"Media/Art Kitchen – Reality Distortion Field": Project Overview

Project Overview (The Japan Foundation)

In commemoration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in 2013, we are planning a media art exhibition that will travel throughout Southeast Asia. Jointly organized by young curators and artists from each of the countries, the event will feature works by artists from Japan and Southeast Asia.

Since the rise of computer technology, media art, which makes use of video and digital technology, has become increasingly prevalent in the art world. Moreover, in recent years media art is no longer seen as a narrow field that hinges on highly advanced and costly equipment but has come to encompass a wide range of work that links familiar everyday phenomena with computer technology and has been expanding its realm. In the 1960s, Japanese artists began attempting a variety of experiments using video as an expressive means and today a new generation of artists is producing and showing extremely diverse, high-quality work that transcends genre boundaries.

As is evident from the many artists and technicians who conducted research on anime and video in the JENESYS Invitation Programme for Creators, which concluded last year, since the late 1990s many Southeast Asian countries have actively sought to adopt digital technology, leading it to become a primary means of expression for younger artists. Many video works are now shown at international exhibitions throughout Asia and festivals that specialize in video, such as Mediacity Seoul and OK Video Festival have also emerged. In effect, it is impossible to conceive a contemporary art exhibition without video. This can in part be explained by the familiarity and convenience of the medium which allows artists to express their ideas without being restrained by art history and concepts that are associated with conventional painting and sculpture of the West. Another more practical matter is that the comparatively late creation of a museum system in Southeast Asia which has left artists with limited access to exhibition venues, but in recent years, steady economic growth has helped fuel substantial technological development. On the other hand, it is not necessarily accurate to say that the emergence of outstanding media art would not have occurred without costly machinery and advanced technology. A work that brims with originality despite being simple and making use of elementary techniques can sometimes make a tremendous impression on us. There is also the idea that a traditional performing art like Indonesia's wayang kulit (shadow-puppet theatre) is an indigenous form of film art with its roots in the general populace. Thus, media art should be viewed as both a global art trend and a complex, diversified form that reflects regional conditions. Although it is common to emphasize the fact that media art is a global and universal means of expression based on scientific development, it is also possible to see the genre as something that has arisen out of each individual artist's specific ideas and the historical, linguistic and cultural circumstances of their community as well as something that is closely linked to physical sensation.

After a group of young Southeast Asian curators and researchers with a strong background in media art and their Japanese counterparts jointly refine the concept of the exhibition through surveys and discussions; a number of artists and outstanding works from each country will be selected and presented in an event that will be altered to fit the specific conditions of each region. The exhibition and related programs will present interdisciplinary media art in the widest sense of the word and encompass genres such as film, digital video, anime, photography, sound, and performance (physical expression). Today, in the face of the ever-increasing globalization, by focusing once again on the indigenous cultures and spiritual links between Japan and other Asian countries through the expressive means of media art, we hope to provide an extremely up-to-date view of a variety of common themes. Further, by presenting the new field of media art, containing a host of possibilities for new developments in the future in a jointly-produced context, including both the holding of the exhibition and the process leading up to it, we anticipate that the project will spawn future partnerships between young people from Japan and Southeast Asia as well as cultivating next-generation human resources.


The Japan Foundation
Asia and Oceania Section, Arts and Culture Dept.
Tel: +81-(0)3-5369-6062
Persons in charge: Furuichi (Ms.) / Suzuki (Ms.)
E-mail: Yasuko_Furuichi@jpf.go.jp;  Keiko_Suzuki@jpf.go.jp

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Press Contact

The Japan Foundation
Tel: +81-(0) 90-1149-1111
E-mail: info@tmpress.jp

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