© Brian ALFRED

15th Art Division Excellence Award

The Saddest Day of My Youth

Video work



This is an animation that depicts as its motif the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which the creator witnessed in his youth on television in real time. Actual voiceovers from the time of the accident have been used effectively in this low-key animation, in which all of the frames have been created using drawings, featuring only abstract shapes and colors. By taking an actual incident as its motif, this work symbolically represents the tragedies that occur in the progress of human development.

Reason for Award

The Challenger disaster as witnessed on TVIt is thrilled that we are able to give the Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Award to Brian Alfred’s new work. The biggest reason is that we believe he is an artist of our generation who does a brilliant job in representing “the world we live in.” We made it through the end of the last century and now live in a new one, the twenty-first. We experienced catastrophe yet live in a state of the “endless everyday.” Yet even in a world that flattens out so quickly, there are singular moments that reset the clock. In his case, this was the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, which he witnessed as a boy. It was an event that traumatized children who watched it on television and generated a number of “urban legends” (concocted tales about, for example, how the crew was actually alive in a parallel world). His sad and beautiful work is a masterpiece that clearly shows the essence of contemporary creation.