Award-winning Works
Entertainment Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


    Interface Designer / tha ltd.
    Festival and Handicrafts
    I personally call the Entertainment Division the "Miscellaneous Division" of the Japan Media Ar ts Festival. These works come from a range of contexts by everyone from individuals to corporations, crisscrossing through this word "entertainment" and forming a valuable place for gathering together works abundant in a service mindset that is trying to make things fun for people in new ways. Many of the entries are operating close to the vogues of the day, offering comparative views of trends every year.As a whole I could sense an increasingly deepening polarization between an "entertainment"-like tendency that is larger in scale, and another tendency moving towards "handicraft "-like creativity rooted in moreindividual contexts and tastes.The former merged more protean technology with narratives that were highly empathetic, demonstrating continued sophistication as well as mobilizing greater audiences. Regardless of whether the medium is a video or website, empathetic and enthusiastic viewers are always pulled into the work, and it feels as if things are moving towards a new kind of festival with value as a single show.On the other hand, in the latter, media expression is more internalized within each individual, showing an ever-increasing diversification. This may be a peculiarity of the division but works stood out where, more than an ambition to "question the work", the motivation was more casual, a case of "I just tried to make this". The works that made the stronger impression were those which guilelessly exhibited unique "merits" fostered in clusters and formed by people with similar interests or attributes, such as the other users existingon an SNS timeline.As a member of the jury, it feels embarrassing only to be able to write about this polarized "Miscellaneous Division" in such a poor style, unnaturally filled with so many uses of "more" and "increasing". And yet this year a rating standard could not be found except for whether the work was a success or failure, and as an individual, it is my hope that you will take an equal interest in the characters of each of the Award-winning Works.
  • KUBOTA Akihiro
    Artist and Professor, Tama Art University
    What Only the Japan Media Arts Festival Can Do
    My expectation before taking an overview of the entries was that this year, in contrast to the last, there would be no major highlight. In fact though, when the entries were being reviewed one by one by the jury, there was a greater variety than before and many works offered glimpses of the next generation, making it a real struggle for the judges to decide.Recently, work both large and small using a variety of data has been on the increase, and Grand Prize-winnerSound of Honda / Aryton Senna 1989 was a work that very much took on the challenge head-on of seeing how far people can be moved by data. However, what is important here is not so much appealing to the sentimentality or shared illusions of a specific generation, but rather that the key element of the work is its strategy (or rather, its view of humanity) demonstrating through a familiar example how human emotions can be controlled by numbers, which connects deeply with the conversation and controversy today about cyborgs and genetic modification. Other works included one which, in contrast to Formula One, explored the possibilities of communication overcoming the present by archiving data through DIY technology, as well as a cutout animation which reaffirmed how the future always exists in the midst of the past. With these works, the true goal of a "prize" is not only to empathize with the intention of the artists but also to attempt an interpretation that goes beyond this.Most representatively in advertising, we can recently see a whole range of Media Arts works being used and coming into prominence in society, not only in the entertainment sector, though I prefer to place value on work in which you can feel the presence of a living and specific humanity, work created by individuals behind closed doors and which could never be created by a team. In our world today where overly emotional populism is rampant through SNS, it is precisely these kinds of works that I want to appraise here in the Japan Media Arts Festival. In the same way as the applicants, the jury is also always considering not what the festival can do as well but rather what it is that only the festival is capable of doing.
  • UKAWA Naohiro
    Genzai (Contemporary) Artist and Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design and Representative, DOMMUNE
    The Opposing Concepts of Order and Noise
    Just what are the Media Arts? The myriad entries to the festival threw this question at me: 4,347 artworks from 84 countries, all different in form, each living, each retaining its own unique ego, like cryptids wriggling in the dense mist of a fantasy world. In the same way that "living" (and this alone) is what defines living creatures as being what they are, do the Media Arts come about simply through raising new technologies to the level of artistic expression? The reason this nebulous image should so capture me is that with both living beings and media, genesis and evolution are very important in how they came about. Genes inherited from our ancestors absorb social influences, inducing internal chemical changes, evolving and radiating new energy. Media Arts - what we might call a kind of bio-order - are a stabilized system for producing artworks. However, is it not in deviations from this giant structure, in the manifestation of bizarre living bodies that have achieved mutation, is it not here where true, unparalleled "beauty" lies? This year, MATSUMOTO Toshio is the winner of a Special Achievement Award. Since the late 1950s, MATSUMOTO has been an outstanding contributor, continuing to cultivate the fields of experimental cinema, video art and media art. MATSUMOTO and I have conversed on many occasions over the years, and invariably the subject will steer towards "order and noise". I would like to introduce some of what we have exchanged in our discussions of these opposing concepts.

