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Non-Fungible Islands
Arisa Ito

2021.12.18- 2022.1.28 (extended from 1.16)


2021 1218 - 2022 128


There is an island called “Takeshima” in my hometown, Gamagori in Aichi prefecture, which is cherished by visitors as a tourist attraction and by locals as a symbol of the town. Having produced a picture of the island, I came up with an idea that it is nice to issue an NFT and keep its record before the ownership of the island is somehow disputed.
It would be interesting to mimic the motif of a postage stamp of “Takeshima” or ”Dok-do,” another [but same-named] island whose belonging has been disputed between the Japanese and Korean governments in the respective names.
Meanwhile, the dispute involves another controversy: whether an island called “Usan-do” in some historical records can be seen as the contested territory. Different sources indicate different locations for the unidentified island, sometimes even with different characteristics described, which has divided opinions on its locale and belonging.
Even if I make the picture of “Takeshima” into an NFT artwork, its token just represents Usan-do in fragmented historical records, whose relation to Takeshima is ever contingent.

(Arisa Ito, December 2022)



(イトウアリサ, 2021年 12月)


TANA Gallery bookshelf is pleased to present the exhibition “Non-Fungible Islands” by Tokyo-based Japanese artist Arisa Ito.

Complicit in the operation of the digital industry as a professional web and VR/AR engineer, Ito critically investigates how digital technologies such as VR/AR are implemented and infiltrated in society, which informs her works in various media ranging from hand drawing to advanced devices. The artist explores how technology provides different ways we feel our own body and know the world around us, as in her 2019 work being.apk, a VR installation using 15 headsets as an immersive framework for the viewer to synchronize with various avatars. Observing ethics and decision-making processes in the digital industry whose products and services significantly regulate the way we are, both as individuals and society, Ito expresses her thought in works that examine how humanity and technicity shape each other and embody possibilities in the relationship.

This exhibition consists of Non-Fungible Islands #1 and Non-Fungible Islands #2, appropriating the very structure of so-called NFT art (Non-Fungible Token art), which employs blockchain technology to secure the exchange value of digital artifacts by constructing identity and scarcity. Of the two works, Non-Fungible Islands #1 themes on the “Takeshima” island in Gamagori in Aichi prefecture, a peaceful tourist destination which incidentally has the same name as another Takeshima/Dok-do island in a territorial dispute between Japanese and Korean governments. On the other hand, Non-Fungible Islands #2 deals with an island called “Usan-do” found in several historical records, which some try to identify with the disputed Takeshima/Dok-do while contradictory descriptions among sources have made its existence contingent.

The images of these existent and non-existent islands are listed on an NTF art exchange platform, whereby the otherwise infinitely copyable digital data are appropriated as non-fungible scarce items and get ready for being traded on the market. With the instruction to set the maximum price increment in each trade at the minimum possible (1 ETH) to deter speculation as part of the concept of these works, Ito traces how the system of NFT art accelerates virtuality such as ownership rights and values of tokens linked to certain objects and eventually drives the virtuality independently of the very objects it was based on. Through this exhibition, the artist probes how society and individuals try to possess the world through institutionalising communal fantasies, shedding light on the materiality and politics of digital technology as essentially inseparable from the real and the historical.


TANA Gallery Bookshelfは東京を拠点とする日本人作家イトウアリサの個展「Non-Fungible Islands」を開催します。

イトウはWeb、VR/ARに企画・エンジニアとして携わり、インターネットやVR/ARなどの技術が社会に実装され浸透していくプロセスに 産業的に加担している経験を批判的に検証しながら、ドローイングから先端技術にいたる幅広いメディアを用いた作品を制作しています。 2019年のVR作品≪being.apk≫は15台のヘッドセットを覗くことで様々なアバターに同期できる体験の枠組をつくり、技術によって獲得される 身体性や認知を提示しました。イトウはプロダクトやサービスを通じて個人や社会のありようを大きく規定するデジタル産業の倫理や 意思決定を内部から観察し、技術と人間の関係への問いや可能性を作品というかたちでアウトプットしています。

本展「Non-Fungible Islands」は、ブロックチェーンを用いてデジタルアートの同一性を構築することで希少性をめぐる交換価値を担保するNFT (Non-Fungible Token=非代替性トークン)アートのしくみそのものをメディウムとするイトウの新作二点≪Non-Fungible Island 1≫ ≪Non-Fungible Island 2≫を発表します。≪Non-Fungible Island 1≫は日韓政府間の領土問題で揺れる竹島/独島とたまたま同じ名を持つ 愛知県蒲郡市ののどかな観光地「竹島」をモチーフとし、≪Non-Fungible Island 2≫はいくつかの歴史書では現在の竹島/独島と見なされつつも 相矛盾する様々な記述により存在が揺らいでいる「于山島」をモチーフとしています。

これらの実在/不在の島のイメージはNFTアートの売買プラットフォームに上場されることで、本来は無限に複製可能なデジタルデータから 複製不可能な希少品として領有され、市場で取引可能なものとなります。最低価格単位ごとの取引をコンセプトとして提示することで投機を牽制しつつ、 本作は対象に紐づいたトークンの権利や価値という仮構性を加速させることで対象から乖離させていくNFTのしくみをなぞります。 本展を通じてイトウは社会や個人が世界を所有しようとする共同幻想の制度化のはたらきを探り、 現実や歴史と不可分なものとしてのデジタル技術の実体性と政治性に光を当てます。


Arisa Ito
Working as a web and AR/VR engineer and planner, Ito mainly observes how virtual technology and media are installed in society while offering critical standpoints through her works. She studied at Gold Smiths College BA Fine Arts between 2013 and 2015. Her production ranges from works that take meta-perspectives to reframe relations between human and digital technologies, such as the web, the internet and video games, to drawing pieces that traverse various media like codes, character strings and hand-writing.



VR/AR事業に企画・エンジニアとして携わる一方、作家として主に仮想的な技術や媒体がどのように社会へインストールされていくのかを観察し、 必要な批評的視点を作品としてアウトプットしている。2013-2015年 GoldSmiths College BA Fine Art在籍。Web、インターネット、 ビデオゲームなどのデジタルメディアと人間の関係性をメタ的に捉え直す作品や、コード・文字列・ハンドライティングを行き来する ドローイングなどの制作も行う。


TANA Gallery Bookshelf
Tokyo | Kanda
Chiyoda, Kanda Jinbocho, 2 Chome-20, Daini Fuji Building 3F