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Kazuhiko HACHIYA's
One Week at the Ars Electronica

September 1 (Sun)
It is already September. Today, I had to set my work (for the exhibition), and I woke up and went to the Design Center. At the site, since I had two assistants helping me, I was able to finish the Ying and Yang marks during the morning, then adjusted my machine in the afternoon, and finished at around three o'clock. During the audio-visual test, I asked the people who were interested to try, and like I thought, they liked it very much. Due to Tod Machover's involvement, there seemed to be many people from MIT. I finished work, went straight back to the hotel, and when we were discussing about our meal, Arima-san arrived at the hotel. We all went out to dinner together. The Vietnamese restaurant Arima-san knew had gone bankrupt, so we ate at a Chinese restaurant called "Singapore". It cost about 2,000 yen per person. Later, we had coffee at a cafe, went back to Arima-san's hotel together, and I borrowed a modem and a transformer. I went home in a cab, and tried to access Nifty via Compuserve, but it didn't work. It seemed that it was due to the phone line having a different constitution. There was no way I could access the network, so I decided to try from Arima-san's place later. I came back to the hotel, took a bath, washed my underwear, wrote in my diary for today and yesterday, and went to sleep.

September 2 (Mon)
The opening day of Ars Electronica. Unfortunately it rained today. Since we didn't have to do an exhibit today, we tried to see as many works as possible. First of all, we went to the Center that was completed this year, and saw several works. There were more works under adjustment than I expected. My work also breaks down frequently on opening day, but I doubt if we should look so unashamed! (Chuckle). Also, there were works that made me feel "so what?" after looking at them. The most interesting work at the Center was a projection on the floor which had Apollo 13 inside an elevator. Afterwards, I went to the Museum where Fujihata-san had his display. The building was more classic in style than I thought, and it made me wonder what the positioning of contemporary art here would be. Then, I actually saw the exhibition, but still, there were many works which were "so what?". Suzuki-san's "Three Men, Three Legs" and Fujihata-san's work were fun, but besides these, an interesting work was a voice recorder made of an aluminum box. (Actually, I had one more room I had missed), but, I went on to ask Joichi Itoh for an interview under a request from a person from IMI, went to the reception hall, and drank champagne and ate. Later, I saw the fireworks (the SKY), and this was quite good. Most works were those placed on the ground, but overall, the gunpowder, the PA system, and the performance were refined over a long period, and I felt that the fireworks shouldn't be taken lightly. We shared the fireworks handed on to us on the bridge, which made us feel a bit sentimental. However, we became wet from the rain, and since it was so cold, I hurried and came back.

September 3 (Tues)
My opening day. Suddenly, the battery didn't work well, and I was in a big panic. For the time being, I used three batteries, and was able to finish the first trial session. Since I cannot use three batteries all the time, I borrowed a bicycle at the Ramada Hotel, rode it into town, and bought a battery. 1,500 shillings - about15,000 yen is a big expense, but it couldn't be helped. At least, it was a newly-introduced battery product. I came back, changed the battery, and managed to finish that day's show. Just when I was taking a moment to relax, the black machine's wire snapped. Because it was past seven, I finished for that day, and rushed to the hotel room to work. I resoldered, opened the cover once, also soldered the switch so that the switch would go on as it was, and thus altered the machine. I was invited to a party by ETOY, the grand prize winner of the WEB category, with whom I had become friends these past few days, so I dropped in. These people all wore orange jackets, tear-drop sunglasses, and had skin head, looking like Neo Nazis and threatening, but at heart they are nice people. Actually, I was talking to them like I was their pal, and it was quite fun. However, I ran out of subjects to talk in English, so I went to the Design Center, and went to the winners' reception party. Fujihata-san was heavily criticizing Tod Machover's Brain Opera, and since he said that it was worth seeing because it was so ugly, I decided to go. As expected, it was awful as music. But I enjoyed the visual to a certain degree. Afterwards, I went to Fujihata-san's celebration party, drank two glasses of champagne, became sleepy, and came straight back to the hotel room.

