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Ko Nakajima Screening at WhiteBox Harlem


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Ko Nakajima Screening at WhiteBox Harlem

  • WhiteBox Harlem 213 East 121 Street New York USA (map)

Collaborative Cataloging Japan (CCJ) is pleased collaborate with WhiteBox Harlem to organize a screening of films and videos Ko Nakajima, to kick-off our collaborative presentation of Nakajima’s works in April and May 2019. In May, WhiteBox Harlem will present a 2-day installation exhibition on May 14th and May 15th, of Nakajima’s most prominent works.

More information on WhiteBox Harlem website



1.     Anapoko, 1963, 16mm transferred to video, 8:38 min.

After graduating from Tama University of Arts, Nakajima made this work with the intention of submitting to the Sogetsu Animation Festival. Without much funding to work with, Nakajima devised the technique “Kaki-mation,” a method of drawing directly on 35mm film.

2.     Seizoki, 1964, 16mm transferred to video, 4:10 min.

An animation using the “Kaki-mation” technique (directly drawing onto the film). This piece can be shown as a multiscreen piece with 3 screens.

3.     Biological Life Part 1, 1971, film processed in video, 6 min. (3 min. excerpt)

4.     Biological Life Part 3, 1971, video, 8 min.

Based on the first 16mm film, which was shot in a studio with Nakajima’s family and birds, effects were then added as iterations were made. At some point during the series the work was transferred from film to video, and digital effects using the “Animaker,” an electronic image synthesizer that he invented (also nicknamed “Ko-puter”), was also introduced.



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 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.