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HAPPENINGText: Naoko Wowsugi

Design Festa recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The festival is called ‘the biggest international art event’, so about 6000 people from 32 countries and all over Japan came to exhibit, sell and present their original works. The art incorporated fine art, design, fashion, video and music throughout 2600 booths, live stages, show spaces and visual image spaces at Tokyo Big Site. So many people came each day searching for new stimulation and sensations. Most people left very satisfied.

This event offers a fantastic opportunity to help local, individual artists get together and expand their community and network to help them reach their next step. It’s usually a struggle to get the necessary funds and gather people but it became possible mainly through the cooperation and support of many artists. Actually it could be confusing and saturated for the audience to see so many works, but we could say that that’s why some amazing works stood out from others. I would like to introduce these, my favorite works.

First of all, I would like to introduce CHAPTER, a man and woman unit who have participated in this event for the second time. They make retro and modern costumes. I unconsciously looked into its color and unique pattern. I asked them, what is the attraction of Design Festa? They said “we usually work only in the studio, but the best thing is that professional people in the industry and also local people can see our works by coming to Design Festa.”

Manga artist, Touhou Rikimaru was at the stage in the mini-theater where I found many peaple around him. We could see his performance of reading out manga in front of people at south exit of Shimokitazawa station or Inogashira Park. His way of performance is, to let the audience choose one manga from his hundreds of collections, then read out the lines and make effective sounds as if he is the character of the book. It lasted more than the scheduled 15 minutes but the audience enjoyed his unique energetic performance.

HAMA live-painted on the 10 meter wall. He expressed the rhythm of the music which he listened to while he was painting. Actually this is the third time for him to join the event, so this time he wanted to show how his painting is made, as he used to exhibit his works at booth. “I love this event because I can meet lots of cool artists!” he says. It looked like the other artists were stimulated by his yellow painting.

Different generations from all over the world with so many ways of expression expanded the network between artists. This event tells us ‘to enjoy’ is the most important thing and success comes next. Stepping out or developing will be a subject for each artist. I guess the reason why so many artists keep joining the event is, they can confirm their own development every time. I can see more enthusiasm than the last edition every time, so I hope the event will expand its new and free expression.

Design Festa vol. 25
Date: May 26th and 27th, 2007
Place: Tokyo Big Site
Address: 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Tel: +81 (0)3 3479 1433 (Design Festa Office)

Text: Naoko Wowsugi
Translation: Junko Isogawa
Photos: Naoko Wowsugi

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