Japan-ASEAN Guest Programme:
“MEDIA/ART KITCHEN: Reality Distortion Field”
Assembled from the seven countries of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam — each with differing histories and traditions, and each with distinct political, economic and cultural situations — the 13 curators of this project have collaborated on developing an exhibition questioning the nature of Media / Art today, which will further evolve through each of its presentations in the cities of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Bangkok.
At a time when under the banner of globalization all manner of information technology has transcended national borders to enter into people’s lives, and has no small effect on how those lives play out, today’s constantly updating media environment has generated unprecedented new spheres of economics and culture. While it could become the impetus for a major revolution, this situation also carries with it the risk of expanding new forms of oppression and disparity.
Moreover, between Japan and the constituent nations of ASEAN, as well as between the four cities hosting the exhibition, there are stark differences in social context and the positioning in those contexts of “media” and “art.” As suggested by the relationships that have developed between the curators and artists participating in this project, the exploration of mutual differences both large and small also brings with it the necessity of working together — and at times with exhibition visitors as well — to establish new standards of value.
Eschewing presumptions of a predetermined genre of so-called “media art,” rather than being categorized by the use of advanced technology and channels of circulation/reception, this project departs from the new formulation “Media / Art” (media that is also art), which, with its insertion of a slash between media and art, can now be reinterpreted as “that which mediates and its technology.” What kind of art can we realize, and how can we live creatively, based on an understanding of our constantly transforming media and our relations to that media?
We want to depict the unfolding present, and the prospect of the coming future, in which these concerns are indeed so pressing.
For example, when thinking about the establishment of a rich food culture, the platform for that cuisine’s emergence is not necessarily limited to professional kitchens filled with expensive equipment and rare ingredients. Even developing from accessible ingredients rooted in the everyday environment and simple preparation equipment, there are no few examples of cuisines, produced through flexible imagination and creativity, which have been so flavorful as to overturn established values.
Far from the so-called hi-tech “media art” first established through the integration of cutting-edge technology, expensive equipment and specialized knowledge in programming, it is the works and projects rooted in a kind of DIY spirit, which adaptively make use of the environments and resources at hand and are produced through flexible creativity and independent experimentation with technology, which provide the most insight into the knowledge required for creative living and its possibilities, as well as into the questions of how to define media and how to understand what media is capable of producing.
Thus, in this project, the exhibition itself is conceived as a kind of “kitchen,” a creative platform that can be generated anywhere in response to all manner of situations and environments, and used by anybody in response to necessity. Not only a “display of works” inspired by the different “cooking methods” and “palates” of the artists, the project also becomes a “workshop” for more deeply understanding the context behind the works and media, and a “laboratory,” or site for visitors themselves to enjoy creation and expression on their own terms.
What we have conceived is a “kitchen” combining these three pillars.
Even if one could not access expensive equipment, or special technology and knowledge, with an experimental and courageous mind, and with the addition of “spicy” creative thinking and twists, there is surely an “art” capable of producing a cuisine that has never before been seen or tasted.
Believing in this, what we are attempting through “Media / Art Kitchen” is to produce a kind of miraculous distortion field where the impossible becomes the possible.
Single Channel Screening Programme A: Landscape and Beyond
Landscape is well-known as a historical painting genre, commonly used to describe depictions of nature. The filmmakers in this programme re-interpret this genre to present new possibilities in engaging, exploring and understanding landscape.
Landscape Series #1
Nguyen Trinh Thi (Viet Nam), 2013
As the journey starts, wide empty landscapes make one wonder what one is looking for. A mysterious object? A crime scene? Something horrifying? The scenes are getting more and more specific, but they do not lead to any concrete solution – only an injury in place of a metaphor.
NGUYEN Trinh Thi (b. 1973, Hanoi) received her MA in Journalism from the University of Iowa in 1999, and her Master of International Pacific Studies from the University of California, San Diego in 2005. Her moving image work—including documentary and experimental films, single-channels and video installations—consistently engage with memory and history, and reflect on the roles and positions of art and artists in society and the environment. Her materials are diverse – from video and photographs shot by herself to those appropriated from various sources including press photos, corporate videos, and classic films; her practice traverses boundaries between film and video art, installation and performance. She has taken part in international exhibitions such as No Soul For Sale 2 (Tate Modern, England 2010), Women in Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012 (Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan 2012), and Move on Asia: Video Art in Asia 2002 to 2012 (ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Germany 2013). Based in Hanoi, she also founded and directs Hanoi DOCLAB, a center for documentary films and the moving image since 2009.
