Method No. 16  (September 3, 2002)

Guest: Takashi Murakami

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- "Method" members:  
Hideki Nakazawa (artist), Shigeru Matsui (poet), Masahiro Miwa (composer)
- Manifestos of Methodicism
- Japanese translation

Preface  by Hideki Nakazawa
Guest's manuscript:
Essay on the Viva-ism to Fundamentalism  by Takashi Murakami
Guest's work:
Zuzazazazaza, SMPKO2  by Takashi Murakami
Members' manuscripts:
Bitmap School vs. Vector School  by Hideki Nakazawa
Remove Intuition!  by Shigeru Matsui
About SendMailV3  by Masahiro Miwa
Members' works:
Letter-Coordinates-Type Painting No. 1, Stone-Arrangement Painting No. 1  
by Hideki Nakazawa
Quantum Poem No. 39 - 49  by Shigeru Matsui
SendMail Notator  by Masahiro Miwa
Information, Editor's notes


Method No. 16  Guest: Takashi Murakami

by Hideki Nakazawa

   Takashi Murakami is the today's best-known and the most important 
artist of Japan, with his keyword "superflat."  Yes, "flat" reminds us 
of two things; one is the traditional Japanese art represented by the 
Rimpa and Ukiyoe, and the other is the theory of modernist paintings by 
Clement Greenberg.  Then, what is "super"?  It is probably to emphasize 
the relation to the today's Japanese Otaku manga (geeks' comics), which 
are also "flat," and which mirror the very postmodernist culture that 
cannot be separated from subculture.
   We, methodicists, have also been considering a matter of modernism 
and postmodernism, and of internationalism and localism.  Mr. Murakami's 
way and ours are just the opposite, but both are complementary to each 
other at the same time, I believe.
- Kaikai Kiki

Guest's manuscript & work:

Essay on the Viva-ism to Fundamentalism
by Takashi Murakami

   Hayao Miyazaki's "fundamentalism of animation" and Kaiyodo's 
"fundamentalism of models" are example forms of a standard of value that 
has been established in 30 years by Japanese creators who have lost 
reliable grounds of creation since the defeat in the Pacific War.
   Hayao Miyazaki created animation works using the mode of 
"fundamentalism of animation" and carried out wide-ranging reforms from 
the studio theories and the styles of movie buisiness to its 
distributions.  He succeeded publicly and economically.
   Kaiyodo, a creating group, is building up a new genre in the 
entertainmant world by producing and selling the food toys (goods thrown 
in), "chocolate egg," that has become one of social phenomena.  Kaiyodo 
has already produced more than 2,000 items of food toys according to the 
philosophy of absolute 3-D structure, that is, "fundamentalism of 
models," and holds a dominant position in the trade association in 
everything like planning contents, quality, and sales. 
   "Fundamentalism of animation" and "fundamentalism of models" are of 
Otaku (geeks') contents.  Why do they base on Otaku?  Because they seem 
to resist against the reality that has no background, as there is no 
definite answer for what Japan nation really is.  
   And one more thing: "Aum fundamentalism."
   Engaging in a group work at present, I feel Aum Shinrikyo very 
familiar.  Progression to the cult, I mean.  A very delicate technique 
is needed to walk a tightrope keeping a proper distance from that part.
   If my group became a cult, it would be a loser.  But unless it 
reaches fundamentalism, it cannot approach the truth.  And yet, building 
up fundamentalism at such a place where there is no grounds makes nobody 
see any goal at all.
   What kind of fundamentalism am I aiming at?  Anyway, it must be an 
irresponsible one with such a dislocated title as "Susunu! Denpa-shonen" 
("Forwarp! Radio Boy").
   In spite of all, I will try hard to build up my own "fundamentalism."

Zuzazazazaza, SMPKO2
by Takashi Murakami
Zuzazazazaza ...This is a work where I intended to bring the 1970's 
animation mode to the painting context.  The animators I referred to are 
Yoshinori Kanada, Tsutomu Shibayama, and Osamu Kobayashi.  SMPKO2 ...The 
last chapter of the figure project collaborated with Kaiyodo.  It is a 
work of comment on Otaku figures, having Masahiko Asano as a 3-D 
director, who is known as a leader of the project "Gundam Sentinel" 
produced for high-end users of Gundam plastic models, and, as a maker, 
Fuyuki Shinada & Vi-shop, master of Japanese monster creating.

