Award-winning Works
Art Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

Social Impact Award

New Face Award

Jury Selections


  • HACHIYA Kazuhiko
    Artist and Associate Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts
    My Fist Art Division Judging
    I was involved in the Japan Media Arts Festival around 2013-15, and I thought being a jury member for the Art Division would be tough because of the large number of entries. This year, I finally got to be a jury member for the Division. The judging process was not as tough as I expected, maybe because it has been improved over time, yet I found another difficulty. Since I believe giving frank opinions is a role of a "newcomer," I will write it here: the difficulty of judging experience-based works. Currently, the judging for the Art Division is based on documents and online videos. The video for judging must be within a limited time in the interest of fairness, and it is not easy to discover the characteristics and originality of the work within that short time. The fact that many works in the Art Division are experience-based makes things even more difficult. An installation work is hard enough to judge through a video, but when it comes to an interactive work or even a VR work, understanding the essence of the work is extremely challenging. However, judging is essentially like this: submitted works are reviewed, ranked and awarded by a given method within a limited time. The jury did our best to make a fair judgment by fully exerting our individual experiences and knowledge. But still, it cannot be perfect. All the same, it is true that we would have been able to judge with more certainty if we could experience the works firsthand or view them in person. Some readers may have noticed, but this is a message for the artists who did not win the awards. This may sound like an excuse, but you are not losers. The five jury members are not the Almighty. Our tastes and expertise are all different. Luck also plays a part. If your work was an excellent one, we are the ones who lost. Nevertheless, award-winning works definitely had something outstanding or had provided an opportunity to experience the work properly. I admit that it is currently difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic, though I still hope that you will find some way to exhibit your work or provide an opportunity for firsthand experience. I hope I will see your work there again and that it will make me have regrets. Thank you very much for submitting your work.
  • TASAKA Hiroko
    Curator of the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
    The Age of Transition
    The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of the world this year. Political and social unrest was discussed on social media worldwide, and virtual activities became a part of the daily lives of the majority of people. Museums, movie theaters, and even cultural programs including the Japan Media Arts Festival and other art festivals were forced to turn to virtual events. Being curious about the influences of such a backdrop on artworks, I served as a jury member for the second year. Some think there is no direct causal relationship between artistic expression and social background, but mind-blowing works can possibly emerge amid difficult and volatile times. One major reason for me to serve as a jury member is a desire to encounter out-of-the-box works that go beyond the judging criteria and have unexpected energy, because there is much to be gained by understanding how these works are associated with the present time. Unfortunately, in this year, there were fewer works than last year that were unanimously selected by the jury and extensively discussed. Moreover, the number of video works was overwhelmingly small, possibly due to the fact that visual language has become well established as a part of media art expression. Under these circumstances, it was characteristic that many of the award-winners were experience-based works and performances, which properly integrated technologies such as VR and AR into the concept of the works to obtain more accurate expressions. However, it is difficult to judge experience-based works and performances, since the judgement may differ depending on whether or not they are experienced under the same conditions. This called for a debate among the jury members, and is an issue to be considered in the future. During the judgement process, several works evoked discussions about whether they were art or not, and this made me think each time. As the media platforms undergo major transformations, infinite expressions can possibly emerge in this uncertain situation where various boundaries become unclear, and I would like to always keep this in mind.
  • Georg TREMMEL
    Artist and Researcher
    Cultural Amnesia and Self-expression of Media
    My final year as a jury member gave me time to reflect on not only the past few years, but my journey within Media Art which started around the same time the Japan Media Arts Festival began. Twenty-four years are roughly one generation for media artists, which may as well be seen as one epoch in the history of media art. I am curious to observe how the field of media art changed and evolved, how the artists are engaging and applying emerging media to their work, and how institutions and festivals reflect and present these changes. Media art itself can mean different things to different artists, curators, cultural workers and the public. Artists are engaged in basic artistic research by understanding, and therefore controlling the technological possibilities of emerging media, whilst envisioning unexpected and unforeseen uses and situations. The goal should not be self-expression of the artist, but an expression of the media mediated by the artist. The role of the artists should be to form an avantgarde, and to work on the cutting edge of research into society and technology. Because of the number of students who go through media art education every year, many works are built on similar premises, social observations, and technical skills--producing a Cultural Amnesia. Judging media art works involves the creation of subjective ranking, comparison of divergent works, and also reduction and digestion of the work. Only so is it possible to not only watch, but also hopefully understand the works. I am aware that some works require involvement and engagement and participation that is not feasible in a judging context. In these cases, the ingenuity and creativity of the artist to summarize and present the work is called for: What is the concept and form of the work? How innovative and interesting are the technical aspects of the work handled? How does the work engage with wider social issues and current societal situations? I am very honored to have been asked to serve as a jury member for the Art Division at the Japan Media Arts Festival for the last three years--I was happy to gain insight into a large number of works, and will also miss the exchanges, discussions and arguments with my fellow judges. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the wider media art scene, my personal work, and the Japan Media Arts Festival will evolve and look like in another generation.
