Autonomy and Political Action

REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (whose German implications range from "Cleaning Service" to "Purification Society") presents a field research dealing with informal artist's networks in Japan.
The goal is the preparation of points of reference and the mapping of an exemplary case study.

Thesis 1
Growing Pressures on social relations to economise lead to greater solidarity and to the formation of informal artist's networks. In this way, resources for production and infrastructure (spaces, technology, relationships) can be supported. Public relations work can also be organised, target groups sought and profiles developed. An interdisciplinary dialogue makes possible the construction of international relationships and networks. Temporary forms of transitional production elude official politicisation. Economic forms in non-profit areas (volunteer work, self-exploitation, barter economies) must be critically interrogated.

Thesis 2
The formation of group identities has effects on artistic contents. Politicisation and economisation are prolonged down into the small-scale structures of the artistic networks. It is virtually impossible to tell whether this occurs by compulsion or voluntarily. The organisational structure is based on voluntary work, but is also dependent on public assistance, donations, and sponsorship.

Thesis 3
Spheres of artistic action consciously choose society as a system of references for their own production. In this sense, no autonomy actually exists. Moreover, the innovative potentialities of alternative forms of life and of production are assimilated and integrated as elements of a temporary lifestyle culture.

Masato Nakamura, Peter Bellars, Command N (Tokyo)

command N - established in April 1998, is a new artist initiative organisation run by artists.
The name is taken from a Macintosh computer shortcut command " + n" which opens a new window and new perspectives on art production. For some years now they have been an independent art organisation which spreads out with the international video festival Akihabara TV.

Masayuki Kawai, Katsuyuki Hattori, Videoart Center (Tokyo)Katsuyuki Hattori, Videoart Center (Tokyo)

Video Art Center Tokyo is a young self-founded art organisation. The artists participate in several shows and international video festivals. The association was founded to share a space and access to technical equipment. Another aim of the Video Art Center is to form an international alternative network and distribute the artwork. The Center is managed independently as a non-profit organisation and tries to establish a critical discourse about media.

Yosuke Ito, (Tokyo) Shinichi Yanai (Kyoto) W Cube Project and PUDDLES

Yosuke and Shinichi are involved in Puddles, an international network and exchange program. It was established in 1998 as an independent artist initiative. W Cube - this name comes from the abbreviation of works, words and world - explores a new relationship between art and public. Also, this group promotes the idea of artists' network in Japan.

Chiaki Sakaguchi - Void Chicken webmagazine on alternative art spaces

VOID Chicken is launching an online directory of alternative art spaces providing basic information on various alternative art activities in Japan and abroad. The definition of "alternative" varies greatly according to region and policy, and even groups that don't have a physical space are promoting innovative and experimental projects.
VOID Chicken is creating a network of links to autonomous alternative activities and hopes to act as an entry gate for people looking for a more interesting and innovative contemporary art scene.

Ajako Nakano, Clean Brothers (Osaka)

Clean brothers is a group of young, mostly female artists with a very unique survival technique. In exchange for free studio space and the possibility to exhibit art work they do cleaning jobs. They work like a company to run their actual spot as a place for independent art without depending on public or private financial support.

Nov Amenomori, REMO (Osaka)

Nov is a curator at the art-space REMO. They provide activities that act as a conduit for the organic flow of research, experiment, development and practice by exploring and reviewing issues presented via media. Besides videoscreenings and artist talks they offer educational programs and media workshops.

Takashi Sasaoka, CAS (Contemporary Art and Spirits, Osaka)

Takashi is the director of CAS, an NPO which shows experimental and non-commercial works of artists. They have established their activities since 1998. Also, they have an international network with other independent organisations.

Hiroshi Yoshioka, curator and philosopher

He has a background as a philosopher, is also a professor at IAMAS (Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences, Ogaki) and was the chief editor of the critical art journal Diatxt published by Kyoto Art Center.

Hitomi Hasegawa "work-in-progress", curator, Tokyo

Hitomi is a curator of contemporary art projects. She realized various projects with artists from and beyond Japan.

Roger Mc Donald, AIT Arts Initiative Tokyo

AIT is a NPO of six curators and art´s managers. It makes contemporary art more accessible and relevant to the society. They provide education and courses for curators and a residency program. Further there are other activities like exhibitions, talks by artists and symposiums.

Masaki Yamaguchi, Yoshioka Kaihatsu, FADs art space (Tokyo)

Masaki is the organiser and the owner of FADs art space. In August 2000, FADs art space was established in Kunitachi-shi, Tokyo. The space plays the role of a studio rather than the role of a commercial art gallery. It offers a non-profit basis to artists.

Tetsuya Ozaki , Publisher/Editor in Chief of REAL TOKYO and ART IT

publisher and editor of the cultural search engine REAL TOKYO and the bilingual art magazine ART-IT. It aims to create a dialogue between Japanese art scene and the international art world.