Art x Communication = Open

  • Tokyo
  • Japan
  • 2006-12-15

The ICC — or NTT InterCommunication Center was established in 1997 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japanese telephone service. Its primary aim is to “encourage the dialogue between technology and the arts with a core theme of ‘communication’”. Virtual reality and interactive technology are par for the course in many Art settings so what makes their current show Art x Communication = Open an interesting take on it?

Nietche would perhaps be horrified by the idea that human beings need to communicate in a warm fuzzy sense. However, perhaps his Overman would appreciate the connection between self determination and access to information. There is so much surrounding us in every conceivable form how do we sort out what is useful from what is plain bullwhakey? This show provides an interesting model of Arts Technology dialogue, a dialogue that creates a third potential space between the two disciplines in a way that is very hands on and accessible.

…an interesting model of Arts Technology dialogue…

Where the happenings of Fluxus focused on the presence of the performer in front of a gathered audience, these modern works make use of the very absence of a performer as an integral aspect of the work. The primary body is no longer that of the performer filling out the empty shell of meaning with their actions or objects, instead we the viewer interact with various technologies and collaboratively reach towards a sense of meaning.

In 2004 Jonanathan Harris created a web-based data search Wordcount. In this show, at least superficially, Endo Takumi and Tokui Nao’s installation works in a similar way. Through the gallery based interface visitors can access a world wide database of information through a random or directed search. The displayed result focuses on a phonetic relatedness rather than an epistemological one. Thus different geographies become connected through sound and the action of the viewer.
Exeonemo also uses the NET model in his piece “FragMental Storm 02” but here the viewer types in a keyword to generate an image cascade. The interactive process is less one of curator and more one of co-creator.

Other works focus on the intervention of technology into our perception of communication and space. “Marshmallow Scope” and “Another Time, Another Space” by Iwai Toshio and “loopScape” by Kuwakubo Ryota use the actual space of the gallery to both communicate and distort the communication. Iwai through the use of real time manipulation and Kuwakubo through a 360 degree game of space invaders where the shot that you fire will come back around and potentially blow YOU up too…

“Juggler” by Gregory Barsamian is a more formal sculpture of sorts. It works using a cylindrical frame of cast figures which when rotated under a strobe light appear to move. As with animation your eye is tricked into believing in a fantasy of movement.

Without a receiver of meaning these works remain empty, a mere conflagration of circuitry, surface and image.

Other parts of the exhibition highlight ongoing research in the field of interactive technology such as the development of Programmable Device Project (PDP)”GAINER” — a program that allows work to developed that access movement as a trigger for visual or sound responses. The NTT Cyber Solutions Laboratories’ “Air Jet Interface” was created by Suzuki Yuriko and Kobayashi Minoru. Here the video media in the form of 3-D glasses simulates a sense of touch with a virtual object. Nagano Norihisa + JO Kazuhiro’s “Monalisa: shadow of your sound” is software that produces images from sound. The piece is set up to take a photograph and then viewers can use the microphone at the back of the installation to play around with the effects of their voice.

“We are now, right now, in the process of externalizing meaning. In doing so, we are creating meaning and that’s a way of sharing the world. We need to find meaning and engage with it – conversation gives us a good model for that,” states David Weinberger — writer and researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center.

These works engage us in a conversation — a dialogue between an abstract idea and its technological, physical manifestation. What all the featured works in this show have in common is that they deal with the relationship between a viewer as a physical entity in space and the interaction with an technology not merely as a binary relationship but one which changes. Without a receiver of meaning these works remain empty, a mere conflagration of circuitry, surface and image. With it they point to future of exploration between not only people and technology but between technology and our collective consciousness.

The show runs until Sunday, March 11th, 2007

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