‘Culture Gate to Japan’ project launches at Haneda Airport
Tokyo Haneda Airport has welcomed the ‘Culture Gate to Japan’ project, formed of multiple artists and creators who have created works based on the various aspects of Japanese culture.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs under the Government of Japan, launched an innovative cultural promotion project called ‘CULTURE GATE to JAPAN’ at Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) and the Tokyo International Cruise Terminal for the second year running, which began on 19 January 2022. This project, allows artists and creators active in the field of media arts to create works based on various aspects of Japanese culture and exhibit them at airports and cruise terminals to convey the appeal of Japanese culture.
Two installations will be on display at Haneda Airport. The first, ‘NEO-KAKEJIKU’, which infuses traditional hanging scrolls with technology in a modern interpretation. The exhibition launched on 19 January 2022 and will finish on 21 March 2022.
A monitor has been placed in the centre area called the ‘honshi,’ which is usually adorned by a picture or calligraphy to play videos created by five artists who work in the realm of contemporary Media Arts including: AC-bu, Creative Label, nor, Nyamyam, MIYAZAKI Natsujikei, and YOSHIGAI Nao.
Within the screen that resembles a hanging scroll, the artists and creators present the culture and allure of Japan using new perspectives and methods to greet and inspire airport visitors.
The second installation is based on the theme of ‘fireworks’, which also launched on 19 January 2022. ‘Hanabi/Fireworks’, are enchanting spectacles shared by many around the world, has taken slightly unique development path in Japan. Since the 17th century, it has been evolving together with the local cultures in various regions throughout this nation and come to hold the cultural significance of the country. Artist, SHIMADA Sayaka, using this global yet local symbol ‘fireworks’, as the means of expression, explores the complex culture of Japan filled with the coexistence of concepts even in histories, philosophies, and aesthetics.
Historically, the fireworks displays are known to have contradicting meanings of ‘festival’ and ‘memorial service/reposing the souls’ and have thrived with both aspects. For this work, SHIMADA focuses on this dualism of the fireworks festival. She collects and analyses the temporal and geographical data of all the fireworks cancelled in Japan throughout 2020 due to COVID-19 and creates the actual fireworks that evoke another world that could have been and to honour the lost festivals. The form of the exhibition changes in stages, starting from a video work of the production process and data simulations, and to the installation consisting of used tubes from the actual fireworks launch and filmed footage.
Not only as an artist but also as an award-winning fireworks designer, SHIMADA, envisions to create the world that contrasts the various aspects of fireworks by examining the historical and cultural backgrounds.
About the artists
- SHIMADA Sayaka presents artworks centering around films and installations, as well as working as fireworks show designer. She attempts to bring to light new realisations and issues by researching and reconstructing elements that compose fireworks, physicality, explosives engineering, and cultural and historical backgrounds across areas from a variety of angles. In addition to fireworks, she also creates artworks on the motifs of natural elements such as fire, lightning, radiation, and water
- AC-bu, composed of a creative team who produces topical artwork in various media including TV, commercials, and music videos based on intense, energetic expression and impassioned, realistic illustrations. The high-speed picture–story show, ‘Safe Driving Guide’ (2014) was chosen in the Jury Selections for the Entertainment Division at the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival. ‘Powder/New Tribe’ (2019) was nominated for the TV and Commissioned Films category in the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Since 2019, AC-bu is a visiting professor at Kyoto University of the Arts
- Creative Label nor is an art collective launched in 2017 by members from various backgrounds and includes scientists, musicians, architects, programmers, engineers, and designers. By utilising technology to express natural phenomena as artworks, the group aims to embody the ‘sublation of science and art.’ The artwork, ‘dyebirth’ (2017) that drips ink according to an algorithm, was chosen in the Jury Selections for the Art Division at the 22nd Japan Media Arts Festival
- MIYAZAKI Natsujikei, a manga artist, published her first serial publication back in 2010, ‘Yugata madeni Kaeru yo’ (I’ll Be Home by Evening; Kodansha, Ltd.) in ‘Gekkan Morning Two’ No. 40. ‘The News of Transformation’ (Kodansha, Ltd., 2013) was chosen in the Jury Selections for the Manga Division at the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival. She depicts the swirl of intense emotions in everyday life through carefree designs
- Nyamyam (UK) is an independent development studio comprised of three skilled game creators from Japan, the UK, and Germany who have a keen love of Japanese culture. ‘Tengami’ (2014) is a puzzle adventure game that incorporates the texture of Japanese ‘washi’ paper, one of the traditional beauties of Japan, and the structure of pop-up books into its visuals. It won awards at SXSW 2014, IndieCade, SOWN, Develop Showcase, and Game Connection BIG Festival, and was chosen in the Jury Selections for the Entertainment Division at the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival
- YOSHIGAI Nao was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1987. She is a filmmaker, dancer, and choreographer. She directs, performs in, and choreographs videos, films, commercials, and music videos while addressing her own physical sensations and emotions. Her film, ‘hottamaru days’ (2015) won the New Face Award in the Entertainment Division at the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival. She appeared in and choreographed the music video for YONEZU Kenshi ‘Lemon’ (2018), and her film, ‘Grand Bouquet’ (2019) was officially screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the Directors’ Fortnight.
About ‘CULTURE GATE to JAPAN’
The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, launched an innovative cultural promotion project called ‘CULTURE GATE to JAPAN’. The project is a series of art installations held at Tokyo Haneda Airport and Tokyo International Cruise Terminal. The participating artists and creators active in the field of Media Arts exhibit artwork inspired by the unique culture of each area of focus in Japan with the goal of communicating growing a broader appeal around Japanese culture.