Rarely-seen historical concept arts and developmental sketches of young Gainax members – animation legends Hiroyuki Yamaga, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Maeda Mahiro and Hideaki Anno – will be showcased in an unprecedented exhibition on 19 March in Singapore. Through 60–80 conceptual artworks, sketches, coloured celluloid drawings and handwritten notes, visitors are offered insight into the creative and interdisciplinary energy that went into Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987) – a highly ambitious sci-fi film for its time that gained critical acclaim as Gainax’s cinematic debut. Gainax would go on to gain international fame for producing the classic Evangelion series.
This exhibition, A World Is Born: Emerging Arts & Designs in 1980s Japanese Animation, is part of a series of activities earmarked within a five-year Memorandum of Understanding signed between LASALLE College of the Arts (‘LASALLE’) and Niigata University (‘NU’) that focuses on archiving methods and production systems of animation.
“Preservation of animation history is critical because there is a legacy from which we can review why certain modern methods are employed and refine these practices in order to further the standards of the industry. Pre-production materials allow us to analyse the aesthetics of distinguished artists, understand important concepts within animation such as world-building, and better our practice. But for these to occur, archival is a necessary first step. This joint effort with Niigata University demonstrates our commitment to nurture the next generation of animators,” said Chris Shaw, Head of LASALLE’s Puttnam School of Film & Animation.
Collectively housed under the Animation Archiving Project, the first part of the MOU’s vision come to life in an upcoming Archiving Popular Culture symposium. Happening on 18 March at LASALLE, researchers, academics, curators, librarians, collectors, and industry personnel convene to discuss the archival of creative materials, from acquiring and cataloguing, to preserving and digitising.
As the project leader, Dr Gan Sheuo Hui from LASALLE shared, “The Animation Archiving Project enables researchers and students to study and contextualise media arts, specifically the production processes and its structures, which otherwise will be just concealed within a final work. This setting allows us to avoid certain established discourses or canon by looking at the artefacts. It also provides glimpses into how the available technology affected creators in their creation process.”
A World Is Born: Emerging Arts & Designs in 1980s Japanese Animation is the continued culmination of the MOU’s vision. Director Hiroyuki Yamaga, President of Gainax, will introduce the exhibition on opening night. Also on display are works by current LASALLE BA(Hons) Animation Art students who went on an exchange trip with NU last November, where they attended seminars with local Japanese students, and visited prominent animation studios such as TMS Studio, I.G. Production and Toei Animation to learn about their workflow.
Student Christabel Mervyn shared: “Like any other industry, anime is driven by the commercial market and its profits, and companies usually dispose of pre-production materials once projects are complete. This is such a pity because there is a wealth of material within these developmental stages, such as line art and shading techniques, that students can study to expand their visual library. Looking back at what early animators sought to achieve within a then-budding field, I feel humbled by their passion and this only strengthens my resolve to continue honing my craft.”
LASALLE is honoured to collaborate with NU’s Archive Center for Anime Studies (ACASiN), which is the first and only national university in Japan to establish an archive for anime. With other esteemed industry partners such as Gainax and animation studio Khara participating, this project is envisioned to be an invaluable learning platform for animation students, academics and practitioners in Japan and Singapore. Both institutions are planning for the next phases of the project, and there are academic publications, annual student exchanges, film documentaries and workshops in the pipeline.
“For ACASiN, the Animation Archiving Project is a first ambitious step with LASALLE. ‘Anime’ is not merely a corpus of Japanese animated films or television series, but also a global locus where a variety of people around the world participate, communicate and create. As co-directors of the Center, we appreciate LASALLE’s deep understanding and support of the art form, and eagerly anticipate the fruits of our joint partnership,” said Associate Professor Ishida Minori and Associate Professor Kim Joon Yang.
Archiving Popular Culture Symposium
Date and Time: Sun 18 March 2018, 12:00pm – 5:30pm
Ngee Ann Kongsi Library
LASALLE College of the Arts
1 McNally St, Singapore 187940
Annex A: Topics of panels and biographies of speakers
A World is Born: Emerging Arts & Design in 1980s Japanese Animation
Media preview: Mon 19 March 2018, 5:30pm – 6:30pm (RSVP with media contact below)
Exhibition opening: Mon 19 March 2018, 7:00pm
Exhibition period: Tue 20 March 2018 – Sat 31 March 2018
Exhibition is split between two locations. The DECK will feature works by Gainax while the Ngee Ann Kongsi Library will feature works by BA(Hons) Animation Arts students.
