I IN THE 22ND CENTURY: A FUTURE HISTORY OF JAPAN
I in the 22nd Century: A Future History of Japan is a storytelling art installation. This is a project about cultural progress. The focus is on Japan. The messages are universal.
The main narrative shows how creativity and emotional connection can improve our lives. It challenges us to debate moral issues which affect – human physical and social mobility, the development of synthetic biology and political rule.
The i22 installation is an art exhibition taking place in 2101 to celebrate the new century. The artworks in the exhibition tell stories about life in Japan at the end of the 21st century. By the year 2100, Japan has transformed itself into a politically open, creative and dynamic society.
Outreach and Education programs are essential to the i22 installation. Conversations between experts and the general public about i22 take place during the exhibition. These conversations create new stories which become part of the installation.
A characteristic of all societies is that they either improve or become extinct. The i22 installation considers alternatives to extinction and offers possible solutions. Through stories and public outreach events, the exhibition helps us understand the world, and thus our chances of survival.
The installation embodies the following themes:
- Artistic culture is indispensable in maintaining and promoting a healthy society and quality of life.
- Creativity is essential for innovation and thus the survival of our species.
- Optimistic societies are open and not afraid to innovate, and are based on traditions of criticism. Their institutions keep improving.
The following questions are posed by the work:
- Is empathy an antidote to socio-political conflict?
- Can synthetic biology save the world?
- Can technological and economic progress alone lead to social progress?
The purpose of this art installation, a fictional exhibition set in our future, is to shed light on the mysterious anti-hero I and her accomplices, who were catalysts to a radical social revolution which occurred in 2040, known as the Great Dynamic, an historical event which transformed Japan into a politically open, creative and dynamic society. When present-day audiences enter the exhibition they are metaphorically time travelling to the 22nd century.
The exhibition presents a collection of artworks by a group of people known as S-Humans, who were created using artificial DNA. The fictional video artist, composer, illustrator, writer, photographer and animator are connected by the fact that each underwent a profound transformation after being ‘deprogrammed’ by an enigmatic character known as I. Each S-Human interrupted their day-to-day life to obsessively create artworks that tell stories about I and her effect on them.
As audiences move through the installation and spend time with each exhibit, they glean important narrative information in a variety of forms from each artifact. For example, the graphic novel explains the world of the I character before she met the S-Humans and describes her adventures.
The mesh of the various character-based narratives forms an allegorical world highlighting particular facets of the human condition. The narratives explore how emotions and creativity affect cultural evolution, and examine the effect on societies when scientific thought and research are encouraged and allowed to flourish.
The idea is for the content in each artwork to trigger cognitive and emotional responses in the audience to bring them into the world presented in the installation. An explanation of the i22 world presented as exhibition notes and a series of short video interviews containing anecdotal information from fictional people associated with the S-Human artists contextualises the installation.
i22 Trailer (3 minutes)