Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 7#1 Paul Groot 1 Jan 1992


Akagi Kunio, InterCommunication, Tokyo 1992

A journal exploring the frontiers of art and technology. As a media between scientists, intellectuals and artists, InterCommunication, the Japanese journal which, already in its name, metaphorically reveals its intentions towards communication at the level of computer programming, functions primarily for the Japanese.

That is to say, at face value it has little to offer to people who have no command of the Japanese language, except for the list of contents and for the notes accompanying the articles. But because of the eloquent way in which this journal is designed, it is not at all devoid of appeal for the interested outsider.

Certainly since I have spent many hours perusing the Sony Electronic Book and have browsed through dictionaries in which English words were translated, letter by letter, into Japanese characters (which, moreover, is apparently done with the help of a sort phonetic Japanese as a intermediate language), I can become totally immersed in the study of Japanese text columns. Experimental traffic signs, bizarre architecture, exotic logos, disordered iron filings, shattered crystals; I recognize one structure after another in the texts. InterCommunication, in its letterforms and in its accompanying photos and diagrams, has so much to say that I really almost regret that Mediamatic, from this volume onwards, will start to publish summaries of the articles from this journal. The fascination will then once and for all be tempered by the reality of the contents. Indeed, it is precisely the exotic aura that works so well. The list of contents, on a spread, is an ideal desktop until now only realized in my dreams. This is where the Japanese characters look their most beautiful: the ideal logos for buttons, which refer to the most fantastic applications and programmes.

In fact, with my untranslated InterCommunication I find myself in an ideal ambience. Here I design, step by step, the elements and building blocks for an ideal megastructure, a setup for a sophisticated empty tree, the material for a philosophical plan, for a world view in which the worlds of sound, image and text can be reduced to a single element. While scanning in an almost mechanical practice, which is still improving with each new volume, I collect packages of elements to determine their common basis.

However, I also enjoy myself to my heart's content with, for example, Nishioka Fumihiko's Pixelism: Art History Repeats Itself. Only later did I find out that Fumihiko might be concerning himself with the banality of the various 'paint'-like programmes, while I had more or less the idea that he was probably unfolding a theory on the influence of 'computing staring' on our looking and painting.

Finally, to be honest: of course these exercises in intercommunication serve another purpose as well. Perhaps my desire is too humanistic amidst these mechanical practices, but it is also my aim eventually to bring this package of Japanese characters in my mind suddenly to life. So that I will actually be able to read InterCommunication in the original language.

translation OLIVIER/WYLIE