[ISEA97] Paper: Junko Suzuki – Girls as Avatar


DK96 is the name of one of the most famous girls in Japan. The girl, Kyoko Date, appeared last year, and became popular among teenagers as a virtual idol. She the ultimate ‘idol’, who is bright, friendly, sexy and speaks some foreign languages. Japan’s largest entertainment talent agency, Hori production Co. and a major advertising agency, Hakuhodo, have put huge amount of money into this virtual idol project. Now, DK96 has succeeded in having a radio program and has appeared on the covers of popular magazines. She started to ‘live’ in our society.

Namie Amuro, a 19 year-old female singer, is a super star in Japan. She has long legs, a slender, tanned body and a beautiful face.A computer game company, SEGA recently has created”virtual Amuro” who mimics exactly Amuro’s performance, dance and songs in 3D CG. She sings while making quick stylish movement, that fascinate real Amuro fans. Like female characters in computer games, these virtual girls are obviously designed to be attractive to boys. Some young boys prefer girls found in computer games to real girls. They feel that real girls don’t quite meet their tastes, whereas virtual idols or girls in animation movies and games are controllable.

KO-SU-PU-RE (costume play) is also popular phenomenon among large numbers of JAPANIMATION (Japanese cartoon movie) followers. They make costumes of their favorite animation characters and wear them to parties for other like-minded people to share their enthusiasm. They play the characters’ roles, identifying themselves as living creatures. In other words, they are the living Avatar in the real world. Avatar, originally recognized as a holy figure in Indian mythology has been appropriated to name characters/people living in virtual space in the computer. As the Avatar in the virtual community, you can be free from unilaterally determined identity such as those in your passport. You can change your name, gender, height, race, nationality, character and even your outward form. All these items which have been considered necessary to prove your identity have become mere changeable decorations.You might be able to meet some citizens or figures in that virtual town. Those citizens are the reflections of the people/members who are playing a role of each of their roles. Members are allowing their characters to act realistically. The story is created interactively through contact with other citizens and members. Thus, the line which separates virtual town life from real life is rather vague. Avatars are their diversified self. A monitor screen as a border of identification and differentiation between self and Avatar, is fading out. Playing Avatar aspect can be found in the art scenes, too.

  • Junko Suzuki (Japan) JUNKO SUZUKI STUDIO. Recent Exhibitions:1990: China lune 4, P.S.1 Museum (N.Y.); 1993, Art and Environment, (Bali). 1994: incidence­coincidence$B!&(BGENOME-PHENOME, Solo show at Galleria Bellini (Yokohama); Molecular Art Show, U.C.L.A. (L.A.). 1995: Kyoto Art Festival, Ex Tatsuike Elementary School (Kyoto); Mind The Gap, Kyoto City Art University Creative Hall (Kyoto). 1996: Portraits in Cyber Space, MIT Media Lab’s project on the Net; ART ON THE NET, Machida City International Museum of Print Art. 1997: Art On The Net ’97 Yokohama Museum, Machida City International; Museum of Print Art. Lectures: Washington University (St.Louis); New York City College (New York); Silpakorn National University (Bangkok); P.S.1 Museum (New York); International House of Japan (Tokyo); Bryn Mawr College (Philadelphia); Japan Foundation (Jakarta); Hong Kong Art Museum (Hong Kong); University of Canterbury (New Zealand). Articles published in The Japan Times; The Daily Yomiuri; Bangkok Post; The Press; Art News. Grant:1989-1990 Asian Cultural Council, P.S.1 Museum (N.Y.) Studio Fellow. Participated in publication of medical texts on brain research under Dr.Kawata of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kanagawa Dental College, M.A.,Kyoto City Art University. Collection: Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan.