ASDFGHJKL;' x あqsうぇdrftgyふじこlp;@
Nov 1 - Nov 13, 2017
@ 3331 Arts Chiyoda
Tokyo, Japan
Kenta Cobayashi, Nozomi Teranishi, RAFiA, Terrell Davis, Wang Yefeng, Daniel Johnson

Appropriating its name from Internet slang, ASDFGHJKL;' x あqsうぇdrftgyふじこlp;@ was an exhibition of emerging digital artists from the U.S. and Japan.  The exhibition featured three artists from Tokyo alongside four artists in New York. The selection of these artists was meant to present a wide range of media art. ASDFGHJKL;' (in english) or あqsうぇdrftgyふじこlp;@  (in Japanese) originates from the act of running your hand horizontally across a keyboard. The phrase, when typed, kind of defines a scream, shout, or yell. It is an action of bewilderment, frustration, or confusion.

So long as there is a keyboard, emerging artists have taken to the Internet and digital culture as a source of inspiration and influence. My decision to title the exhibition this way comes from my own frustration or shout regarding media art communities in the U.S. and Japan not connecting more. If technology leads our evolution, we have been stalling on exchange (via exhibitions, research, and experimentation) between the U.S. and Japan [and more broadly the west and everywhere else].

If the digital embeds itself into the work of contemporary artists, and in our daily life, so do it’s terminologies’. ASDFGHJKL;’ is a response to what I view as a “regional lockout” of culture. The term, used in the tech industry, represents restrictions on digital content per location or territory. For example, some YouTube channels in the U.S. that I want to watch in Japan are inaccessible. In the case of this exhibition, the shout is to acknowledge the feeling that a regional lockout exists between both countries. Perhaps the artists of the exhibition feel a similar way, as shown through their eagerness and supportive nature in producing the exhibition.

artists >>

Kenta Cobayashi’s work employs various tools including digital photography, iPhones, his MacBook, screen captures and photo sticker booths. He uses these to capture images of his life, himself, and the people around him. Kenta’s interventions with photographs diffuse the border between images, photoshop filters, and digital graphics.

Nozomi Teranishi, is a photographer and digital artist from Fukushima. Many of her works are influenced by experiencing the earthquake in Fukushima and visions of health alongside artificiality. Her digital photograph series The Regeneration of Complex Societies addresses the Fukushima earthquake and makes use of digital editing to clone stamp people, places, and things, to heightened amounts. Nozomi new series of works under the title “Health Freak” references body image, and is the artist’s first time utilizing 3D animation tools.

Multimedia artist RAFiA utilizes animated gifs, selfies, and sound to create a distinct visual aesthetic that merge photography, image manipulation, and painting. Almost always using herself as a subject, she creates visually arresting images that are balanced between joy and trauma, divinity and humanity.

From Shanghai and based in the U.S., Wang Yefeng specializes in 3D animation tools, creating bizarre and surreal worlds. His newest animation, “The Drifting Stages” features a pulsing red and blue backgrounds inspired by the Porygon Flash from the original Pokémon anime. An array of objects fills a room and comments on the artists displacement between Shanghai and New York, and the things he has accumulated in his life.

Terrell Davis creates hyper real 3D renderings of still-life tabletops consisting of cluttered technology, consumer products, plants, and junk food. The hyperrealism of his imagery evokes a snapshot into contemporary life, consumerism, and pop culture. The glowing coloration and saturation in his work illuminates the objects we often use but rarely pay attention to.

Daniel Johnson’s work often deals with appropriation and photography. In ASDFGHJKL;’ were videos he created for the Internet Yami-Ichi in New York. At the event he sold DVDs with misleading titles. Buyers may think they are purchasing a hollywood film, but the DVD actually contains short clips of the artist doing mundane activities.