Composition of “Furusato (Home)”
Takeuchi Kota (Japan), 2010
A rather violent act of hitting objects on a nameless street with a metal baseball bat somehow creates a musical composition of popular Japanese song called “Furusato (Home)”.
TAKEUCHI Kota (b. 1982) graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Inter Media Art in 2008. His latest exhibitions include Social Dive (2011 / 3331 Arts Chiyoda), and the Gunma Biennale for Young Artists 2010 (2010 / Museum of Modern Art, Gunma) for which he won the Incentive Award.
Nitipak SAMSEN (Thailand), 2011
Ever wonder where the money in your pocket came from? Who was the previous owner? Who was the owner before that? Could it be that famous celebrity…
Trail$ imagines the development of a new monetary payment system – smart banknotes that work by presenting a readable history of ownership on the note itself, an innovation designed to prevent money laundering. Although the system appears successful, there are loopholes and unexpected instabilities regarding the value of each note, eventually leading to the demise of the main protagonists.
Finding solutions is about identifying problems. Trail$ simultaneously proposes a new monetary system and criticizes the surveillance society in our digital world.
Nitipak SAMSEN (b.1979, Bangkok) graduated from the faculty of architecture, Silpakorn University in 2000, and later pursued a Master in Design Interactions at Royal College of Art, UK. He approaches works with experimentations that involve contemporary issues in combination with art, science, and technology to provide multiple answers as opposed to the right and best one. He currently works as a Designer at Haque Design + Research in UK.
Tad Ermitano (Philippines), 2006
In a parallel Philippines, personal computers are made not of silicon, but of neural tissue. Cloned, artificial brains regulate the machines and rituals of everyday life. Naturally, the market supports various grades of neural computers. They range from branded units from blue-chip laboratories, to second hand units, to even cheaper alternatives in the black market. The language of this society has sprouted a range of terms to distinguish the various grades, but the words hide uncomfortable facts about some of the merchandise.
Tad ERMITANO (b. 1964, Manila) studied Zoology in the University of Hiroshima and finished a degree in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines before training in film and video at the Mowelfund Film Institute. Based in Manila, he designs and mixes sound for digital features and produces video projections for stage and concerts. He also creates art works in a variety of forms and media including single-channel videos, video installations, sound installations, interactive video performances, and robotic installations. His works have been exhibited at the 20th anniversary of ISEA (2008), the Ogaki Biennale and New Media Festival (2006), Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Nightless – ver.5
TAMURA Yuichiro (Japan), 2010
NIGHTLESS is a road movie composed entirely of images from Google Street View. The story transcends national borders as it takes spectators on a journey from Nebraska to Chiba, Alaska, Portugal and Marseille. The sun never sets on the views in this movie. Does this movie created without actual filming deserve to be called a “movie”? The main theme of this work is the practice of inserting subjectivity (aura) into non-subjective (anonymous) images. One of the essential works Tamura has done was taking unconsciousness of people. Then it shifted to the direction that taking a photograph without shooting as well as a photograph that is taken by nobody. So Tamura did film nothing. However, these images start to construct a narrative story as he writes a script. What is the difference between traditional movie storytelling and a story created from new media? This film studies a relationship between an image and its narrative-ness.
TAMURA Yuichiro (b. 1977, Toyama) graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts. He is currently a Ph.D candidate at the University’s Graduate School of Film and New Media. He has consistently pursued the possibilities of the moving image, taking photography as a point of departure while straddling various other media and frameworks, including film, installation, and performance. He samples not only images that he has taken himself but also preexisting footage, coaxing unique relationships out of them in order to create new landscapes. He received the excellence award at the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2010 for “NIGHTLESS”, and this work has been screened internationally at The 57th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (2011) and Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2011). In 2012, “NIGHTLESS ver. 6” was acquired for the public collection of Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. He is a recipient of Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists 2013 at Institut für Raumexperimente under the Berlin University of the Arts, Olafur Eliasson Class, and University of the Arts London.
Tito & Tita (Philippines), 2001
When alone with but the sound of surf, old memories haunt like short ends of a film.
