Takagi Masakatsu

I’ve never really liked ‘video art’. It just never seemed to transgress how complete our established and prefered artforms feel to us. A good motion graphic design piece gives me a great sense of satisfaction and inspiration, as does a still art piece that seems to have the right variables in place, on a personal level. I don’t know, but every video art piece I’ve seen always seems to be in some wierd and barren no-mans land in between traditional art, and motion graphic design, which is an art to me, at least any inspired motion graphic designer would ultimately like their work to approach the status of an artform. Of course there are exceptions, I’m sure, and this guy is definitely one of them. It is very inspirational, to say the least. It’s hard to pinpoint what’s so good about it. All I know is when I watch it I get that sense of satisfaction and inspiration, where it just seems to click, and you say, ‘yeah, this is good, I will keep watching.’ I think as a person who understands the technical side of what goes into all of this, it’s harder for me to really feel inspired by video art, because I might see something in the movement of the piece that suggests an amateur level of animation ability behind it. That turns me off. I’m sure it would mean nothing to the average viewer, but I think because of our position in viewing this stuff, we are the ultimate critic. Takagi has surpassed that, and while there are some quirky moments in the movement of this video art, he always seems to pull out of it fantastically, and make it make sense. And you can’t take your eyes off of it. I’d love to see it on a big screen. The visuals mixed with his beautiful music makes for a really interesting experience. Do I appreciate it more because it’s impressive on a technological level? Does that make it better art, or just better to me? In any case, regardless, it is really nice work.

It’s also interesting to look at the archive of his work, which starts around 2001, and notice the difference in the level of complexity from then until now. It’s an example of how technology is really driving art. You always hear that ‘it’s not the software, it’s not the computer that makes an artist’, which holds truth, but it’s clear here that it definitely plays a part. Alot of it is surely personal development as an artist, but no doubt there is a level of understanding the technology, and of course the abilities of the technology itself that is really allowing Takagi to do some amazing things now, as compared to his work from 2001, which is pretty simple.

Here is his website. Click on ‘video’ and then ‘digest movie’ to see a compilation of work from each year. The most recent compilation, from 2004-2005 starts off with something that reminds me of chris cunningham, and is followed by ‘light pool’, which resembles Lobos work they did for budweiser.

And here is a profile of him on the apple site. Check out Birdland #2. Is it a distant cousin of Psyops MTV HD work? Ha. Doesn’t really compare, but it’s interesting for sure. The real gem that you can watch in it’s entirety is ‘girls’.



Beautiful work… nice post Tread.


Define “video art.”


The comments that Tengustone has been leaving for the works being posted show how inexperienced Tengustone is.


if you can manage to get your hands on the March/April 2006 Res DVD, there’s a nice high res version of Bloomy Girls. i’d love to know more about the software he uses… looks kind of like max/jitter.


I think what tengustone might have been getting at (and this is only a guess, as he should have explained more him/herself) is that the intention of most video art isn’t so much to embrace the supremacy of the image as art, but to explore the medium of video as a physical art form. I get kind of hung up on video art as well (despite the fact that I was a video artist for a number of years before moving to mograph) because it doesn’t have the same inherent physicality that film does–you can’t scratch it, paint on it, bleach of the emulsion, bake it in an oven, cut it up, etc. and get the kind of effect that you do with film.

I personally left video art for the reasons Tread posted (because my interests became more for image than medium), but I think it’s important to recognize that while the imagery of most video art may not appeal to you that there may be some interesting ideas beneath them that are worth exploring as well. I know my video art experience has helped me immensely in developing a philosophy about the moving image that I’ve been able to transfer to motion graphics.


I saw this guys ‘live’ performance at the SouthBank last year. The most tedious thing I’ve seen in ages! It was like paying £20 to stare at an itunes screensaver for 40 minutes. People were walking out it was so dull. Maybe I’m missing something but the whole thing had no depth to it. Repetitive computer generated music driving random etch-a-sketch style graphics is not art but just moving wallpaper.


kinojay33 sort of summed it up.

Aside from they said – I’ve had a good deal of experience with video art myself (more of it back when I was in school than now), and some of my friends are prominent artists that choose to use video as their medium (the majority of the time, at least).

So I was honestly wondering what Tread’s definition of video art was, on one level that was genuinely curious, and also on a level that was sort of snarky because a lot of my favorite comtemporary artists work with video. It’s one of those art forms that people scoff at because they don’t take the time to understand it or learn its history.

