9. -13. September 2020


What is the benefit of an online festival?
How we can utilize this unfortunate but unique opportunity?
TOKYO GARDEN will be a place where we exhibit current Japanese artists’ works, but, will also be a chance to trace the origin of Japanese Media Art through talks, interviews and a sharing archive.
KEY: Online, 2020, TOKYO, CONTEXT, ARCHIVE, LIVE, Map the new world.

Seiichi Saito (JP)
Creative Director, Rhizomatiks
Director of TOKYO GARDEN, Japan Media Arts Festival Overseas Promotion


Date and Time:
Talk: Fri. 11.9.2020, 14:00-15:00 (CEST), 21:00-22:00 (JST)
DJ: Fri. 11.9.2020, 15:00-16:00 (CEST), 22:00-23:00 (JST)

Rhizomatiks presents PLAYING TOKYO Vol.09 “Special Edition”

"ARS Special 'polar (2000, 2010, 2020+)' " Talk:
Seiichi Saito (JP), Carsten Nicolai (DE), Kazunao Abe (JP), Marko Peljhan (SI), Yukiko Shikata (JP)

AUDIO VISUAL Special Showcase "Warp Records DJ Set":
DJ Daito Manabe (JP), VJ Rhizomatiks (JP)

In April, when the state of emergency was declared, we were in a state of STAYHOME that we had never experienced before. On April 3, a little earlier than the declaration of the state of emergency, Rhizomatiks launched the online event "Staying TOKYO". It is an experimental online event where artists and creators who empathize with the purpose of the event participated online, bringing together what they can do now in the fields of art, music, design, architecture, and other forms of expression to explore what is possible to do from the comfort of their homes.
Since then, the situation has changed little by little, the economy has moved on, and STAYHOME has continued in part, but we have decided that now is the time to move on to the next phase.
Instead of going back to what we were doing before, we decided to experiment and look for a new 'play'. From "Staying" to "Playing". Online/virtual spaces and the real spaces which are now considered valuable. In a way that only the Rhizomatiks can do, we would like to go back and forth between these two spaces and "play" Tokyo in unique ways.
This year's event, "PLAYING TOKYO Vol.09 Special Edition", will include a talk show “ARS Special” featuring Ars Electronica, a world-renowned event for art, technology and culture.
Seiichi Saito (Rhizomatiks) will invite artists Carsten Nicolai, Marko Peljhan, curator Yukiko Shikata and Kazunao Abe and find out the behind-the-scene of "polar" by Carsten Nicolai and Marko Peljhan (Awarded Golden Nica Prize, Interactive Art category at Prix Ars Electronica 2001) and 'polar m[mirrored]' which they presented at Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] ten years later. Daito Manabe (Rhizomatiks) will be hosting an AUDIO VISUAL Special Showcase with Rhizomatiks VJ.

Thank you for watching our program. Part 1 will be shown here in the archives of PLAYING TOKYO.
Director’s message
"Staying TOKYO" originally started as "Flying TOKYO," the talk and workshop event we have been holding since 2009 inviting some of the renowned international artists with whom Daito Manabe has a close relationship. Since the self-restraint advice by the Japanese government, the event has evolved as "Staying TOKYO" and has been running online every week. The first half of the event is a remote talk session with me, Seiichi Saito, inviting guests, and the second half is DJ/VJ session led by Daito Manabe and the engineers at Rhizomatiks introducing online experiments and tool development. Now that self-restrain advice is pull off, with the end of the emergency declaration, we changed the name to "PLAYING TOKYO" and shifted to a new phase to try to include the audience as much as possible in our expressive activities in real space. What can artists do now and what should they do in the field of entertainment? This is a "PLAYING TOKYO: Special Edition" by Rhizomatiks.
  • Rhizomatiks (JP)

    Rhizomatiks was established in 2006, the group has a cross-disciplinary membership ranging from visual arts, media art, engineering, animation, architecture, music, design and computer science. In attempt to bring social change by fostering the collaboration between media art, industry, and business. Committed to pushing the envelope of possibility, Rhizomatiks will redouble its proactive collaboration with external artists and world-class creators for a mutual sharing of expertise and inspiration to forge the unexplored creative realms that will contribute to the advancement of art and society. Rhizomatiks also aims to ensure that its groundbreaking research and expressive activities serve as a form of human resource development that will transform society.

  • Daito Manabe (JP)

    Interactive Designer/Programmer/DJ
    Tokyo-based artist, interaction designer, programmer, and DJ. Launched Rhizomatiks in 2006. Since 2015, has served alongside Motoi Ishibashi as co-director of Rhizomatiks Research, the firm’s division dedicated to exploring new possibilities in the realms of technical and artistic expression with a focus on R&D-intensive projects. Specially-appointed professor at Keio University SFC. Manabe’s work in art, design, and entertainment takes a new approach to everyday materials and phenomenon. However, his end goal is not simply rich, high-definition realism by recognizing and recombining these familiar elemental building blocks. Rather, his practice is informed by careful observation to discover and elucidate the essential potentialities inherent to the human body, data, programming, computers, and other phenomena, thus probing the interrelationships and boundaries delineating the analog and digital, real and virtual.

