Gojira

Gojira (ゴジラ?) is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (gorilla), and kujira (whale), which is fitting because in one planning stage, Godzilla was described as “a cross between a gorilla and a whale”,alluding to his size, power and aquatic origin. A popular story is that “Gojira” was actually the nickname of a hulking stagehand at Toho Studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a photo of one of Godzilla’s eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is great–cloud formation

Superflat

Superflat is a postmodern art movement, founded by the artist Takashi Murakami, which is influenced by manga and anime. It is also the name of a 2001 art exhibition, curated by Murakami, that toured West Hollywood, Minneapolis and Seattle.

Superflat is used by Murakami to refer to various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the “shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture.”A self-proclaimed art movement, it was a successful piece of niche marketing, a branded art phenomenon designed for Western audiences.

In addition to Murakami, artists whose work is acknowledged to be “Superflat” include Chiho Aoshima, Mahomi Kunikata, Sayuri Michima, Yoshitomo Nara, Tatsuyuki Tanaka, and Aya Takano. In addition, some animators within anime and some mangaka are considered Superflat, especially Koji Morimoto (and much of the output of his animation studio Studio 4°C), and the work of Hitoshi Tomizawa, author of Alien 9 and Milk Closet.

Murakami defines Superflat in broad terms, so the subject matter is very diverse. Often the works take a critical look at the consumerism and sexual fetishism that is prevalent in post-war Japanese culture. One target of this criticism is lolicon art, which is satirized by works such as those by Henmaru Machino. These works are an exploration of otaku sexuality through grotesque and/or distorted images. Other works are more concerned with a fear of growing up. For example, Yoshitomo Nara’s work often features playful graffiti on old Japanese ukiyo-e executed in a childish manner. And some works focus on the structure and underlying desires that comprise otaku and overall post-war Japanese culture.  

Relational Aesthetics

Relational Art or Relational Aesthetics is a mode or tendency in fine art practice originally observed and highlighted by French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud. Bourriaud defined the approach simply as, “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.”

One of the first attempts to analyze and categorize art from the 1990s, the idea of Relational Art was developed by Nicolas Bourriaud in 1998 in his book Esthétique relationnelle (Relational Aesthetics). The term was first used in 1996, in the catalogue for the exhibition Traffic curated by Bourriaud at CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux. Traffic included the artists that Bourriaud would continue to refer to throughout the 1990s, such as Henry Bond, Vanessa Beecroft, Maurizio Cattelan, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Liam Gillick, Christine Hil, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Miltos Manetas, Philippe Parreno, Jorge Pardo and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Bourriaud wishes to approach art in a way that ceases “to take shelter behind Sixties art history”, and instead seeks to offer different criteria by which to analyse the often opaque and open-ended works of art of the 1990s. To achieve this, Bourriaud imports the language of the 1990s internet boom, using terminology such as user-friendliness, interactivity and DIY (do-it-yourself). In his 2002 book Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World, Bourriaud describes Relational Aesthetics as a book addressing works that take as their point of departure the changing mental space opened by the internet.

Bourriaud explores this notion of relational aesthetics through examples of what he calls Relational Art. According to Bourriaud, Relational Art encompasses “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.”

The artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity. Bourriaud claims “the role of artworks is no longer to form imaginary and utopian realities, but to actually be ways of living and models of action within the existing real, whatever scale chosen by the artist.”

Jeff Soto

Jeff Soto is a younger artist who has an amazing range of illustrations– science fiction, Star Wars, Album Art and Concert posters and toys.

His work is influenced by Robot images, Star Wars droids, and Mr. Potato Head.  It has the elements of Robert Williams’ lowbrow art and a sci-fi feel to it, machines come to life. Very interesting work, outside of the page we had assigned, here are to works, one is a map of America covered in fur, and the other is a Star Wars utility droid put out to pasture.

Mariko Mori’s Pureland

Mariko Mori’s Pureland

What we notice at first in this series is the color and the serene image. The pink dominates and small cartoon figurines float around the woman. The landscape seems unreal and tranquil. The image reminds us of scenery as it appears in Japanese manga and anime. Along with its strong reference to Japanese visual culture, Pureland references Western popular culture such as Hollywood films, as well as landscape painting traditions. draws from both Japanese and Western visual culture.

The sky and water in Pureland have a flatness like that of a computer screen. The widened perspective of Pureland evokes the Japanese concept of sunyata, which can be translated as emptiness. Mori’s lack of depth perspective is disorientating. Even though the image appears tranquil and sweet there is not a lot to keep the viewer engaged. The “flatness” relates to the Japanese ukiyo-e prints from the Edo period. Ukiyo-e originates from a Buddhist concept meaning the “floating world”. In the Edo period the word was associated with woodblock prints. Manga (Japanese graphic novels) and anime (Japanese animated films or television series) can be related back to Hokusai’s range of woodblock prints entitled Manga.  Woodblock prints from the Edo period are very close in style to contemporary manga and anime in the use of visual elements such as dark outlines and flatness of representation.

In the unifying glow of Pureland all differences are airbrushed into an uneasy whole. In this way this work mirrors the easily made, disposable Japanese culture–Japan has become both what the West imagines it to be and what it “remembers” to be its national identity.