The " Musashino Art University Art Festival 2021 " (hereafter referred to as the "Art Festival") was held for three days from October 29 (Friday) to 31 (Sunday).
This year, for the first time in its history, the festival was held online in consideration of the impact of the new coronavirus, with works exhibited in a virtual space, works sold through an online store, and live programs broadcasted.
How did the students of the Executive Committee, who are in charge of the overall planning and operation of the festival, proceed with their preparations and reach the point of holding the festival under circumstances where most of the first attempts were made?
The editorial department of funglr Games contacted Musashino Art University (MUSABI) and was able to directly interview the students of the Art Festival Executive Committee!
We also had the opportunity to visit the special studio built by the students themselves, where the live program "MAU LIVE" was being broadcasted!
This interview was conducted on October 31.
Visit to Musashino Art University
On October 31, the third day of the Art Festival, we arrived at Musashino Art University under drizzling rain.
Normally, the campus is filled with many visitors in addition to students, but unfortunately, it was almost deserted this year...
Looking at the bulletin board next to the main gate, I saw the poster for this year's Art Festival! I had seen it on the website and official Twitter before, but seeing the actual poster like this made me very excited!
After moving to the meeting place and greeting the executive committee members, I had a quick interview with them!
Direct interview with two representatives of the executive committee!
The two people interviewed this time as representatives of the Executive Committee are as follows!
- Sakiki Yabe (2nd year student, Department of Basic Design / Deputy Manager, Public Relations Department, Executive Committee)
- Mr. Atsuki Chiba (2nd year student, Department of Basic Design / Exhibition Department Manager, Executive Committee)
I didn't want to stop the history of the Art Festival because of Corona
Tadashi Yabe: How did you come up with the idea to hold the festival online for the first time this year?
Mr. Yabe: Every year, we start preparations for the Art Festival around spring break, but last year we had no choice but to cancel the event due to the spread of the corona outbreak and the unpredictable situation. This year, however, we did not want to stop the history of the festival because of the corona, so we decided to hold the festival online for the first time.
T: Speaking of the Art Triennale, the exhibition of students' works is a distinctive feature of the festival, but this year it was held as a virtual exhibition, wasn't it?
Chiba: Yes, this year we used the virtual SNS "cluster" (developed by cluster, Inc.) to exhibit the works of volunteer students in a virtual space. Since Mousavi students make their living by creating artwork, I knew that everyone would want to exhibit their work, and I felt that it was something that could not be left out.
When we were discussing how to hold an online exhibition of artworks that would normally be held in lecture halls or exhibition rooms, we learned that other art universities hold exhibitions on their websites, but we were motivated to "do something newer than that. Then I learned about the " Virtual Mousavi Exhibition " organized by Mousavi alumni volunteers, and decided to give it a try.
Online Department" was established for this year's exhibition.
TM: What kind of preparations did you make for the online exhibition?
Yabe：First of all, we urgently needed to establish the department, assign responsibilities, and recruit new members.
I was able to take over some of the tasks, but since the event was not held on site, departments such as the Security Department, which patrolled the premises on the day of the event, had to take a day off....
In addition, this year, since online content will be the main focus of the event, we have created a new " Online Department " to strengthen that aspect of the event.
Yabe: I originally started out as an advertising department, but now I'm a member of the Online Department.
Yabe: Originally, there was a "Web Team" under the "Public Relations Department," which was in charge of advertising activities, but since the main focus will be on advertising via the Web and SNS, we have made it an independent department.
In October of last year (2020), when we recruited new members for the committee for the entire university, we also recruited members for the online department at the same time. Although the number of members is not that large, the department has become a small elite group of students with insightful ideas.
The official website for the Art Festival was initially planned to be outsourced, but we used a service that allows the creation of websites with no code, and it was created by the students themselves.
Communication among students was difficult.
Tatsuya: Did you encounter any difficulties during the preparation period for the online exhibition?
Chiba: The Exhibition Department entrusted the implementation of the cluster world to a knowledgeable staff member, and the other members mainly dealt with students (participants) who wanted to exhibit. However, we had to conduct the participants' briefing sessions and applications, which had been conducted in person, in person, this year....
We used Zoom for the orientation sessions, made videos of detailed explanations of the flow, etc. and posted them on YouTube for a limited number of people to view, and used Google Forms for the application process.
Tadashi: So it was a one-way communication.
Chiba: We tried to find a way to have one-on-one discussions, and I suggested using Discord chat.
That made things a lot smoother, but there were some people who didn't check their messages.... I don't know if this is unique to Mousavi students, but there were a lot of people like that (laughs).
Tadashi Chiba: (laughs)
Mr. Chiba: (laughs) Also, right before the exhibition...I had a lot of trouble submitting my work. There were problems with file extensions, file size, and so on. We realized that we had to be very detailed in our specifications since we were in a restricted space on the virtual stage.
In addition, this time, the communication among the executive committee members was always conducted online. We had to do this at limited times, such as after 9:00 p.m. after classes.
The Exhibition Department met on campus once in August to work on the exhibition, and people who had never met each other before would say, "Oh, I didn't know you looked like that....
Yabe: Even now, there are many people in the Public Relations Department who don't know the faces of the members (laughs).
A theme that was born precisely under these circumstances
Tadashi Yabe: Yes, I guess there is a part of you that doesn't really feel it until you meet other club members and students face to face.
Yabe: Yes, that's right. However, I don't want people to see only the negative aspects of the "online" event. I think this year's theme, "Dennou Toshi Mouryu" (The Dragon's Brain City), was born out of the circumstances of this year's event.
For example, for the first time in our history, we are using electric decorations for the objects we have installed in the studio. In past years, we have installed them at entrances and other places, but safety issues make it difficult to use electric decorations, so the neon lights are one of the things we were able to achieve only this time. We have worked hard to create an experience that is only possible because it is held online, so I hope that the participants will enjoy the event and not feel disappointed. We hope that the participants will be able to enjoy the event and not be disappointed.
Improvements we saw in our first attempt, and we will continue to make improvements for the next year.
Tatsuya: Lastly, could you give us your thoughts and a message to those who have come to know about the Musashino Art University Art Festival through this online exhibition?
Yabe: This was the first time in our history that we held the festival online, so we were not familiar with many aspects of the festival, and we had many troubles, big and small. We don't know yet what format we will use next year, whether it will be online or on-site, but we would like to make improvements in areas where we were not able to do so this year and build on them. If you were even slightly interested in this year's event, we hope you will pay attention next year as well.
Mr. Chiba: In the midst of an online exhibition, which was completely unprecedented, we forced our seniors to adjust the (offline) exhibition methods they had used in the past to make a schedule, but I still felt that there were things we needed to improve. However, I think it was great that we were able to find areas for improvement. Next year's online exhibition will be even better than this year's, so please look forward to the next one.
Thank you very much for your cooperation in this interview!
Super quality! Sneaking into the special studio
Lastly, we visited the special studio of the Musashino Art University Art Festival 2021 Executive Committee, which was broadcasting live on the " Musashino Art University Art Festival 2021" YouTube channel for three days!
Here we introduce you to the neon lights that were featured in the interview, as well as some small details that only an art university can provide, and the many objects that were created with great attention to detail!
The quality was excellent through the screen, but it was quite impressive in front of your eyes...!
Thank you very much to the committee for your cooperation in covering this event!
If this article is your first introduction to the Musashino Art University Art Festival, please visit the festival next year when it is held in your hometown!