Archived: Japan Media Arts Festival 2013

Celebrating its 16th year, the Japan Media Arts festival is taking place from February 13th to 24th 2013 at the National Art Center and other venues in Roppongi, Tokyo. Over 3000 works of art were submitted for the festival and jury members selected the best entries to be exhibited in each of the four categories; art, entertainment, animation and manga.

Works came from around the world including a fair number from Japan and ranged from multimedia displays to new video games.

In particular we wanted to share some of the exhibits we thought were interesting.

Desire of Codes by Seiko Mikami is an interactive installation which combines the live footage taken by 90 small fixed cameras and 6 moving cameras on mechanical arms hanging and slide across the ceiling projected onto a large circularscreen. This display is supposed to express the blurring of the boundaries between our physical bodies and how they are depicted by data.

Winner of the Grand Prize for the Entertainment category, Perfume Global Site Project celebrates the worlwide debut of the techno-pop group Perfume. An open-sourced project in which fans, artists and group members collaborated to create and organize promotional content, live performances and this multimedia exhibit which featured cutting edge motion sensor based animations. Crowd-sourced multimedia events focussed on a particular idol seem to have taken off in Japan ever since the Hatsune Miku phenomenon. 

Kuratas from Sudiobashi Heavy Industries is the closest thing to a real life Gundam; a giant four meter tall and four-ton robot that you can actually sit inside and operate. Since being unveiled last year at Wonder Festival 2012, Kuratas has already received mass amounts of media coverage but it was cool to see it part of the Japan Media Arts festival as a showcase of Japanese entertainment technology.

On the Fly Paper, part of the Chiba Institute of Technology Campus Exhibition and Tokyo Sky Tree Town lets you experience the latest in infra-red and projection technology.

Staff hand you a piece of card with a blue print of a robot and several dots printed on top. You place the card underneath the projector and the infra-red tracker detects the dots from your picture, recognises the code and projects a real colour image onto the blue print of your robot. Several images can also be projected at the same time as long as the dots don’t over lap.

Presented on an ipad, Rrrrrrrrol is an interactive photo project using animated GIF images where a young woman or an object close to her is constantly rotating. You can to alter the speed of the rotations and flip through the photo album where the woman spins in various locations. Some of these images are often uploaded to tumblr.

The Japan Media Arts festival delivers unique and exciting exhibits every year and this one was no exception. If you are in Tokyo and have the time we recommend you check it out before it ends.

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