Excerpts from Vital Signals: 1960 and 70’s video from Japan
In technical experiments, activist statements, and conceptual performances, Japanese artists of the 1960s and '70s transformed the intangible—time, gesture, the electronic signal—into rich art-making material. This program highlights several of the works included in Vital Signals, a survey of the vibrant, interdisciplinary video art scene during this period of creative engagement in Japan. The works in this program show the variety of techniques, ranging from the minimalist algorithmic animations of Japanese collective Computer Technique Group (CTG), to the intricate layering of images in Ando Kohei’s Oh My Mother (1969). Other artists took a more individualist and rebellious approach, using video as a subversive tool to undermine the cultural dominance of television. Image of Image—Seeing (1973), by Saburo Muraoka, Tatsuo Kawaguchi, and Keiji Uematsu, commissioned for live broadcast on television in Japan, shows the artists willfully interfering with (and ultimately destroying) television monitors.
Computer Movie No. 2, CTG (Computer Technique Group), 1969, 8 min, b&w, sound, 16 mm film on video
Image Modulator, Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, 1969, 0:45 min, color, sound
Ooi and Environs, Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, 1977, 1:30 min, color, sound
Oh! My Mother, Kohei Ando, 1969, 14 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on video
Camera, Monitor, Frame, Takahiko Iimura, 1976, 7 min, b&w, sound
Magnetic Scramble, Toshio Matsumoto, 1968, 0:30 min, b&w, silent
What a Woman Made, Mako Idemitsu, 1973, 10:50 min, b&w, sound
Eat, Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, 1972, 1:30 min, b&w, sound
Image of Image-Seeing, Tatsuo Kawaguchi; Saburo Muraoka; Keiji Uematsu, 1973, 11:20 min, b&w, sound
My Father, Shigeko Kubota, 1973-75, 15:24 min, b&w, sound, video
Curated by Ann Adachi. These titles are extracts from Vital Signals organized by Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York, in collaboration with the Yokohama Museum of Art and a team of Japanese curators and scholars.
Works and images courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.