Japan Media Arts festival (Part 2)

Previously: Japan Media Arts festival – The Art Division.

Last and overdue notes from the Japan Media Arts Festival which took place last month in Tokyo. You’ll have to forget my laziness, today i’ll just gloss over the entertainment and animation categories and then go back to that mountain of books i’m supposed to review before 2010 shuts down.

Some rather good projects were submitted to the entertainment division. I often think that there’s much confusion between the entertainment and art categories in many media art festivals but it didn’t seem to be the case in Tokyo this year.

Two of the excellence prizes went to:

pic_ent04_l.jpg© Alvaro Cassinelli

scoreLight, the electronic musical instrument designed by Alvaro Cassinelli, Daito Manabe, Yusaku Kuribara and Alexis Zerroug. The prototype generates sounds in real time from the lines of drawings and the contours of 3D objects nearby. A modified laser scanner works like the pick-up head that searches for sounds over the surface of a vinyl record. The difference is that the groove is generated by the contours of the drawing itself. The result is a light beam that dances on the surface of the drawing, while singing its secret score.
This way for the movie.

Director Naoki Ito created a documentary style web advertisement. A real couple in long distance relationship was selected to run the 1,000 km distance that separates Tokyo from Fukuoka. It took them one month (only!??) The run was broadcast live on the web and it was not until they reached their goal that it was announced that Love Distance was to be turned into a TV advertisement for the world’s thinnest condom.


I spotted many gems among the Jury recommended works for this entertainment category:

daruman, by Mari Matsumoto, is a daruma otoshi that changes facial expression as it loses his body pieces, becoming frightened or angry of being dismembered by players. If anyone has other links or maybe a video of the projects, that would be more than welcome.

Rather unsurprisingly some of the entries are best enjoyed if you understand japanese. I haven’t got much clue about what is going on in the video below but that shouldn’t prevent me from posting it:

The animation, called Here comes the Gyorome Alien, was created by Yosuke Kihara. The stories are told using hand knitted stuffed toys in stop motion animation.

What would a Japanese media art event be without the presence of Maywa Denki?

Designed by KAYAC Inc. and Maywa Denki, YUREX is a device that improves your concentration through Binbo-Yusuri, or twitching leg. It will be released on April 24th.


Now for the Animation category!

The charming stop-motion animation Elemi by Hideto Nakata got an Excellence Award. The short movie follows the romance and struggle of a telephone pole standing in a downtown area.

Ryo Okawara’s Animal Dance, which only received an Encouragement prize, narrates the dynamism of life through charcoal strokes on a vibrant orange background.

A young man is struggling with a Deadline while the post-it notes he had stuck on the wall begins to move and morph. A stop-motion animation by Yao Liu Bang.

In Chisato stared, by Wataru Uekusa, a line is used to reflect emotion, and the theme is the sublimation of a complex and continuous moment, like following one phrase of a song.

The image on the homepage illustrates the work of Yoshinori Kanada who passed away last year. The festival awarded him a Memorial Achievement Prize. Looking through his amazing works i was reminded of my favourite tv programme when i was a kid (i don’t think Kanada ever worked on that one though) and i’ll leave you with Goldorak, or whatever you call it in your language, until tomorrow.