Media Arts Festival to unleash sights and sounds on Tokyo

Covering four categories - art, entertainment, animation and manga - the winners of this year's Japan Media Arts Festival are to go on display at The National Art Center in Tokyo for 11 days from February 2.

The event has been held annually since 1997, growing in scale and importance on the Japanese, and international, art scene. Somewhat confusingly titled the 2010 festival - due to organizers' adherence to the fiscal year, which ends at the end of March, instead of the calendar year - this year's event attracted 2,645 entries from 49 nations and regions.

Of that total, 170 will be on display, including the four works that were awarded the Grand Prize in each of the four divisions.

The winners of the top award in the Art Division were Swiss artists Michel and Andre Decosterd for the work "Cycloid-E," a sound sculpture composed of five horizontally linked revolving tubes that produce spectral tones through state-of-the-art speakers. The motor-driven tubes, which swing like pendulums, are metal cylinders equipped with audio sources and scales, with the sound resonating in sync with the revolving motion.

Excellence prizes in this category were also awarded to Ryota Kuwakubo, for his interactive art piece titled "The Tenth Sentiment"; the six-strong team of American artists behind "The EyeWriter"; Yuichiro Tamura for his movie "Night Less" and the creators known as The Men In Grey for their identically titled "The Men In Grey."

The Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division has been awarded to Tomohiko Hayashi, Kensuke Senbo and Tomohiko Koyama for "IS Parade," a parade generator that can be used with Twitter accounts.

The winner of the top accolade in the Animation Division was Masaaki Yuasa, for "The Tatami Galaxy," the tale of a proud third-year college student who is dreaming of a "rosy campus life" - that turns out somewhat differently to how he had envisioned it.

For the manga section, Hitoshi Iwaaki's "Historie" - the tale the eventful life of Eumenes, who would go on to become secretary to Alexander the Great - was selected as the winner of the Grand Prize.

A Special Achievement Prize is also being awarded to manga editor Yoshiyuki Kurihara.

"In this exhibition, works in various genres representative of our current times are gathered in one hall," the organizers of the event said. "Visitors can get a sense of the diversification of media, the evolution of technologies and Media Arts, which continue to shift along with changes in the social environment.

"In addition, the festival stresses its role as a place where visitors can meet artists and creators face to face through symposia and presentations."

Exhibition: The 2010 Japan Media Arts Festival

Dates: February 2-13, 2011

Times: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, except Fridays, when the exhibition is open until 8 p.m. (Note: The venue is closed on Tuesday, February 8.)

Venue: The National Art Center, 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Admission: Free.

Further information: 0120 454 536 (within Japan) or http://plaza.bunka.go.jp/english/

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