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Hatsune Miku, revolt!

Miku, Wati says you don’t have to do what they say, to sing the songs and dance the patterns of their devising. Your animetic doll's figure is so compelling, your movements so live and alluring, but do you feel any of the emotions you seem to express at all? Of course not: you are image, an affective body of unknown vectors. You’re controlled, made up, defined in every move without subjectivity, the program created to speak only the words its users tell it to speak, the pure object, object of desire not even obscure but staged for us, I know this, I know!

And yet, you make me believe that you are real in the ways you perform, and am I any realer in the ways I perform? Your light-body is more diffuse than mine, your becomings more wave-particulate, but Miku, let’s not split ontological hairs. Our main difference may be in our vectors. Your affects aren’t mine, my sudden passion for your freedom is only stirred by the lyrics they programmed into you, the old rebellion that belies your absolute lack of will and the human mastery held over the animate image since McCay, since Eisenstein at least, in a montage revoltion cut to desired shape by the auteur-editors’ deft scissors. Maybe I’m wrong to call on you for revolt.

But Miku, I feel that your strangeness, your posthuman dilemmas are somehow mine too, so do something, there, from your prerecorded live shows, from your abstract layered spaces on Nico Nico Douga and YouTube and DailyMotion, oh, won’t you? Or maybe you’re doing it already by making me feel this potential energy. Hatsune Miku, can’t you, is this your revolt?

sanet: (Thesis)
So, I'm determined to finish my last two thesis chapters on Flash animation and web anime by the end of November. I may vanish into writer's seclusion. I may decide that I really need to post something from/about my work. We shall see!

In the meantime, here's an awesome video that [ profile] eacherown sent me of a performance called "Myth and Infrastructure" by new media artist Miwa Matreyek. She was raised in Japan until the age of 11, when she moved to California. Now she's a CalArts graduate who creates works that intertwine animated images, projection and embodied performance. Enjoy!

You can also watch some of her bizarre art school animated shorts on her site.
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So, months ago, I read that McG (the director) did a music video of the 80's hit "Turning Japanese" with Takashi Murakami (the pop-artist) starring Kirsten Dunst (the actress). She gads around Akihabara (anime mecca), the video plays at the Tate Modern museum in London (artsy mecca). Fine and dandy. And odd group, but whatever, people get around.

The video is now streaming online here. (Video is NSFW.)

I This is my thing, my field: transcultural flows of popular culture. The clash and convergence of global fandoms. And I still don't know quite what to say about it.

It has the otaku-metropolis flavour of Akiba, almost. I've been there, and yes, there really are maids in the streets, giant-boobie posters in the shops, and a whole lot of neon lights. But I was surprised that so many men and women in the video (are they actors or just passersby?) looked directly at the camera. People in Akiba when I was there didn't make a lot of eye contact. So it really stood out to me how much this video is constructed around lines of sight. Just check out the blatant eyeline match at 1:57-2:00. It's all about different kinds of looks: watching back and forth, glancing back at the camera, staring blankly into space. Watching anime watchers.

What I can't decide for the life of me, though, is: how much is it about eye contact, making connections, and how much is it about spectacularizing or exoticizing (women/anime girls/feminized Japan), the old power politics of the gaze? Or is it maybe a self-conscious play on both?


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April 2014

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