[ISEA2011] Panel: Rie Saito – The Consequences of GUTAI Movement in Japan and its Influence in the Art Scene: Towards New Understanding of Current Media Art

Panel Statement

Panel: Body Image to/from Media: Rethinking Japanese Avant-Garde Art

Is con­tem­po­rary art still func­tion­ing as a role to pro­pose an issue in a cur­rent so­ci­ety?  In a com­plex world like today, it is dif­fi­cult to an­swer this ques­tion and to think about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween art and so­ci­ety.  How­ever, when think­ing about the art move­ment that oc­curred after post­war in Japan, it is ob­vi­ous that the spe­cific in­ten­tion and cer­tain ac­tions hap­pened in a chaotic sit­u­a­tion. One of the most im­por­tant move­ment took place in Japan was GUTAI.

This paper will in­ves­ti­gate GUTAI move­ment in the 1950s and the cor­re­la­tion with today’s media art.  The first rea­son why it is im­por­tant to re­con­sider GUTAI is its unique­ness of the move­ment.  For ex­am­ple, At­suko Tanaka, one of the fe­male mem­bers in­ter­na­tion­ally known from her work in “Elec­tric Dress” was the most suc­cess­ful per­son in GUTAI, al­though it was not easy for her to pur­sue her work.  How con­tem­po­rary art re­acted to so­ci­ety from the per­sonal point of view and how it con­nected to pub­lic are the themes of this paper.

The sec­ond rea­son is the im­por­tance to re­think about the pre­his­tory of media art.  It is crit­i­cal to ex­am­ine the post­war avant-garde art move­ment such as GUTAI to un­der­stand how it af­fected today’s media art, es­pe­cially in Japan.

The paper will ex­plore about GUTAI and Japan­ese avant-garde art from the 1950s to 1970s, from cul­tural and so­ci­o­log­i­cal point of view, to re­con­sider con­tem­po­rary role of art and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween cul­ture and so­ci­ety.  The paper will opena new path for un­der­stand­ing media art in today’s sit­u­a­tion.

  • Rie Saito has been spe­cial­iz­ing her re­search in the field of con­tem­po­rary arts, media arts and cul­tural stud­ies as a Ph.D. can­di­date at WASEDA Uni­ver­sity. After work­ing for a PR Mar­ket­inf in IBM Japan, she grad­u­ated her mas­ter course at Tokyo Univ. of the Arts and wrote a highly ac­claimed dis­ser­ta­tion whose the title was “An Ex­per­i­men­tal Ap­proach in the Video Works of Pip­i­lotti Rist and the Query of the Pub­lic and Pri­vate in Video In­stal­la­tion”. She has been work­ing as a re­search as­sis­tant at Tokyo Uni­ver­sity of Arts and as a Global COE As­so­ci­ate Fel­low at The Tsub­ouchi Memo­r­ial The­atre Mu­seum, WASEDA Uni­ver­sity, Global COE Pro­gram (In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search in The­atre and Film Arts).  Her re­search method mainly con­sists of field­work and she has done many on-site re­search and in­ter­views.  Also, she has in­volved in var­i­ous art pro­jects, art fes­ti­vals such as CREAM: In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val for Arts and Media YOKO­HAMA 2009 and has cu­rated video art ex­hi­bi­tions in Japan. In 2010, as a mem­ber of Malaysia – Japan Video Art Ex­change II, she car­ried out a re­search on Malaysian video art, com­mu­ni­cated and in­ter­viewed with artist in Malaysia, vol­un­teered or­ga­niz­ing the event and work­shop.  She is a win­ner of EUIJ WASEDA (The Eu­ro­pean Union In­sti­tute in Japan WASEDA) 2010 Re­search Schol­ar­ship and has done an thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion of media arts in Eu­rope last year.

Full text (PDF) p. 2115-2118