annika blunck on Thu, 28 Oct 1999 10:38:41 +0100

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Syndicate: A Curator's Japan Diary

For Immediate Release
October 1999

For more information, contact:
Harris Dew, 212/708-9847

AND OTHER MEDIA ARTS A Curator's Japan Diary
Launches in November on MoMA Web Site

In November, The Museum of Modern Art launches A Curator's Japan
Diary, the third in a continuing series of online examinations of new media
art around the world. Posted on the Internet in the form of daily dispatches
from Japan, the project examines the ways in which Japanese artists are
developing innovative uses of the Internet and other new media art forms.
Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Video, will travel
throughout Japan, meeting with established and up-and-coming artists, and
will document her findings on the Museum's Web site at
"The artists of Japan, keeping pace with recent trends, have become enamored
of media art, which they term 'technology art,'" notes Ms. London. "In a
country known for innovative applications of technology, the use of newly
available digital tools centered on the computer promises to be inventive."
Ms. London will spend four weeks touring studios of media artists in the
major population centers of Tokyo and the Kansai area (encompassing the
cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe) and in more out-of-the-way locales, such
as Gifu and Kyushu. She will file interviews daily, along with video clips
and photos of recent works. Among the artists she plans to meet are
musician/performance artist Ryuichi Sakamoto; multimedia artist Mariko Mori;
filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto (Iron Man); Maywa Denki, a duo that plays
acoustic (analog) instruments made out of remaindered electronic parts; and
the performance group Dumb Type, who fuse video, music, and installation in
a critique of a modern technophile society dazed by information overload.
Stocked with the latest in portable digital equipment, London and her
travelling partner, documentarian F. D. P. Henryz, are able to function as a
full documentary crew-interviewing, recording, shooting video footage and
still photographs, editing, producing, researching, and archiving-working
out of a single knapsack. In the field during the day they videotape (using
a Sony camcorder DCR-TRV10) and photograph (using a Sony digital still
camera DSC-F55), record sound interviews (with a Sony DAT TCD-D100), and
capture video clips (on an IBM notebook computer Thinkpad 770ED). At night
they process the accumulated material on the notebook computer using editing
software to process for sound, video, and digital still materials, as well
as another program that compresses video and audio clips into a "streaming"
The dispatch, on average 15 megabytes, is burned on a CD-ROM, which a local
contact uses to transmit the data to New York via FTP (File Transfer
Protocol) on a computer connected to a high-speed data line. On the
receiving end, Matt Owns and Warren Corbitt of graphics studio One9ine
transform the dispatches into designed Web pages, and post them on the MoMA
Web site,
A preliminary view of the project will be accessible on October 22, 1999 at
that URL. London's first dispatch from Japan will be posted in the second
week of November.
Visitors to the Museum may browse the dispatches at several kiosks in the
Museum's CAFÃ?/ETC., also to be inaugurated in November. Along with the
kiosks, monitors in the café will display a selection of videotapes from the
Museum's extensive collection that highlights the early days of Japanese
video. Also featured is an original Sony "Portapak", the first portable
edition of a video camera, whose invention in the mid-1960s allowed for
radical new forms of video art. is the third of an ongoing Internet series that chronicles digital
art. Stir-fry (, London's 1997 dispatches from China,
records meetings with artists "unsanctioned" by the Chinese government.
InterNyet (, is an account of London's 1998 journey
into the underground art world of Russia and Ukraine. is made possible by Iara Lee and George Gund III, and The
International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Technical support is
provided by Sony Electronics, Sceptre Technologies, Inc., and the Mori
Museum Project.
No. xx
For more information on A Curator's Japan Diary, please contact
Harris Dew, Senior Publicist for Film and Video, at 212/708-9847 or by
e-mail at

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