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’.