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"It might be that the contemporary economy of art relies more on presence than on more traditional ideas of labor power tied to the production of objects." (Steyerl, Hito. "The Institution of Critique.")

What is art in contemporary times? As long as art is mainly viewed through display, it is just one form of content. So what is actual art appreciation in a physical space? Shōei suggests, "It may be just a check point to convert the information received in advance on the Internet into the facts that one actually sees and then to let others know the evidence."

For Shōei, who lives in the era after social media, art is about drawing hyperlinks related to hashtags and memes. This work is a series of canvases with hashtags of well-known contemporary artists engraved on them. Each canvas has an NFC tag on the back that takes you to the Instagram hashtag page when you hold your smartphone over it. The price of each piece is converted to JPY according to the number of hashtag posts.

All works sold out in a week. This reflects the era when the value of art has been replaced by the number of social media posts. For Shōei, hashtags represent a place where fame and anonymity intersect. The symbol itself is a signature of freedom in the gap between fame and anonymity.





Design cooperation: Daichi Aijima

Technical development: Hironori Kawaida

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