Mōri Yoshitaka, Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts

What Can Art Do after a Catastrophe? The Great East Japan Earthquake and New Forms of Contemporary Art in Japan

The Great East Japan Earthquake and the following Fukushima nuclear power plant incident in 2011 have had a great impact on our understanding of our relation between art and society. It has made us to reconsider what art is or, what art can or cannot do in this crisis.

In my presentation, I would like to examine how artists have responded to the unprecedented experiences in the catastrophe. I am particularly concerned with the development of collaborative or participatory projects, that are often related to the emergence of socially engaged art. It should be noted that social media has played a crucial role in distribution of information. Their art practices are transforming the relationship between art, culture, society and politics as well as their artistic languages and forms.

Through the examination of some artist practices including Seo and Komori, Kota Takeuchi, Chim Pom, Akira Tsuboi, Kyun Chome and art projects such as Project Fukushima. Don’t Follow the Wind and Reborn-Art Festival 2017, I would like to discuss how art and artists work in society and how the mode of art production will be changed in the age of crisis.

 Mōri Yoshitaka is a Professor in Sociology and Cultural Studies. BA in Economics, Kyoto University, MA in Media and Communications and Ph.D. in Sociology, Goldsmiths College, London. His research interests are postmodern culture, media, art, the city and transnationalism. His publications include: Street no Shiso (The Philosophy in the Streets) NHK Publications, 2009 (available in Japanese and in Korean) and “Culture=Politics: The Emergence of New Cultural Forms of Protest in the age of Freeter” in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 6/1, 2005; “The Pitfall Facing the Cool Japan Project: The Transnational Development of the Anime Industry Under the Condition of Post-Fordism” in International Journal of Japanese Sociology, The Japan Sociological Society, Wiley-Blackwel 2011, No 20; “J-Pop Goes the World: A New Global Fandom in the Age of Digital Media” in Made in Japan: Studies in Popular Music, T. Mitsui (Ed), Routledge, 2014; “New Collectivism, Participation and Politics after the East Japan Great Earthquake”, World Art, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 5/2, 2015 (all in English).