©︎ Shota Yamauchi Photo: Keizo Kioku

25th Art Division Excellence Award

Yamahyo Crossing

Media performance

YAMAUCHI Shota[Japan]


With the spread of COVID-19, we gained more opportunities to communicate remotely via computer rather than face-to-face. This work was conceived based on the artist’s view that virtual experiences are not the same as physical experiences and are not fully replaceable. Participants in this performance art piece manipulate a performer in the exhibition space by playing a videogame on a touchscreen that resembles Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020), released by Nintendo. By linking the virtual space and the real world, the work reveals the violent nature of playing video games and evokes an uneasy feeling in seeing what is happening in real life. It is geared towards reaffirming that we are human beings and drawing forth physicality, which the pandemic has suppressed. It also reflects how today’s living environment is saturated by digital technologies.

Reason for Award

In a society inhibiting us from saying “Atsumare (let’s get together),” communication through mobile and computer screens has become prevalent. Among the entries inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, the simple yet articulate concept of this work, which looks hard at the reality of living in physical space and cyberspace, stood out. The virtual game character “Yamahyo-kun” and his environment are manipulated by the artist himself, who navigates himself and the “items” substituted by cardboard boxes in response to a player’s command over the network. The artist referred to a blockbuster videogame. What if a physical body was behind a videogame’s virtual world? Players are usually unaware that the game’s algorithm reflects their desires. Yet, this work cleverly triggers an uncomfortable feeling by injecting human physicality into the game. By clearly presenting the two worlds connected by a physical body, it reveals the absurdity and sinister nature of a game, the grotesque noise echoing behind the screen, with a daring sense of humor and an elaborate design that supports it. (TAKESHITA Akiko)