Wednesday, November 5th, 2008...9:16 pm

A quick stop in Tokyo

Jump to Comments

I spent the day today in Japan.  First impression: I thought Taipei was clean, but Japan is Immaculate.

Coming into Tokyo last night and finding my way to the youth hostel was a smooth, organized, and peaceful experience.  People were very friendly and helpful when I was a bit lost.  Everything is well labeled transportation is reliable and on time.  The air smelled clean and everything was stark, discrete, and thoughtfully placed.

I spent the day today at galleries and filming a bit around the city.  In observing the way people and streets are organized, information is laid out, and aesthetic choices throughout the city I felt a strange sense of familiarity.  I realized that it is due to a large part of my youth being exposed to Japanese media.  From video games to animation to electronics, I can think of many examples of my childhood that was spent interacting with Japanese objects.  This struck me in a strange way as it made the culture I encountered seem not foreign but in a way, complete. As if it was a pure version of all the semi-localized versions of things I had experienced before.  From electronic shops to sushi bars, it all felt like the real-deal versions of familiar systems and ideas.  The fact that the streets resembled those I had seen in all my video games growing up made the whole city feel a bit like LEGO land.  This was a humorous thing to contemplate while riding the metro around and watching people and cars fly by.

Of the places I went today one place really stood out: The ICC had a large collection of very well done and engaging interactive works.  Definitely the most high-production interactive work I’ve seen in Asia, and a lot of the conceptual grounding was well laid out.  I also visited the “Second Nature” exhibit at the 21_21 space.  It exhibit a small number of more “design” oriented art.  The work I found to be refreshing in it’s practicality and ingenuity but frustrating in it’s lack of conceptual grounding or probing of interesting questions.  Worth seeing to get a better idea of the state of high end Japanese art-design.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to the Yokohama Trienniale, the 3rd stop in my impromptu tour of the Asian exhibitions.  After the visit I will with the Tokyo University of the Arts professor to discuss the new media and film program.  After today I have a lot more directed questions to ask him about Japan as a context for new media.

Just a few tourist photos to boot:

1 Comment

  • I can’t wait to hear all about everything you have been doing! What a great adventrue - a true experience to inform the rest of your life!

Leave a Reply