Sputniko! + Tomomi Nishizawa’s first collaboration transports us to an imaginary academy, the titular Tokyo Medical University for Rejected Women. The work responds to a scandal that broke out at Tokyo Medical University in August 2018, when it was exposed that the university had been deliberately lowering the entrance exam scores of female applicants for years.
Critiquing the cultural gender biases of Japan—specifically the institutional sexism of the Japanese medical industry—Sputniko! and Nishizawa created a fictional university for all of the rejected female applicants to Tokyo Medical University. Their three large scale digital photographs take the viewer on a tour of the great achievement of Tokyo Medical University for Rejected Women: turning men into robot-doctors for hospitals across Japan. The first depicts female students operating on these men using the “Frida Machine” (a play on the robotic Da Vinci Surgical System that facilitates complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach); the second shows the finished, flawless male doctors being delivered by drone to hospitals throughout the country; and the third illustrates a doctor reporting for work at the prestigious Tokyo Medical University Hospital. Exhibited alongside the photographs are copies of the university brochure for Tokyo Medical University for Rejected Women, free for visitors to take.
Sputniko! (Hiromi Ozaki) creates multimedia installations that explore the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. She has recently presented her work in exhibitions and venues such as the Setouchi Art Triennale, Setouchi, Japan; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and the Centre Pompidou-Metz, France. Sputniko! is a Project Associate Professor at theUniversity of Tokyo, where she is furthering her work with the Royal College of Art - IIS Design Lab.
Tomomi Nishizawa creates sculptures, photographs, and installations based on our everyday routines and our relationships to the cosmetic and medical industries. Her work investigates biotechnologies such as those using stem cells to imagine a near future where the boundaries between cosmetic and medical treatments blur, as we gain the ability to replace parts of our bodies with organically made cells.