Twitter was flooded with artworks that are “too #narrow”…
Ukiyoe depicting battle scenes, a “beauty painting” with three faces on one head, a dangerous suspension bridge without railings painted by Katsushika Hokusai, and more. …… Have you ever heard of the many mysterious curiosities that are now being posted on Twitter with the phrase “#Nazo too much”?
This is a project of NHK’s “Curator Battle‼” program. For the second episode (to be broadcast on July 19), curators and researchers from art galleries and museums across Japan posted on Twitter such items as “hidden gems in storage” and “mysterious curiosities that have many secret admirers. The program will be created based on these items.
Why such a wonderful and unusual project? When I requested an interview, I was met by Ayumi Aso, a producer at Documentary Japan, the production company in charge of the program, and Masako Nishijima, a producer at NHK Educational, Inc.
Curator Battle is a Twitter event started by the Yorkshire Museum in the UK in April 2020, the year of the COVID-19 crisis, in which curators from around the country submit artworks from museums and other collections in response to a “theme” with hashtags such as “the weirdest thing” or “the most memorable buttocks in art history. The curators from around the country submitted artworks from museums and other collections in response to the hashtags.
I saw the excitement on Twitter and wondered what it was all about, so I clicked on it and found a lot of weird mummies and other gruesome things. I followed it further and found many paintings I had never seen before. I thought it was interesting, and when I talked to my friend Nishijima-san about it, he said, ‘Why don’t you do it in Japan, too?
Beyond the original! A New Development: Linkage with “TV
In August 2020, the “original” Yorkshire Museum applied for permission after consulting with Kenji Hinohara, curator at the Ota Memorial Museum of Art (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo), which has a large collection of ukiyo-e prints and was also involved in the Yorkshire curatorial battle.
At first, I thought there might be some difficult issues such as copyright, but surprisingly, it all went smoothly. Millicent Carroll of Yorkshire was surprised and said, ‘You’re going to do it on TV? and she said, ‘That’s wonderful.
The Curatorial Battle that started in Yorkshire became a boom, and the BBC reported on it, but she said, ‘We had never thought of doing it in conjunction with a TV program.
Furthermore, P. Nishijima entered a proposal to NHK, and the project was approved in November.
The first two themes were “#Weird Creatures” and “#Too Ridiculous,” but what were the reasons for their selection?
The most exciting thing at the original Yorkshire site was the weirdest, creepiest thing, so we thought it would be a translated version of that. But when we first launched the site, we weren’t sure how many people would contribute, and we were worried. So Mr. Hinohara gave me some advice on what kind of subjects would be easy for people to contribute. Once we got started After we started Since the program started, it has spread by word of mouth among curators,” says P. Aso.
What was even more groundbreaking was the use of the “NHK Bijutsu Committee Chairman” Twitter account.
We decided to borrow from the historical “NHK Bijutsu Kaicho” Twitter account, which is jointly operated by NHK’s art programs such as “Sunday Museum of Art” and “Bijutsu no Tsubou”.
We have been using the “NHK Bijutsu Kaicho” basically only for announcements, but we have been preparing the ground within NHK to use it for recruiting. It was an unprecedented experiment, but as a result, an interesting mechanism was born, in which “unknown information is gathered as ‘collective knowledge’ through submissions,” which is different from the conventional method of “the program side going out for interviews. This is an interesting mechanism for gathering unknown information as ‘collective knowledge’ through submissions.
When the call for entries was first made, there was some concern that many curators might be reluctant to make fun of the collection or present it as something strange.
When we opened the exhibition, we found that even long-established museums were interested in the exhibition. The prestigious Seikado Bunko, which holds a number of national treasures and other items, has been offering them to us one after another.
I was reminded that many curators think it is better to give people a chance to see artworks than to let them sit in a warehouse.
The guest of the second session was “Naoko Ken”…
What works were particularly impressive in the first session?
The “Five Hundred Arhats” in the collection of the Itabashi Art Museum. At first glance, the picture of the arhats appears to be drawn with fine lines, but upon closer inspection, the entire picture, including the background, is written in sutra without breaking the order of the characters, like a single stroke of a pen, which is extremely crazy and weird to see in person.
The largest collection of artifacts is at the National Museum of Nature and Science (Kahaku). There are so many rare items, such as a snake’s penis, that even the people involved probably can’t fully grasp them, so there’s still a lot to dig through.
What was the response to the first edition?
What gets people excited on Twitter are things that have a strong visual impact, such as the owl owl of Tokugawa Iemitsu, or things that make people giggle, such as the mysterious and kawaii types of drawings.
On the other hand, the program features many pieces that allow viewers to delve deeper into the story behind the artwork and other aspects of the work. And while the viewers enjoyed it as much as we did, I heard that the art world was buzzing with comments like, “We should have submitted ours, too,” and “I didn’t know about this kind of call for entries” (laughs).
(Laughs) “It seems that many people visited art galleries and museums to see the actual works that were introduced in the program or posted on Twitter.
In addition to Goro Yamada and
We were talking about who would be the most intellectually curious and also the most informal, and we thought Naoko Ken would be a good choice,” said Yamada.
Amabie’s cosplay on Twitter was a big hit, and I thought her impression was the same as that of the strange creature in the previous episode. I also decided on the fact that he has a very good sense of what he wears, a high interest in aesthetics, and a unique sensibility.
The theme for the second episode was “too riddle” as in the first episode. This is because last time the number of submissions for “Weird Creatures” was 97 and the number of “Too Ridiculous” was 99, so we were only able to introduce some of them. This time, when we put out a new call for submissions on the same subject, we received 112 submissions as of June 23, and 210 submissions including those from the previous contest.
What kind of submissions have you received?
There is a “#Nazo too much” hanging scroll that has received 7600 likes in the second round of submissions, which is outstanding. A Buddha image wearing a skirt is stepping on a flower press and has a cross in the background. ……
The person who posted this article was Ii Museum of Art, which specializes in arms and armor, and when I asked him to tell me what this is, he said he had seen the complete collection of hanasho at the library, and he identified the hanasho, and furthermore, through everyone’s collective knowledge The story has gone as far as to say that some of the generations of the Nabeshima clan might have been hidden Christians. This work is still in the process of unraveling the mystery, and I hope to be able to broadcast it when more of the mystery has been solved.
The second edition is not only enjoyable for the contributors, but also for the viewers who participate interactively, creating a two-way excitement.
There is also a connection among curators, and when one museum posts, “This part of the illustration has this meaning,” another museum responds, “It has always been a mystery, but now the mystery has been solved. The comments from the public were also amazing….
Twitter It is good to be amused on Twitter and learn more about the story on the show, and it is also interesting to learn about Twitter after watching the show and see many more works.
Interview and text by： Wakako Tako
Born in 1973. After working for a publishing company and an advertising production company, became a freelance writer. She interviews actors for weekly and monthly magazines and writes drama columns for various media. His main publications include "All Important Things Are Taught by Morning Drama" (Ota Publishing), "KinKiKids: Owarinakimichi" and "Hey!