24 October 2010

Akino Kondoh Selected for the Guggenheim's You Tube Play

The digest version of Akino Kondoh’s Ladybirds’ Requiem (てんとう虫のおとむらい/Tenshō Mushi no Otomurai) was chosen earlier this week as one of twenty-five short videos for the Guggenheim Museum’s first biennial You Tube Play celebration of creative video. With this project, the Guggenheim aims to harness the power of video-streaming sites like You Tube to promote contemporary art. Their goal was to “attract innovative, original, and surprising videos from around the world, regardless of genre, technique, background, or budget. This global online initiative is not a search for what’s “now,” but a search for what’s next.”

Here the Jury explains the selection process:

The Guggenheim’s call for entries attracted over 23,000 videos from 91 countries. In September, the Guggenheim curators drew up a short list of 125 videos. Akino Kondoh was one of only two Japanese artists to make the short list. The other was Hiroshi Takahashi with his ikebana inspired piece Wow Tenspace (2007). Takahashi is the president and founder of WOW, a design studio based in Tokyo, Sendai and Florence. Designers who worked on Wow Tenspace included Shingo Abe, Tomoyo Kimpara, Yoko Ishii, Hiroshi Ouchi, Shigeru Makino, Takuma Nakazi, Daihei Shibata, and Shi Lin. The artwork used in the animation was designed by Shun Kawakami of Artless Inc.

An international jury was selected to narrow down the short list to just twenty-five works. The jury included Nancy Spector as the chairperson, Laurie Anderson, Animal Collective, Darren Aronofsky, Douglas Gordon, Ryan McGinley, Marilyn Minter, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, Stefan Sagmeister, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Here Takashi Murakami explains what he looks for in video art:

At the core of Murakami’s expectations for the Guggenheim project is this statement: “I expect the video submissions to showcase the unique nature of video and You Tube. I hope to see the kind of work which is recognizable as art with just a single glance.” 

Akino Kondoh, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Shinsedai in July (read about our chat here), does indeed fulfill this brief. As much as I love watching animation on 16mm film it is an expensive and inconsistent medium. Computer technology has freed artists like Kondoh to be able to work affordably and efficiently as independent animators.  Kondoh draws each of the individual frames of her animations by hand with careful attention paid to every detail. These details are preserved during the scanning and editing process and the result is a mesmerizing animation experience. Each frame of Kondoh’s Ladybirds’ Requiem stands on its own as an individual piece of art. 

Kondoh embraced the digital medium early on it her career and her very first film The Evening Traveling (電車かもしれない/Densha kamoshirenai, 2002) NHK program Digital Stadium which also promotes artists via web streaming.  The Guggenheim selection will undoubtedly widen Kondoh’s international fan base even further. My congratulations to Kondoh for this great achievement and I can’t wait to see what she produces next!

The work of Akino Kondoh will be featured in a number of upcoming events:

Tokyo Designers Week 2010, October 29 – November 3 at Jingu-Gaien Kaigakanmae
PISAF, November 5-9 in Puchon Korea
Domani・明日展2010, December 11 – January 23, at The National Art Center, Tokyo