Award-winning Works
Art Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • ISHIDA Takashi
    Painter, Film Artist and Associate Professor, Tama Art University
    New Feelings
    The artwork genres listed in the entry guidelines for the Art Division are interactive art, media installations, video works, video installations, graphic art (illustrations, pho- tographs, computer graphics, etc.), internet art, media performances, etc. Video works run the gamut from documentary to animation, while media art presents expressions through new technologies and pursues their ideation. The form and technology of works are limitless. Given that the derivation of art is said to be the Latin word for technology, on reflection, the works in the Art Division presenting technology and devices are art that three-dimensionally emerge from methods of limitless expression. In fact, in this festival I was able to encounter many works possessing this power.However, this time I felt anew that such works are extremely subtle and present a technical issue to the viewer as to just how accurately one can understand them based on online video recordings and data. While advancements in media allow the collection of nearly 2,000 pieces from almost 100 countries, perhaps out- standing works contemplating the nature of media itself are not fully communicated due to their progressive- ness. Above all, pursuing the bare expression of the work and the concept of media may result in something beyond the conventional concept of the work of art.The artist creates art for him or herself and can only wonder whether it will resonate with the viewer. It is not as if the artwork is good if there are many admirers, and it is somewhat suspect to say that a piece is excellent because an expert says so. That is exactly what history has taught us. Art is not a sport, and there are no intrin- sic relative merits.Everything is a mystery, and that is why there is art. There are various time differences in the tremulousness of the empathy that is communicating something from me to another. I would like to consider the extended meaning of media art, including all the time differences and discrepancies of light, air, era, particles, gravity, magic, and divine power. Assessments in art festivals like this one are ideal opportunities to connect with oth- ers, and at the same time they suggest the limitations of contemporary media.
  • NAKAZAWA Hideki
    A Criticism of Media Arts as through Judg- ing and a Proposal to the Japanese Nation
    There are three parts to my critique: a message to the unsuccessful entrants, a discussion of the difficulties of the Art Division, and proposals to the public.First, as a message to those artists who were not selected or who did not get the prize they were hoping for: I have also been in this position, and I would simply ask that you not destroy the work you entered. YOROZU Tetsugoro cut up one of his most important works af- ter it failed to win a prize, which was a great loss for Japanese art. Moreover, this year was my last term as a member of the jury, so if you think you lost because of me, please try again next year!Next, I would like to discuss the ways in which the Japan Media Arts Festival's Art Division has difficulties that are fundamentally different from those in other divi- sions. Due to the Basic Act for the Culture and the Arts of Japan and this festival, manga and animation are cat- egorized by genre in the Media Arts divisions with the aim of promoting these arts, which is wonderful. I am also happy that entertainment and commercial artistic expression is protected in the Entertainment Division.However, media art, which is maybe one wing of fine art, is categorized as a single division in the Media Arts, which as a consequence separates it from other fine arts. One proof of this was the guideline that the work was "made using digital technology." This guideline was removed two years ago, but the submitted works show that this separation continues. You can also see this in the way that none of the winning works venture out of the category of media art.This separation is unfortunate, as evidenced by MI- KAMI Seiko's statement that "My title is 'artist,' and I have never thought of becoming a media artist."*1 From the perspective of fine art, which pursues art as art itself from within the world of art, without being content with entertainment or commercial art, "media" is an unnec- essary prefix, and its advocacy sounds like an excuse. For this reason, this festival is seen as having virtually no relevance to Japan's contemporary art world, or at the most, as a stepping stone for newcomers. This is in sharp contrast to manga and animation, for which this festival is an opportunity for the industry's greats to be recognized by the nation. Nevertheless, the Art Division is included in theMedia Arts because art and authority have something to do with values. A long time ago, the government tried to reinforce the status of manga and animation, which were seen as Japan's strengths, as part of its Cool Japan strategy. Japan's policymakers wanted to give these two genres value as dignified art, not as sub-culture. However, it was not a good idea to simply apply the conventional concept of art derived from the West--the West's strength--directly to manga and an- ime. The timing was also premature. This explains why "Media Arts" was created about 20 years earlier as a new concept which only existed in the Japanese cultur- al administration, embracing both art forms. After this, media art--one wing of fine art--become essential as a guarantee of the connection between this aggregate and art. This desperate national measure continues to cause difficulties in the Art Division.Given this, my proposal is that this festival should be set up so that it becomes an integral part of the con- temporary art world. The framework designed 20 years ago has played its role well, so first of all, I'd like to see the Art Division encompass fine art as a whole. The list of sub-categories should be removed from the entry guidelines. Second, the entry guidelines should explain the kind of works that are expected. Two years ago, I recommended that one or the other of these changes be made, but now I think both changes are necessary. These specific proposals are motivated by my desire for the government to value those artists who are pursuing art for art's sake. I think that if the government is going to be involved in creating authority and value, we should use art terminology and clarify our philosophy with our heads held high, rather than worrying about Cool Japan and hospitality measures (so-called the Omotenashi) targeting other countries. These changes were not made this year, but I hope they will happen next year or thereafter.
