Award-winning Works
Art Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • MIWA Masahiro
    Composer and Professor,Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Science (IAMAS)
    Discovering the Present Form of Art
    Once again, I enjoyed being a member of the Jury for the Art Division for the third consecutive year, and once again I faced extreme difficulty as works of a consistently high quality were gathered. However, in comparison to the last two years, I felt there were fewer surprises. What I mean by "surprise" is the shock given by artwork through which, from unexpected viewpoints, the artists perceive the world that is changing at every moment concurrently with new technology. Last year, for example, the Jury were stunned by works that vividly illuminated the future implications of new technologies such as big data and Google Maps, of which it is difficult to be aware in our daily lives. One year on, many submissions have naturally been "updated" in various ways, but often this only appeared to be an update of what was there before. In retrospect, it is unsual that this aspect of surprise was lacking in spite of there being such a large number of applicants from all over the world. Also, there was little sense that something interesting was taking place in specific fields, as there was in the graphic art catergory of last year, and one might say that perhaps the expressive form of "new media art" has, as a genre, come to find a stable form. However, it is even possible at the same time to deny its definition as a genre. This is because the Jury of the Art Division undoubtedly seeks, if we borrow the words of GOGOTA Hisanori, a member of last year's Jury, to "uncover the present form of art" or, put differently, it seeks not the establishment of a single genre, but to question the very framework that defines genres in order to make new discoveries.
    Against such a background, works selected for the Excellence Award, such as an "ingenious device" as a media installation (This may not be a movie), a "critical design" as graphic art (Drone Survival Guide), and "music" as media per formance ("patrinia yellow" for Clarinet and Computer) were highly rated. However, the overall impression I had this year is not just that of someone who has grown accustomed to the Japan Media Arts Festival, but was also shared by other Jury members. As with last year, naturally there were superior works that remained in the final screening, but there was no single work appropriate for the Grand Prize that rang a chord with all Jury members. To be more precise, the rightful Grand Prize-winning work was going to be decided by a simple majority vote, but as the discussion continued Jury members began to sense that the difference between the work we had nominated and others that could potentially be given an Excellence Award was not so significant. In a screening where there were few unexpected works, no-one had anticipated such a conclusion, but rather than forcing a decision the call for "no award" was made with the belief that it honestly reflected the true feelings of all Jury members. For the record, the Jury reached the conclusion to instead give five works an Excellence Award.
  • TAKATANI Shiro
    What are Media Arts (*Media Geijutsu*) ?
    For the past three years, I have served as a Jury member of the Art Division within the Japan Media Arts Festival. However, as I expected from the outset, I still do not know what Media Arts (Media Geijutsu) are. For me, to create an artwork means to use "media" in some form or another. Whether this medium takes the form of a photograph, or a computer, it has a meaning in the sense that it is used as an extension of the faculties I possess. This is true of all works of art, and the artist will necessarily use some form of medium in order to create work.
    And so, for me the question in the title, "What are Media Arts (Media Geijutsu)?" has the same meaning as the question, "What is art (Geijutsu)?" Taking this as my yardstick, I have reviewed work in the Japan Media Arts Festival as a member of the Jury for the past three years. What I have sensed during that time is that, in attempting to locate works with new feelings of awareness by relying solely on submissions of diverse works in various forms, it is possible that the raison d'etre of the Japan Media Arts Festival will be lost. It is already a matter of course that works displaying such new senses of awareness can easily be found by searching on the Internet without much effort. If one wants to present something, by publishing it online it becomes possible for anyone to access the work with ease. And so, what should be done in such an environment? After giving this some thought, I have finally come to think that, in order to provide opportunities to uncover works producing new senses of value, and to create new directions toward which we should ben navigating, the development of the Japan Media Arts Festival is essential.
  • OKABE Aomi
    Art Critic
    Awaiting a Revolution in Cutting-edge Art
    Among this year's entries, works using light and sound were prominent while, due to the diffusion of international exhibitions and the popularization of contemporary art, interactive installations using lazers, video, and sound could also be seen. However, contemporary art is not limited to aesthetics and sensory stimulation. There has also been a trend in recent years to place importance on social concerns, and in the Art Division of this festival the works ultimately selected also deeply engage with reality. Nevertheless, as in previous years, the Grand Prize has stuck to the mold of pure art or art appreciation.
    If we investigate this direction toward connecting society with art, then we find it is new media art that, through the use of social networks and big data, abounds with possibilities to extend the field into unexplored territories. The joy in being a judge in the Japan Media Arts Festival lies in being able to encounter astounding and beguiling works that, through approaches and methods different to those of conventional media art, invigorate social awareness. Within the current od art history, examples of conceptual art, with its emphasis on concept and language, can be found taking simple plastic forms. The Jury Selection Double Standards - Somali Seajacks 2010-2012, a survey of 59 vessels that were attacked by Somali pirates over a two-year period, is an excellent work that can precisely be said to fl ow from this current, but at a comprehensive level its content would be difficult to understand immediately in an exhibition venue where physical receptivity is important.
    All of the Excellence Award-winners demonstrate a high creative quality appropriate for the Grand Prize. However, if we look simply at the parameters of social criticality and the level of completion in terms of rich plasticity, the selected works could swing to either pole. The decision this year that none of the selections qualify for the Grand Prize was made with the sincere hope of encountering works that are a fusion of both aspects, exceeding mere consumption to convey a message for the future.
    Although the heart leaps at cutting-edge creative experiences and plastic forms, works of long-term commitment can, while encouraging criticality in the viewer, and attempting to stave off transformations in a continually deteriorating global environment, exalt the spirit. It is precisely exemplary works of contemporary art that offer unparalleled intellectual stimulus to consider the future.
