19th Art Division Critiques

Thinking Period

I first encountered electronic music in the 1960s. Although I was excited by the tremendous potential of electronic music, which could be used to create all kinds of unknown sounds, I realized that almost everything made with this technique sounded like "electronic music". The problem had nothing to do with the musicians' command of the equipment. Rather, it was due to the simple fact that they were being controlled by the devices. It was about then that I came across KOSUGI Takehisa's work. He used everyday objects like transistor radios, electric fans, and fishing poles to create a world of compelling electronic sounds. KOSUGI supplely mastered insignificant technology in a wonderful way. From that point on, I began to think that experimental approaches to the relationship between the human body and technology were necessary in art.Today, nearly half a century later, technology has made remarkable progress and its expressive potential has improved dramatically since the 1960s. Yet, it seems to me that in terms of the relationship between human beings and technology, things have not really changed that much. As I examined the submissions in this year's competition, many of the works had the predictable feel of media art. At the same time, though, I was surprised to find that many artists are also exploring new approaches. As many of these works were far from flashy, they had a disadvantage in the short-term judging process. But I had the sense that the artists' repeated efforts to engage in experiments of this kind will lead to something that no longer requires the descriptive term "media art".In the '60s, light and sound expressions made with what was then cutting-edge equipment, were called "intermedia" or "multimedia" - terms that are no longer in use. When the term "media art" also falls by the wayside, the true work will begin.

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.”