  • Seiichi Saito (JP)

    Creative Director, Rhizomatiks
    Born in Kanagawa in 1975, Saito began his career in New York in 2000 after graduating from Columbia University with a Master of Science degree in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD).
    Since then, he has been active in creative work at the Arnell Group, and returned to Japan upon being selected for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial event.
    He produces works in the commercial art field which are three-dimensional and interactive while also being based on the firm grounding in logical thought that he cultivated through architecture.
    Saito has won numerous international awards since 2009. Launched Rhizomatiks Co.,Ltd. in 2006. Since 2016, he serves as director of Rhizomatiks Architecture.
    Vice Chairman of Good Design Award 2018-19. Creative Adviser of 2020 Dubai Expo Japan pavilion. An expert for the Peoples's Living Lab Promotion Council for Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan.

  • Carsten Nicolai (DE)

    Born in 1965. Lives and works in Berlin. Inspired by scientific reference systems, Nicolai explores mathematical patterns such as grids and codes, error and random structures, as well as the phenomenon of self-organization. In doing so, he continually breaks down the boundaries between various artistic genres.
    After his participation in documenta X and the 49th and 50th Venice Biennales, his artworks have been presented in national and international exhibitions in renowned museums and galleries and are included in important private and public collections.
    Nicolai has received numerous awards and grants, among them: Giga Hertz Prize (2012, with Ryoji Ikeda); Prix Ars Electronica (2000 and 2001, with Marko Peljhan); Grand Prize Japan Media Arts Festival (2014).
    His oeuvre echoes in his work as a musician: For his musical outputs he uses the pseudonym Alva Noto. Diverse musical projects include remarkable collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ryoji Ikeda, and Blixa Bargeld among many others. Nicolai co-scored the music for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 'The Revenant.’ The score was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA, Grammy and Critics Choice Award. As well he has created the sound design for Iñárritu’s groundbreaking VR project “Carne y Arena.”

  • Kazunao Abe (JP)

    Professor of Tokyo Polytechnic University
    From 1990 to 2001, he curated and produced various original media art projects as a dedicated co-curator at Canon ARTLAB project in Tokyo. He worked on various original media art projects, such as "LOVERS" (1994) by Teiji Furuhashi, "IO_DENCIES" (1997) by Knowbotic Research and "polar" (2000) by Carsten Nicolai and Marko Peljhan, etc.
    He was involved in the establishment of YCAM (Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, built in Yamaguchi city by a world-famous architect Arata Isozaki) and served as Artistic Director and Deputy Director (2003-2017). He has curated with the world famous artists; Ryoji Ikeda, Seiko Mikami, exonemo, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Shiro Takatani, Otomo Yoshihide, Carsten Nicolai, Marko Peljhan, Daito Manabe, Moon Kyungwon, Usman Haque and among others.
    He curated the 3rd annual media art festival of ACC in Korea, featured 13 international artists (Gwangju, 2017~2018). And was the guest curator of sound art exhibition “Cho Sho Hackkei,” featured Akio Suzuki and EVALA in a huge outdoor garden “Nakatsu Bansyoen” (Marugame, 2018-2019). He is also Creative Curating Producer of Rhizomatiks Research / Daito Manabe’s Art Project (Tokyo, 2017~).
    Jury member: “Transmediale 06” (Berlin, 2005), "4th Digital Art Festival Taipei" (Taipei, 2009) , “Geijutsu Sensho” Prize by the agency for cultural affairs of Japanese Government (Tokyo, 2014-2016), “TOKYO TOKYO” grant-in-aid by Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Tokyo, 2017-2018), Japan Media Arts Festival, Art Division (Tokyo 2017-2019).

  • Marko Peljhan (SI)

    Theatre and Radio Director/Conceptual Artist/Tactical Media Worker/Researcher
    Born in 1969. Theatre and radio director, conceptual artist, tactical media worker and researcher. Lives and works between California and Europe. He founded and co-founded several still active arts organizations in the 90's such as Projekt Atol and one of the first media labs in Eastern Europe LJUDMILA. From 1994 on he works on "Makrolab," a project that focuses on telecommunications, migrations and weather systems research in an intersection of art/science/engineering; among others he co-founded the Interpolar Transnational "Art Science Constellation" in 2002 and in 2008 with fellow artist and colleague Matthew Biederman the "Arctic Perspective Initiative." He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica Prize at Ars Electronica with Carsten Nicolai and his work has been exhibited internationally at multiple biennales (Venice, Lyon, Istanbul, Gwangju, Johannesburg, Moscow…) exhibitions and festivals, such as documenta, ISEA, Ars Electronica and museums and art institutions worldwide (YCAM, ICC-NT, PS.1. MOMA, GARAGE...). He serves as professor and director of the Systemics Lab located in the California Nano Systems Institute and since 2017 serves as chair of the Media Arts and Technology Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. He serves as the coordinator of international cooperation for SPACE-SI Slovenian Centre for Space Sciences and Technologies and as editor at large of the music label rx:tx. In the radio spectrum he is known as S54MX.

  • Yukiko Shikata (JP)

    Curator based in Tokyo. Visiting professor at Tama Art University and Tokyo Zokei University, lecturer at IAMAS and Musashino Art University, director of “Open Water” Committee. She connects art, natural and social sciences from the perspective of “Information Flows” traversing data, water, humans, living and non-living entities and climates.
    Worked as curator of Canon ARTLAB (1990-2001), Mori Art Museum (2002-2004), NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC] (2004-2010). Recent projects include art festivals KENPOKU ART 2016 (Curator), the media art festival AMIT (Director, 2014-2018), the 2020 Symposium of AICA Japan "Culture/Earth/Environment - The World to Come and the Emergence of New Art" (Chairperson), and the online art festival “MMFS2020” (Director).