As for my experience, I’d prefer not to get into it with any detail (the anonymity is nice because it affords me to opportunity to get away with being a prick). I will, however, pinky-swear you that I’m not some fresh-faced virg in his second year at a subpar art school who believes that he will change the world.

I understand that some of my comments come off that way. ;)


The problem is pretty simple. A painting can’t easily be reproduced. Therefore, painting and sculpture are the most respected and well paid for mediums. Video art is completely ethereal. It’s really impossible to ground it in anything. So, I definitely think it will be a little while before video art becomes a really successful art form. i am all for it though. unfortunately it is in its infancy (even after 30 years) and many sucka artists think they can make great work lazily. i, for one, think this takagi’s work is inspired. hope to see it live some day.


Well. I agree what both tengustone and kinojay says.
To carniceria, Video art has been here for a while now and will of course grow bigger as you said but become more populair? It is already populair and it all started with Nan Jun Paik. Look at Europe with all the big art events like Basel, Dokumenta in kassel or the Vienna art biennale. They have been and will always present Video-Art from artists like Abramovic, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Matthew Barney Laurie Anderson (video-performance) Bill Viola and they have been around for a longtime now. Ok, in terms of “sellable art” video art is still a hard product but in terms of spreading, it has a huge potential compared to classic art like painting or sculpture. I see both Video-Art and Installation-Art as more of “promoting” the artist then being able to sell.
After my 8 years of studying art at 2 different Art Academies i can only tell you that it is not the visual or mastering the medium that counts but the idea and the position of the artist himself in relation to the piece of art that he makes. In the above post i see none of this. But if you only look for a pretty picture which also can be my own choice (sometimes) then you probebly like this. I think what is really important with art when you find a piece that you like, is to ask yourself why you like it and where you are standing in relation to the work itself, only then you can and will find out why its such a masterpiece and maybe find out a little bit more about yourself =)


The divide between videoartists & motiongrapicweb designers seems wide and there is so much good and bad of both. If you run across any more video artits you like please don’t hesitate to share them with us. Bluring the line between art and commerce and having quick access to such graphic innovation is what we’ve come to love about your site. Check out my favorite http://www.gorewitz.com


…I secretly dream of Bruce Nauman art directing an Ipod campaign at Logan with some ketchup…


That gorewitz stuff is exactly the crap I’m talking about. What’s the deal with that? I didn’t enjoy looking at it at all. I realize art is very personal, and much of it is up to the viewer to decipher, but anyone can go shoot video of a bum sleeping. That’s art? I see bums sleeping on the ground all over NYC, and I don’t find anything inspiring about a video of it. And his other stuff is all video overlayed ontop of each other, stretched around a bit. I just don’t see the ‘art’ in stuff like this. It’s lazy, uninspired, and void of talent. Art should be either, beautiful, impressive, thought provoking, or other worldly bizarre. This is none of those things. It’s just what that artist who did the toilet with ‘art’ scribbled on it was getting at. It’s easy to take anything, anything it all, and present it as art, but I don’t buy it.

Blindweezy… please divulge what you find so appealing in this stuff. Maybe I don’t get it, but I would be inclined to call this anything but art.


So, Tread, let me ask you.

Do you consider Warhol’s “Sleep” art? Or do you think it’s pretentious bullshit? What about Jeremy Blake’s “Winchester”? Hell, what about the “Drawing Restraint” series?

This was the reasoning behind my initial post. What do you consider “video art”? What do you consider “art” in general? Is Rothko’s work “art” as much as Rembrant’s? Do you consider Duchamp an artist?

Because, to be honest, you sound like the kids that used to scoff at “modern art” in high school (or university, for that matter) because it was “crap that anyone could do.”

You know, the kids that drew pictures of dragons riding skateboards.


AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh man I didn’t see your Duchamp reference when I read through your post the first time. I wish I’d read that before I posted.

See, this is my point. You don’t like it because you don’t understand it. You don’t understand why that piece is one of the more important pieces that’s been produced in the past 100 years. You don’t know your history, you don’t bother to learn it, and as a result you talk a lot of shit that’s rendered absolutely worthless.

Learn. Your. Shit.


no, I do understand the Duchamp piece and it’s intentions, which is why I referenced it and said that’s ‘what he was getting at’. You can take anything, like a toilet, and say it’s art… just like you can take a video of a bum sleeping. I get it, I really do. The boundries of defining art are very feathered, so you asking me to define what art is is just a path way into some huge argument that has no end, so I won’t answer. I don’t even have a definition for art, who does? Art is something someone created that I like to look at, think about, and admire. I guess I just defined it for me.

Takagi? Yes.

