Award-winning Works
Art Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • TAKATANI Shiro
    In Pursuit of Art Piercing the Depths of Consciousness
    The entries this year once again used a range of materials and techniques. These stimulate artists and havethe potential to be important components of an artwork. But an artist cannot merely introduce new materials and techniques. Unless the artist determines from all possibilities the one method for dealing with the materials and techniques, and engaging with the imagery envisaged and assembling it as something unique, then it ultimately will fail as an artwork. What are the Media Arts? Surely "something" which, through technology, shows a cross-section of the world never seen before. This year's Award-winning Works in particular are very sophisticated in their use of technology and in how they are put together as original artworks. For example, Carsten NICOLAI's crt mgn converts invisible magnetic force into the auditory, MIHARA Soichiro's the blank to overcome interprets bubbles as a "blank" inexpressible by words, and Dronestagram uses social media to reveal the disharmony in the relationship between network technology and surveillance, violence and war. The SKOR Codex, meanwhile, throws up new perspectives on time in its attempt to engage in dialogue with the future, taking contemporary culture, scrambling it into binary data for processing on a computer and storing to memory, and then mounting this onto an old form of media, a book. In this way, we are able to see things never seen before, expanding the resolution of viewers' senses. And by becoming able to see what until now could not be seen, I could feel in many of the entries a subtle disconnect with the world and that this subtle disconnect might actually be leading to a great transformation of our consciousness.
  • MIWA Masahiro
    Composer and Professor,Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Science (IAMAS)
    Humanity, Examined from Technology
    In all music and art, not to mention what we call media art, to experience the arts is not to "view" but to "witness". And to witness is not to gaze at what you see from afar and appraise it, nor to be immersed in the world of the artwork. It is to encounter an unfamiliar phenomenon, to sight it and assume the role of testifier. But what are you the witness of? And just who is verifying what for whom? All of the selected works this year are powerfully calling on us to witness. That is, they indicate a dawn of the "artistic expression by device" while nonetheless drawing on history. Self-referential, they form an introspective homage to media art. In another work, the device itself continues to generate bubbles symbolizing a void.
    Attention was also drawn to the works that forced us to confront the diverse things happening in the world. One is a work of theatre taking place inside an augmented reality space, throwing you into the midst of testimonies about the arms trade. Another is a website where information and satellite photographs related to unmanned combat air vehicles are constantly being uploaded, while yet another is an "atlas" which used crowdsourcing to compile online information. These artworks have been born out of the soil laid by recently popularized technology and mechanical systems, but when we traced the source of the technology being used we arrived at weapons development, the very reality being dealt with by the artworks.
    These works are not aiming for something so insignificant as exposing the injustices of a specific state. No, the artists seem to be asking unidentified others what is it that we, who today have acquired such an incredible amount of technology, are trying to do in this world. Perhaps it is that people around the world, now living in a present where global economy and technology have transcended state and cultural identities, are hanging their last hopes on art created by a humanity which is examined from technology. Going beyond the artists' senses of justice and their political creeds, we simply "witnessed", speechless, these clinical questions by unfamiliar artists, knowing that more likely than not, right now, at this very moment, unmanned combat air vehicles are quietly carrying out missions.
  • GOGOTA Hisanori
    Curator and Owner of Baikado
    Media Arts as ‶Current” Art
    This year's process of judging the many works was more joyful that we could have hoped. This was due, of course, to the quality of the individual works, but also because we could come into contact with a kind of contemporary spirit that was shared across the various regions and media of expression.In contrast to our impression of "Media Arts (Media Geijutsu)" as something unfamiliar, it is no exaggeration to say that the entries covered almost all areas of contemporary art.More so than the eminent art events being held all over the world, I'd say it was pretty much everything. For this reason, discovering something common to the artworks was a stimulating experience of uncovering the present form of art, something different to the major art scenes.Particularly striking was how there were so many artworks directly connected to global social and political realities today. We felt much empathy with works such as the Excellence Award-winners Dronestagram and The Big Atlas of LA Pools, and outsourced views / visual economies from the Jury Selections, which raised big data and crowdsourcing both as themes and methods.Needless to say, the artists are not naively dealing with these as "new public goods". Rather, the works are pointing straightforwardly to realities which are merely new spinoffs from state power and globalized corporations.Though New Face Award-winner Learn to be a Machine | DistantObject #1 offers criticism of media art, so to speak, through its humorous method of including the audience, this also rises to the level of a cynical simulation of contemporary media and technology, and our society of mutual surveillance.It was also striking that there were so many superb graphic works, including digital photography. There were many experimental forms of expression which cannot be seen at regular photography exhibitions, as well as works distinct to paper media, and this was very refreshing.On the other hand, the work by Japanese artists was sadly rather lacking in color. There were entries with novel and innovative ideas, but as a whole they fit too snugly into the category of "Media Arts" and felt flimsy in comparison to the works from other countries. It is a hackneyed thing to say but the Japanese works were just so emotional and paled against the epic overseas works such as Situation Rooms. This has been pinpointed more than once as being a Japanese cultural problem, though it is fascinating how it appears prominently even in media art today.A few problematic areas surfaced during the judging process. For example, there was Reactor for Awareness in Motion (RAM), the application that supports creativity entered by the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]. The jury debated whether it should be excluded on the grounds that it is something conducive to creating new artworks, rather than being an autonomous work. Further consideration is surely necessary.There were also many examples among the video works of narratives lasting more than an hour. Opinion was divided over where the border lay between out-and-out films and documentary works. The global drift in art museums in recent years towards dealing actively with video works as installations is calling for approaches from artists which respond to this flexibly.Finally, I would like to offer my thanks not only to the many artists who entered their work into the festival but also my fellow members of the selection members.
