of their work.Andrey CHUGUNOV's Total Tolstoy, which won the New Face Award, took apart Tolstoy's text as the most apt sample of an outdated humanistic topic in the contemporary smartphone culture, and created an audiovisual representation of it with an information sci- ence approach. This was an intriguing example of how this kind of social criticism approach can be effective as the main strategy in media art.