05 February 2011

Japan Media Arts Festival 2011

I went to the Japan Media Arts Festival today. More so than in previous years, there was a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before. Here's a few things I thought were particularly awesome.

The Eye Writer

Inspired by an artist friend of their falling prey to ALS, and put off by the U$10,000 price for commercal eye-tracking devices, an international group of artists came together to develop a super low-cost eye-tracking system and develop a suite of software around it to allow their ALS-stricken friend TEMPT1 to continue to create. They had two stations set up where you could actually use the system yourself (it requires a MacBook and a tiny amount of camera hardware) and it actually worked pretty well, although freeform drawing is probably the outer limit of what it can accomplish -- basic UI control was actually quite straightforward, with none of the "my head hurts" aspects of a lot of gaze-driven UIs; but drawing a little tougher.

The Men in Grey

A great bit of agitprop about the meaning (or lack thereof) of "privacy" in the digital age. The moment you click on the above link, information about you will be recorded.

Succubus by Peter Tilg

This sonic sculpture, controlled by electromagnetic forces, doesn't come across in pictures all that well, but live it truly conveys the sensation of being a living being. Unfortunately, in the JMAF venue I couldn't really hear the faint sounds it allegedly emits.

100 Years Sea

Every time I go to a festival like this there's at least a couple artworks I react to as being ludicrously pretentious and under-executed. This video-cave-like projection of simplistic wave graphics intended to gradually swallow up the audience and eventually produce a space where "reality and unreality and inseperable" was clearly one of the qualifiers in that group this year. Other qualifiers including "Edge of Love 3" and "Rugged Timescapes".

Nuit Blanche

I've seen this several times not least at the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, but if you haven't seen this amazing indie visual effects short yet, go watch it now.

The Johnny Cash Project

A crowdsourced music video for the song "There Ain't No Grave" from Johnny Cash's American VI album. This is totally worth checking out to see bot the potential and the limits of crowdsourcing a creative endeavor. Personally I don't think Mark Romanek's career is threatened but it truly is an interesting experiment.

Crowbot Jenny

Awesome. Robot crow attempts to interact with real crows.

The Faddist

Reconstruction of famous western art with, uh, stuff.

Arukuaround / Sakanaction

One-take music videos rule. Especially when packed full of Japanese typography. The great thing about music videos is that they're all on the web.

iPad Magic

It turns out, you can do magic tricks with iPads. Even on the first day they're released! Destined for YouTube greatness worldwide, it has already achieved that in Japan FYI, when he holds the iPad up to reveal his brain scan, the Kanji characters are the ones for "woman" and "money".

Kamikara Papercraft Dinosaurs

Kamikara makes all sorts of really cool Japanese papercraft (cut out and tab-slot together paper sculptures), but the new dinosaur collection has an unbelievable number of action features. Yes, action features. To see them in motion, search for this phrase on YouTube: カミカラ恐竜編. The egg is probably the coolest but a lot of them are neat.

If you want to make them youself, you need to buy the book (go to this page and scroll down to see the image with the dinosaurs) , but unfortunately it's only published in Japan so far.

Fumiko's Confession

This is not earth-shaking, but man it's funny. By the way, the setup is that at the beginning the girl does a classic Japanese-schoolgirl "declaration of love" to the guy and is rebuffed. It was produced by a third-year college student -- thank goodness there are some Japanese art schools finally loosening up enough to have anime programs. Some other anime mentioned at the show I haven't seen yet but want to check out include "Colorful", the latest from the director of "Summer Vacation with Koo" and "Mai Mai Miracle", which was directed by the assistant director of "Kiki's Delivery Service" and looks more like a Miyazaki movie than most recent Ghibli films.

1 comment:

Matthew Meyer said...

Very awesome. I especially liked the Johnny Cash project. What a cool idea. And beautiful too. It reminded me a lot of the old rotoscoped animations of the 70's and 80's... don't see a lot of that anymore.