Janice Tanaka began in the performing arts with the Allegro American Ballet Co.; studied music composition at the Conservatorio Internacionale de Musica; and performed in theaters, nightclubs and TV throughout the Americas. In '79 she built an analog computer for processing video. As a visual artist her work is influenced by these early experiences, evidenced in the rhythmic kinetic compression of her images and content which attempts to unravel the complexities of human nature, while examining the social implications of cultural dictums.
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 Chgo; 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; The Australian National Library, Canberra; The New York Public Library; USC; UCLA; NYU; and the University of Chicago. From 1994-97 she was a software developer designing CD-ROM games and from 1997-98 an Artist in Residence with Sony Electronics Professional division Illinois.
Publications: American Quarterly, Vol 57 # 1, March 2005; Kozol “Marginalized Bodies and the Politics of Visibility"; filmmakermagazine.com/blog/2005_01_01_archive.php-101-Dec 3, 2005; movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html; 2004 Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, & the Body by Elena Tajima Creef, Publ. New York Press; 2003 Moving Pictures, Migrating Identities, by Eva Rueschmann, Publ. Univ. Press Mississippi; 2002 Identities in Motion by Peter X Feng, Publ. Duke Univ Press; 2002 The End of Cinema as We know it: American Film in the Nineties, edited by Jon Lewis, Publ. Pluto Press; Art/Women/California 1950-2000, edited by Diana Burgess Fuller, Daniela Salvioni, Publ. Univ. of California Press; Screening Asian Americans, edited by Peter X Feng, Publ. Rutgers Univ. Press, 2001 Racist America: Roots, Current Realities and Future Reparations by Joe R Feagin Publ Routledge Press (UK); Obeying Orders, By Mark Osiel, Publ. Transaction Publishers; 2000 The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses by Laura U Marks, Publ. Duke Univ. Press; Made in California, Art, Image & Identity, 1900-2000 by Stephanie Barron, Illene Susan Fort, Sheri Bernstein, Publ. Univ. of California Press; Altrnative Art New York, 1965-1985, by Julie Ault, Pbl. Univ. of Minnesota Press; 1999 Feminism and Documentary, Diane Waldman, Janet Walker, Publ. Univ Minnesota Press; Not for Sale, a Video Essay, Apex Art C. P; Screening the Past Film and Representation of History, edited by Tony Barta, Publ. Praeger/Greenwood; Columbia Literary History of the United States, E. Elliott, Publ. Columbia Univ. Press; 1997 The History of Forgetting, LA the Erasure of Memory, N. Klein, Publ.Verso; 1996 Resolutions, Contemporary Video Practices, Michael Renov & Erika Suderburg, Editors Publ Univ. of Minnesota Press, Author Marita Sturken, The Politics of Video Memory, Author Christine Tamblyn, Qualifying the Quotidian, Author Erika Suderberg, The Electronic Corpse; 1994 Women of Color and the Multicultural Curriculum Transforming the College Classroom, edited by Mariam K, Chamerlain, Lize Fiol-Matta. Publ. Feminist Press, 1993 Felix, Post Literate, Vol 1 # 3 Kathy High Editor, Author Janice Tanaka; 1991 Moving the Image: Independent Asian Pacific American Media Arts. Electrons and Reflective Shadows, Publ UCLA; Asian American Studies & Visual Communications; 1990 American Writing Number 6 Paul Hoover, Maxine Chernoff Editors, OINK! Press Inc. Author Weishaus The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, A Video Opera, She has been on a variety of panels including the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation and PBS. Her work is distributed by The Video Data Bank in Chicago, Electronic Arts Intermix in New York, Woman in the Directors Chair in New York, National Asian American Telecommunication Association in California, and V Tape in Canada.