VOL.062nd SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL
"Out of the Box Exhibition"
- TOKYO MIDTOWN
- Collaboration Partner
- ARS ELECTRONICA
- Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History
Culture Arts Council Tokyo
TOKYO MIDTOWN and ARS ELECTRONICA held the second "SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL" following last year's event.
The concept of the "SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL" is "a new place to think about the future that is not taught in schools through art and design."
In addition to exhibitions, there were performances, talk events, workshops, and a variety of other programs for children and adults.
The theme of this year's event is "Out of the Box."
There are things that we take for granted in our daily lives, and limits that we have set for ourselves. How can we escape from such preconceived notions?
"Out of the Box" means to break out of one's previous "mold" and become a new person.
This year's "SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL" proposes an opportunity to break free from the preconceived notions surrounding our society through artworks and projects that attempt to break out of the existing framework.
In keeping with the name "SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL," this year’s event included a program in collaboration with universities. To break free from the preconceived notions of society, the growth of students is essential. In Part 1, "University of the Future," we asked what kind of classes are needed at universities in the future. Many future syllabi were proposed by teachers, students, and visitors.
In Part 2, "University NOW," various universities presented their current initiatives. Examples included Keio University SFC's diverse research into creating "the next (next) society," collaborative work by researchers in engineering and arts at the University of Tsukuba to open up new areas of academic study, and the pioneering achievements in sustainable, comprehensive, and liberated fashion design by University of Art and Design Linz.
Musashino Art University draws out potential to respond to society's diverse needs—including sensory and somatic possibilities. Currently being exhibited there as a student's graduation piece is a work called "Music Composition," which lets viewers freely move within an orchestra from the standpoint of a conductor by manipulating a miniature orchestra. This enables them to visually grasp the performance of the instruments' respective parts.
The Art and Media Course Department of Information Design at Tama Art University ran a highly unique initiative.
In an exhibition project called "Reversible University," the department introduced a system of creating new courses based on what students want to do, rather than allocating students to existing ones. While being a tricky and humorous project, it also exemplified an educational stance of getting each student to set their challenges themselves by asking, "Why do you want to do that?" It was a fitting suggestion for thinking "out of the box" in the field of education.
The "DAPPI MUSIC PERFORMANCE" on the first day consisted of two parts, and the people who experienced it got to witness the precise moment when it went "out of the box" of musical common sense.
The first half was a "musical performance by a human" and a "collaboration with automatically generated video" based on that.
With a performance by Maki Namekawa followed by real-time digital visualization by Cori O'lan, it abounded in possibilities for expanding the power of music.
The second half was the complete opposite of the first: a "musical performance by AI" and a "real-time video performance by a human." The late pianist Glenn Gould is a legendary figure who ventured "out of the box" in the world of music.
He was also known for leaning toward electronic recording and focusing on a new relationship between the performers and audience, and was a musician with a high affinity for technology.
"Dear Glen, Yamaha A.I. Project" recreated a performance by him through AI (artificial intelligence) "deep learning," to explore the possibilities for co-creation with humans.
Yamaha Corporation developed a player piano system equipped with AI as a result of the project. The system was first unveiled at "ARS ELECTRONICA Festival 2019 - Out of the Box -," and made its Japan debut at this year's "SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL."
Here, "musical performance by AI" means nothing other than the recreation of a piano performance by the late Glenn Gould.
The piano melody is entirely new, yet somehow nostalgic. In her performance "Alive Painting," Akiko Nakayama created beautiful images by mixing various materials—ranging from liquid to solid—on the screen in real time. Her performance and the music overlapped, presenting possibilities for new forms of musical expression created by AI and humans together.
"Dappi Exhibition" consists of three areas. "Dappi Room" exhibits a range of works that get viewers to look at themselves from different perspectives from their everyday lives, with hints scattered everywhere about how to shed their own conventional selves.
"LIMINAL" by Louis-Philippe Rondeau is a work that highlights the boundary between you right now and you in the past. The time that is here now gets swept away each moment, and becomes the past literally "in a flash."
Louis-Philippe used a technique called "slit-scan" to capture this persistence of time in the form of a space. Walk through a glowing gate, and be shown stretched out, distorted images of yourself.
The work can be said to turn us into a visual metaphor of the fact that our bodies are constantly being renewed on a cellular level, and who we are now and who we were five minutes ago will never have the same dimensions. Considered like that, maybe we can think of the work as capturing scenes with tremendous realism.
"Dappi Square" is an area for sharing problems the society we live in is currently facing, overcoming them, shedding old ways, and transforming our communities into something new.
Ai Hasegawa presented a card game called "Revolutionary 20xx! Tool Kit."
This was also born from a class held at the University of Tokyo. First, the participants delve into their own concerns and pains and look for problems there, or choose topics from among the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Then, they think about what technologies and ideas they can use to solve the problems they have chosen. Aimed at people who have not received an education in art and design, this toolkit has been designed to help participants generate ideas about how to expand their future.
It is safe to say that what Ai Hasegawa creates through her work is the experience of going "out of the box" and becoming a "revolutionary for the future."
"What a Ghost Dreams Of?" by h.o ("h dot o") is a work in which AI creates "faces of people who do not exist" based on information on visitors' faces.
Displayed on the monitor are images of people who look like they must really exist, but have in fact been created through calculations performed by AI. The "Ghost" in the title means formless and invisible new intelligence for surveillance and censorship.
In the future society we are going to be living in, technologies for surveillance and censorship will become ever more advanced at the same time as technologies aimed at increased comfort. In a future society like that, how can we think "out of the box" we find around us? h.o's work poses this question strongly.
"Dappi Laboratory" brought together various ongoing attempts to think "out of the box" right now in the midst of today's society. As well as prototypes born out of pioneering research and development by companies, the initiatives involved also included a project to help passive consumers become active ones.
Developed by IMJ Corporation, "Mirrors" consists of mirrors that have stepped outside their original functions. You will not see your own face in them, but someone else's, or an abstract outline. Instead of seeing what is expected to be reflected in them, you will see something that is not.
You may think you know yourself the best, but therein lurk fixed ideas and things you have been overlooking. "Mirrors" offers a device that will make you notice them, break through your shell, and get you thinking "out of the box."
Modern society is constantly in a state of flux, and we need to be good at adapting to an uncertain world. Shedding fixed ideas, thinking "out of the box," and continuing to grow into a new you. You are sure to find many hints to help you to do these things at "SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE FESTIVAL." If each and every one of us thinks "out of the box" through art and design, then eventually, the whole of society will, too.