    Order is the commensurate state whereby a perspective on things retains equilibrium. Noise deviates from this state, it confounds. Noise exists on the fixed line that brings the world into being; it is suppressed, ignored and at times violently excluded. In other words, what resides in noise is power which does not tolerate commensurate quantification, or power which cannot be conceptualized. Activating this noise and creating revolt is one of the elements of creativity.

    To understand "Media Arts" and examine the irreplaceable beauty of the cosmos, one should first visualize this noise deviated from order. This is the most important thing of all. At the end of our dialogues, MATSUMOTO and I would always find ourselves reaching this conclusion. "Because it is in noise most of all that the spirit resides..."
  • IWATANI Toru
    Game Creator and Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
    The Rediscovery of the Materials and Techniques of Expression
    In the entries we received from the evolving aspects of media, I had a strong sense that the intellectual origin asking how to express entertainment was the rediscover y of the materials and techniques of expression.While the Entertainment Division features such a mix of video games, video works, gadgets, websites and application software that you might well be uncertain as to what genre they belong, all of the works have a way of thinking and a purpose that is very genuine, and many seemed to have narratives. Among these, all the judges were immediate in their praise for Sound of Honda / Ayrton Senna 1989 and in deciding to award it the Grand Prize. This project turns the spotlight on its material, Ayrton SENNA's racing data, from the simply brilliant viewpoint of asking if it is possible to resurrect the race through light and sound, and it passionately relates the solidarity of the team that transformed the original data into a giant installation.Although classified during the review process as a "game", the Sports Time Machine can also be thought of as a work which rediscovers basic data in the way it allows you to compete against the records of your own past sports performances and those of sports athletes. The diligently produced Fantasy Captured in Plastic Models: A Desk Diorama and The Burning Buddha Man are also connected to established and conventional techniques of expression, and in them we can see an inquiry into modalities of technology. It is a shame that there were so few video games that felt novel or surprising, though the jury debated about Ryugagotoku5 Yume Kanaeshimono, one of the Jury Selections, right to the end as a work that suggests themes and possibilities for developing the medium. With MATSUO Basho's haiku "The utter silence, cutting through the very stone a cicada's rasp" everyone will visualize the scene in their own way. As people possess the faculty to visualize in conjunction with their memory, I want artists to rediscover basic data, not to inundate with excess data, and to search for expression with information that, while refined, is the bare minimum required.
  • IIDA Kazutoshi
    Game Creator and Professor, College of Image Arts and Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
    A Feast of Fluttering Things: Objects, Humanity, Mourning
    Entertainment works in the Media Arts are replicated and spread. As long as you have the same environment, you can recreate them anywhere at any time. But since viewing a work is something that takes place in each and every scene in life, the artist cannot control the quality of the experience completely. On this basis, we are strongly pulled to works looking to the "individuality" that is an upshot of this replication and diffusion.YAKENOHARA "RELAXIN'" is a cute video work but also one where the inhabitant of the room is implicitly depicted through the wriggling of "things". But change the angle and now that wriggling seems to be one of mourning. The protagonist in rain is an invisible person attempting to escape from the perceptions of the player who at times controls them. Meanwhile, the life form in BADLAND striving at all costs to survive is a tough character but just a black shadow. Ryugagotoku5 Yume Kanaeshimono features outsiders who can be robbed even in fictional places. Perceiving Fukushima GameJam, which creates new industries while gently snuggling up to current social problems, as a pair with Snake the Planet!, which destabilizes the borders between the public and private, it was also exciting to try to examine the relationship between the real world and computer games.If the concept in painting of "figure and ground" was replaced with the tendency from this year's entries, it might well become "presence and absence". Sound of Honda / Ayrton Senna 1989 succeeded with remarkable immediacy in larking around with someone not even there. If you think about it, interchange with absentees is one of the primordial impulses of humanity and ar tists today are utilizing diverse technology to develop it. Due to this, our view of life and death may well be renewed in the near future. That the entertainment adjoining people on a daily basis can bring this about is an imagination most glorious.