Phenomenal beings: Contemporary monsters

Phenomenal beings: spirits in Japanese art and culture

16 November 2019 - 16 November 2019 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Domain Theatre
Ghosts of pasts and futures
Mikala Tai, director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Tracing exhibitions of contemporary Japanese art at the Art Gallery of NSW, this lecture examines the important role that art and culture has played in developing Australian-Japanese ties. From the ground-breaking exhibition 'The Hiroshima' panels in 1958 to 'Japan supernatural' in 2019, ghosts have been an artistic symbol used to examine the past and fantasise about the future. Their symbolic power has been uniquely Japanese, but also fundamentally humanist as they speak to the concerns and cravings of us all.

Ludic techno-spiritualism in Japan
Yuji Sone, senior lecturer, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University

This talk focuses on Japanese media artist Etsuko Ichihara, who creatively uses digital media and robotic technologies to explore Japanese traditional beliefs in the spirit and the supernatural in her recent works 'Digital shaman' project (2015), 'Namahage' in Tokyo (2017) and 'The festival of virtual currency offerings' (2019). Using the notion of ‘ludic techno-spiritualism’, I place Ichihara’s work in the larger context of cultural connections between spirituality, spiritualism, the supernatural and digital technologies, such as a recent cultural event in Japan involving a drone Buddha and a robot funeral.

This program is presented in partnership with the Japan Foundation