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Ko Nakajima: Video Earth Tokyo and Japanese Cable Access at PhillyCAM


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Ko Nakajima: Video Earth Tokyo and Japanese Cable Access at PhillyCAM

  • PhillyCAM 669 Ranstead Street Philadelphia, PA, 19106 United States (map)

Tuesday, March 12th, 6pm


669 Ranstead St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

In 1971, artist Ko Nakajima established the video art collective Video Earth Tokyo, and took portable video recorder to document local communities, social life, and performance experiments by the collective with intention to cablecast locally. During Collaborative Cataloging Japan’s 2018 collections survey research of Nakajima’s works, we discovered many unpublished work and footages, including ½ open reel videos of Video Earth Tokyo’s interviews with other local CATV stations.

In this rare visit by the artist to Philadelphia, the program will shine light on the unfamiliar history of 1970s Japanese cable access activities. It will include Nakajima’s introduction of Video Earth Tokyo and the regional CATV practice of 1970s Japan, as well as screenings. The program will open with Ko Nakajima’s independent experimental animation, Seizoki, which CCJ recently restored.

Program (90 minutes)

·       Screening: Seizoki, 1964, 4 min, 16mm film transferred to video, color, sound

·       Ko Nakajima’s introduction of Video Earth Tokyo, and other CATV stations in Japan in the 1970s

·       Screening: Shokutaku Ressha (Video Picnic), 1975, 8 min

·       Screening: Under A Bridge, 1974, 13 min

·       Screening: Video Earth Tokyo Interviews of Ikeda and Shimoda CATVs, 1970s, 25 min

·       Discussion and Q&A

Ko Nakajima

Nakajima Ko began his career in experimental animation with the creation of works such as Seizoki (1964). At his solo exhibition at the Sogetsu Art Center, a space for avant-garde art in 1960s Tokyo, he produced Seizoki by painting directly on the film between screenings. His perennial interest in integrating new technologies, exploring the potential of film, video, and eventually computer animation, joined his desire to explore human intersections with nature, as seen in his Biological Cycle series (1971-); he created the first work in the series, Biological Life (1971-), by copying manipulated film footage onto video, then further manipulating the work with a video synthesizer. In 1971, Nakajima established Video Earth Tokyo, the pioneering video-art collective. Nakajima used one of the earliest available portable video recorders to document Video Earth Tokyo performance pieces and teach the new technology. Video Earth Tokyo members created works, broadcast works on cable television, and participated in international exhibitions and emergent CG (computer graphics) conferences.

Nakajima has produced works in France, Canada, New Zealand, and Denmark. Representative works include Biological Cycle series (1971-), My Life series (1976-), Mt. Fuji (1984), and Dolmen (1987). His works are in permanent collections internationally, including in Centre Georges Pompidou (France), The Museum of Modern Art (U.S.), Long Beach Museum of Art Video Archive (U.S.), and the Getty Research Institute Special Collections (U.S.).


About PhillyCAM

PhillyCAM is a community media center that operates the City of Philadelphia’s public access cable television channel and is the license holder of the low power FM radio station WPPM 106.5 FM.  PhillyCAM is a facilitator, creator, aggregator, and distributor of hyper local media that reflects Philadelphia’s cultural diversity.  We are the only regional non-commercial media outlet devoted entirely to the teaching, creation and distribution of locally-produced media content on cable television, online and on FM radio.   

Our mission is to bring together the people of Philadelphia to make and share media that promotes creative expression, democratic values and civic participation. Anyone who lives or works in the greater Philadelphia region can become a PhillyCAM member and receive free to low cost access to video and audio production training and distribute non-commercial content on our platforms.

About Collaborative Cataloging Japan

Collaborative Cataloging Japan (CCJ) is an international, 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, documenting, and disseminating the legacy of Japanese experimental moving image made in 1950s—1980s, in order to enable their appreciation by a wider audience. CCJ aims to strengthen the supporting ecology for preservation and dissemination by offering public events, research and preservation initiatives, and resource on the web. Without this effort, this unique sector of Japanese cultural heritage, which historically has been underrepresented and unsupported, would remain available to only a very few. Buried in artists’ studios or independent archives, many works are in danger of literal disappearance as film and video mediums continue to deteriorate. The scope of moving image focus includes: fine art on film and video, documentations of performance, independently produced documentaries, experimental animation, and experimental television.

This screening is supported in part by the Preserving Diverse Cultures Grant, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund