ICC Gallery D
So, how will we proceed with the expansion of media in this age of multimedia ? The Newschool '98 was programmed to explore this question, based on the presentations of hypotheses and substantiated facts in eleven lectures (one a workshop). How would we be able to reconstruct the world surrounding our language today from the standpoint of computer media?
The first stage of the Newschool sessions-from February 11 through 15-was a series of lectures under the overriding theme of "An Invitation to Text Engineering," based upon the research findings of Intelligent Communication Laboratory at NTT Communication Science Laboratories (CS Lab), to which UTADA Akihiro posed questions as the series' main inquirer. Also, guest speakers were invited to present each day, followed by plenary discussions.
Feb. 11-Under the theme of "The Horizon of Text Engineering" MATSUZAWA Kazumi, Senior Research Scientist, Supervisor at CS Lab, explained the thinking behind Text Engineering, outlined the surrounding technologies and defined the term. Then, the program for the next four days was introduced.
Feb. 12-"The New Realm of Semantics Opened up by Text Engineering: Common Sense for Man, Common Sense for Machine" was the theme. What is common sense for a computer? Is it possible to make a computer understand human common sense? MATSUZAWA Kazumi examined how common sense is grasped in engineering. KASAHARA Kaname, Research Scientist at CS Lab, introduced "Concept Base" (the basic technology of Text Engineering, where the meanings of words are made into a database) which is automatically built up from the electronic dictionary.
Feb. 13-IIDA Toshiyuki, Senior Research Scientist, Supervisor at CS Lab, lectured on "Visualization of Relationships Based on the Applications and Significations of Text Engineering: 3-D Information Search." He introduced a technology that efficiently sorts and selects large amounts of information using a method of 3-D representation of relationships among information, based on their meanings.
Feb. 14-On "Development of Text Engineering: Computers That Think in
Words" ISHIKAWA Tsutomu, Professor at Engineering Faculty of Takushoku University, introduced a flexible formula of syllogism using Concept Base, which enables a computer to utilize common sense making up for a lack of information, just like human beings, to find the answer.
The second presentation of "Development of Text Engineering: Computer That Plays with Language" was given by KANASUGI Tomoko, Staff Researcher at NTT Advanced Technology Corporation. She demonstrated the technologies that allow computer users, via Concept Base, to play
with crosswords, word chains and other word puzzles.
Feb. 15-Under the theme "Practicing of Text Engineering: Getting Familiar with Language" a workshop was held to learn "How to Enjoy B-Class Engines, How to Play with ĀŠKotodama ChatĀ‚." In the first half of the workshop, participants joined media artist HACHIYA Kazuhiko in an
appreciation of the exhibited works that attempted to express computers' sense of language via Text Engineering. In the latter half, participants experienced language and communication by playing a game using ĀŠKotodama ChatĀ‚, an exhibit that was designed to allow people experience Concept Base technology.
Feb. 19-On "Digital Typography" Tom White, Research Assistant in the Aesthetics and Computation Group at MIT Media Lab, examined how much digital technology could help develop the sphere of typographic design, based on traditional literate culture, using some examples of art work.
Feb. 20-"From Hypertext to Hypermedia: A Report from An Aesthetics Guerrilla" was the title to the lecture by TAKEMURA Mitsuhiro, Director of Research Center for Media Aesthetics at Kyoto University of Art and Design. While demonstrating the works exhibited during the Newschool sessions, he discussed how to apply Ted NELSON's concept of "hypertext" to contemporary cuisine. Then, he gave examples of how the new sensitivity that language gains from textual performance can be expressed in the form of moving font. Finally, he talked about his perspectives for the construction of a digital archive, which he thinks is indispensable to the realization of those expressions.
Feb. 21-In " Research Themes on Digital Communication Design: Exploration of Expression Methods That Would Be Best Fulfilled by Electronic Media" FURUKATA Masahiro, Senior Research Scientist at the International Media Research Foundation, gave a lecture on changes in computer-aided design. He gave a report on the attempts to facilitate the use of expressions utilizing the characteristics of "computation," learning from how computers are actually using the metaphor of the existing design method. He also introduced, using a video, an example of a workshop which promoted the understanding of computer algorithms. In the latter half of the session, the participants debated with 1997 ICC Biennale Runner-up Prize winner, MAEBAYASHI Akitsugu, about the problems existing in the gap between artistic and technological expressions.
Feb. 25-TODA Tsutomu, graphic designer whose work in recent years has stretched beyond DTP (Desk-Top Publishing) into the sphere of videos, gave a talk on "Understanding, Designing and the Non-Verbal." He compared DTP with video, in terms of the nature of medium, perception of language and manners of expression, while also discussing their shared traits and how the two media could possibly be merged together in the future.
Feb. 26-Computer artist ANZAI Toshihiro gave a report: "How Could We Cultivate A New Language of Representative Characters?" According to ANZAI, kanji's intrinsic capacity to generate new words has been impeded by the emergence of the Japanese language computer processing systems. Therefore, he pointed out, in order to expand the language sphere and promote communication, we should first try and develop a tool to revive such word-generative capacity of the language. He also demonstrated an example of system during the session.
Feb. 27-SUNAGA Takeshi, Professor at Information Design Department of Tama Art University, spoke on "The Expansion of Communication Tools." After summing up the process of this Newschool's sessions, he explored on the designing of the "form" of information as well as its teaching method.
Over the two weeks from February 11 to 28, various testcases and art works that set out to challenge new expressions with "language" were exhibited at Gallery D, fully utilizing the networks and multimedia
technologies of Kyoto University of Art and Design's Research Center for Media Aesthetics, The International Media Research Foundation, Tama Art
University's Information Design Department and NTT Communication Science Laboratories.