  • IKEGAMI Takashi
    Researcher of Complex Systems Sciences and Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo
    Firsthand Experience and Media Art
    It is great seeing diverse and international entries every year. Since artists put a lot of time and energy into their works, it is also true that the judging process is very exhausting every year. For this year, there was much debate over works that can't be fully understood without experiencing them in person. The Grand Prize-winning Prometheus Bound and the Excellence Award-winning Sea, See, She - To you, who is yet to come, for example, are such works that are meant to be experienced in person. I call it the "firsthand experience." The firsthand experiences contain a reality that cannot be felt through viewing videos. The "firsthand experience" has perhaps never been longed for more than it is now amid the coronavirus pandemic. Contrarily, the novel coronavirus has likely caused an increase in works that do not require firsthand experiences as well. The science and technology to accommodate such demands are being developed. Technology advancement has made CG and photography indistinguishable, stereophony more advanced, works more interactive with viewers, and has created complex virtual spaces. The expression and representations of art are also evolving. The problem is, however, that technology advancement does not necessarily mean improvement in the quality of art. The French philosopher Quentin MEILLASSOUX has been advocating "Subtraction and Contraction" for about ten years. A contracted representation means a representation that eliminates excessive components. It can be called a minimal, compressed representation. Science has pursued a contracted representation so far. Subtraction, on the other hand, forms a representation that accepts the complexity of the object as it is. A subtractive representation has an incomprehensible pit, where reality resides. I wonder if technological innovation will be able to harness the "firsthand experience" as well. With the advancement of technology, I expect to see superior large-scale works in the future, rather than small-scale works with shrinking representations. I hope that the intensity of the "firsthand experience" will be great enough to surpass human perception. My desire is to view these works without being a member of the jury. I am grateful for the past three years serving on the jury.
  • AKIBA Fuminori
    Aesthetician and Associate Professor, Nagoya University
    From a Possible View of Life
    The total number of submissions for the Art Division saw a slight decrease compared to the 23rd, with the reduction mainly from overseas. Meanwhile, the number of submissions for video works increased. Whether they can be directly associated with the coronavirus pandemic or not is uncertain. At least the first half of the application period was unaffected. In any case, it is noteworthy that the total number of submissions was similar to the previous one, despite the hardships faced this time. For the judging, the coronavirus pandemic was not taken into account. What mattered was the individual works only. The Grand Prize was given to Prometheus Bound by KOIZUMI Meiro. This work was a collaboration with MUTO Masatane, an ALS patient known for various activities including his book, KEEP MOVING: genkai wo tsukuranai ikikata (life without setting limits, Seibundo-shinkosha, 2018). For the reason for the award, please refer to the comment by jury member HACHIYA Kazuhiko. I consider this work important for two reasons. Firstly, it is not just raising issues. It hits the audience hard by presenting various relationships such as seeing and being seen, voice and identity, and technology and body. In the process, it engages the audience in thinking. Secondly, this work appears to me that it is transmitted from where we ought to aim. Art is often considered predictive. However, many artworks actually project consequences that are predicted from where we are (i.e., current science and technology) into the future, and utopianize or dystopianize the results based on the current view of life (or the simple use of technology is making the artworks appear predictive, due to the name of art and the interpreter's rhetorical skills). This work is different. It urges us to think "slightly ahead" of science and technology, society, and ethics, from a possible view of life that is secluded from the current view. This view of life has no name. But this work has the power to make us believe that it is possible. A wide variety of works were selected for the Excellence Award: a pop-up book viewed through AR technology (Acqua Alta - Crossing the mirror by Adrien M & Claire B), bioart that makes the rhythmic movement of myocardial cells visible to the naked eye (Bricolage by Nathan THOMPSON / Guy BEN-ARY / Sebastian DIECKE), a video work experienced by listening to sounds in the dark (Sea, See, She - To you, who is yet to come by See by Your Ears (evala, Representative)), and a simple work in which five displays are winched up and swing (TH42PH10EK x 5 by Stefan TIEFENGRABER). However, all of these works reexamine the issue of technology and the body / life from different perspectives.The three New Face Award-winning works (The reluming apparatus by KOBAYASHI Hayate, Ether - liquid mirror by Kaito SAKUMA, and VOX-AUTOPOIESIS V -Mutual- by KOMIYA Chiku) are worthy of the award, as they each newly attempted to explore media including animation, surface oscillation, and musical notation. Many people might remember the Social Impact Award winner (Google Maps Hacks by Simon WECKERT), since it became a hot topic on social media. Many things have happened in the three years that I have served as a jury member. One thing noteworthy is the obvious fact that it is most important for the works to be experienced firsthand. Despite everyone's effort, including former jury member ABE Kazunao, to further enhance the exhibition, it was not accomplished last time. I hope that this time a performative exhibition in a real, physical environment will be materialized. Meanwhile, I wonder if there will be explosive "landing sites" that do not share a location. They may have already appeared. I expect they will come to the surface in the future.