Tokyo : 8

Today we approached the 2nd to last day in our Tokyo adventure. All the finals are now complete and we had 2 sightseeing days in Kyoto. All that was left on my project to do list was Purikura or Photo Club. I’ve done some research on the machines prior to coming with the intent to use the images on trading cards that will accompany my images and figurine. So we headed to the back of a Sega arcade in Shibuya, Tokyo and chose our booth.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Nothing could prepare me for the photo booths. They were fast paced, intense and in Japanese only.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

As soon as I it my money in I was on a timer to make my decisions, do I want to elongate my legs? Do I want anime eyes? So I want spots or stars in the background? On the first attempt I didn’t choose fast enough and the machine chose for me. It then proceeded to take the images while I was getting ready which resulted in these images.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

In the neighbouring editing booth I tried to add as much glitter as possible to rectify my mistakes but it didn’t work out too well.

Now I knew what to expect I hit the booth again. Trying to be as cheesy as possible these are the images I created of Icitha’s 3 looks.

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Magical Girl
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Product placement
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21st Century Geisha
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

After this ordeal myself and my mum decided to get some of our own too as a reminder of the trip.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I attempted to email myself the images too. But so far only 2 have come through so I may have to scan the printed stickers for my trading cards. First I have to get them back to the UK safe and flat.

Interchangable Icons

On project reflection I’ve started looking at character development. I felt as though my project was missing something so going back over my research and past projects one theme jumped out at me. Popular culture iconography and the adaptable/ interchangeable nature of transmedia pop icons. Below are the three biggest examples interchangeable icons and unsurprisingly they are all based in Japan.

Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku is a Japanese computer generated pop star. She is the perfect example of a transmedia pop culture icon. Even the use of calling her she, proves just how integrated she is into my world as a real icon. Essentialy Hatsune Miku is a piece of software developed by Crypton Future Media. Everything about her is computer generated, her voice her image and her character. Unlike I first assumed when I saw her she is not voiced by a real person, her essence is the software that created her. She is a millionaire virtual pop icon, and her rein transcends into every platform, music, film, advertising, toys, food, clothes. In regards to this project I call her an interchangable icon. Like a doll her clothes are changed to fit the product, she is plastered on advertisements and products from cars to pizza boxes.

Hatsune Miku’s iconic hair is her recognisable atribute, sometimes it may change colour for a product or a theme but it always remains in the same style.

Hello Kitty

The 60’s version of Hatsune Miku, she is still a global icon today but could be seen as a bit too traditional in comparison to Miku. A different version of a virtual character, she is an icon in her own right and again an interchangeable icon.

Kitty’s face is her recognisable point, it’s key to have something familiar in every adaption so the audience can relate back to the character.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

So what about a real life Interchangeable icon? Keeping in theme with our Japanese girls I present you Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, pop star and trend setter in Japan.

So why Interchangeable?  I use the term interchangeable because it reminds me of the dolls I used to have when I was little, for example you would buy a barbie but she would then have interchangeable outfits, maybe one to make her a rock star another to make her a princess. The interchangeable nature is all about power over the character, you (or companies) control what they look like but only to some extent because you still had to buy into the extensions packs.

 

An interview with Makoto Aida

Makoto Aida’s name is unavoidable when researching work that opposes consumption in Japanese culture. Aswel as being featured in “Bye Bye Kitty: Between Heaven and Hell in contemporary Japanes art” he is a key figure in the Japanese art scene, and his name appears everywhere.

This is an Interview with Makoto Aida from the Bye Bye Kitty exhibition

It’s interesting that Makoto Aida considers himself as a “Conceptual Artist” rather than a painter, his work does cross over multiple platforms.

When asked about his depiction of young girls he says…
“I believe there is an abundance of problematic points in the current generation of Japanese society and Japanese mentality”

“In a simpler manner there is one reason; after Japan lost the war Japanese people became people who were left without fatherly and patriarchal existences. This includes the fact that the Japanese Self-Defence Forces are not a proper army… I believe that there haven’t been many incidents in history where a nation has been in such denial of masculinity and become so feminine. Wether for better or worse, maybe if the whole world were Japan it would be in peace”

“I want to further expose Japans twisted parts”

“I would like people to know there are many active artists out there other than just Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara.”

I want to look more into Makoto Aida’s photographs, although he isn’t as well known for them as his paintings, they intrigue me and a I want to know more.

https://i2.wp.com/beautifuldecay.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/photo02-sma_l.jpghttps://i2.wp.com/www.buamai.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/kc4.jpg
Left photo, “Body Painting with Koe in Stockholm” 2004

Right photo, “Girls Don’t Cry” 2004

Aida eschews irony to delve into the underbelly of his country’s booming culture industry; he exposes the edges where the fabric unravels to reveal something else — not quite an alternative, but a glimpse of something unsettling, reminding us that all is not well below the shiny happy surface.” – http://beautifuldecay.com/2009/03/25/makoto-aida/ March 25, 2009 by 

There is a documentaru about Makoto Aida in which he is followed around. It’s called….

Makoto Aida: Cynic in the Playground

This is the trailer, I will be ordering the DVD soon and writing up a review.

Tokyo Tremors: Four New Waves in Japanese Contemporary Art

Tokyo Tremors
Four New Waves in Japanese Contemporary Art

Tokyo Tremors is a lecture and discussion with Adrian Favell which took place at UCLA on June 11th. It explores the 4 new waves of contemporary art in Japan.

You can read the full summary here, for the moment I will be looking at just one section which is relevant to my research.

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/favell/RoyalTevent.pdf

A second wave focuses on the unique girl culture thriving in Japan today. While girls feature everywhere
in Japanese contemporary art – particularly in the adolescent styles of Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki artists –
other more independent women are striking a bolder, autonomous pose that is questioning gender
identity and roles in Japanese society, while celebrating their growing consumer power. This art has used
the camera as its main medium, influenced by popular street photography, as much as the extraordinary
innovations of the Japanese fashion world. Key artists here include Mika Ninagawa, Mikiko Hara, Miwa
Yanagi, Tomoko Sawada and Pyuupiru.

Miwa Yanagi also featured in the Bye Bye Kitty exhibition I wrote about, and whilst her and these artists focus on the role of the woman it is important to explore such a controversial new movement which opposes Japanese popular culture.

I am trying my hardest to get hold of a copy of the talk and to get into contact with Adrian Favell, the speaker. For now I will look at the work of practitioners mentioned and gain as greater knowledge as I can from that.

Mika Ninagawa

Mikiko Hara

Miwa Yanagi

Tomoko Sawada

Pyuupiru

 

 

 

Anime influenced photography

Chen Zhun

Chen Zhun’s photoshoot for chinese FHM contains all the aspects of anime, violence, action, futurism and sex. They are great pieces. From a personal taste they don’t contain the colours or extravagance of the animes I watch, but thats just me. You can see more images here.