Members' manuscripts & works:

Bitmap School vs. Vector School
by Hideki Nakazawa

   If you were a 2D-CG creator, you might have noticed a profound 
difference between the bitmap CG formula and the vector one.  The tools 
for bitmap are called "paint" software, while those for vector "draw."  
The essence of bitmap is an accumulation of color dots called pixels, 
while that of vector a topological line called a bezie curve.  Functions 
for high-resolution and anti-alias seem to connect bitmap with vector, 
but real bitmap school creators would rather prefer low-resolution and 
obvious jaggies.
   I used to be a bitmap school creator as an illustrator until 1996.  
My works were called "BAKA (ridiculous) CG," as they looked funny 
probably because of those jaggies emphasized.  I turned method painter 
as a fine artist in 1997, but the soul of bitmap is unchanged at all.  I 
use letters or Go stones instead of bitmap pixels.  I still love jaggies 
woven by letters or Go stones.
   What interests me is that Takashi Murakami's superflat works are the 
very vector CG.  Every character is defined as a region encircled by a 
closed-curved topological line. It is one object itself, not an 
accumulation of dots.
   The schemata like "method paintings vs. superflat" or "bitmap school 
vs. vector school" are found not only in today's Japanese art scene but 
also in the past and in the Western countries as well.  A good example 
seen in the 17th century's Japanese art, the Rimpa, is "Korin vs. 
Sotatsu"; and in the Western Renaissance, "Venetian school vs. 
Florentine school" is the one.  "Romanticism vs. Neoclassicism," "Seurat 
vs. Cezanne" and "Fauvism vs. Cubism" are all the same schimata; the 
former cases are Coloristes, the latter ones Dessinateurs.  Yes, 
Tiziano's each brushstroke is the ancestor of the bitmap dot, and 
Michealangelo's strong line the vector line.
   Why does this schema appear universally?  Because it derives from the 
classical dualism, "atomism vs. idealism."  Thus, it appears not only in 
art history but also in every aspect of things; "bottom-up vs. top-down," 
"induction vs. deduction," "harmony vs. melody," "sampling vs. 
synthesis," "chemistry vs. physics,"* "plants vs. animals,"** etc.
   These schemata tell us that the two standpoints are just the opposite 
but complementary to each other at the same time.  That is exactly so 
with "method paintings vs. superflat," not only in their meanings but 
also in their technical aspects.
* Materials are made of many atoms in chemistry, while an object is one 
in physics.  ** Plants which can be grown from a cutting or separating 
the roots are the accumulation of cells, while an animal is one life. 

Remove Intuition!
by Shigeru Matsui

   The year of 2002 is the 100th anniversary of a modernist poet Katue
Kitasono's birth.
   Kitasono analyzed that factors for consisting of poetry are 
"material," "phenomenon" and "formation" in his essay "A Brief Poetry 
Essay on So-Called Imagery and Ideoplasty" in 1936.  Furthermore he 
literary transposed them to "language," "imagery" and "ideoplasty."  He 
considered poetry as a connection among these three notions at that time.
   According to his thought, composing poems is originated from 
collection and classification concerning "phenomenon."  This operation 
is done by his intuition.  It composes "languages" selected by the 
intuition and makes lines and stanza, and  "ideoplasty" is concluded.  
It is a poem that he sensually materializes "phenomenon" by his 
intuition and unites to be "formation."  Literarily speaking, it is that 
he sensually words "imagery" by his intuition and unites to be a 
   As a methodicist, I agree to his thought: poetry is the effect of 
making "formation" of "phenomenon" and  "formation" consists of 
substitutable "materials."  That leads an assertion that Kitasono did 
have intermedia concept.
   But his constitution of "formation" is acted by his intuition, which
gives me a question.  Kitasono's "formation" does not mean an order of a 
row of letters, but random arrangement of letters.  This can be said 
that it is closer to the method of art design than poetry.  He regarded 
poetry as replacing colors and objets d'art with usable letters on 
usable plane geometry.  The principles directing his works are nothing 
but Kitasono's own aesthetic intuition and poesy.  His pursuit for his 
works on this method was introduced as "Monotonous Space" in 1958.  
His aesthetic intuition has reached a noble method in this work.  Then 
many people have imitated his method.  Consequently it came to produce 
followers of Katue Kitasono.
   I am also one of them.  But I am not an epigone.  Therefore I have 
been seeking for method poems by universal objectivity instead of 
aesthetic intuition.
"Reference website"
Kitasono Katue. com:
The Library of Tama Art University KATUE KITASONO ARCHIVES:
Kit Kat+:

