The global spread of COVID-19 in 2020 has triggered major changes in people’s lives. It exposed the weakness of big cities in the fight against a virus, and forced us to avoid direct contact with others within everyday life. It made technology even more indispensable than ever before, pushed us to change our perception, thinking and behavior, and continues to reform all kinds of ideas and concepts. Under the influence of technological innovation, art that has been raising various questions to the human community, is cutting into the ongoing problems of social polarization and division, and the destruction of nature.
The “Art & Media Dialogue” takes place in the form of an online discussion between artists, curators and editors who have been addressing contemporary social issues by way of digital technologies, in response to technological progress and social changes. The aim of this dialogue is to explore methods for every single human individual to become a consciously active participant in the construction of a future society.
*Interpretation: Simultaneous interpretation (Japanese/English)
Planning: Junya Yamamine (Tokyo Art Acceleration), Arina Tsukada (Whole Universe)
Planning cooperation: Keiko Sei
Part 1: March 6, 18:00-20:30 (Scheduled to end)
Part 2: March 7, 18:00-20:30 (Scheduled to end)
18:10-18:55 Presentations (guest speakers)
19:05-20:20 Dialogue (guest speakers, guests, moderators)
20:20-20:30 Q&A (guest speakers, guests, audience)
Eric Siu (Artist, “Be Water”, Hong Kong/Tokyo)
Arthit Suriyawongkul (AI ethicist, data governance researcher, Thai Netizen Network, Thailand)
Tomoko Shimizu (Media/cultural theorist /Associate professor at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan)
Junya Yamamine (Curator, Co-founder of Tokyo Art Acceleration, Director of ANB Tokyo,
Arina Tsukada (Editor, Curator, Founder of The Whole Universe Association, Japan)
Junko Shimizu (Design Researcher, Graphic Recorder, Japan)
2020 was a year in which a number of major events related to issues of democracy took place in Asia. While the Chinese government installed the National Security Act in Hong Kong, Thailand is witnessing the decay of its autocracy and royal family system at the hands of the military regime. In both countries, the threat to the freedom of the people inspired large numbers of citizens around core groups of students, to take to the streets and demonstrate for the establishment of a sustainable democratic system. Their activities make rather clever use of technology and pop culture in order to reinforce the solidarity among the actors, and continue to resist by methods that can be quite witty. What they are essentially pursuing is not the conflict itself, but the freedom that lies beyond it, and protest is their means for getting there.
Our guests this time are Eric Siu, who is familiar with the “Be Water” movement (*1) that sums up how digital activism in Hong Kong works fluid and “like water without a leader,” and Arthit Suriyawongkul from the Thai Netizen Network.
He is familiar with the Milk Tea Alliance2 of protesters in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand, and with forms of Internet meme activism that is making massive waves in Thailand in the form of large demonstrations among others.
Both of them have some background knowledge about various ongoing activities by people who counter great powers with great wisdom, and a flood of new ideas that is heading straight toward the future. Here they will share their thoughts from the viewpoints of art and technology, as well as social conditions and digital communities.
They will also participate in a dialogue with Ms. Tomoko Shimizu, a guest we invited for her understanding of the current actual situation in Japan, and her excellent and profound discussion that digs deep into the realms of media culture and art alike.
*1) Winner of a Golden Nica for Digital Communities at the Prix Ars Electronica 2020.
*2) Loose international alliance of young activists from countries bordering on China, which share a common cultural habit of mixing tea with milk. Here, milk tea has become a type of Internet meme that spreads as a means of cultural resistance.
Martin Guinard-Terrin (Curator, Luma Foundation, France)
Peter Steffensen (Editor in chief, PLETHORA MAGAZINE, Denmark)
Ai Hasegawa (Artist, Designer, Japan)
Kazuya Kawasaki (Speculative Fashion Designer, Design Researcher, Director of Synflux, Japan)
Taichi Sunayama (Architect, Artist, President of sunayamastudio, Japan)
Junya Yamamine (Curator, Co-founder of Tokyo Art Acceleration, Director of ANB Tokyo, Japan)
Arina Tsukada (Editor, Curator, Founder of The Whole Universe Association, Japan)
Junko Shimizu (Design Researcher, Graphic Recorder, Japan)
The effects of the novel coronavirus have shaken up current social systems, as the situation contradicts the view of evolution in the modern age, and reminds us humans of how – while disconnecting from nature with the cities we built – we are after all a part of that very nature that coexists with various other creatures in the environment that planet earth provides. Against an underlying discourse that is defined through the historical period known as the Anthropocene, the recent events can perhaps also be interpreted as nature’s own critical reaction to the anthropocentric thinking that is deeply rooted in advanced nations. At the same time, human inherent inclinations toward division and discrimination have come to the fore, resulting in all parts of the world in circumstances that call for a scrupulous examination of the morals of contemporary society. The question we are facing right now is how we are supposed to deal with these issues that nature itself has presented us with.
