On October 11, 2001, Dia Center for the Arts will launch Moon Rabbit, a work created by Japanese artist Shimabuku for Dia's series of Artists' Projects for the Web. Moon Rabbit, Shimabuku's first computer-based work, may be seen at www.diacenter.org/shimabuku. Dia and Shimabuku will celebrate the project on Thursday evening, October 11, from 6 to 8 pm, with a party in Dia's bookshop at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City.
The core of Moon Rabbit is a screensaver that presents exaggerated depictions of figures imagined on the surface of the moon -- a rabbit, a face, a donkey, a crab, a frog with a rabbit -- some culturally established, others invented by Shimabuku. While gradually shifting between these interpretations, the image of the moon slowly increases and then decreases in size in reference to theories that postulate the moon was once very close to Earth. Long interested in the moon as a destination of human projection and fantasy, and fascinated by its inaccessibility despite its visibility and proximity to Earth, Shimabuku treats the computer screen as a substitute for the window into worlds unknown that the moon has provided humanity for generations.
Since graduating from Osaka College of Art in 1990 and San Francisco Art Institute in 1992, Shimabuku has been exploring the role of communication, memory, and travel in the construction of both animal and human consciousness. For Octopus RD (1991), Shimabuku collaborated with artist Tadasu Takamine to facilitate an octopus' migration by walking the octopus across Japan from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan.
In his performance, Memory of Future (1996) Shimabuku deposited absurd props -- a wearable papier-mâché bird's head, flowers, and a pineapple -- in an unused plaza in the car-oriented city of Iwakura. Because the citizens of this decentralized urban area rarely use designated public sites, Shimabuku sought to evoke dislocated associations with distant places and memories to spark questions about the meaning of community. His metaphorical vision of his artwork as "a forest" with "many, many points of entry, and many paths running through it" lends itself to creative exploration of the Internet's capabilities.
Born in Kobe, Japan, in 1969, Shimabuku currently lives and works in Yokohama. His art has been exhibited widely internationally and he has participated in residencies in Japan, France, Brazil and Britain. His work is currently on view in the group exhibition Facts of Life at the Hayward Gallery in London through December 9, 2001, and on October 27, 2001, a solo show, Passing through the Rubber Band, will open at Air de Paris, the gallery in Paris.
Artists' Projects for the Web
As part of its efforts to facilitate direct experience between audiences and works of art, Dia initiated a series of web-based works in early 1995, becoming the first arts organization to foster the use of the world wide web as an artistic and conceptual medium. Previous projects, which can be visited on Dia's website, include Feng Mengbo's Phantom Tales (2001), David Claerbout's Present (2000), Stephen Vitiello's Tetrasomia (2000), Gary Simmons's Wake (2000), Francis Alÿs's The Thief (1999), Arturo Herrera's Almost Home (1998), Diller + Scofidio's Refresh (1998), and Kristin Lucas's Between a Rock and a Hard Drive (1998). All may be viewed at www.diacenter.org. Dia's series of Artists' Projects for the Web has been funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts. Established in 1974, Dia Center for the Arts plays a vital role among visual arts institutions nationally and internationally by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects in nearly every medium, and by serving as a primary locus for interdisciplinary art and criticism.
Dia presents a temporary exhibition program in its renovated warehouse buildings in Chelsea, New York. Supplementary programming in Chelsea includes lectures, poetry readings, film and video screenings, performances, scholarly research and publications, symposia, and an arts education program that serves area students. Dia is currently constructing a new facility in Beacon, New York, sixty miles north of New York City, to display its permanent collection, which comprises in-depth holdings of many of the most important artists of the 1960s and 1970s.
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