May 13, 1997 Jun. 17, 1997

Art Watch Index - Jun. 10, 1997

The Opening Exhibition of ICC
- The Permanent Collection and
the Exhibition, <<The Mirage City - Another Utopia>>

Art Watch Back Number Index

<<The Mirage City - Another Utopia>>
NTT Intercommunication Center
Apr. 19 - Jul. 13, 1997
NTT Intercommunication Center

ICC Map (enlarge)


The Trace of Toshio Iwai's Media Art

Music plays images x images play music entrance


Arata Isozaki
(in Japanese)

ICC: Permanent-Exhibition Menu

Collection 3 "World, Membrane and the Dismembered Body"

Symposium Live Program
Reality and Virtuality

Seiko Mikami Artworks Archive

Canon ARTLAB 5th Exhibition
Seiko Mikami "Molecular Clinic"

Seiko Mikami
Upgrading the "Molecular Informatics" Exhibition
Art Information - Jul. 26, 1996

(in Japanese)

The Opening Exhibition of ICC
- The Permanent Collection and
the Exhibition, <<The Mirage City - Another Utopia>>


As its name implies, the Intercommunication Center (ICC)'s theme is "communication". What they mean by communication is probably the relationship between art and technology, and between the audience and the artwork. The two-directional "conversation" between the artworks and the audience is probably the outstanding feature that is offered by ICC. "Conversation" here means interactive art, where the audience's behavior brings about change in the work content, which then provokes the next behavior of the audience. Interactive art is said to be the new art form brought about by computers and digital technology. However, is this truly so?

Certainly, in conventional art forms such as paintings and sculpture, the audience does not influence the work (unless he damages the work), and the presupposition of the work is that it does not change physically. Even in performing arts such as music and theater, the relationship is one-directional, and basically information flows only from the performer to the audience. However, as long as the performer is a living human being, if the audience becomes excited or shows some action, that could influence the performer, bringing about change in his work. There is also "performance" whose objective is exactly to that effect. Still, the above is only in the relationship between the performer and the whole audience, and not on a one-to-one basis.

Coming back to the subject of fine art, although the audience does not influence the work, depending on various conditions such as the feeling or knowledge of the audience, or their generation, the work (will look) different/changed. The audience projects his feeling of the moment onto the work, and (the work) receives it. In performing arts (including films), a vast amount of information flows in a single direction, so there is no room for such an interaction. Thus, in the case of fine art, we can say that the work experiences change within its relationship with the audience. I have no intention of calling that "interactive", but at least, there is one-on-one conversation = communication between the work and the audience.

Now, about ICC...Several days after its opening, I paid a visit. Due to other circumstances, I arrived almost around five o'clock. Because they close at six, I assumed I would not be able to see very much.

First, (I saw) the representative work of Toshio IWAI in the Workshop Space. This room is a place for educational programs targeted towards children. The principles of images are presented in an easy-to-understand fashion, and it is interesting enough for even adults to enjoy. Of course, children were also having fun. However, that was it. What more do we ask for?

On the upper level, there was the <<The Mirage City - Another Utopia>>, the opening exhibition planned by Arata ISOZAKI. (As I arrived), there was a gallery talk held by guest artists, and I could not see the exhibition thoroughly. Though I visited again later, the objective of the plan nor the intention of the displayed works did not come through. Since I had read the press material beforehand, and also asked the staff at the site for explanation, I was able to understand, but the idea was not clear from the exhibited works. Such an exhibition rejecting "communication" is rare to find.

Among the permanent collection, two out of eight were "under adjustment", one required 30 minutes for viewing, and for Seiko MIKAMI's booth, registration had finished two hours ago. In other words, I was able to enter only 4 or half of the booths. According to the staff attending the repair of the machines, there was never a time when all works operated smoothly, and there were always some works which were "under adjustment".
What a troublesome museum. It may rather be closer to a zoo or aquarium. For the 4 booths which I saw, although there was a slight surprise immediately after entrance, I soon became bored. Since I was not able to see the popular booths, I should not give an immediate judgment, but rather than a poorly-made interactive art, one should be able to experience a deeper interaction with a painting or sculpture.

After a grand process, arriving at a banal conclusion...this is something seen not so seldomly. It seems that the recent media art has gone through grand technology to arrive at a banal art. Or is this only my prejudice?

Fortunately or unfortunately, my expectation that one hour would not be enough to see the exhibition had failed, and I completed my tour in about 30 minutes. Compared to this, "Tamagotch" is much better.

[Makoto MURATA/Art Journalist]

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Art Watch Back Number Index

May 13, 1997 Jun. 17, 1997

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