Further participating in the discussion are Martin Guinard-Terrin, co-curator of the Taipei Biennial 2020 “You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet” with philosopher Bruno Latour, and Peter Steffensen, editor of the Danish PLETHORA MAGAZINE that covers topics straddling the fields of art, science and anthropology. Guests from Japan are Ai Hasegawa, an artist who has been working on solutions to all kinds of social issues by various approaches, as well as speculative designer Kazuya Kawasaki, and architect Taichi Sunayama. At this meeting, they will discuss possible curatorial viewpoints with our foreign guests, who are known for inspiring mental leaps by importing conceptual questions into media such as magazines and exhibitions.
*Programs and guests are subject to change.
Photo: Keith Tsuji
Eric Siu / Artist, “Be Water” [HONG KONG/Tokyo]
Tokyo-based new media artist from Hong Kong with a broad interest in device art, interactive art, kinetics, installation, video and animation. Works as a creative director for a Japanese agency, and was a resident artist at the Ishikawa Oku Laboratory of the University of Tokyo for two years after receiving his MFA from the Department of Design Media Arts at UCLA in 2010. Before that, he had completed a 12-month cultural exchange and research project in the US funded by the Asian Cultural Council. Siu’s works have been shown in Ars Electronica, MOCA Taipei, ZKM, FILE, Transmediale, EMAF, WRO, SIGGRAPH Asia, ISEA, Microwave, etc. His work “Touchy” received the first prize at WRO 2013, the 15th International Media Art Biennale in Wroclaw, Poland, and has been featured in various media such as Discovery Channel, Neural, Washington Post, Huffington Post, the Creators Project, etc.
Arthit Suriyawongkul / AI ethicist, data governance researcher / Thai Netizen Network [THAILAND]
Trained computer scientist and anthropologist. Has worked as a consultant for various organizations involving TCT for developments, Internet freedom, journalism and information rights, including Mekong ICT Camp, Campaign for Popular Media Reform, Creative Commons Thailand, and Opendream. Co-founded Thai Netizen Network, an organization that works on data protection, online expression, digital self-determination, and participatory governance of the Internet, in 2008.
Martin Guinard-Terrin / Independent curator, Luma Foundation [FRANCE]
Curator with a background in visual arts and art history. Currently based in Arles, where he works for the Luma Foundation. Was involved in several interdisciplinary projects dealing with the topic of ecological mutation. He is notably the curator of the 12th edition of the Taipei Biennial and co-curator of the exhibition “Critical Zones” in Karlsruhe. He has worked extensively with Bruno Latour on several international projects over the last five years, including “Reset Modernity!” at ZKM in 2016, as well as a reiteration of the project through two workshop platforms in different geographical contexts: the first in China, “Reset Modernity! Shanghai Perspective” as part of the 2016 Shanghai Project; the second in Iran, “Reset Modernity! Tehran Perspective” curated with Reza Haeri at the Pejman Foundation and the Institute of History of Science of Tehran University. Other projects include the co-curation of a 2000 sqm section of the Socle du Monde Biennial in Herning, Denmark.
Peter Steffensen / Editor-in-chief of Plethora Magazine [DENMARK]
Editor-in-chief of Plethora Magazine, with a background in Continental Philosophy. Plethora is an independent art publisher and design studio based in Copenhagen focusing on printed matter. Their trademark Plethora Magazine is a hybrid between a journal and a curated selection of fine art prints. A timeless, gentle giant (70x50cm) in the face of fast-track digitization – with no noise, no ads and no logos, just 52 pages of poster-size visual indulgence and tales from the life less ordinary. The magazine’s editorial profile is a fusion of universal philosophical themes, naïve science, mythological and ethnological phenomenon and contemporary art features. Books and magazine editions are printed by the monks of a Hindu temple, paying homage to the unique qualities of artisanal printing tradition and offering a purist vision for the future expression of printed matter.
Tomoko Shimizu / Cultural theorist, Associate professor at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba [JAPAN]
Specializes in media and cultural theories. She received her MA in Sociology and Cultural Studies from Birmingham University, and a PhD from the Graduate School of Literature and Language Studies, University of Tsukuba. Author of Culture and Violence: The Unravelling Union Jack (Getsuyosha, 2013) and Disney and Animals: Breaking the Magic Spell (Chikumashobo, 2021). Translations include Judith Butler, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (co-translation, Seidosha, 2018) and Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt, Declaration (co-translation, NHK Publishing 2013).
