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

Ko Nakajima at PhillyCAM March 12, 2019 6 pm - 7:30 pm
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 6:00pm


PhillyCAM and Collaborative Cataloging Japan are excited to present an evening with artist Ko Nakajima. In appearances in New York and Philadelphia, the artist will reflect on the unknown history of cable access in 1970s Japan.

In 1971, Ko Nakajima established the Video Art Collective Video Earth Tokyo and using a portable video recorder documented local communities, social life, and performance experiments by the collective with the intention to cablecast locally.

While researching Nakajima's work, Collaborative Cataloging Japan discovered many works that were never seen by the public, including ½ open reel videos of Video Earth Tokyo’s interviews with other local CATV stations.

The program will  combine discussion and screening of 1970s Japanese cable access programming.


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, the 1970s, 25 min
  • Discussion and Q&A


Ko Nakajima - (Biography courtesy of Collaborative Cataloging Japan)

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.).