120A Prinsep St, Singapore 187937
12:00pm – 7:00pm, Tue to Sat
12:00pm – 5:00pm, Sun
Closed on Mon and public holidays
Ngee Ann Kongsi Library, LASALLE College of the Arts, 1 McNally St, Singapore 187940
8:00am – 8:00pm, Mon to Thu
8:00am – 6:00pm, Fri; 11:00am – 4:00pm, Sat
Closed on Sun and public holidays
Annex B: Biography of Director Yamaga
About LASALLE College of the Arts
LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore is a leading tertiary institution in cutting edge contemporary arts and design education and practice. The college offers over 30 undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in art, design, film, animation, fashion, dance, music, theatre, arts management, artist education, art therapy, Asian art histories, and creative writing.
Its faculty is led by a community of award-winning artists, designers, educators and researchers, and their practice-led research sets LASALLE apart as an international centre of excellence. Critically acclaimed alumni form the core of the cultural and creative sectors in Singapore and increasingly internationally.
Founded in 1984 by de la Salle Brother Joseph McNally – a visionary artist and educator – LASALLE is a not-for-profit, private educational institution. LASALLE receives tuition grant support from the Singapore Ministry of Education. Its degree programmes are validated by Goldsmiths, University of London.
About Niigata University
Niigata University is a large-scale university covering a comprehensive range of academic fields-including humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, medical and dental sciences and more. Established in 1949, Niigata University endeavors to promote distinctive, world-class research within each of these various fields through its nine faculties, five graduate schools, two professional schools, two research institutes and a university hospital.
Niigata University fundamental educational aim is to cultivate students’ global competence and develop them to possess both high-level expertise and refined sensibilities needed to tackle 21st-century challenges, while playing an active role in a wide range of fields throughout the world.
Annex A: Topics of panels and biographies of speakers
Panel 1 – Popular culture and the archives: Theories, philosophies, practices
The term ‘archive’ is perhaps oxymoronic when situated alongside popular culture – a catch-all phrase to describe culture products of a current era. Covering a multitude of visual media including photography, theatre and animation, this panel will open a discourse on approaching popular culture beyond national branding. It will further focus on a collective memory by looking at its connectivity, community and sharing processes within a regional, national and transnational context. Speakers in the panel consist of both academics and practitioners. The topics relate to the concepts and philosophies behind archiving practices, as well as the technologies involved.
Region and image: What can we do with a digital archive?
Presented by Kenichi Harada (Niigata University)
Film archiving: Philosophy to practice
Presented by Chew Tee Pao (Asian Film Archive)
Archiving a theatrical company: An interdisciplinary attempt at the centennial of Shinkokugeki
Presented by Takafusa Hatori (Niigata University)
The crux of archiving the materials of anime
Presented by Minori Ishida and Kim Joon Yang (Niigata University)
Curating and exhibiting the invisibility of animation
Presented by Gan Sheuo Hui (LASALLE College of the Arts)
Panel 2 – Creating archives for women and manga
Women’s MANGA Research Project has explored manga as a new genre for female participators who were rarely seen in the field of comics before the 21st century, although comics is one of the universal popular cultural forms and Japan has the most advanced and longest history in the production of manga and anime. In our research and meetings with artists of our previous conferences and experiences in South East Asian countries, we recognised a need for consideration of how to maintain such a new tendency as history. Most comics have experienced a long male-centered history but our explorations for new participants has just begun. This panel will consider the possibilities for creating manga archives, especially for new works being produced outside the mainstream.
Panelists include Fusami Ogi (Chikushi Jogakuen University) and Kazumi Nagaike (Oita University). Discussant include Deborah Shamoon (National University of Singapore).
Panel 3 – Archiving Asia: Challenges and issues on archiving popular culture and art forms in Asia
All speakers will participate in this open floor discussion.
Annex B: Biography of Director Yamaga
Born in Niigata, Japan in 1962. Hiroyuki Yamaga made his debut by producing original animation works when he was in college and he directed the remarkable animated feature film Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise at his age of 24 that has had great influence on many animation works later in Japan.
He is now working on planning and producing its sequel animated feature film Uru in Blue. Beside directing 32 animation works, he has been involved and acclaimed in various fields such as live action films, events and opera works.
Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987), Feature film
Writer of the Story, Screenwriter and Director
- Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden (2001), TV series
Magical Shopping Arcade ABENOBASHI(2002), TV series
Wonderful Days (2004), Feature film
Screenwriter and Director for the Japanese version
Bibliotheca Mystica De Dantalian (2011), TV series
Das Rheingold (2012), Opera
The Power of Creation Dom Pérignon Å~ Yamaguchi Akira Å~ GAINAX(2013),
Installation of event movie Director
Lights of Sand (2016), Short film
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