Ai Hasegawa / Artist, Designer [JAPAN]
Continues to dig up various latent problems of contemporary society through works themed on biological issues and progress in science and technology. Moved to the UK after graduating from IAMAS. Obtained her MA from the Royal College of Art (UK) in 2012, and her MS from the MIT Media Lab in 2016. Project researcher at the University of Tokyo between 2017 and 2020, adjunct professor at Waseda University since 2019. Project researcher at Jichi Medical University and Kyoto Institute of Technology since 2020. Won an Excellence Award for “(Im)possible Baby, Case 01: Asako & Moriga” at the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival (Art Division) in 2015. Her work has been exhibited at Mori Art Museum, Ars Electronica, and numerous other occasions in Japan and abroad. Author of Revolutionary 20XX (BNN, 2019).
Photo: KETA TAMAMURA
Kazuya Kawasaki / Speculative Fashion Designer, Design Researcher, Director of Synflux [JAPAN]
Born 1991. Completed a master’s course (Design) at the X-Design Programme at Keio University, Graduate School of Media and Governance, and is currently enrolled at the same programme’s doctoral course. Received numerous awards including a H&M Global Change Award, a Japan Media Arts Award (Art category), a Dezeen Award Design Longlist, and a Starts Prize. Was invited to participate in the Dutch Design Week (Holland) and Design Indaba (South Africa), and involved as supervisor/editor in the publication of Speculations beyond Human-Centered Design (BNN, 2019).
Taichi Sunayama / Architect, Artist, President of sunayamastudio [JAPAN]
Lecturer at the Kyoto City University of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of General Science of Art. Other activities encompass production, design, planning and criticism from standpoints focusing on informative and material qualities in architecture and other areas in the greater realm of art. Recently featured in an exhibition at the Japan Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, and is involved in the direction of “Shinkenchiku Data.”
Junko Shimizu / Design Researcher, Graphic Recorder [JAPAN]
Born 1986. Graduated from the Information Design Department at Tama Art University in 2009, and subsequently worked as a designer. Joined Water Design in 2012, where she was involved in business design aimed at generating cross-genre business ideas. Began working on the “Tokyo Graphic Recorder” project in 2013, and in the same year, joined Yahoo! Japan as a UX designer. Completed a Masters course from the Department of Design, Tokyo University of the Arts, in 2019. Shimizu is currently a lecturer specializing in media design in the Department of Information Design at Tama Art University, and conducts research into “rebordering” – redefining boundaries by environments in which diverse people gather. Author of Graphic Recorder – A Textbook for Graphic Recording to Visualize Discussions (BNN, 2017).
Junya Yamamine / Curator, Co-founder of Tokyo Art Acceleration, Director of ANB Tokyo [JAPAN]
Born 1983. Holds an MA from the Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts. Prior to his current position, he worked at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, and the Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito. Has been involved with a broad range of exhibitions based on media theory, and encompassing such varied fields as new media and contemporary art, including “Hello World – For the Post-Human Age” and “Resistance of Fog – Fujiko Nakaya” (both at Art Tower Mito), as well as “3D Visions,” “Beyond The Naked Eye” and the Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Vision Vol.4-7 (all at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum). Guest curator at IFCA (2011, Slovenia) and “Eco Expanded City” (2016, WRO Art Center, Poland), and participant in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s overseas research fellow program in 2015. Member of the Oral History Archives of Japanese Art, and of the “Asian Art Award supported by Warehouse TERRADA” selection committee in 2017 and 2018.
Arina Tsukada / Editor, Curator, Founder of The Whole Universe Association [JAPAN]
Explorer in new fields of art & science with a diverse and multidisciplinary professional background. Known for her participation as director of the Sound Art project “See by your ears”, led by sound artist Evala, and as editor in chief of the art & science online magazine Bound Baw since 2016. She continues to explore new possibilities by interdisciplinary approaches using art and science, and has organized multiple conferences, exhibitions, media productions, and the other spectacular events. Author of Art Science is (BNN, 2018), and co-author of Information Umwelt – Guidebook for playing between AI and human body (NTT Publishing, 2019).
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Art & Media Dialogue secretariat office
TEL: 03-5579-2877 (10:00-17:00 on weekdays）
Part 1: Saturday, March 6 2021, 18:00-20:30 (Scheduled to end)
Part 2: Sunday, March 7 2021, 18:00-20:30 (Scheduled to end)
Online (Zoom Webinar, participation via PC recommended)