Festival

Ars Electronica Festival (2021)

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About the festival/online booth overview


The Ars Electronica Festival is known as the largest media art event which celebrates art, advanced technology and culture. Under the theme “A New Digital Deal,” the festival was held at on-site venues in Linz, Austria and more than 80 virtual venues, called Gardens from all over the world. Garden TOKYO, a Tokyo satellite, launched a special website to showcase various exhibitions and programs.

The director of “Garden TOKYO” is TOMURA Asako, who has worked for Sony Group Corporation in the fields of content development, sustainability, science and technology communication. The project had live performances by Japanese sound artist evala, who was awarded the double prize in the Honorary Mention of the Digital Musics and Sound Art category of the Prix Ars Electronica 2021 and the Excellence Award in the Art Division of the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival, as well as streaming a documentary film of internationally active contemporary artist KOIZUMI Meiro’s Prometheus Bound, which won the Grand Prize in the Art Division of the Japan Media Arts Festival, and a VR theater, Prometheus Unbound Ars Electronica 2021 Garden TOKYO ver. In addition to showcasing the award-winning works of the Media Arts Festival, a variety of other content was presented online, including works and talks by media artists and related people. Live performances and talk events were streamed live online, and some of the works and projects were exhibited at the Ars Electronica venue.


Project Outline


Curatorial Theme: The Power of the Unseen
Time, Sound, Resonance, Ecosystems, Social Bodies, Bonds and Life



This is an era in which technology blankets the entire world and all societies, and underlies people’s cognition and behavioral patterns. Until this point, we took technology for granted as a mere tool, but now we live in a world where unperfected technology interacts with itself so rapidly as if it were mutating into something we have no control of. As humans lose their grip on technology, we are being questioned about the meaning of life as human beings.

Without exception, we are all now aware that modern civilization is being shaken by what we cannot “see,” such as the overly standardized social system which lacks diversity and tolerance, and the vulnerability of our overcrowded cities, in their constant pursuit of greater efficiency. There are no spectators. It's time for us to start the Digital New Deal.

The previously unseen forces of time, sound, resonance, ecosystems, social bodies, bonds and life have also brought new sensations to our inherent cognitive powers. Knowing that we can now perceive the world by using all the functions of our bodies, we can receive wisdom, have the courage to live, and perceive those areas of human life that are unchanged. The time has come to redefine the world itself under these new conditions.

We are pleased to introduce the winners from the Japan Media Arts Festival, by exploring the work of artists and practitioners who continue to express the signs of change in society. We are also highlighting various collective movements in the industrial world that go beyond the boundaries of art.

Director: TOMURA Asako, Sony Group Corporation

Curatorial Theme




Garden TOKYO Special site



In conjunction with the Ars Electronica Festival 2021, which was held in a hybrid format, the Ars Electronica Garden TOKYO, a special site, was launched on Wednesday, September 8, and featured an exhibition of award-winning works.

Garden TOKYO Special site
Garden TOKYO Highlight Video

Online Live Performance


A live performance by sound artist evala, winner of the Honorary Mention in the Digital Musics and Sound Art category at the Prix Ars Electronica 2021 and the Excellence Award in the Art division at the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival, was held online.


Photo by MIYAWAKI Shintaro
Title “Chosho Hakkei in Rittor Base - Live Performance ver”
Artist evala (See by Your Ears)
Streaming date and time Saturday Sept. 11, 2021, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (JST)
Sunday Sept. 13, 2021, 0:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. (JST)
※Special replay: Monday Dec. 20, 2021, 0:00 - Monday Jan. 10, 2021, 24:00
Related sites Garden TOKYO Special site (Live Performance)

Exhibition|KOIZUMI Meiro


© Meiro Koizumi

Prometheus Bound is a full-scale VR theater piece that won the Grand Prize in the Art Division at the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival. The video which recorded the performance held at the Theatre Commons ’20 in 2020, was shown in the exhibition.
Along with the video documentation, KOIZUMI’s latest VR work, Prometheus Unbound, which is a sequel to his award-winning piece, Prometheus Bound, has been revised as Ars Electronica 2021 Garden TOKYO ver. and was exhibited for a limited time.


