Award-winning Works
Art Division

Grand Prize

Excellence Award

Jury Selections


  • KUSAHARA Machiko
    [Critique by work category] Web
    Lately, there has been a concern worldwide that the Web arts have been deteriorating due to lack of artists, which was brought about by a rapid growth of advanced commercial Web arts. Against such a background, it was really welcome news for the development of this field that we received over 200 applications from here and abroad this year. In addition, we could feel the artists' enthusiasm through their works. While some works were not suitable for the intention of this festival in terms of artistry, we received numerous works with a variety of themes and techniques, among which we found superb works of striking originality. Among many works of excellence in terms of both techniques and expressions, such as a work of various faces of a city depicted by leveraging the programming techniques of Stanza from England, images of interactive dance performance created by Nicolas Clauss et al. from France, and a work also with city themes created by Stadt Sound Station from Germany, artworks by Japanese Web artists were no less outstanding. For expressions, there were relatively many works that combined interactivity with animation, which clearly demonstrates that the Web is establishing its role as a platform for interactive arts and images. There were also a number of works with cultural and social viewpoints and with an international approach, which seemed to be a unique feature characterizing the Web arts. The diversity and potential of Web arts can be partially understood by viewing through the works recommended by jury members. We look forward to seeing how far these potentials will go by next year.
  • NAKAYA Hide
    NHK Commentator
    [Critique by work category] Still Pictures
    People often associate the word "digital arts" with images and interactive works, and either don't know or have forgotten fascinating features of still pictures. However, through this year's screening process, I was able to fully appreciate the fascination and potential of still pictures. As was the case with other people, I have taken little interest in still pictures in digital arts because of scarce variety in its orientation compared with that of images and interactive works. However, advancement in digital technology has led to diversification of orientation of still pictures, and brought about a very interesting age for this form of art. One noteworthy trend of this year was that the artistic level of young creators had improved so much that they were now capable of competing with professional creators on equal terms. Had it not been for advancement in digital technology, this could have never been possible. As for the contents, there were a group of impressive works that adopted new techniques while making full use of accumulated skills, and another group of works, which attempted to express a totally novel concept using still pictures as its medium. As a still picture section of an international contest, we found the screening process of this year fully satisfying. If I have to find some problems, the format and size of submitted works varied, and some of the works seemed to have failed to demonstrate their content to the fullest due to these more superficial reasons. In order to display the optimal strength of each artwork, I hope applicants will give due consideration to these physical factors as well. Sometimes, just one still picture moves people more than a video picture that lasts over one hour. The screening this time afforded us an encounter with many such still pictures.
  • ITO Toshiharu
    Professor, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
    [Critique by work category] Video works
    What was common to the works that received high evaluations, such as E-BABY and GARA was the direction to fully learn long-accumulated techniques and characteristics, integrate these memories using the latest technology, and cross them with the author's own vision. A unique feature of this year's works that deserves special mention is that they try to pick up the primitive physical properties of images, such as the feel and texture that past digital works tended to neglect. The unfocused look of a baby that has just woken up; hand-drawn, weird, and overwhelming movements of a living creature; and the small shudder of a body anticipating a catastropheÑ\looking at these images reveals our unconsciousness. While a heavily information-based society has developed, everybody is just combining and exchanging image pieces, where meaning is never generated, or nothing is told. In the midst of such a closed situation, what counts most in the new image expressions is to first clarify what one thinks, intends to do, and values most. Then, these must be expressed and given life while using and exploring the characteristics of images. Actually, this process always involves the issue of physical properties. It may be said that to tell a story through materialization, or through a body, is needed now more than ever before. This view will overlap the view of gestures that spin out forms and images. In this light, the versatile images of this year seem to have shown the locus of gesture in various forms.
  • MIKAMI Seiko
    Artist / Assistant Professor of Tama Art University
    [Critique by work category] Installations
