Digital Art Festival Tokyo (DAF Tokyo)” is a meeting place where people meet through the digital arts and create something. Over August 8 – 17, various programs, such as performances, exhibitions, symposiums, and film screenings were performed in the Panasonic Center, Ariake, Tokyo. In this report, I send an inside look of the Exhibition “Tokyo Gadget” by Ryota Kuwakubo and Crispin Jones, their talk show and “Digista Exhibition”, the best selection work of TV program “Digital Stadium”.

First exhibition “Tokyo Gadget”. When you go into the hall, you can grab “Bitman”. It is a device made by Ryota Kuwakubo, device artist, in collaboration with “Maywa Dunki”, one of the participating artists at DAF Tokyo. Grasping and shaking or leaning, “BITMAN” is enjoyable.

Next to it was the “Video Bulb.” It transfers images from it through a television’s RCA plug. In the hall are various devices developed by Kuwakubo. The list i slong: “Duper/Looper”; the quasi-wargame “PLX” (selected for ARS Electronica 2002); the table-like animation creation tool “Bit-hike”; the sound generation device “heavenSeed” (which can be enjoyed throwing or rolling). The electrical disk game “loopScape” was exhibited with a MENKO-like card with instructions. It was impressive, though many people who were visiting strayed from the start.

In the inner side of the hall, five works by Crispin Jones were exhibited. The first, “Social mobiles”, are cellular phones that make people anxious in various meanings and designed by collaboration with IDEO. Although they were in a glass case and out of reach, a humorous video describing scenarios was beside them.

Next, “ZXZX” the device which takes over “Ren-sya” (pressing buttons rapidly, well known among my generation’s Japanese) of the video game. I cannot see what is actually moving, but the game had an uncanny score.

The 3rd:”An Invisible Force”. This is a table that replies to fortune-telling. The piece was his graduate work at RCA. In order to obtain an answer, you have to withstand the hot griddle.

The 4th work: “Electrophile”. This consists of mail software and a keyboard with electrode. The electroshock increases as the text length grows. This work is stronger than I expected. When I went to see it, a middle age man was writing mail, and I felt a little anxious.

The last: “F17”. In this work shoes begin to make noise if a train approaches a nearby station. While looking at it, it moved several times with a funny noise. When used at an infrequently visited station it was probably interesting. Although it could be enjoyed for its own sake, it’s interesting to me that his style is stimulated by everyday occurences, or presenting a question by shifting the viewpoint.

In their talk session, the exhbitors spoke about their shared encounters with a computer in childhood and the influence of fine arts study, the relationship between concept and technology, and the exhibition works in DAF Tokyo. Although I feel a little dissatisfied by applauding for the TV show (sorry, I didn’t) or being hard to hear, hearing the comment “exhibition is like a race, fixing is pit stop” from Ryota Kuwakubo, and the interesting opinion “In view of UK, there is a community in Japan and it is exciting” from Crispin Jones was a nice experience.

Then: the “Digista Exhibition” held at the next hall. This exhibition features the winner of “Digital Stadium” which is the general invitation and examination / criticism program of the digital art under broadcast in NHK. When you set foot in the hall, you’ll meet with the works of “AC-bu” in the booth decorated like a festival. Next to it, two works by Yasuhiro Suzuki were exhibited. “Blinking Leaves” to which the paper was wound up in the air winks, and “Perspective of Globe Jungle” which projected the image on the rotating jungle gym. His works offer a refreshing and beautiful impression, and it is a pleasure to know about work that will be produced.

“Streetscape” by “Iori Nakai” was exhibited in the inner side of the hall. The sound of six cities: Paris; Kyoto; Hamamatsu; Ariake; Yamaguchi; and Sendai were experienced by tracing the slot on the town map. This work was selected for Ars Electronica 2003. What sound could be heard in Linz? Many winning works can be seen in the foyer .

Maywa Denki, Toshio Iwai, media artist, Yasuhiro Yoshiura, filmmaker, and Wojtek Wawszczyk, animation artist, participated and performed screenings of films or performance. Compared with Ars Electronica which has probably been influenced, it is unsatisfactory in respect of criticism or exchange. But for the person who visited “DAF Tokyo”, she had a good opportunity to directly experience technology and its expression.

DAF Tokyo is scheduled to be held next year. I hope it connects various viewpoints and positions, and increasingly take advantage of the different elements of Japan from Europe or the United States.

Digital Art Festival Tokyo 2003
Date: August 8 (Fri) -17 (Sun) 2003
Place: Panasonic Center
Address: 2-5-18, Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo, 135-0063 Japan
Tel: 03-3481-7980

Text and Photos: Jo Kazuhiro from S.W.Q.

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