Exhibition 1
Video documentation: VR Theatre Prometheus Bound [Online exhibition]
Exhibition 2
VR Theater: Prometheus Unbound Ars Electronica 2021 Garden TOKYO ver. [Online exhibition]
Related sites Garden TOKYO Special site (Exhibition)

Exhibition|YOSHIFUJI Ory


© Ory Laboratory inc.

The experimental café, where people with disabilities who are unable to move but are willing to work, work as service staff using the remote-controlled avatar robot “OriHime,” raised questions about Japanese society’s insufficient employment of people with disabilities and presented a solution. It won the Social Impact Award in the Entertainment Division of the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival. On-site demonstrations were held at ARS.


Exhibition 1
Introduction of Avatar Robot Café DAWN ver.β [Online exhibition]
Exhibition 2
On-site demonstration of Avatar Robot Café DAWN ver.β [Ars Electronica official exhibition]
At the Ars Electronica Festival (Austria), a booth was set up to demonstrate OriHime (Avatar Robot). Visitors were able to remotely visit a café in Tokyo by controlling OriHime.
  • Date and time: September 9-12, 2021 11:00-12:00 (CEST)
  • Johannes Kepler University (Ars Electronica Festival site)
Related sites Garden TOKYO Special site (Exhibition)

Exhibition|SAKUMA Kaito


© Kaito Sakuma

Online exhibition features Ether – liquid mirror which won the New Face Award in the Art Division at the 24th Japan Media Arts Festival. SAKUMA’s new work in the series, KEHAI: Liquid Mirror Series - Square -, was exhibited at an on-site venue in Linz.


Exhibition 1
KEHAI: Liquid Mirror Series - Square - (Ars Electronica official exhibition) [Real exhibition at Johannes Kepler University].
Exhibition 2
Introduction of Ether - liquid mirror which won the New Face Award in the Art Division. [Online exhibition]
Related sites Garden TOKYO Special site (Exhibition)

Exhibition|KAKEHI Yasuaki Laboratory, The University of Tokyo Harpreet SAREEN, Franziska MACK, KAKEHI Yasuaki


Photo: Franziska Mack

In this exhibition, Kakehi and his lab members Harpreet SAREEN and collaborator Franziska MACK exhibited an online participatory hybrid installation work, Algaphon,which enables people to communicate with algae in the water.


Exhibition
Algaphon (Ars Electronica 2021 invited exhibition) [Hybrid Exhibition]
Through the interaction, the exhibition gave viewers an opportunity to think about the time axis and the “umwelten” (environment) of aquatic plants, which is different from that of humans.
Related sites Garden TOKYO Special site (Exhibition)

Online Talk Session



Title “Memories of journey, the future of spatial acoustics - See by Your Ears”
Speakers
  • evala (Musician/Sound artist)
  • KUBO Jiro (Stereophonic engineer)
Moderator TOMURA Asako (Director, Garden TOKYO)
Streaming date and time Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (JST)
Related sites



Title “Solitude and bonding. We can change the world by making the impossible possible.”
Speakers
  • YOSHIFUJI Ory (Inventor/Robot Communicator)
  • NAGAHIRO Masato (OriHime Pilot)
Moderator UCHIDA Mahoro (Curator/Exhibition Producer)
Streaming date and time Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, 20:30 – 21:30 (JST)
Related sites

Highlighting Collective Movements


Guided by the theme of Ars Electronica 2021, A Digital New Deal and Garden TOKYO’s theme The Power of the Unseen, we also highlighted various collective movements in the industrial world that go beyond the boundaries of art.



Projects
Related sites Garden TOKYO Special site (Highlighting Collective Movements)