Yume. Digital Dreams pairs up 14 artists to create exciting and experimental digital artwork. Eight of the 14 artists participating in Yume. Digital Dreams. Clockwise (starting at the top left): Experimental dancer Shion Skye Carter (Vancouver), electronic musician and flutist Hitoshi Sugiyama (Edmonton), photographer Kayla Isomura (Vancouver), visual artist Miya Turnbull (Halifax), visual artist Lillian Michiko Blakey (Newmarket), multi-disciplinary artist Jon Sasaki (Toronto), dance/theatre artist Kunji Ikeda (Calgary), and taiko musician Noriko Kim Kobayashi (Vancouver). Photos courtesy of the artists.
CANADA — The project, Yume. Digital Dreams, is pairing 14 different Japanese Canadian artists from across the country, generations, and disciplines to create new, exciting, and experimental digital art. The project is looking to engage Japanese Canadian artists with each other and the community in a new way. Presented by Tashme Productions, the theatre company behind The Tashme Project: The Living Archives, the project runs from Feb. 15 to May 15.
Each pair of artists will present bi-monthly updates on their digital project through social media and Yume. Digital Dreams‘ new website. Every day, art lovers can check the website to find a new piece, clue, tidbit, video, sound, dance (the possibilities are endless) from a different pair of artists. The updates will lead to a final presentation of the artwork in mid-May. Project creators Matt Miwa and Julie Tamiko Manning reached out to a range of talented Japanese Canadian artists, inviting them to embark on this adventure of a project to see what comes from it.
“We don’t know what the outcome actually will be. It’s about as an artist just accepting to launch yourself into the unknown with a stranger and create something,” Miwa tells Nikkei Voice in an interview.
The artists were all selected from the Japanese Canadian Artists Directory, an online resource that provides the names, contact information, and samples of work from Japanese Canadian artists past and present across the country. The goal of Yume. Digital Dreams is to grow the national profile of the directory, transforming it from an archival hub of cultural knowledge to an active source of community outreach, exchange, and real-time artistic development. Miwa and Manning are working with social media consultant Yukari Peerless to create daily updates on the collaborations that will link back to the directory.
“I think the whole project will have that kind of refreshing effect on what people think about Japanese Canadian art and what our artistic community is,” explains co-creator Matt Miwa. “I see us as a lego piece attached to the directory. The directory is fantastic. It works wonderfully and does everything it’s supposed to do. We’re just an add-on to [create] a little spice, adventure, and excitement to the directory.”
The directory, which launched in 2017, was led by a partnership team of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, Powell Street Festival Society, and the Art Committee of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. The directory intended to revitalize Japanese Canadian art by increasing awareness about Japanese Canadian artists and encouraging networking between artists and the public. The website is an updated version of artist Aiko Suzuki‘s momentous 1994 publication, Japanese Canadians in the Arts: A Directory of Professionals. The website invites contemporary artists to create and update their own online profiles so the directory can continue growing.
Miwa and Manning plan to have the entire group meet online throughout the project to check in on their collaborative work and discuss how their Japanese Canadian identity fits into their artistic process, explains co-creator Julie Tamiko Manning.
These discussions will be an opportunity to spark intergenerational dialogue as the artists come from a range of backgrounds, experiences, and immigration stories. People have so many takes on Japanese Canadian identity depending on their experience, and these meetings will be a chance to explore those identities, says Manning.
“There’s so much to learn between the generations, and it’s not just about younger people learning from older people, it’s the other way around as well. There’s a real desire to connect everyone’s unique experiences of being Japanese Canadian,” says Manning.
While the project leads up to a final presentation, Yume. Digital Dreams celebrates the artistic and collaborative process of creating the digital artwork. The daily updates are free and playful avenues for the public to engage and interact with the artists and experience the artistic process.
“The stress is on the process as opposed to the final product, which I think is important, especially when creating, not just a piece of art but creating a relationship with another [artist],” says Manning. “It’s a beautiful story that we will have access to, especially with these bi-monthly updates. We will have access to the story of this collaboration between two artists who—hopefully—don’t know each other.”
“I hope they make something surprising and provocative, that catches your attention,” adds Matt. “I want to be surprised by what they create and come out of any sluggishness or sense of being a victim of the pandemic. I’m happy to see a spark of creativity.”
Learn more about Yume. Digital Dreams by visiting www.yumedigitaldreams.art. Follow the project online through these social media handles, Twitter: @tashmeproject, Instagram @tashmeproductions, Facebook: The Tashme Project: The Living Archives, and Tiktok: @yumedigidreams.