The Japan Media Arts Festival organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan will be participating in the Spain’s largest manga festival "XXIV Salón del Manga de Barcelona", to be held from November 1st（Thu）to 4th（Sun）in Barcelona, and will be exhibiting "Languages, Objects and Beasts"（Spanish title: "Lenguaje, objetos y bestias"）.
Approximately 130 original cartoon drawings will be displayed, centering on award-winning works of "21st Japan Media Arts Festival". Award-winning works in other genre, such as video works, media art installations and so forth will be exhibited as well.
In addition to those exhibitions, there will be the talk session and signing session held by Paru Itagaki, an author of “BEASTARS”（published by Akita Publishing）, and, another talk session（a public talk）is to be held by Mr. Tatsuo Unemi, an artist of "Rapid biography in a society of evolutionary lovers". Furthermore, the screenings are scheduled with the programs consisting of award-winning works at the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival during the festival.
Exihibition theme：“Languages, Objects and Beasts”
In manga, personified animals and objects sometimes behave more human than actual humans. Language is linked to the creation and destruction of value, as seen from the way words create conflict between reason and desire. By examining how these beasts and objects behave and use language, this exhibition reflects on human relationships and explores the many different ways of communicating.
- Term：2018. 11.1–11.4
- Venue：Fira Barcelona Montjuïc Hall5 Level1（Barcelona, Spain）
- Planning Director：Kota Toda（Program Officer, Japan Arts Council）
Works on exhibit
Chapter 1 Language that tames a beast（= desire）
Let us begin with some examples of animals depicted like humans. Although personification is not a rare technique, characters in the works on exhibit here ask themselves who they are and what they should be doing. In the world they live in, the characters face the desire in themselves and wrestle with their inner conflicts. In agony, they sometimes look more human than real humans do. Personification varies in its extent and theme, with some example situations being school-life stories, battles in the wild, and detective stories. In any case, personification has a unique and convincing power that draws the reader into the story.
Chapter 2 When an object begins to talk
Animals and other living things are not the only subjects of personification. Objects are sometimes personified, too. Chapter 2 shows you examples where skillful methods of expression make inanimate objects start to behave as if they were alive.
Factory machines, home appliances, food, and even computer programs can look like living things. However, the authors’ brilliant techniques may not be the only factor in making this possible. Perhaps we readers are accustomed to looking at objects in this way.
Chapter 3 From talk to stories
We have many languages. We all talk in different ways. Talk can keep desire in check, but it also has the power to amplify desire. Chapter 3 introduces examples where talking leads to the creation, discovery, and inheritance of value. As a species, we have found unique beauty in a wide variety of human activities, such as rakugo comic storytelling, Japanese tea ceremonies, and traditional craft making. They have survived through the ages, and their value has been handed down for generations, presumably because there were people who talked about these activities with enthusiasm.
”The talk session”：The talk session with Paru Itagaki, an author of “BEASTARS” and Mr. Frédéric Toutlemonde（representative of “BEASTARS” Japanese Euro Manga）
|Conference Room 5 in Hall 5||Saturday, Nov. 3rd. 12:00 - 13:30（90 min.）|
”The public talk”：The public talk by Mr. Tatsuo Unemi, an artist of "Rapid biography in a society of evolutionary lovers".
|Conference Room 5 in Hall 5||Sunday, Nov. 4th. 14:30 - 16:00（90 min.）|
”Signing session”：The signing session by Paru Itagaki, an author of “BEASTARS”
|Conference Room 5 in Hall 5||Friday, Nov. 2nd. 10:30 - 11:30（60 min.）|
Born in Tokyo, in 1993. Graduated from Musashino Art University Department of Imaging Arts & Sciences.
Published a short term intensive series “BEAST COMPLEX” in Weekly Shonen Champion（Akita Publishing）in 2016, she started her first serialization “BEASTARS” in the same magazine in September of the same year.
Born in Kanazawa-prefecture, in 1956. Since 2003, he has worked with Swiss-based artist, Daniel Bisig, for new-media art projects. From 1993, he has worked on software development and creation of works for a generative-interactive art based on the research of Artificial Life Technologies. In 2006, they received the Honorary Mention awards in Vida 9.0 and the Excellence Award in 10th Japan Media Arts Festival. Their works were exhibited at ARCO 2007 in Madrid.
”Focus on Animation”
This program comprises 5 highly distinctive works from award-winning works of the Animation Division from the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival.
|Auditorium Room 7 in Hall 5||Thursday, Nov. 1st. 9:30 - 11:00|
|Hall 5 Level 1（in the exhibition space）||Every day 17:00 - 18:00|
”21st Japan Media Arts Festival Award-winning Program”
This program comprises 11 highly distinctive works from award-winning works of the Animation, Entertainment, and Art Division from the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival
|Auditorium Room 7 in Hall 5||Saturday, Nov. 3rd. 9:30 - 10:30|
|Hall 5 Level 1（in the exhibition space）||Every day 10:00 - 11:00|
”Tomoyasu Murata Program”
This program comprises award-winning works of Tomoyasu Murata from the Japan Media Arts Festival.