  • OKABE Aomi
    Art Critic
    Connecting Memories of Love, Alongside Songs of Resistance
    While reviewing the entries I felt the potential for serious inquiry into society and creativity by bountifulmedia. As I wrote in my commentary on the work by Carsten NICOLAI which won the Grand Prize (p.22), I could feel a love towards art connecting past media with the present, as well as the medium of past reproductive art, such as books, being rediscovered through the individual and mature gaze of the artists. Cutting-edge experiments in humanity's fathomless cultural resources and history cross over genres, offering the joy of witnessing exciting moments that open up an unknown world. Entered in the graphic art field and winner of the Excellence Award, The Big Atlas of LA Pools by Benedikt GROSS uses open source tools to map the 43,000 swimming pools in Los Angeles as well as sex offenders, compiled into 74 volumes and 6,000 pages, a social odyssey hinting at a relationship with data that at first appears disassociated. What is integrated into the book as an enormous graphic image is a stand against the peculiar instability of digital society, whereby precious original data and software can one day suddenly disappear from the Internet or become disabled. On the other hand, Societe Anonyme says the format for The SKOR Codex, a winner of a New Face Award and whose final form is also a book, was chosen as a "universal future time capsule" for later decoding, unwaveringly trusting in this cultural storage device which will continue for thousands of years. Though it is widely known that GPS and other advanced science and technologies were developed in connection with military technology, recent systems are now using these around the world in social networks and for cultural expression. Many of the original aims are hidden by the shadow of these entertainmenttools. I once experienced a shudder seeing footage at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival of young soldiers operating drones and dropping bombs as if playing a video game, all while simply watching a computer screen in a relaxed everyday environment far from the war zone. James BRIDLE's Dronestagram won an Excellence Award and defines the sites of bombings by drones in non-combat areas, searching for the place name and then using online distribution functions along with aerial images of the land to tell people about the attack. Reversing the use of media and protesting the slaughter of weaponry, it further presents problems in i ts very platform, to which anyone can upload. The reason is that the content is mainly being used as a device provoking visual thrills and the enjoyment of looking down at land from the sky.Situation Rooms won the Excellence Award and its authors, the unit Rimini Protokoll, were also invited to Tokyo for the performing arts event Festival/Tokyo to stage 100% Tokyo, which reconstructed the city's population from statistics. The title is derived from the name of the room installed underneath the White House in the KENNEDY era to be used during emergencies as a 24-hour situation analysis center. It became famous as the place where 13 people, including President OBAMA, were when they watched the video of the killing of Osama bin LADEN. Narratives of 20 people, each with differing experiences related to weapons, are set up in 20 rooms. The audience traces the narration and videos intersecting virtually with people connected to weapons and arms, exploring their own position. With the audience members interweaving with each other through the videos, this was a work that encouraged a rediscovery and critiquing of murderous weaponry.LAU Hochi's New Face Award-winner Learn to be a Machine | DistantObject #1 was a satirical performanceful l of humor about interactive art. Amor MUNOZ's Maquila Region 4 emboldened workers on low wages, using signals to relay their characters through a type of stitched barcodes. Both of these New Face Award-winning works resonated with a sense of humanity. The main role in MIHARA Soichiro's Excellence Award-winner the blank to overcome was bubble soap repeating a process of extinction and regeneration, delicately expressing the ephemerality of art in the post-3.11 nihility of the present, as well as the volition of artists who, despite this, have to keep on questioning.
  • UEMATSU Yuka
    Curator, National Museum of Modern Art, Osaka
    Media Art, Evolving into Actuality
    We might say that media art is created alongside the growth of the technology that surrounds us. This year's Japan Media Ar ts Festival received close to 2,500 entries in the Art Division, among which can be seen artworks produced by innovation acquired from technology, as well as on the other hand, artworks which express the largesse of media art.And so while some artists are pursuing the heights of technology, there are also artists who are selecting eclectic media as the technology which exhibit their own ideas and expression. This use of unrestricted media and experimentation in genre-crossing shows diversity while also maintaining flexibility, though this is precisely what media art is, and the disparity between artworks caused by the transitions of time is surely leading to no small measure of change in the Japan Media Arts Festival as well. The largest numbers of entries were video works and these were particularly notable. The overseas works emphasized not so much technical aspects; rather, many works had a strong sense of narrative and the documentarian, based on contemporary actualities. While they are equipped with the modes of expression of so-called "video art", here we can also see how media art is expanding as the borders between genres melt away. Might not this also be a reason for why there were so many entries?Grand Prize-winner crt mgn presents a mature image of media art. At the same time, Excellence Award-winnersDronestagram and The Big Atlas of LA Pools are reflecting a society created by recent internet environments, revealing methods for transforming online data into media art. In the evolution of computer technology,the advent of the era of big data with the popularization of SNS has drawn attention for revealing the zeitgeist's new developments in media art about citation and duplication, a theme which has always had importance in contemporary art.