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CuratorHiroko Myokam

Archive Project:
Floating Archives Storage: Media Art in Aichi
Online Special Exhibit:
Toshio Iwai, Symbol Image of Aichi Arts Center (1992)

UI design/programming: Yosuke Hayashi

View the work

About the project

The project researches and presents to the public a website that digitally archives materials related to media art stored at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, the Aichi Arts Center, and other locations. The archiving platform includes a chronological table and documents, which track media art trends in Aichi Prefecture from the 1980s to the 2000s, with ARTEC at the core, that are available for viewing and will continue to be updated in the future. The time signal displayed on the archive website is a work of Toshio Iwai, which was originally commissioned by the Aichi Arts Center when it was established in 1992 and is still on show today at an intersection of people passing by. It functions as a time signal, intended to share time even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Project credits

Curator: Hiroko Myokam

UI design/programming: Yosuke Hayashi

Archive Project
“Floating Archives Storage: Media Art in Aichi”

Documents provided by: Shigeki Mori, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

Cooperation: Toshio Iwai

Documents scanned by: Yamada Photo Process

Assistance: Toyomi Kidokoro, Eriko Nakagawa, Sayaka Nishitani (Eizo Workshop)

Online Special Exhibit
Work: Toshio Iwai, Symbol Image of Aichi Arts Center (1992)

Documents provided by: Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

Planning cooperation: Fumiko Nakamura (Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art)

Curator’s comment

Floating documents

In the 1980s and 90s, the transitional period with the spread of digital technology, the dynamic nature of the changes was combined with the economic boom, and expectations for the future, created by new technology and interest in media art, increased. As a result, video art and media art were actively introduced at expositions and festivals not only in Tokyo but also in other parts of Japan.

Because media art often uses contemporary technology and materials, it is physically short-lived, and understanding the concept usually requires knowledge of the social and technical background of the time of creation. Due to these characteristics, works of media art are rarely collected or redisplayed, and many are likely to be forgotten. Also, as major media arts festivals from the 1980s to the 90s have been discontinued, it has become difficult to store and publish related materials despite their importance.

Alternative location for storage

The project calls such materials “floating archives” and aims to create an online space as an alternative repository. Focusing on various events such as festivals and exhibitions related to media art, we publish online the materials that can be digitized while taking a panoramic view of the history of media art. It is also an attempt to pass on the memories of media art on the internet through another form that is not the works themselves.

Media art in Aichi Prefecture

Since the early 1980s, there had been galleries in Nagoya that introduce works of video art both from Japan and abroad *1 . The launch of the glamorous media art scene, however, can be found in the International High Technology Art Festival ’86 *2 , which was held at the Matsuzakaya’s main store in 1986 and co-organized by the Chunichi Shimbun, the Tokyo Shimbun, and Group Arts-Unis headed by Katsuhiro Yamaguchi.

Also, in 1989, at the same time as the International Biennale in Nagoya - ARTEC ’89, which was held as part of the World Design Expo, two exhibitions, Nam June Paik: Family of Robot (Nagoya City Art Museum) and International Exhibition: World of Holography (Nagoya City Science Museum) opened. Since then, the International Biennale in Nagoya - ARTEC was held five times biannually until 1997. Simultaneously, events related to media art were also held at galleries in Nagoya, the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, the Nagoya City Art Museum, and the Aichi Arts Center. In particular, the Chunichi Shimbun played an essential role as one of the local companies supporting media art.

In 1999, the center of media art moved to the Art Port at the Warehouse No. 20 of Nagoya Port Garden Pier. In the same year, MEDIASELECT was established, and the group organized an exhibition called MEDIASELECT ’99, an inaugural event for the Art Port. The exhibition series, which was “started as sort of a response from the artists to ARTEC which lasted for ten years” *3 , undertook a position of post-ARTEC and, for the next ten years, offered a place for media artists to present works and contributed to the development of young artists and researchers.

  1. *1Gallery U, Keigo Yamamoto (1978)/Eleven Video Works From Canada (1980), Space to Space, Yoshiomi Yamaguchi: Videos (1984), Nagoya International Center for Culture, Video Art from France (1986), etc
  2. *2The festival consisted of a series of exhibitions held in cities such as Tokyo, Nagoya, and Sapporo between 1985 and 1988. In Nagoya, the International High Technology Art Festival ’86 and ’87 were held.
  3. *3ISEA2002, 11th International Symposium on Electronic Art, NAGOYA [Orai] MEDIASELECT2002 Documents, ISEA2002 Nagoya Steering Committee, 2003, p.4

Artist’s profile

Toshio Iwai

Media artist and picture book writer. Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1962. Iwai completed Plastic Art and Mixed Media Course at the Graduate School of Arts, University of Tsukuba. While at university, he started producing experimental animation, and with Time Stratum II, which is a development of 19th-century optical toys such as a phénakisticope and zoetrope, he received the grand prize for the 17th Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan (1985). Afterward, he shifted to producing works using the computer and has presented a number of interactive works in Japan and overseas. He has received numerous awards including Golden Nica in the Interactive Art category of Prix Ars Electronica (Austria), Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division of Japan Media Arts Festival, and The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize. He has also worked in various fields producing characters in TV shows, such as Ugo Ugo Lhuga, CG system designs, art software for Nintendo DS called Electroplankton, and an imaging device for Ghibli Museum, Mitaka. TENORI-ON, an instrument developed jointly with YAMAHA to produce sound and light, is included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Since 2008, he has shifted to making picture books after hand-making toys with his daughters, and, currently, is also focused on workshops that bring out unique ideas from children. His books include Artist, Designer and Director SCAN #7: Iwai Toshio (Rikuyosha, 2000) and Aidea Wa Dokokara Yattekuru? [Where Do Ideas Come From?] (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2010), and his picture books include 100-kai Date No Ie [A House Of 100 Stories] series (KAISEI-SHA, 2008–) and Yubisaki-chan No Daibouken [A Great Adventure of Yubisaki-chan] (Hakusensha, 2016).

Curator’s profile

Hiroko Myokam

Myokam graduated from Plastic Art and Mixed Media Course at the School of Art and Design, University of Tsukuba and International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS). She completed MediaArtHistories MA at Danube University Krems. After serving as a curator at NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC], she started a research on “recording and storing media art.” She has been involved in research projects related to archiving of video art and media art as a visiting researcher at inter media art institute Duesseldorf (imai, Germany) since 2013 and at Aichi University of the Arts since 2018. Visiting lecturer at Kanazawa College of Art. Co-director of Eizo Workshop (https://www.eizo.ws).

Collaborator’s
profile

Yosuke Hayashi

After graduating from the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS), Hayashi worked at an ad production company and a game development company, before becoming a freelance UI designer programmer. In 2018, he co-established HAUS Inc, (https://h4us.jp) and has been involved in Web development and production of interactive exhibits.

Associated facilities/
places

Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

The museum is located in the Aichi Arts Center, Sakae, Nagoya. It is a comprehensive museum with a collection spanning from outstanding domestic and foreign works of the 20 century, Kimura Teizo Collection — composed of Japanese early-modern and modern paintings, tea utensils, Buddhist art, calligraphy, and archaeological relics — and contemporary artworks.
Higashisakura 1-13-2, Higashi-ku, Nagoya
https://www-art.aac.pref.aichi.jp/en/index.html

Aichi Arts Center

Aichi Arts Center

The largest center for art and culture in the region. It includes large and small halls, a concert hall for classical music, an art museum, an art library, etc., and develops activities and special exhibitions of various genres.
Higashisakura 1-13-2, Higashi-ku, Nagoya
https://www.aac.pref.aichi.jp/index.html