Tito & Tita (Manila) is a collective of young artists working mainly with film and photography based in Philippines. As individual filmmakers, their works have been featured in various film festivals and art fairs in the past year, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2013), the Museum of the Moving Image, New York (2012), and Documenta in Kassel (2012). As a collective, they have exhibited at the Ishmael Bernal Gallery, U.P. Film Center (2012) and at Green Papaya Art Projects (2013), redefining independent cinema and photography in Manila via an enthralling transformation of images and disarming practicality, amidst all the symbolism, surrealism, and a variation of experimental techniques.
Chris Chong Chan Fui (Malaysia), 2008
A building becomes a living painting. The concrete homes and contradicting soundscapes frame the lives of an expatriate Indian community in Malaysia. What we see is a static shot from an apartment block. We gradually find out that it’s an apartment block in Kuala Lumpur with only Indian inhabitants. Then the picture starts to wake up; as in a moving painting, all kinds of minor stories surrounding the immigrant inhabitants start to develop at various levels on screen, but also on the meticulously constructed and often contrary soundtrack. For one day and one night we are witnesses to events on the galleries. Block B is the result of a close cooperation between film maker Chris Chong Chan Fui and the Japanese sound artist Yasuhiro Morinaga.
Malaysian filmmaker and media artist Chris Chong Chan Fui (b. 1982, Sabah) is interested in grey areas and exploring the inherent possibilities of in-between spaces. No stranger to being showcased at international film festivals, Chong made a splash at Cannes when his debut feature film, Karaoke, was shown at the prestigious event in 2009. Touching and experiential, cinematic works such as his breakthrough short film, Block B, prod tenderly at the humanity of a place, surprising viewers with their revelatory, image-laden epiphanies. Block B was presented in the Black Box of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 2010, making him the first Malaysian artist invited to present work at this prestigious institution. Dividing his time between Kuala Lumpur and his hometown of Kota Kinabalu, Chong is currently heading the upcoming Borneo Eco Film Festival, an environmentally motivated, not-for-profit initiative geared towards unleashing local talent within Sabahan communities. He is also one of the participating artists representing Borneo Malaysia in the 2013 Singapore Biennale.
Single Channel Screening Programme C: Being Physical
Discover new forms of perceiving the physical in these five experimental films that deal with different aspects of materiality, from the body to object to sound.
STATIC FRICTION: BURNING RUBBER
The Propeller Group (Viet Nam), 2012
In this work, a series of performances were setup around Ho Chi Minh City, where an anonymous motorbike rider, dressed all in black maneuvers his moped into centers of traffic and begins to perform burnouts. The loud sounds of the engine, the screeching of the tires, the smoke, the struggle between rider and moped to maintain power and stability, are documented through various camera angles via video and photography.
The Propeller Group consists of Matt LUCERO (b. 1976, Upland, California), Tuan Andrew NGUYEN (b. 1976, Ho Chi Minh City), and Phu Nam Thuc HA (b. 1974, Ho Chi Minh City). The group was formed in 2006 as a creative development company specializing in experimental film, music video and original television content, as well as a cross-disciplinary collective to create large-scale art projects. The group has taken part in international exhibitions such as the 2nd Singapore Biennale (Singapore 2008), the GwangJu Biennale (Korea 2008), Video, An Art, A History (Singapore Art Museum, Singapore 2011), the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Australia 2012), and No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia (Guggenheim Museum, U.S.A 2013). The group is based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Los Angeles, California.
Space Within Time #9
Prilla Tania (Indonesia), 2011
With a series of stop motion video works titled “Space Within Time”, Prilla Tania draws familiar scenes from local life style of Indonesia with a sense of cynicism and humor.
Born and raised in Bandung, Prilla Tania (b.1979, Bandung) studied fine art at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). She’s been actively involved in the local art scene since 2003. Prilla makes soft sculptures, installations, videos and photographs. She is also a performance artist. In 2004, together with two other video artists, Ariani Darmawan and Rani Ravenina, Prilla established a video collective called VideoBabes. She was an artist in residence at the 3331 Artist & Curator Residence Program in 2010, and at Heden, Den Haag in 2012. Her work has been screened in a number of events, namely, “Recorded Waves: Moving Images from Indonesia” (Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong)(2010). Her latest solo exhibition “E” was held at Selasar Sunaryo Bandung (2013).