Murata employs puppet animation in an expressive way, allowing viewers to experience it with their eyes, ears, sense of touch and even through the air. He has consistently strived to express the idea of mujo（impermanence）, which is a very beautiful concept to the Japanese.
|Hall 5 Level 1（in the exhibition space）||Every day 14:30 - 15:50|
Reportupdate: December, 2018
The Salón del Manga for 2018, held in Barcelona November 1st through 4th, was a massive success, drawing in its largest ever attendance with approximately 150,000 visitors. During this period, it was striking to see people in cosplay walking through the streets of Barcelona toward the venue from early in the morning, enabling the whole city to enjoy the festival.
The venue was full of activities, from the sale of goods and Spanish translations of manga, to the introduction of Japanese culture through manga. These bits of culture included wearing kimono, playing shogi, anime songs, Japanese language lessons, Japanese food, and cooking lessons―all of which were very popular. We were overwhelmed by how much Spanish people love all things Japanese.
In addition, the supremely high-quality exhibition “Languages, Objects and Beasts” was covered by five national newspapers, five regional editions, and Spanish state-operated TVE, Televisión Espanóla drawing in massive crowds day after day.
Next, We’ll dive deeper into the festival itself and the “Languages, Objects and Beasts” exhibition.
The exterior of venues of the festival
“XXIV Salón del Manga de Barcelona” Award Ceremony – Nov 2nd
Prize for a contribution to the arts – Paru Itagaki (“BEASTARS”)
At the festival venue
Exhibition: While things like anime songs and the sale of manga, DVDs, and games were of course popular, the Japanese food section seemed to maintain long lines all throughout each day of the event. Takoyaki, yakisoba buns, beef bowls, shaved ice, and many other delicious items were on sale. There was even a cooking school giving lessons on how to make ramen and more.
The completed venue for the “Languages, Objects and Beasts” exhibition
Featured in five national newspapers, five regional editions, and on Spanish state-operated TVE, the exhibition was packed with visitors every day.
As Spain has a culture that respects manga as art, visitors appreciated seeing the original pictures on exhibit. Many also thoroughly appreciated the media installations and visual media work, making repeated visits to the venue.
Talk session between Paru Itagaki (“BEASTARS”) and Mr. Frédéric Toutlemonde (representative of “BLACKSAD” Japanese publisher Euro Manga) – Nov 3rd
In the session, Itagaki made a “live”, on-the-spot manga drawing and shared “BEASTARS” related episodes as well as impressions on her first visit to Barcelona. In addition, Frédéric Toutlemonde, the moderator and the producer for the Japanese version of the popular Spanish comic “BLACKSAD”, raised the possibility of a collaboration between characters from “BEASTARS” and “BLACKSAD”. Amazing ideas such as this were aired, and the excited fans enjoyed the event immensely.
Comment from Paru Itagaki:
Invited to this great festival, I realized anew that Spain has a very special interest in art. I felt the burning enthusiasm to create their own unique manga with works like “BLACKSAD” (*author Juanjo Guarnidois is Spanish) fill up the event venue. More than anything, their love for Japanese manga fills me with happiness. A tremendous number of Japanese manga are lined up on display in this large venue. It seems that there are authentic cultural ties between our countries that are not visible through TV news reports, etc. The cityscape, including Gaudi's architecture, is also glorious, and the fact that the whole country values aesthetic sensibility has been a deep learning experience for me. I am strongly motivated to reach out more to the world through the manga drawings I make in my small corner of Japan.
Public talk by Mr. Tatsuo Unemi, an artist of “Rapid biography in a society of evolutionary lovers” – Nov 4th
From the broad perspectives of science, technology, art, entertainment, etc., Unemi shared episodes related to the production and concept of the media installation "Rapid biography in a society of evolutionary lovers." In addition to talking about the Spanish version of his work and this visit to Barcelona, he also presented a logical discussion on Spanish artists.
Comment from Mr. Tatsuo Unemi:
I felt somewhat uneasy when I received a request for art work to be exhibited at an event focusing on manga and Japanese culture. However, as the exhibition concept called for a story created by objects, I think that my work fit in exceedingly well. Supported by highly competent Japanese and local staff, we were able to install the exhibit and conduct the necessary operations smoothly. I am delighted that there were a large number of visitors. It was also a good experience expanding the software to support the Spanish language for the exhibition, in cooperation with co-creator Daniel Bisig's friends. After that, I tried to do the same with Asian languages, but that turned into a lesson in the incredible diversity of cultures, such as the differences in the structure and meaning of languages, and furthermore the various terms of address and naming of people.