Bridging art, technology, and pop culture: some aspects of Japanese new media art today

Authored by: Machiko Kusahara

Routledge Handbook of New Media in Asia

Print publication date:  November  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138026001
eBook ISBN: 9781315774626
Adobe ISBN: 9781317684985

10.4324/9781315774626.ch6

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Abstract

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin discussed how mechanical reproduction technology changed art in his seminal text “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Today we live in an age of digital (re)production and communication technologies that allow a wider public to create, publish, and appreciate images and sounds. Uploading and downloading pictures or videos have become part of everyday life. Works by both professionals and hobbyists are listed side by side on the Net, making the border between them unclear. Digital media unleashed our desire to express and to be recognized, regardless of social or academic background. Actions have been taken to support and promote new forms of creativity. Creative Commons, the “Make” community, fab café, open source software such as “processing,” are just some examples. The industry is interested in so-called user-generated content (UGC) as well. The remarkable success of the virtual singer Hatsune Miku in Japan since 2007 is an example of how people’s creativity could burst out when appropriate tools and infrastructure are offered.1 In short, a wide variety of creative activities are taking place outside the “art world” today, some reaching a professional level—there are plenty of stories of young talented people who were “discovered” on the Net and became professional artists.

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