September 4 (Wed)
The second day of the audio-visual trial session. From this day, Mano-san and Murasawa-san from IAMAS came to help. A trial session immediately after altering made me nervous, but there seemed to be apparently no problem. During the showing, I went to Ms. Gabriele to receive the accommodation expense. Takahashi-san also said he wanted his individually, so I decided to go with him in the evening. I received the cash safely, and ended the audio-visual trial session without mishap. For the time being, I had inquiries about exhibitions from curators of France, Germany, Poland and Brazil. I decided to confirm by e-mail, and asked them to send me details. There was one interview by a Polish TV station. I had dinner with Morishita-san, Atsuhito Sekiguchi, and Katsura-san from Kobe Art Institute of Technology, the students of the school, Umano-san, Murasawa-san, and Takahashi-san. We went to an ordinary Western-style restaurant, but it was quite good.

September 5 (Thurs)
I had the audio-visual trial session until evening. I was happy that people in wheelchairs (they were actually judges and staff) enjoyed it. Yesterday, I recharged two batteries, and they were in good shape. Good! In the evening, I had an interview by an Italian TV station. They were demanding and said they wanted to shoot the inside of the monitor, so I decided to transfer the video to 8MM, send it in NTSC VHS, and they will transfer that into PAL. What a hassle. For dinner, I ate with Arima-san, Ohtagaki-san, Sonoda-san, and Takahashi-san. We ate at a restaurant near the Ars Electronica Center, and we went to see an installation at an industrial area in the suburb called VOEST. Unfortunately, it was raining in Linz from yesterday, so we went by car. We went in two cars, an Italian acquaintance's car, and a cab. The site was like a school carnival version of SRL, with stalls selling used clothes and bars. I liked the installation in which a fireball traveled sideways at high speed. Speaking of "liking", I got a classic 3-button Tyrolean (Austrian?) suit at the used clothes shop. 300 shillings, which is about 3,000 yen. I like it pretty much. Maybe this was my luckiest event for today.

September 6 (Fri)
The closing day of the Ars Electronica Festival. There were few visitors today. I was thinking of lightly coping with the visitors, but from about noon, their number gradually increased. When I was shooting a film in the afternoon, a girl from London said she desperately wanted to do it, so I let her. She was wearing a Nemes pants, the same as Onohara, so I asked, and she said she bought it at Harajuku. Maybe due to the fewer traveling electrical waves today, the machine was in fine shape. I heard that a work called NO MANS LAND was good, so I caught a cab, went to the Ars Electronica Center between four and six, and saw the work. It was quite nice. As I thought, it was similar to Technocrat. Then, I returned to the Design Center, and did my last showing. People came continuously, and I did my best until the last visitor. I removed my work at past seven thirty, and my installation ended. I cleaned up the Tao mark, returned to the hotel, and had a closing party at a Japanese restaurant called a "Izaka-ya" at the HauftplatzSquare. Afterwards, Sakane-san and the IAMAS group came. We enjoyed hot sake, and later, went to see an American game where glass bottles were broken with bowling pins. I wanted to try too, but could not since it was the last day of the tournament. The air became too stuffy, and I decided to go home for the day. Got a cab back to the hotel.

September 7 (Sat)
I checked out of the hotel, gave my luggage to the cloak, and had a last tour of Linz. However, there were installations I had missed, so I went to the museum. I finally was able to see Fujihata-san's work in a relaxed mood, and I was satisfied. Still, there were few installations that were interesting. Time started to run out, so I breezed through the flea market at the square, took a tram back to the hotel, checked out, and went to the station. I headed for the capitol of art, Vienna, by EC (for sightseeing). The train going to Vienna is like the Shinkansen, but the dining car was quite wonderful, with a luxurious atmosphere. At Vienna, it was pouring rain, and I dashed to the hotel. The HOTEL POST was located near the post office, as the name indicates, and is a 3-star hotel. By the way, the Ramada was a 4-star. However, this one was better. I went to the information desk, took a tour of the Monthly Vienna (a Vienna guide in Japanese with that title), got lost a bit in the streets, and came back to the hotel. There were many Japanese in Vienna. Since I was roomed with Arima-san, using his powerful weapon of modem + coupler, I challenged an access (at a hotel in Europe, because of the shape of the connector and the four-core, two-core issue, i could not access). Infonet did not work so I tried Compuserve, and finally was able to access. I was relieved that I made the final due date. I wrote a part of my diary report, checked the mail, and read General Patio and Mega Diary. There were about 1,000 unread messages totaling the two. For the meantime, I just read all of Zenepatio, became too sleepy, and victoriously dropped into bed.

Kazuhiko HACHIYA's Ars Electronica Report (Art Watch - Oct. 1, 1996)

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