Theme of the Competition

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2021, 56th Competition ThemeInterpathetic Spaces

Advances in digital technologies have changed people's lives. Thanks to the proliferation of computers, the rise of the Internet, and the spread of smartphones, people no longer spend even a single day without touching a digital device. The development of VR (virtual reality) has enabled the artificial creation of realistic environments. VR stimulates people's sensory organs and brings about novel, immersive experiences.

On the other hand, the effects of COVID-19 have changed our lives completely. New phrases have arisen in connection with the virus, including “social distancing” and “new normal,” which refers to the new lifestyles that emerged in response to the virus. In Japan, there is also the phrase “sanmitsu wo sakeru,” an exhortation to avoid close contact (missetsu), crowding (misshū), and tightly sealed spaces (mippei). COVID-19 has restricted our activities and changed our day-to-day lives.

How ought we to live in an age characterized by both digital progress and the coronavirus pandemic? Despite the pandemic, daily life carries on.

Actual buildings and cities continue to exist and people continue communicating with one another. Though the accuracy of VR is increasing, it will not diminish the importance of experiencing actual spaces and meeting up in person. Now that people have experienced VR and the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more necessary for us to guide people's innate ability to feel things.

With this in mind, we would like you to propose “interpathetic spaces” that can actually be experienced by one's body. “Interpathy” means feeling things together with other people and communicating our feelings to those people. It is not limited to one's own physical feeilngs; it requires concern for others. There are no rules regarding the setting or program of proposals. Please devise actual spaces that appeal to people's senses and that cannot be realized with digital technologies.

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