THE 6TH JAPAN MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL

HAPPENING

Prize winning works of “Media Arts Festival for Cultural Affairs” were announced on the 19th of November. This festival had many Japanese top media arts in 2002. It hits its 6th round and has been building as one of the cores in world’s media arts like “Ars Electronica”.
It is not too much to say that this year’s prize-winning works showed us the state that surrounds the current media arts.

In the computer graphic and animation section, I could see quality content with impact, which can compete with large-scaled-theatre films and TV programmes on even terms. Even motion graphics made by an individual is getting to be quite normal.

The entries in the digital art and non-interactive section were evaluated with the computer graphics point of view. Satoshi Tominaga’s work “Justice Runners” received high marks in terms of its humorous story and unique colour sense. He received the excellence prize in this section. His work is used as a mascot motion at TV Asahi in Tokyo.

The encouragement for rising creators was prepared in this section. The winner for this prize is Saku Sakamoto. In her work “Fisherman”, a tribe that hunt a giant fish in a desert sea was dynamically expressed. She presented this large-scale work mixed with drawings and CGs.

The animation appears to be done by a large group of people. It is possible to do everything from drawing to putting colours and shooting in the project today. Makoto Shinkai made the long animation “The voices of a distant star”, producing a release and selling the DVD by himself. The work, which was chosen for the encouragement prize, was Akino Kondo’s short animation “The Evening Traveling”. This is a solo work of an art university student. Making animation has become a natural creative activity and this way of expression is getting clearer.

The grand prize in the animation section went to “Crayon Shin-chan Arashi o yobu Appare! Sengoku Daigassen”. This is a theatre film version of comics, which satirizes children’s unique actions and adults’ modeup lives. The creators want to make this film to be accepted by adults and kids. It has been creating animations that are loved by many generations as an entertainment culture. These were the superior points to be chosen rather than artistic works from productions that have a famous science fighter animation or Mr Hayao Miyazaki’s animations.

Manga is also an essential media art in Japanese culture. There was the Manga section in this festival and “Sexy Voice and Robot” was chosen as the grand prize winner. This is an urban adventure story that a 14-year-old junior high school girl enjoys observing people in a telephone club. The special prize went to “Recollections of Boyhood – Repatriate from China” by a Manga artist who actually came back from the ex-Japanese army occupied area or ex-Manchuria in China.

Many diverse works could be found in the sections above but on the other hand, I thought interactive media art works should be improved more. An interactive designer from London Crispin Jones’s project at IDEO received the grand prize. In this project, called “Social Mobiles” satirically shows people’s behaviors surrounded by mobile communication and a real mobile phone itself is his work.

People called artists in Japan tend to think about designs for mobile phone or suggest PDA first and misunderstand that they have done everything by showing design graphics and mockups. Unlike them, Jones showed a real mobile and this action was a key to win in this time. Similar to this, an artist group from Kern, Germany “//////////fur////” received the excellence prize with their work “His Master’s Voice”. They are young artists in their 20s. Ryota Kuwakubo did not participate in this festival but the time when the generation, who grew up with digital art works with their sense.

On the other hand, it is true that we will find a big gap between artists who can express their creative sense and those who do not have that sort of knowledge. Many Japanese artists seem to not be ready for this. Moreover, the fact that what they have not recognized how severe this is appeared to be a problem to be urgently solved.

The exhibition “Media Arts Festival for Cultural Affairs” will be held from 28th of February to the 9th of March will be held at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Ebisu Garden Place. Visitors can have a look at the chosen works there.
In addition, the year 2003 version of “Next02, which was held as a cooperation project and introduced in this magazine, will be held as “artdemo03” in the same place. Please go to the special site to get the information about this art festival.

List of Award – Winning Works

Digital Art (Interactive)
Grand Prize:
– “Social Mobiles” by Crispin Jones
Excellence Prize:
– “His Master’s Voice” by //////////fur////
– “type R” by Satoshi Shibata
– “Camcamtime” by Business Architects / One Sky

– “Course” by Tree-Axis
– “Youkai Yamiwarashi” by Dai Egawa/Ichiro Naka

Digital Art (Non-Interactive)
Grand Prize:
– “Text Arc print: Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” by W. Bradford Paley
Excellence Prize:
– “I A G A I N S T I” by Tetsuya Nagato
– “Re-typo ‘E’ ‘A’ ‘R’ ‘N'” by Hiroshi Saito

– “Justice Runners” by Satoshi Tomioka
– “Mustard frog and NINJA bunny” by Usagi Tanaka
Encouragement Prize:
– “Fisher Man” by Saku Sakamoto

Animation
Grand Prize:
– “Crayon Shinchan, Arashi o Yobu Appare! Sengoku Dai-gassen” by Keiichi Hara
Excellence Prize:

– “Abenobashi Maho & Shotengai” by Hiroyuki Yamaga
– “Ghost in the shell: Stand Alone Complex” by Kenji Kamiyama
– “The Cat Returns” by Neko no Ongaeshi Production Council
Encouragement Prize:
– “The Evening Traveling” by Akino Kondoh

Manga
Grand Prize:

– “Sexy Voice and Robo” by Iou Kuroda
Excellence Prize:
– “Say hello to BLACKJACK” by Shuho Sato
– “The 20th Century Boys” by Naoki Urasawa
– “The chef of the ambassador” by Mitsuru Nishimura, Hiroshi Kawasumi
– “Oodsukami Genji Monogatari Maro, n?” by Yoshihiro Koizumi
Encouragement Prize:
– “Why is the doctor angry?” by Isao Ikegaya

Speceial Prize
– “Rez” by Tetsuya Mizuguchi
– “Life slice calendar and life slice world map” by Life Slice Studio
– “The voices of a distant star” by Makoto Shinkai
– “Recollections of Boyhood – Repatriate from China” by The Society of Cartoonists Repartriated from China _ Production Group

The 6th Media Arts Festival for Cultural Affairs
Awarding ceremony: (Thur.) 27 February 2003
Exhibition: (Fri.) 28 February – (Sun.) 9 March 2003
Place: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Address: 1-3-3 Mita Meguro-ku Tokyo (at Ebisu Garden Place)
Organised by: Media Arts Festival for Cultural Affairs Committee
Cooperated by: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
www.cgarts.or.jp/festival/

Text: Tomohiro Okada from Cool States Communications
Translation: Sachiko Kurashina

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