Our telephones are now mobile and our cameras are now digital. We’re moving towards our televisions being replaced with 1seg. What response do artists have for such an unfathomably powerful force that advances without us even being conscious of it?
Unless we can express ourselves and what’s more unless we can find the potential for expression with a new tool that even the creators of do not fully understand, the tool merely functions as a machine that encases technology. A philosopher from the Czech Republic once said that “Cameras program photographers,” and confronted with a possibly infinite variety of media, are not artists being asked to interpret the programs concealed in new media represented by the mobile phone?
The Pocket Films Festival, initially launched by the Forum des images in Paris three years ago, is a festival for films shot with a mobile phone. Our Pocket Films Festival is the result of a partnership between Forum des images and the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, together with cooperating and supporting organizations. Through the festival, we want to create a forum for various discussions about the potential that highly evolved mobile phones provide to creatives at the same time as pursuing a second-to-none level of quality among film festivals.
It seems that there are three major points to be made with regard to the potential shown by the mobility of the mobile phone. The first is the intimacy of the pictures emerging from the fact that the pictures can be taken anywhere. The young French filmmaker Jean-Charles Fitoussi in a lecture last year at the Graduate School of Film and New Media of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music explained his motive for shooting a mobile film of more than one hour long. “One day I was out driving and I noticed the shadow cast by a group of clouds which were passing across a field, and I thought to myself I just have to film that, but unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me. Even if I’d rushed off to get hold of a camera, that particular scene would no longer exist. Because you’ve always got a mobile telephone on you, you never need to miss that perfect shot.” The second is the highly semiotic nature of the films resulting from the low resolution of the camera and the display. It is not about the film’s cinematic detail. It’s the fact that the filmmaker can simply concentrate on recording something that has happened somewhere. The third point is that the films can shared with anyone, anywhere at any time and doesn’t that mean it’s possible to create an interactive film that seems to guide the viewer to a particular place?
In the festival, together with respecting the French approach to making films with a mobile phone, I am keen to think more about the unique way that Japanese people handle the medium of the mobile phone. It is not just about using the medium we have been given. By expressing ourselves through that medium, shall we attempt to interpret the programs of that medium?