    We received a number of excellent media artworks by artists of the younger generation from here and abroad. However, it seemed to us that the differences among these works largely depended on the quality of the recorded images. In particular, with spatial expressions of installations, interactions between the human body and a space are only possible when you are actually at the site of an installation. However, under the present conditions, we have no other choice but to evaluate installations according to how clearly and objectively the recorded image of an installation presents the space from another person's point of view. All entries were superior in terms of interactivity as well. However, considering that they were submitted to the installation division, they must have a primary focus on spatial expressions and concepts behind them. In Venus Villosa which won the prize for excellence, touching the interface that symbolizes a woman's breast makes the body hair of a woman, which is supposed to be pretty by nature, start growing. This is a work with emphasis on a gender issue, highlighting the essential relationships between primitiveness and sexuality. In the Jury recommended work, "Is this material correct?", both real and artificial flowers arranged in vases filled with blue ink are put on view on the Internet, and water of only those flowers that received the most frequent access is changed. It reveals the truth of digital media in the context of a contrast between real flowers withering with time and ever-fresh artificial flowers. On the whole, there were many works that by converting forms to analogue forms, treated space as a device to recover physical existence or pursued existence in a digital space.
  • TOSA Nobumichi
    Maywa Denki
    [Critique by work category] Interactive arts
    In general, interactive art means "an art form that gives rise to interactions between the audience and the work via input devices such as sensors." The latest popular trend is a combination of a video projector and a computer. While a projector can easily produce a "space," a computer excels at linking a sensor with images. As there are so many works that adopt this procedure too easily, some really sensitive artists are already getting fed up with this simplistic scheme of "media arts = projection arts." Despite such a trend, we received many high-quality works with true originality in terms of both content and techniques. The work by Ryota Kuwakubo that won the Grand Prize conveyed the most novel possibility. His work is not application art that simply combines existing technologies, but is based on his high-level technological skills that allowed him to assemble machines that were all handmade from scratch. While it takes the form of a toy or a game, it contains, different from functionalistic commercial products, a somewhat nostalgic artistry with irony as well as uniqueness. Arts that also fit well in the living space of daily life are media in themselves. This type of art, common to the grand prize works of last year, is a new current in the technological art of today's world. Media arts, which are not stately arts that challenge social taboos but are entertaining arts full of light and enjoyable touches, may be a forte of "Made in Japan."
  • KUSAHARA Machiko
    KUSAHARA Machiko
    In the Art Division that made a new start this year after some system changes, we received more than 900 applications, and most of the applications from abroad were also concentrated in this division. This well demonstrates the international spread of the media arts and, at the same time, that many artists shared or paid attention to the concepts underlying the Media Arts Festival. Most of the artists engaged in interactive arts, Web arts, and installations and films employing digital technology are in pursuit not of traditional views of arts or aesthetic sense, but of new themes and expressions that only media arts can provide. In recent years, as Japanese artists focusing on interactive arts played an active role in the international community, and the interest in animation, games, and mobile contents increases, world attention has come to be focused on the role Japan plays in the field of media arts. In this sense, the new start of the Art Division was a well-timed move.
    As the works submitted this year were of high quality overall and diversified in kind, it was not easy to narrow them down to several prizewinners. For example, there were many interactive works that had won prizes in some internationally renowned art contests, such as SIGGRAPH and Ars Electronica. From among the many works eligible for acceptance and prizes, final prizewinning and winning works were selected, giving due consideration to the expressions and areas that the media arts are now opening up and to the fact that they should be suitable for the Art Division. As the media arts is an area where young artists can relatively easily demonstrate their talents, screening was conducted fairly, irrespective of the applicants' reputation, the number of prizes won at other contests, or their home countries. Among the many prominent works submitted from abroad, young Japanese artists fared relatively well in the screening process, which seems to reflect the above-mentioned active role that the Japanese media arts community is playing in the international arena. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that there were many other excellent works other than those listed here.