Gorewitz? No.

Just my opinion dude. Here we are again, arguing over stupid crap that makes no difference to anything.

Maybe I don’t understand it. Do you?


tengustone and Tread, This is most amusing.
there should be a msg-board just for this, hehehe.
Well i completely agree with you both now specially after your second post Tread. In my opinion, its Duchamps fault that we today have something called “Conceptual” Art. He was the man who started all this and broke of the path of classical art so today when we have problems of explaining what art is, well he was the troublemaker.

1 more thing, I agree on that art can be almost everything, this is decided by yourself for sure and todays art is VERY personal and there is the main problem.
Most artist do very personal pieces and they are usually so personal that you as the viewer have problems understanding it or even get inspired with it. This is probebly where the artist goes wrong.
You see, an artist have to make very personal works this is what it is about BUT, when it comes to the presentation, the artist also have to think of that he is not the only one who has to understand/be inspired.

If you make a very introvert piece of art then it has to become in some way understandable and inspiring for the viewer otherwise the artist looses his point i think. I dont mean then that the viewer has to understand it but he has atleast to get some kind of understanding or inspiration from it.


Interesting debate…but as Tread mentioned, this is one of those arguments that can go back & forth forever. Which is kind of the point of conceptual video art, I guess. It’s a bit too intellectual for me & that’s why I got out of the game. But if that’s your thing, there can be a tremendous amount of depth in it.

I don’t think it’s impossible to like & appreciate both sides. I think it becomes difficult when tags such as “high art/low art/commercial art”, “conceptual art/classical art” are applied. It somehow creates a dichotomy & implies that there is a separation where there really isn’t. Sure, one puts more emphasis on the eye & the virtuosity of the artist and the other puts more emphasis on the brain & the philosophical side of both the artist & viewer, but it isn’t always that cut and dry. I get entertainment, pleasure and intellectual stimulation viewing great artists in any field, whether it’s Stan Brakhage’s “Dog Star Man”, the latest Psyop offering, Leighton Pierce’s “Red Shovel”, etc.

Sometimes it’s great to look at a piece that others love & you hate & ask yourself “why don’t I like this?”. It’s not that you’re wrong, but you might discover that you’re bringing some prejudices to the table. Maybe you’re hung up on the fact that it’s selling a product, and the commerce element clashes with your idea of what art is. Maybe it’s shaky, handheld video footage with stock Adobe Premiere effects & this hangs you up because it’s not technically perfect. But once you can look beyond those things, you may find some element in the piece that really moves you.


Well said kinojay. I completely agree.
And money + Art is usually a bad combination when we talk about the contemporary art of today. Still, there are artist that surely would love to paint a picture to fit your new red couch or make a nice blue sculpture for your newly bought HD tv, thank god there is, otherwise we would live in a very ugly reality :)


this whole debate is similar to the kind of mess that occurs when you take a commercial illustrator to a modern art museum. they look at the stuff and say “that’s crap. i can paint way better than that– the anatomy is horrible. and it doesn’t make sense, i can’t even understand what is supposed to be going on in this painting.” that’s because they judge the art against the objectives of their own craft– which holds clearly discernable craftsmanship and direct communication as essential above all else. but those things have no inherent relevance to art, so judging it by illustration criteria is silly.

and deep down, those illustrators are often upset that some people have decided that the work on the walls is more important than theirs, no matter how superior their technical skills may be. the form is not what makes something art.

and related to this is the retardedly superlative connotation of the word “art” that our culture has fostered. that word is not a blue ribbon nor is it a gold medal. it is merely a noun, like “chair”… there are awesome chairs and there are crummy chairs. if someone refers to a cheap barstool as “a chair”, do you get offended and exclaim “how dare you call that a chair! that’s no chair! now, my padded leather recliner with built-in drink holder– that is fitting to be considered a chair!”


I think I am going to have to agree with Tread on this one. I think it’s the pretentiousness that really bothers me. I visited the Walker here in Minneapolis where a guy had ripped off Duchamp by taking the Urinal and either gold or bronze plating it. He made some huge BS statement as to why he did it. Does that mean that I should take his bronze plated urinal and add a urinal cake, right a huge BS statement as to why the urinal cake completes the object and stomps out the “stench” of bad art and I will be suddenly hailed as a great artist. It reminds me of the Dada days and feels to me like lazy uninspired art. I understand that this is an arguement that can never be resolved, but only resolved on a personal level for each and every artist, but everytime I view a piece like that, I feel like the person has taken a HUGE shortcut. But that’s just my 2 pennies

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