Skip to main content

Art is about the Future; Otherwise, Nothing

Art and Media in the Context of the Post-War Japan and Beyond

  • Chapter
Coded Cultures

Part of the book series: Edition Angewandte ((EDITION))

  • 335 Accesses


What I am going to focus on in this essay is the meaning of the future, in regard to questions of technology, media and arts, reconsidered in the social and political contexts of the post-war Japan. It is an attempt to show how the present Japanese culture, especially in relation to those issues of art, technology and the future, has been ≫coded≪ for the past sixty years. What I would like to suggest is that we might be made incapable to understand the proper meaning of the future today, in spite of the fact that our society of global capitalism is full of futuristic hyperbolae. We live in a society where a social hope for justice and democracy is systematically replaced by technological and industrial predictions. Our view over the future is miserably limited. In order to understand this limitation, it is inevitable to consider the historical context of at least sixty-five years since the end of wwii, which seems, in most cases, to have been plainly ignored in discussions about media arts. Reviving the actuality of the past like Hiroshima, however, I believe my approach is not retrospective but prospective. I hope a refreshed look over the past will help clarify confusions we have about such concepts as ≫art≪, ≫ media art ≪ and ≫ media geijutsu ≪ (a recently coined Japanese legal concept including film, comics, animation and digital artworks).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  • Darwin, C.: The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, With Observations on Their Habits. London: John Murray, 1881

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoaglund, L.: ANPO: Art X War. USA/Japan, 2010

    Google Scholar 

  • Ishiuchi, M.: Hiroshima. Tokyo: Shueisha Publishers, 2008

    Google Scholar 

  • Kishimoto, Y., Wodiczko, K.: Projection in Hiroshima, 70m/color. Kyoto: Ufer! Art Documentary, 2000

    Google Scholar 

  • Yoshioka, H. (Ed.): Slowness at the Speed of Light. Kyoto: Kyoto Art Center, 2004

    Google Scholar 

  • Yoshioka, H.: ≫Anpo to Aijin≪ (≫The Anpo and a Mistress≪). In: Toxic Girls Review, Vol. 2. Kyoto: Voice Gallery psf/w, October 2010

    Google Scholar 

  • Yoshioka, H.: ≫Samurai and Self-colonization in Japan≪. In: Pieterse, J. N. (Ed.): Decolonization of Imagination: Culture, Knowledge, Power. London: Zed Publishers, 1994.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Editor information

Georg Russegger Matthias Tarasiewicz Michal Wlodkowski

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2011 Springer-Verlag/Wien

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Yoshioka, H. (2011). Art is about the Future; Otherwise, Nothing. In: Russegger, G., Tarasiewicz, M., Wlodkowski, M. (eds) Coded Cultures. Edition Angewandte. Springer, Vienna.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Vienna

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-7091-0457-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-7091-0458-3

Publish with us

Policies and ethics