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Japan Exhibit Features High-tech Art

What's "cool" in the Japanese art world today? See for yourself at an upcoming show at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Gallery in downtown Beijing.

The exhibition, which opens on August 23 and runs until September 1, will present Chinese audiences with more than 100 award-winning works selected from the annual national new media art festivals of Japan from 1997-2001.

"This will be the first major exhibition of Japanese new media art in China," said Jin Hua, deputy director of the academy's international affairs office.

"Visitors can expect to renew their understanding of art through experiencing these special works," Jin told China Daily.

According to Jin, the exhibition will be part of events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Japan. It will be co-organized by the central academy and the Japan Computer Art Association.

Produced with modern technologies, the works in the exhibition will fall into the categories of video installation, digital art, games, mangai (a kind of Japanese caricature) and animation.

"Blending technology with art and entertainment, new media art is very popular in Japan today, especially among young people," said Toshiyuki Akiba, acting director of the Japan Computer Art Association. "We would like to share this new trend with Chinese people, youngsters in particular."

Visitors are encouraged to see, touch, listen to and even participate in some of the interactive displays.

In one of the creations by Yoichiro Kawaguchi, an art professor from Tokyo University, visitors can control the vibration of the image with their own voices or dial in their mobile phone numbers, which will become part of the components of the image on a screen.

"As an artist, I have always been concerned with how to apply the latest technology in my artistic creations," said Kawaguchi.

"I try to feature the movements of nature in my works while conveying my feelings and experiences as an Asian artist. China is catching up with the outside world rapidly, even in new media art. I look forward to exchanging with more Chinese artists."

Differences do exist between Chinese and Japanese new media art, experts say.

Chinese new media artists often place more emphasis on conveying their artistic concepts than advancing their techniques and entertaining audiences.

Maturer in technology and more entertaining in general, Japanese new media art works, however, are often too commercialized and not that striking when it comes to artistic concepts, experts pointed out.

(China Daily June 21, 2002)

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