20th Entertainment Division Critiques

The Shape of Entertainment to Come

I found myself wondering if the time for having a distinct "entertainment" division within "media arts" may have run its course. When I think about the rapid and historically remarkable development of digital media over the past 20 years, I can certainly understand why "media arts" became a category, and it is natural enough that the direction "entertainment" takes within that category should be of great interest. Since entertainment had developed without digital media until that point, there was good reason not to just idly watch how things subsequently changed, but to actively applaud those who dared to take up the challenges of the new. It was a highly meaningful step. I especially remember feeling that way when I learned of last year's Grand Prize winner.But having personally become a juror for the first time this year, I could not help feeling a need to rethink what we expect of "entertainment." In fact, I believe our results served to bring that need into relief. Not that I'm asking for a more precise definition of the category to aid in judging submissions. As far as definitions go, "anything that gives people a good time" should be sufficient. The question is: What exactly makes for a "good time" today? Also, when the number of people looking for "content" is exceeded by the number of people who have begun to grow tired of consuming "content"--and my hunch says that time is now--what exactly should come next? That's what I found myself wondering about.From that perspective, I had been thinking that the Konbini DJ (Convenience Store DJ) events conducted by KISHINO Yuichi, who won the Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division last year for his Tadashii kazu no kazoekata (Best way for counting numbers), represented a major shift in the entertainment space, but no submission was made to the festival. Another event of interest in 2016 was the successful theatrical release of a crowdfunded feature film based on the manga Kono sekai no katasumi ni (In This Corner of the World). The sequence of the project's development made me feel tremendously optimistic about the future--precisely because it represented a totality of connections among people of a kind that does not lend itself to submission to a festival. What needs to be done to shine a light on such qualities and actuate new standards of evaluation? I believe we are coming to a new turning point--among other things, for the policy of only selecting awardees from among the entries submitted.

SATO Naoki
Art Director and Professor, Tama Art University
Born in Tokyo in 1961. Professor at Tama Art University and instructor at Bigakko. After graduating from the Hokkaido University of Education, he studied the sociology of education and language at Shinshu University, and also studied painting under KIKUHATA Mokuma at Bigakko. In 1994 he became the art director for WIRED magazine's launch in Japan. In 1998 he founded ASYL DESIGN inc. (current Asyl). From 2003 to 2010 he produced Central East Tokyo (CET), an art, design and architecture event. In 2010 he was involved in the establishment of 3331 Arts Chiyoda. His work is included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, receiving awards from Japan and overseas. His artwork There, it has grown has been exhibited in Trans Arts Tokyo 2013-, Odate/Kita-Akita Arts Festival 2014, and other locations.