When i began studying fine arts in japan, i was very happy to have left the computer. I was so used to being able to undo things, and i remember making a mistake in an ink-drawing class
Immediately reaching for the undo key and realizing that it wasn’t there. I was so used to that mode. It changed my thinking about this conveniently reversible world of the computer.
The school i was in Japan was very primitive actually. there were only three computers. So I was very happy there. nonetheless the computer was entering the arena of visual arts and entertainment. If you remember, there was the whole cd-rom publishing movement, which I believe was led by france as well as by Japan. At that time, I met a man named Enami Naomi who had a publishing company called Digitalogue focusing on the digital arts. He gave me the opportunity to make anything i wanted. I thus made a series of “reactive” books that respond to sound, to touch, to time. Following that experience, I began focusing on this as one of my main activities. So I sort of seamlessly went back into the computer, no longer for the purpose of writing software but for creating artwork. […]
Interview with John Maeda
by Leanne Sacramone, curator at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain