Your SmallReboots Has Begun? - EU・ジャパンフェスト日本委員会

Your SmallReboots Has Begun?

Tomohiro OKADA|Social Capitalist / Art&Creative Producer

While people envision a brighter era of progress through science, technology, and humanity, a myriad of troubling events have begun to occur, and it has become a sobering time.

The globalization of communication has resulted in a huge flow of business, while at the same time bringing about a migration of people that is like a millennial swell of civilization. The axis of the economy is shifting from west to east, and various forces are colliding. On top of that, the global environment is undergoing a mutation, and finally, a pandemic has struck all mankind.

The situation has been so startling that what has been called the “Great Reset,” or a major change on a human scale, has become an indispensable term in international political and economic discussions, rather than conspiracies.

The concept of this exhibition is to provide us with hints for our own small breakthrough “Small Reboots,” through the works of artists who are opening up a step ahead of us.

Japanese artists and curator at the opening of the exhibition©︎ Marija Crveni/Danube Dialogues

West and East, Passing Understanding through Curiosity
When I curated this exhibition in Serbia, I had in mind: 1. the works and projects to be exhibited should be feasible; 2. the context should be understandable to Serbian, Japanese, and European audiences; and 3. the exhibition should meet the expectation of being the work of artists originating from Japan.

I was discovered as a rare Japanese curator who could do both, “understand the locality internationally” and “make it possible to exhibit anywhere,” by Danube Dialogues and I was very eager to respond to this discovery, who understand the social context of the former Yugoslavia while being in Japan, and to be able to exhibit technology art on a remote island in Okinawa (at the time of writing, in a village in the mountains deep in Japan, even though it is in Tokyo), which is both “internationally understandable” and “exhibitable anywhere”.

In particular, 2 and 3 were key elements. This “Great Reset” situation is the same in both the Danube basin, Serbia, and in Japan, as it befalls us in our current living environment, and I included as a context an evocation of empathy from the perspective of this daily life. On top of this, I endeavored to present a life-size image of Japan and its representation, which I expect high technology to be embedded in the culture as well.

I myself also created the “work” as an introduction to the project and invited the audience to join me on a journey to “Small Reboots”. In Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan known to many, the Gion Festival is held every summer. This festival has continued from the prayers of the people of the city to quell a pandemic more than 1,000 years ago to the present day. Kyoto is not only a living ancient city, but also a center of research and business for high technology in the world, having produced much Nobel Prizes research and representing Nintendo and global leading high-tech companies. “People” involved in the cutting edge of this technology also participate in the festivals. In other words, there is a resilience that people do “Small Reboots” for over a thousand years. The Journey begins with an examination of the festival.

Opening party in the garden of the Museum©︎ Marija Crveni/Danube Dialogues

Artists who have created works that shake our values and look into the future by providing insight into the society and way of life of their time with regard to forecasts of the development of science and technology.

In “I WANNA DELIVER A DOLPHIN…”, HASEGAWA Ai expressed a future in which people would give birth to dolphin pups due to the development of birth technology, in a work mainly based on video. Why do people give birth to dolphins? There is a choice for women to give birth, and an evocation by presenting a strong response to the extinction of animal species and the destruction of the global environment by mankind.

In “Engaged Body,” OKADA Hiroko reminds us of the existence of our own organs, which cannot be determined by current ethics, along with what lies beyond the advancements of regenerative medicine. Do the organs increased by regenerative medicine belong to you or to whom? If there is nothing you can do about it, why not make your organs into accessories? Her artwork “Engaged Body” is not by regenerative medicine, but an accessory in the form of one’s own internal organs created by the latest image processing technology, is a topic of conversation, along with fake TV news programs, about the values of an age in which organ replacement has become the norm.

People who have lost their places due to the “Great Reset” are no different in Japan and Europe. ISHIZUKA Takanori’s “Rays of Light are Shining in the Park,” a lively depiction of a scene of people who have nowhere else to go but to the park through anthropomorphic animal sculptures, forces us to look directly at and contemplate what we turn away from in everyday life by focusing on the cuteness of the animals as sculptures.

nubot presentation ©︎ Marija Crveni/Danube Dialogues

There is not only an evocation of the future, on the other hand, new possibilities created by the artists.

By freely manipulating liquid metal, KODAMA Sachiko has created sculptures that move smoothly and dynamically, as if alive.

HAYASHI Tomohiko created “nubot,” a humorous robot with a plush doll head and a smartphone that reflects his face, in order to bring creators who were separated by the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) to work as a team in a remote environment. “nubot” was “Small Reboot” created in a fast era, as if forecasting the way teams work remotely in the age of 2020’s pandemics.

By coming into contact with the works of these Japanese artists who forecast or create the future, and whose creations are an extension of our daily lives, we may find inspiration for the future map we wish to carve out for ourselves. If this exhibition was an opportunity for your “Small Reboot,” it must have been a meaningful one for each and every one of us.