  • SATOW Morihiro
    Historian of Visual Culture and Professor, Kyoto Seika University
    Being Critically Conscious of Media
    I myself do not specialize in contemporary art, rather I am primarily carrying out historical and theoretical research into visual media - landscapes, mourning images, etc. - in modernity, usually with a focus on photography. Interested as I am in such themes, my joining the Art Division of the Japan Media Arts Festival as judge has given me the opportunity to reconsider what "media" is.
    This is a personal definition, but let us first consider media art as a generic art term, a field which has continued to be critically aware at all times of media itself. As a matter of fact, it is unthinkable that there could exist a work that does not use media/a medium in the sense that, as with most other cultural acts of creation, media are vehicles for conveying a message of some form from the sender to the receiver. The singular form of media (medium) is also surely well known for its alternative meaning of "psychic", a person who conveys the words of the deceased from the spirit world (in this sense, Media Arts also seems to be a redundant term).
    Let us consider media a little more. Through linear perspective introduced in the Renaissance, the world has come to be viewed as if through the window of media. Those who draw a picture using perspective copy the world from a point of view isolated from the depicted subject. When the painting is complete, the viewer standing in front of the picture sees the world while sharing the same point of view of its producer. Thereupon, the surface of the painting becomes transparent. The invention of photography and film as a means of mechanical reproduction in the nineteenth century accelerated the transparency of media. For example, when a photo of a certain incident is put before a person, they will see the incident, and not the photographic medium itself.
    20 years have already passed since a state in which this window opens onto a display of a computer connected to a network has come about. With the spread of recent mobile devices, this can no longer be called a "new" media and, like the air that surrounds us, it has become an environment itself. In this way, through digital technology, many forms of media - images, moving images, text, and sound - have been unified as a numerical value within a computer.
    On the other hand, it is modernist art that can be considered as a force that resisted the transparency of media. For example, the radical and constant pursuit of the specificity of the medium of painting - "the ineluctable flatness of the support", which is its physical condition - was intended to ensure autonomous art in modern times.★1 In answer to this, since the 1970s the cross-disciplinary use of a plurality of media has become routine. ★2
    Although I provisionally tried to define media art as an "art that is critically conscious of media", in many cases we can assume without doubt that this refers to contemporary media technology. But here, without being bound by the specificity of the media, I wonder how it would be possible to put the critical consciousness of media up for discussion. In this year's screening, I feel that I have seen numerous methods for doing this. In particular, in this year's festival there was a prevalence of works that explored the interface between media technology and the human body. Even among these, FUKUSHIMA Satoshi's "patrinia yellow" for Clarinet and Computer, selected for the Excellence Award, portrayed, through the mixing of a performance by a living person and the real-time sound processing of the music by a computer, the rivalry between irreversible time and feedback - sampling as a form of memory.
    With an interest in the history of media, what gained my attention were works that re-questioned media through an archaeological approach. For example, what GOSHIMA Kazuhiro's This may not be a movie attempts to do is to present an alternative system to the "frame", the smallest unit that has been with us since the invention of film, using existing equipment such as optical fibers and a twin-reflex camera to "map in two dimensions" what is three-dimensional. Here, the birth of the moving image as a media system can be seen re-created through a form of bricolage.
    Today, when media technology has become our environment, as ubiquitous as the air around us, through being a judge in this festival I feel I have witnessed the possibilities together with the difficulties of facing this fact.
  • UEMATSU Yuka
    Curator, National Museum of Modern Art, Osaka
    0 Result out of 1,877
    When serving as a member of this Jury, there is the experience of irreplaceable joy in encountering outstanding work that excites the heart, while on the other hand, one is also faced with the difficult task of selecting the Award-winning Work. However, in this year's Art Division, as a result of careful discussion, the tough decision was reached that no entry was suitable for the Grand Prize.
    Voices of suspicion might be raised at the fact that no work merited the Grand Prize despite there being more than 1,800 submissions. Nevertheless, there was little sense of the aforementioned joy in this year's reviewing process and, compared to last year, I was constantly left with a lackluster impression throughout. And I imagine this was a feeling shared by the other Jury members. The result of this was that no consensus could be reached about the winner of the Grand Prize, and this was again reflected in the awarding of five Excellence Awards.
    Having been through the screening process for the second time, in my opinion the request, introduced this year, for works over ten minutes in duration to be submitted in abridged versions has led to a reduction in overall application numbers, and this may be one of the causes for a slight lack of brilliance in the entries. Nonetheless, this is not to say there were no works that stayed in my mind. Cod.Act's Nyloïd, GOSHIMA Kazuhiro's This may not be a movie, which questioned the relationship between still images and moving images/film, the video installation A Tale of Tehrangeles by Anahita RAZMI, which shows on two screens the state of affairs in Iranian communities in Tehran and Los Angeles through the motif of Charles DICKENS' novel A Tale of Two Cities, Jan CHLUP's Flat Logic-The Book which has a beautifully painterly quality, and Marc LEE's Pic-me - fly to the locations where users send posts, in which there is a sense of fear when the flood of social media use and media become tied together, were among several works of a high level of perfection that showed uniqueness, precisely utilizing the technology of new media art to clearly delineate aspects of today's society. It is my hope that works submitted next year will, in a positive way, make the selection of the Grand Prize even more difficult.
    Opinions were also divided about entries submitted as video works or video installations. Whether due to the relatively shallow history of "media art", or due, within the current sphere of contemporary art, to the broad range of video works and video installations that have already been presented in museums or various other exhibition venues, there were a number of entries over an hour in duration that can be considered feature films or documentaries. How should works of this kind be dealt with in the Japan Media Arts Festival? This was also discussed in the previous year, but upon deeper consideration, surely greater tolerance is required.