  • FUJIMOTO Yukio
    My Three Years as a Juror
    I have been involved in screening submissions for three years. My appreciation of the many entries has led to an interest in the changing trends I see in the works each year.Among the entries submitted for the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival, my first year on the jury, the most memorably to me were works addressing themes re- lated to the state of society and the environment. At the time, people around the world were astonished by the intensity of media utilization, epitomized by the Is- lamic State. I felt that these works were in sync with the achievement of an environment in which individuals and groups can communicate with the "world."I was somewhat surprised that the following year's entries included several works in which this "world" leaned toward the self. The perspective dramatically shifted from the world at large to the small world of the individual. One of the reasons behind this is perhaps the shift as media, a tool for individuals, has become free from hardware and as simple to use as a pencil on paper, due to the rapid performance improvements of mobile devices and other technologies.This is similar to when books became available in large volume to the general public after Gutenberg be- gan moveable type printing, and the contents of books changed from the large world of the Bible and mythol- ogy to the small personal world of suffering and love, as depicted by best-selling Goethe works.In my third year of screening entries for the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival, I saw a new trend in the submitted works. Several entries contained a message that, through senses and perceptions, posed the ques- tion, "What is this world in which we exist?"The expression of art created on the theme of the "extraordinary" up until the 19th century moved into the 20th century when the artist's point of view looked to the "ordinary." This jolted what had been common sense up to that point, but from the latter half of the 20th century the artist's perspective changed from gaz- ing at the world from an ordinary point of view to trying to recapture the world itself. These changes in art span- ning more than 100 years, which I have experienced in just three years, have been extremely educational for me.
  • MORIYAMA Tomoe
    Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
    Changing Things, with an Unchanging Spirit
    Initially, what I felt as a juror was the same thing I felt before, when this art festival celebrated its 20th anni- versary--that more than ever "media art / Media Arts" are following the usual path all new cultural domains tra- verse in establishing themselves, having completed an initial period of "dissimilation" and "leaping away" from conventional ways of looking at things, and now pro- ceeding through a longer process of transformation. We have long repeated the deliberate appeal that this realm is "a new, innovative art quite different from convention- al art." Then, even after it attains dramatic popularity, while looking askance at its far-reaching expansion and becoming compulsory education, we wait for media art / Media Arts to become truly ordinary, hoping that the day will come before your life and mine end. However, when looking over this year's entries, I felt I should not be so pessimistic.Stated from the standpoint of preconceptions and vague notions held by people regarding certain genres, the popular image of this realm these past ten or so years has likely been of something "near-futuristic and sharp." For example, the enigmatic, tranquil landscape of the Grand Prize winner, Interstices / Opus I - Opus II is perhaps an element that embodies the "cool and stylish" aspect of this realm. A part of that can also be glimpsed in the severity of Datum Point, winner of the Excellence Award, and its animation technique achieved solely by motions made with the hand. Con- versely, other award-winning works attempt to depict the world through pure discoveries and somehow leave an unknowing impression.At the various contemporary art festivals (Venice, Kassel, Münster) in 2017, here and there appeared "contemporary works of art that struggled to use AR/ VR," creating memorable contract with esoteric, con- ventional works that fail to intuitively communicate a context that appeals to society. Both the artist and viewer continue to evolve, and our past selves no longer exist. However, I believe what remains unchanged is the spirit of this realm--that is, a delicate approach show- ing, not just struggling with, serious and difficult things, in a playful and whimsical manner.