Tokyo Jiten is a web dictionary made up of short video presentations about Tokyo.
Anyone can apply to make a presentation, which will become the ‘entries’ of the dictionary. Each is titled with a keyword and like a dictionary, the entries will be arranged alphabetically online as an archive.
The organizer of this initiative, the nonprofit art collective Arts Initiative Tokyo started its educational program on contemporary art in 2002. Since then, AIT has looked into the relationship between art and society, and new practices by artists, through all kinds of academic fields and practices.
By looking at art from multiple perspectives, it is easy to see that there is indeed no limit to creativity. Through this project, we aim to discover, portray, and share something different from the Tokyo we see on TV or in magazines.
Currently managed by Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT), this program was a part of the Tokyo Artpoint Project, which began in 2009, as a part of the “TOKYO CULTURE CREATION PROJECT” between 2011 and 2013, run by the city of Tokyo and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture.
An Archive of Various Knowledges
Within this program, artists, editors, architects, musicians, and participants from the general public will give presentations, based on a keyword related to Tokyo. The presentations will be recorded and uploaded to the project’s website. The archive of presentations can be viewed free of charge, and will function as a useful database for those working in the creative industry, or anyone who wants to start a creative initiative on their own.
Twice a month, there will be an open recording, where 3 guests speakers and 3 speakers from the public will give their talk. Talks are to be 15 minutes each, maximum. There are no rules on the format of talks, and anyone can apply. After recording, the talks will be uploaded to the website as part of the online dictionary. Those who either want to make a talk, or wish to be part of the audience, can sign up via the website. Participation is free of charge.
Tokyo Jiten is about trying to excavate little-known or strange aspects about Tokyo. It is inspired by the Critical Dictionary, which was published as a regular section in the surrealist magazine ‘Documents’, edited by Georges Bataille from 1929 to 1930. Bataille’s Critical Dictionary was composed of short essay entries on interesting surrealist topics like ‘Eye’ and ‘Informe’.
Bataille called this magazine ‘a war machine against received ideas’. This is close to the spirit with which Tokyo Jiten would like to gaze upon Tokyo, although perhaps not as angry. But Bataille’s message is an inspiring one – it is about trying to develop and share new ideas, or view points which most people think are stupid, or which have been forgotten and kicked under the carpet. Tokyo Jiten is about this attitude. We welcome anyone who shares this kind of explorer-like and curious perspective, interested in Tokyo.
By gathering many short video entries into the Tokyo Jiten, it is the project`s aim to show that Tokyo is always more than we can imagine. It is something forever moving into the horizon of our imaginations.