What [1/3 Edition]
Reza Afisina (Indonesia), 2001
One of Afisina’s early experimental work What . . . (2001) marks a significant moment of convergence between Indonesian performance art and video, and a turning point in the practice of the artist, whose background is in cinematography. The video, which was shot during the Islamic holiday Eid, held in the fasting months of Ramadhan, records a performance by the artist carried out alone. Contemplating the occasion’s purpose as a time for spiritual reflection, he turned to certain biblical verses, specifically Luke 12:3–11. In this passage, Luke relates Jesus’s warnings against hypocrisy and stresses the importance of truth and confession; “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light,” he declares, “and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”
Reza Afisina (a.k.a Asung) (b. 1977 Bandung), trained in cinematography with a major in sound and documentary at Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ). A member of ruangrupa, he is part of the ruangrupa art laboratory team that focuses on developing creative collaborative process and presentation within art projects. He has exhibited locally and internationally, including in the United States, Australia, South Korea as well as Canada. His work was recently seen at group exhibitions such as “Me Love You Long Time (MLYLT)” (Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, U.S.A) and “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia” (the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York).
Parts and Labour [short version]
Song-Ming Ang (Singapore), 2012
In Parts and Labour, shot on location in a piano workshop, the artist spent four months as an apprentice salvaging a disused piano – taking apart the instrument and replacing every string, before putting the piano back together and tuning it to playable condition. The resulting video offers an intimate portrait of the workings of a piano, and the sounds produced through the interaction between man and machine.
Song-Ming Ang (b. 1980, Singapore) makes conceptual artworks based on the subject of music. His work is frequently based on self-imposed restrictions and involves processes in which musical instruments and paraphernalia are refashioned and recontextualised. Ang has exhibited and performed at the 3rd Singapore Biennale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), the Armory Art Show (New York), Gertrude Contemporary (Melbourne), ARCUS Project (Japan), and held solo exhibitions at Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Future Perfect (Singapore), SoundFjord (London) and Spring Workshop (Hong Kong).
Makino Takashi (Japan), 2012
“Everything of what I saw during 2012. I made this work in almost unconsciousness. This work will show you the dynamic moment of changing from Film image to Digital image….” Makino Takashi
Originally developed for his live performance series where he provided the music at site, 2012 is an accumulation of images Makino generated and edited in 2012. It is impossible to perceive this film fully because of its high density. That will liberate the viewer to experience it on his/her own instead. Also Makino introduced new physicality into film history by applying the Purflich 3D effects to his abstract film.
MAKINO Takashi (b. 1978, Tokyo) is a filmmaker who lives and works in Tokyo. In 2001, Makino moved to London to study music and lighting design at the Brothers Quay’s atelier. He continues to produce and exhibit films that make full use of the various techniques and methods harnessed from film and video, treating both image and its accompanying music as elements of equal importance. His short films have been screened internationally and have won prizes such as Award for Best International Film, 51th Ann Arbor Film Festival (2013), Tiger Award for Short Film, International Film Festival Rotterdam (2012) and Grand Prix, 25FPS FESTIVAL (2009, 2011). Makino initiated an organization called [+] with a group of fellow independent film makers and have organized numerous screening events in and outside Japan. His film “2012” s a solo cinematic project for which he has been generating and editing images and sounds throughout this year. This work recently won the Jury Award of the International Competition at Hamburg Short Film Award 2013.
Curator’s Short Biography:
Charmaine TOH (b. 1977, Singapore) is the Programme Director of Objectifs: Centre of Photography and Film in Singapore where she has played a pivotal role in revitalising the gallery programme and has initiated plans for documentation and research of local art practice. She is also the founder and Director of The Art Incubator, an independent organisation that facilitates the production and presentation of new work. Charmaine works mainly with Singaporean artists and has curated exhibitions at the National Museum of Singapore, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore and the Esplanade, among others. She was the co-curator of the 2012 Marina Bay Light Festival and is also co-curator for the upcoming 2013 Singapore Biennale.
(Photo Credit: Sayuki Inoue)
OKAMURA Keiko (b.1969, Fukuoka) received her M.A. in Art History at Waseda University, Tokyo. Formerly a Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), she has been the Curator in Charge, Moving Images and Media Section at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography since 2007. She has curated a number of exhibitions namely MOT Annual 2000: Land/mind/body-scapes in the Age of Cold Burn (2000), IMAGINATION, Perception and Beyond (2008–2009), Ishida Takashi and Genealogy of Abstract Animation (2009-2010). In 2009, Okamura founded the Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions and has overseen the first five editions (2009-2013) as Director of the festival.