ARTDEMO 03

HAPPENINGText: Tomohiro Okada

Japanese tend to hesitate to get involved in overseas media arts and designs scenes. They think these scenes can only occur through submitting works or for business. Japan has and remains a distant country for artists in Europe. However, the passion of collaboration is quickily getting larger through exchanging their works. Now, everybody is awaiting someone to break that dam of desire.

artdemo” is a platform that makes a route to lead business and the public to Media Arts. The event experimented breaking the dam at Media Arts Festival in Tokyo this March.

The word “Media Arts” is used only in Japan. Films, TV programmes and comics are included in this word’s definition. This is a word to express all arts in all media. This policy has been pbvious to the Agency For Cultural Affairs after the world war.

In order to escalate media art as one of high-tech Japan’s cultures, the Agency For Cultural Affairs holds a festival, called the Media Arts Festival. It was the year before last when the Act of the Development of Culture and Art was began with the aim of making Japan a cultural country. Since then, the scale of this art festival has gotten dramatically bigger. In addition, the festival accepted many submissions to the digital art section (installations, CGs, webs, games) from overseas in the 6th Japan Media Art Festival. It changed the festival to a massive international festival.

If you pass a map to someone in these towns, you will see a finished product tomorrow. This is an anecdote of the towns Shinagawa and Ota in Tokyo. Many high-tech factories are located there. Believe it or not, the Interactive Art section’s winner Crispin Jones was walking with his colleague from London in these towns. Their aim was to see a person who they most wanted to meet in Japan.

A back-street factory in a corner of a shopping street was their destination. The person who appeared from the factory was the president of Maywadenki. Jones expressed his gratitude to the president and conveyed that many Maywadenki works gave him inspirations about art. This links to the production of high-tech works, as he demonstrated his prized work. Designs solve problems and they make a new vision, a real thing. Creating a hit product and necessary functions in design and business is work. Ideo is a company that has been breaking through these points around the globe. The staff at Ideo is Jones’ business acquaintance. The president of Maywadenki seemed to be interested that Ideo uses designs and art to solve problems. That result was Jones’ and other people’s projects.

However, it was Tomio Gotoh, an another member of the party, who was interested in more than the president. We met Mr Gotoh, a key person of artdemo, in front of Maywadenki and he is known as a chief inventor of PC Engine that he developed while at his former employer NEC. A one-tipped tuner, a sticking iron and plastic without glue, an inkless courtesy photograph stamp, etc… Everybody paid keen attention to those treasures from Mr Gotoh’s pocket. According to Mr Gotoh, it was when he was promoting techniques at factories to business, he started to wonder about the potential of a project involving creativity at factories.

Artdemo is a demonstration-style event. Artists try to demonstrate their models of projects within limited times and rules. Finding a new communication method is another reason behind this event. Other art events tend to appreciate and evaluate works with a stereotyped style. The fact that an artist himself demonstrates his works is persuasive and this action shows his ability to innovate and solve problems. It is also possible to have a link between artists and people in artdemo.

Artdemo hit its second run this year. Jones and a designer at Ideo Graham Puhlin were the first artists, who demonstrated their works on a stage.

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