sa Sound Arts vol.3

XEBEC SoundCulture Membership Magazine


NTT InterCommunication Center

In each issue, we will introduce artists currently active in a variety of fields.
SAKAKIBARA Ken-Ichi (Composer/Mathematician) Information Science Research Laboratory, NTT Basic Research Laboratories In a series of articles that began last issue, Sakakibara continues this time with an introduction of the NTT Art Center, ICC, scheduled to be completed in 1997, and its activities.

Two or three years ago, when I was still living in Kyoto, I first heard about the existence of ICC (NTT InterCommunication Center) from ASADA Akira, one of the members of the ICC Committee. I had already been interested in it prior to that, but at the time ICC activities were almost entirely based in Tokyo and magazines were the only way to find out what was happening. Still, I was hopeful about the promotion of artistic activities by large corporations because the idea had great possibilities for realizing projects that couldn't be accomplished by an individual artist. This might not be the most appropriate comparison, but I had been looking forward to ICC with the expectation that if something along the lines of Pompidou Center could be created, it would greatly stimulate the Japanese art scene. Last year, quite by accident, I moved to the NTT Basic Research Laboratories and came to live in the Kanto area, allowing me to see the activities of ICC from a better vantage point in a number of different senses.

According to the explanation given in the ICC newsletter, ICC aims to create a new form of museum using "communication culture" as its theme and present the results of its various events, research projects, and exhibitions using a variety of mediums. To coincide with the completion of Tokyo Opera City in Nishi-Shinjuku in 1997, the museum facilities are scheduled to be opened within the Opera City compound. At present, in preparation for this, the company has been holding event previews and exhibitions and publishing a bulletin among other activities.

Actually, a host of activities that might not come under the category of preparation have already begun. In the Multi Media Grand Prix held in Japan, the ICC-produced, Interactive Plant Growing by Christa SOMMERER and Lourent MIGNONNEAU was awarded the best prize in the theater/exhibition category, and in the same category, the "IC '94" performance work, Nowhere Now Here by George COATES was awarded the prize for best foreign work. InterCommunication, the quarterly bulletin that has already published its thirteenth issue, presents an unparalleled diversity of content and each issue is organized around a particular theme regarding art and technology, and the border between them. In addition, an attempt is being made to publish an annual issue of excerpted articles translated into English.

In the world of today, where the borderline between genres such as film and music has grown increasingly vague, expectations surrounding the direction that ICC and Xebec have been taking in their intergenre art activities have grown increasingly great. In the past, it was difficult to accomplish such activities at art museums or concert halls, and in view of further artistic developments in this direction in the future, it is likely that there will be an increasing need for halls and centers of this kind.

Of course, forays into new artistic activities are bound to meet a great amount of difficulty, and the results may not turn out to be completely satisfactory. But the countdown to the opening of ICC in 1997 has already begun, and with "IC'95," to be held in November, an even livelier phase of activities will begin. From 1997 on, ICC hopes to have enough space to become just what the name implies, a "center," where many artists gather and set out in the pursuit of new art.

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