February 6, 2018, 6:00 pm


Tuesday, February 6, EDA, Broad Art Center, 6pm

”Traces of Toshio Iwai’s Media Art”

Ever since he was a boy, Toshio Iwai has been creating media art in any imaginable form. This lecture will introduce an exceptional career that covers both high tech and low tech, digital and analog, personal and collaborative work. To mention a few of the areas where he has been active, Iwai has created TV programs, game software, multimedia performances, musical instruments, media art installations, events, workshops, children’s books, etc. As the lecture will demonstrate, his varied interests are informed by a personal vision that began developing already in the artist’s childhood.

Toshio Iwai is considered one of the great masters of media art. He was born in Aichi prefecture, Japan, in 1962. He started his career by making flipbooks in his childhood, and began creating experimental animations in 1981. Iwai moved on to work with pre-cinematic toys such as flipbooks and zoetropes, and his interests then shifted to art produced on computers. In 1985, while Iwai was still a student, his installation Time Stratum won the High Technology Art Exhibition Gold prize. He also won the grand prize at the 17th annual Modern Japanese Art Awards, becoming the youngest artist ever to win the award. In 1987, following the completion of his degree at Tsukuba University’s Plastic Art and Mixed Media master’s course, he went on to exhibit his interactive art at shows both in Japan and overseas, winning wide acclaim. In 1991-92, he was based at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, where he developed the classic Music Insects. In 1994-95, he was a visiting artist at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, where his work included the renowned interactive installation Piano as Image Media and a major one-man show, also seen in Espoo, Finland and Amsterdam. In the 1990s, Iwai was particularly interested in the relationship between sound and image. One major result was a visual music performance in collaboration with the pianist-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, which won the Golden Nica in Interactive Art at the 1997 Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. Iwai is a multitalented innovator whose works include the creation of characters and computer graphic designs for Fuji Television’s Einstein TV and Ugo Ugo Lhuga TV programs, as well as computer game software such as Otocky, Simtunes and Electroplankton. He has also co-developed an electronic musical instrument, TENORI-ON, with YAMAHA Corporation. During the past ten years, Iwai’s work has branched into non-computer creations, such as handmade toys, and picture books for children, which are currently enjoying a huge success.