Janice Tanaka

Janice Tanaka, born in Hollywood CA, studied music composition at the Conservatorio Internacional de Musica, studied and performed with the Allegro American Ballet Company, and fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After traveling and living in a variety of countries, she observed, “what a sad but beautiful world it is", while her “profound respect for mankind is punctuated by the knowledge that all is not right with the way we treat ourselves and each other”. Influenced by these early observations and experiences, her work takes its form in experimental documentaries, narratives, and visually poetic philosophical inquiries that reflect on the complexities of human nature, through our cultural, social, and political behavior.

Her national and international exhibitions include The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Geffen Museum, The Directors Guild and The American Film Institute LA; The Museum of Modern Art, and The 91 & 93 Whitney Museum of American Art, Biennial NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The London Regional Art & Historical Museum, England; El Centre de Cultura Contemporaria, Barcelona, Spain; The Science Museum, Hong Kong; Feministrische Kunst und Kultur, Germany; Maison De La Culture, France; Kroller Muller Museum, Holland; Finnish National Gallery, Finland; El Museo De Arte Modern Lisboa, Portugal; Festival de Video de Navarro, Spain; The World Wide Video Festival the Hague; Bonn Videonale International, Bonn Germany; and the European Media Arts Festival Osnabruck, Germany. Broadcasts include POV, The Learning Channel and New Television on CPB and PBS. Awards include The American Film Institute Media Award, The National Endowment for the Arts Media Award, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Broadcasting Systems Media Awards, and the 1991 and 2004 Rockefeller Foundation Media Fellowship.

Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Kroller Muller Museum, Holland; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; The Getty; and The Japanese American National Museum California; The Institute of Kino Engineers in St. Petersburg, Russia, among others.

Artist Code: 254


Swimming in Air

2006, 28:10 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Burgerheaven - The True Taste of Stardom

2002, 07:27 minutes, Colour, English

Who's Going to Pay for These Donuts Anyway?

1992, 58:30 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Memories From the Department of Amnesia

1990, 12:50 minutes, colour/B&W, English

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

1989, 17:50 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Superhuman Flights of Submoronic Fancies

1982, 11:00 minutes, colour, English


1981, 05:30 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Critical Writing

I Say I Am: Women's Performance Video from the 1970s
by Maria Troy. Video Data Bank, 2012.
Video Primer: A Series of 5 Video Programs
by Michelle Jacques. Video Primer, 2001. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2001.
The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses
by Laura U. Marks. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000.
The Politics of Video Memory: Electronic erasures and inscriptions
by Marita Sturken. Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, 1996. Minneapolis and St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
Time, Space & Realities
by Andrew J. Paterson. Time, Space & Realities, Jan. 1995. Toronto: A Space, 1995.
The Black Clothing of Things
by Martha Langford. Border Crossings, Spring 1995, v. 14, no. 2.
Photography and Death
by Martha Langford. Border Crossings, Spring 1995, v. 14, no. 2.
Shu Lea Cheang's Genre-Bending Affirmations
by Lucinda B. Furlong. Art Journal, Winter 1995, v. 54, no. 4.
Time, Space & Realities
by Andrew J. Paterson.
Video Art: L'art videographique
by James Loran Gillespie. Parallelogramme, 1994, v. 19, no. 4.
Time, Space and Realities
by Andrew Patterson. Parallelogramme, 1994, v. 20, no. 3.
Mom's The Word
by Barbara Osborn. AfterImage, Jan. 1991, v. 18, no. 6.
Image Processing in Chicago Video Art, 1970-1980
by Christine Tamblyn. Leonardo, 1991, v. 24, no. 3.
Sexuality and Video Narrative
by Chris Straayer. Afterimage, May 1989, v. 16, no. 10.
Going Public - three evenings of videotapes by women
by Unknown. Going Public - three evenings of videotapes by women, 1984.
by Marita Sturken. Video 84, Sept. 1984.
Going Public - Three Evenings of Videotapes by Women
by Lisa Steele. Toronto: N/A, 1984.
Color my world: Chicago Video
by Lucinda Furlong. Afterimage, Oct. 1982, v. 10, no. 3.
Manhattan Short Cuts
by Ann-Sargent Wooster. Afterimage, May 1982, v. 9, no. 10.
AFI Frames the Field: The National Video Festival
by Cindy Furlong. Afterimage, Oct. 1981, v. 9, no. 3.