The theme of the 2021 Triennale

Today, our lives cannot be described without the existence of unknown infectious disease.  The student life at the Tokyo University of the Arts is no exception. The campus life that we longed for when we were students preparing for the entrance exams has been denied, and the regular holding of last year’s Arts Festival was canceled. Online classes and “remote work,” which we had accepted with a lot of anxiety, became familiar words before we knew it. Among the students who had hoped to learn through practical experience, I think many of them turned on the communication devices, cameras and microphones for the classes with anxiety and dissatisfaction.  The theme of this year’s festival, “ON-“, overlaps the traditional history of the festival, but also expresses the hope of moving forward into the “onward” world with new forms such as on-line, on-demand, and on-air.  We hope that the Geidai Festival, as a place for students to express themselves through their artworks and performances, as well as a place to show the world what kind of place Geidai is, will bring color to the society of 2021 and turn on the switch that drives people.

Main Visual
Akebono is also called Shinonome, which refers to the time of dawn when the sky in the east becomes brighter and the night is about to come.
It is also called Shinonome-the time when the eastern sky becomes brighter.
It is also called Shinonome, which indicates a time when a new situation is about to unfold.

With the emergence of the new coronavirus, the world has entered the age of night. Many activities and events were restricted, and the situation gradually turned darker and darker.
Last year was a year of uncertainty, as if the sun was setting and heading towards midnight.  In such a year, we have been searching for ways to live in the pitch-black Corona disaster, and each of us has been thinking about how people should be and how art should be in our own way.  
This year, we are still in the midst of the Corona disaster, but we are gradually beginning to see how we can move forward in the midst of it. This year, we attempted to add an in-person component to the Arts Festival, which last year was completely online, and we were working on safety measures for the actual event through trial and error.  
However, due to the recent rapid increase in the number of infected people, it was decided that this year’s festival would not be held in person and would be held online only.
I was wondering what I should write about as I had to change some parts of this concept. It is true that I feel very sorry and saddened, but I just want to cheerfully say, “It’s dawn! Let’s walk forward! I felt it was not the right thing to say, so I considered drastically changing the concept statement. Whenever something was cancelled due to the spread of infection, I often felt like, “Why? But there are things you can do by thinking about what you will do tomorrow.
By thinking about what we can do and looking at tomorrow, I believe that a new dawn will shine. The dawn may be different for each of us. I hope that the dawn will come for all of us someday.
As in the beginning, this year’s concept is that the dawn is like the dawn just before the morning dawn.  The Ariake moon is floating in the Akebono sky. There is something beautiful about the moon that remains until dawn and can be seen even before sunrise.
I am hoping that the works born last year and this year will both see the light of day. We are almost at dawn.

Main visual creator・Naaya Yano(Crafts/2nd year undergraduate)

Shotaro Sanada/ Chairperson of the 2021 Art Festival Executive Committee

This year’s festival was held under many restrictions, but the organizing committee thought ahead of society about what an art festival of a new era should be, and made preparations to ensure the best possible form.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported us in the process of organizing the festival.I hope that our festival will be a place to entertain people living in difficult times.

Kazuki Sawa / university president

The more I feel On!This is the second Arts Festival in the midst of the Corona disaster which started a year ago last spring. Last year’s event was an online only “Virtual Geisai,” and this year’s event was initially intended to be a hybrid of online and in-person experiences, but due to the extension of the “Corona Lockdown,” it will be online only again this year. We were also forced to cancel the main events for the festival, such as the making of portable shrines and happi coats. Especially for the current second-year students and freshmen, it is a big challenge as it is still difficult for them to properly experience campus life. However, if you look at history, you will find that people have sought art and found solace in it after pandemics, such as the Tenpyo culture after the smallpox epidemic in the Nara period and the Renaissance after the plague epidemic in medieval Europe. I believe in the saying, “trials and tribulations nurture art. Rather than holding a grudge against  life at the mercy of corona, I would like to spend my time carefully now so that I can look back on it later and feel that I was nurtured by the corona disaster.
To the extent that I feel gratitude (On) instead of resentment (On)!

Akio Yasuraoka / vice president

For the Arts Festival 2021

This year’s festival was originally planned to be held online and live Ueno campus. Unfortunately, of the plan had to be cancelled due to the rapid increase in the number of infected people, and we also had to give up on our plan to make a portable shrine which was to be  handed down each year. However, I would like to pay attention to the “-“ part of the theme “ON-“ as I hope that the festival will be “a place to show the world what kind of place Geidai is,” as the organizing committee says, no matter what form it takes. We want to be festival to be filled with a sense of excitement that makes positive words come to mind, and a sense of power that overcomes negativity words without difficulty. In addition, I sincerely hope that the world of diverse art will unfold online over the next three days, with no need to be “-“ to be  “turned on.”

Yasuhiro Kiyomizu / vice president

Towards the Arts Festival 2021Spaceship Earth” is still in the turmoil of COVID-19. And now we are going to have our second Art Festival in the midst of it. I feel that we are getting to know how to work in this environment a little better, but I am sure that many of us realize that we have entered a new phase in our lives. In the midst of this, there will be changes in the way art, music, and video activities are conducted, and new expressions and methods will emerge.
Just as new expressions have emerged from many hardships in the history of mankind, I hope that new artistic expressions will emerge from adversity and become food for the minds of many people afterwards. I hope that this year’s festival will be an opportunity to turn on the switch to start such activities. I hope to see new attempts and expressions that I have never seen before, and I hope that the young power of this festival will pry open new doors and greatly expand the scope of art.

Tokyo University of the Arts Official Website

GO-GEISAI Planning Site