New Media Art Takes Over Tokyo

Kelly Wetherille

Mar. 09, 2018

Art can take many forms, only a few of which include paintings, sculptures and performances. But in recent years there has also been a boom of “new media art,” which often offers viewers an immersive experience by incorporating elements such as video, sound, smoke, smells, and more. The thing that much of new media art seems to have in common is that it relies on technological advancements for its awe-inspiring impact.

New Media Art seems to be everywhere in Tokyo lately, as long as you know where to look. In February, an event called MeCA (Media Culture in Asia) brought a variety of works and programs to different venues around Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya. I checked out the pieces on display at Omotesando Hills and Laforet Harajuku on the last day, and was glad I did. At the first venue, two highlights were “WATERSTATE 1” by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Shiro Takatani, and “Timée” by Guillaume Marmin and Philippe Gordiani. Both were immersive works that seemed to fill an entire room and surround the viewers. Over at Laforet Harajuku, a similar impressive piece was “DATUM” by Norimichi Hirakawa. Much more than just a video work, its colors and shapes seemed to move throughout a multi-dimensional space.

Another event that spanned multiple locations across the city at the same time, Media Ambition Tokyo mainly held at Tokyo City View also showed many pieces of new media art. There were visitors of all ages that seemed eager to interact with the various forms of technology. “The Earth Clock” by Shinichi Takemura was displayed at 2nd floor of WestWalk atrium, was particularly popular, with people touching the globes to display photos of other world cities in near real time.

If you missed these events, I wouldn’t worry too much, as there seems to be no shortage of new media art in Tokyo these days!