About SendMailV3
by Masahiro Miwa

   SendMail was composed in 1995 and the third version of this piece, 
which was composed for the trumpet, was performed last month.  This 
composition has very methodicistic characteristics because the notes it 
contains are not chosen for musical reasons. From the concert hall a 
trumpet player calls a host computer using a modem, then logs into the 
UNIX system and simply sends an e-mail through this music.  It is music 
just because all commands and texts are "written" using a trumpet and 
"displayed" with sound (as musical pitch). 
   To enable texts to be inputted using a musical instrument and make 
audible the text information, a conversion table for the MIDI pitch 
numbers and ASCII codes is used.  All notes played in this music are 
provided according to this conversion table, not only for the e-mail 
contents but also for command texts for the modem and host computer.  
This means that there are no expressions of individuality from the 
composer, no references to beauty and no contrivances to appeal to a 
person's emotions (see "Methodicism Q & A" by Hideki Nakazawa in last 
   Nevertheless this piece may be performed many times and the audience 
is able to have a special experience each time, because the audience 
understands that the whole point of the composition is not the piece 
itself but the method of its design. This composition is not an artistic 
expression for the benefit of the audience. It is just a mechanism to 
bring people to a place where someone dedicates an artwork to the god of 
something, even if the set up is nonsense.

Letter-Coordinates-Type Painting No. 1, Stone-Arrangement Painting No. 1
by Hideki Nakazawa
"Letter-Coordinates-Type Painting No. 1 of 29 Letters by 29 Lines" (1997) 
...I arranged Chinese characters and Hiragana letters (Japanese 
alphabets) as/instead of bitmap CG's pixel dots.  "Stone-Arrangement 
Painting on the Board No. 1 of 35 Points by 35 Rows" (1999) ...I 
arranged black Go stones and white Go stones and vacant points as if 
like a low resolution bitmap CG.

Quantum Poem No. 39 - 49
by Shigeru Matsui
Works from June 19 to September 2

SendMail Notator
by Masahiro Miwa
A special tool software for "SendMailV3" that automatically converts 
English text into musical notes (developed by Mr. Taro Yasuno).  If you 
are well trained to recognize musical pitch and you memorize the 
MIDI/ASCII conversion table used by this piece, then you can have a 
conversation with your friend only using melody without using this 


from Takashi Murakami
- Foundation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris  "Kawaii! Vacances 
Takashi Murakami - "Kaikai Kiki," until October 27, 2002 (Touring 
exhibition: Serpentine Gallery, London, from Nov. 2002 to Jan. 2003)
"Coloriage," until October 27, 2002 (group show curated by Murakami)
- Pacifico Yokohama, "GEISAI-3," 29 & 30 March 2003

from Hideki Nakazawa
- "WINDS CAFE 69," Hideki Nakazawa's One Day Exhibition: The Present of 
'Method' from 5:00 pm on September 14 (Sat) at WINDS GALLERY, Kichijoji.  
Guests: Fumihe Hihara (koto player), Shigeru Matsui (poet), Masahiro 
Miwa (composer).
- Discussion on Methodicism as a guest of "empyre," an on-line arena for 
media arts, during the period of the last half of September.
- Solo show "Circuit" from October 11 (Fri) to November 2 (Sat) at 
Gallery Cellar, Nagoya.  Talking Event from 3:00 pm on October 19 (Sat).
- Solo show "Set" from October 21 (Mon) to November 9 (Sat) at SAI 
Gallery, Osaka.  Talking Event from 7:00 pm on October 22 (Tue).
- Essay "'Black and White' IS color" in both Japanese and English on 
IDEA magazine 294 '02-09 (featuring Black & White).
- Participation in the program of ISCP, New York, from November 1, 2002.

from Shigeru Matsui
- Perfomance "READING" on December 7 (Tokyo)

from Masahiro Miwa
- October 13. Nagoya: The first propagation performance (!) by The New 
Era Department of Public Relations Music Group (M. Miwa, R. Sakai and 
friends) in "artport 2002."

from "Method"
- Back numbers
Guests up to the issue No. 15: Motoaki Shinohara, Toshiaki Furuya, 
Masahiro Miwa, Akira Tatehata, Kenjiro Okazaki, Haruyuki Suzuki, 
Tatsuhiko Ishii, Yutaka Matsuzawa, Yuji Takahashi, Shin Tanabe, 
Shigeyuki Toshima, Yasunao Tone, Yasuko Toyoshima, Clarence Barlow, 
John Solt.
- Those who want to subscribe for this bulletin, contact the members.
- Volunteer assistants wanted for the activities of "Method."

Editor's notes:
   There was held "GEISAI-2" on August 31 and September 1 at Tokyo Big 
Sight. I wrote about Mr. Murakami's "superflat" in the Preface, but 
right now he seems to be too busy being absorbed in GEISAI, a huge art 
festival organized by him this year.  Both GEISAI and "superflat" deal 
with the issue of Japanese subculture, which we methodicists also think 
   By the way, the word "fundamentalism" in English seems to have a
religious, anti-modernistic meaning, while the Japanese word for
"fundamentalism" can be applied in wide sense.(HN)


Bimonthly Bulletin "Method"  No. 16  published on September 3, 2002
Publisher: Hideki Nakazawa, Shigeru Matsui, Masahiro Miwa

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