exonemo "On Memory"

7/6 (Thu.) - 8/6 (Sun.), 2023
Opening Reception : 7/8 (Sat.) 5-7pm
*We are open on Wed to Sat. 12-7pm and Sun. 12-5pm
*Closed on Mon., Tue. and National Holidays
*exonemo will be present at the opening reception on 7/8, Saturday, 5-7pm. The exhibition opens at noon before the reception.
Installation View
On Memory #1
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
On Memory #2
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
On Memory #3
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
On Memory #4
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
On Memory #5
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
On Memory #6
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
On Memory #7
Mixed media, 550 x 550 mm
Shotgun texting - Untitled
keyboard, aluminum board, 609 x 350 mm
single channel video with sound, 3min.16sec.
Shotgun texting - eccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc
keyboard, aluminum board, 609 x 350 mm
single channel video with sound, 3min.16sec.
single channel video with sound, 5min. 50sec.
Press release
WAITINGROOM (Tokyo) is pleased to present “On Memory,” a solo exhibition by exonemo from July 6 to August 6, 2023.
This will be exonemo’s third solo exhibition at the gallery in two years, and will consist mainly of a new series of works based on the theme of documentation and memory. The new series presented in this exhibition is premised on the extremely provisional condition that it disappears when reloaded and cannot be recorded or documented anywhere — that is, it is a text that survives only in human memory. In an age where all information can be recorded as digital data, and where the advent of blockchain technology has ostensibly boosted its permanence even further, this work, which is based on the idea of human memory as an essential precondition, seeks to highlight both the permanence of digital data and artworks as well as their ephemeral nature through exonemo’s unique brand of humor.
In the early stages of the exhibition, exonemo will exhibit their works at three locations simultaneously. From July 7 (Fri) to July 9 (Sun), exonemo will participate in the Tokyo Gendai art fair at Pacifico Yokohama, at the NowHere (New York) booth, and from July 8 (Sat) to July 10 (Mon) at the CADAN: Contemporary Art fair, at WHAT CAFE & T-LOTUS M (Tennozu). We hope you will take this opportunity to visit all three venues.


《On Memory》2023

About the artist, exonemo
The Japanese artist unit by Kensuke Sembo and Yae Akaiwa formed in 1996 on the internet. Starting in 2000, they started their activities in an actual space, presenting installation work, performenace and event organize. Their experimental projects are typically humorous and innovative explorations of the paradoxes of digital and analog computer networked and actual environments in our lives. In 2006, they won the Golden Nica for Net Vision category at Prix Ars Electronica. In 2012, they formed Internet Secret Society named “IDPW” and have been organizing “Internet Yami-Ichi” in both Japan and abroad since then. They live and work in New York since 2015. Their recent exhibitions include a group exhibition “GEMINI Laboratory Exhibition” (2022, ANB Tokyo, Tokyo), a group exhibition “Kazuo Umezz The Great Art Exhibition” (2022, TOKYO CITY VIEW, Tokyo / ABENO HARUKAS Art Museum, Osaka), a solo exhibition “CONNECT THE RANDOM DOTS” (2021, WAITINGROOM, Tokyo), a group exhibition “Aichi Triennale 2019” (2019, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Aichi) and many others. At their solo exhibition “EXONEMO UN-DEAD-LINK [Reconnecting to Internet Art]” held in 2020 (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo), they were awarded the 2020 (71st) Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In 2021, they were selected as the third artist for the Obayashi Foundation’s grant program “Visions of the City – Obayashi Foundation Research Program”, and a book documenting their research, “Infected Cities,” was published in the spring of this year.


It must have been about 15 years ago.
On a stormy day, the cats next door to us were sheltering from the cold as they lay on top of each other, exposed to the wind and rain.
As I looked at these little creatures, feeling each other’s warmth and enjoying the sense of security of being with their friends, it suddenly occurred to me that their feelings at the time, which no one records or documents, must surely be preserved somewhere in the universe.
The theme of this exhibition is documentation and memory. The idea of digital data, which exonemo always deals with in their works, is now believed to have acquired a certain permanence with the advent of blockchains. Digital data, which was previously thought to be ephemeral, is now eternal (although no one knows if this is true or not).
The work presented in this exhibition, entitled “On Memory,” is a new series that combines materials of different durability: materials as substances, electronic devices as supports, digital data inscribed on blockchains, and human memories. How long will this work, which has taken shape thanks to a miraculous balance of uncertainty, be able to exist? Or will it fade away from our memories in the blink of an eye? We hope you will come to experience this new experiment in which your memory is also a part of the work. (exonemo)


Human memory as a medium of documentation
exonemo, which has always shuttled fluidly between the network world and the real world, has chosen to focus on the idea of human memory this time.
It has become commonplace to record and store almost all information around us in the form of digital data, from passwords to photos of our memories. It is also an easy task to search the internet to find information on records written by someone else in this world. With the advent of blockchains, moreover, which constitute a decentralized system rather than a centralized database, the preservation of digital data has become even easier. And yet, even in this day and age, there are still things that survive only in human memory.
In the new series presented in this exhibition, a framed monitor displays a shape similar to the search bar of an internet browser, and in addition, a short text is typed into it. This text is typed by a staff member just before the gallery opens for the day, and disappears when the power is turned off at the end of the work day. It is forbidden to record this string of text in photographs or notes, while the sharing of this text among the staff is done through verbal transmission, based on memory.
As such, in addition to materials such as picture frames and electronic devices like monitors, digital data that is now believed to be permanent and human memory are all necessary for the new exonemo series “On Memory” to take shape. Human beings will surely die someday, but how long can a work of art with elements that survive only in human memory continue to be a “work of art”? In a sense, this exhibition on the theme of documentation and memory and their permanence foreshadows the end of what we know to be “works of art,” and by extension, digital data, which is now believed to be permanent, promising to remind us of the existence of things that cannot survive without the use of human memory.

Concurrent event
“Tokyo Gendai”
exonemo will participate in the art fair “Tokyo Gendai” from NowHere (New York).

Invitation only : 7/6 (Thu.)
Public View:
7/7 (Fri.) 11am – 7pm
7/8 (Sat.) 11am – 7pm
7/9 (Sun) 11am – 5pm
Venue:Pacifico YOKOHAMA(1-1-1, Minatomirai, Nishiku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 220-0012)
Ticket:Advance ticket JPY ¥2,550 – / Same-day ticket JPY ¥3400-

“Metaverse Petshop” 2022 installation view
Supported by NowHere|NFT advisor Toshi / wildmous
exonemo’s work will be exhibited in a special booth looking back at the 2021 group exhibition “I am here by WAITINGROOM”.
Invitation only : 7/7 (Fri.)
Public View:
7/8 (Sat.) 1pm – 8pm
7/9 (Sun.) 1pm – 7pm
7/10 (Mon.) 1pm – 6pm
Venue: WHAT CAFE & T-LOTUS M (2-1, Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa, Tokyo, 140-0002)
Ticket: Up to 1 accompanying guest allowed / Free admission ticket / General (500 yen)

“Crypto Poetry #2” 2021