Lots of readings this week, mostly for my thesis, but also for my upcoming presentation on Superflat, which is also relevant for my thesis. It’s somehow all connected. Only the bell hooks text was part of the programme’s official readings.
I’m only taking two courses this semester: Artistic practice in transcultural contexts and Images, race and representation. Both are great so far – both interesting and relevant. I’m skipping the other two courses:
- Borders, Mobilities, Applications: Constructive Interventions in Migration
- Visualizing Ecologies: More-than-human ethnography and experimental visual approaches in the Anthropocene
I’m mostly skipping them out of necessity. I don’t see a point in attending a course if you don’t do the readings, and I want to focus on the readings in my own area as much as possible now. Reading takes so much time for me, so I’m trying to be realistic. I also have a more or less fulltime job. And none of these courses is graded, unlike last semester, when I took all courses and not until they were finished chose which two to do a project and be graded in.
The other reason I’m skipping them is that I am not that interested. The “non-human” is trendy now, but as S pointed out, many cultures have always seen humans as a part of nature, not above it as has been the West’s view. So it’s in a way a typically Western thing to suddenly want to focus so much on the “non-human” and also name it the “non-human” or “more-than-human”, thereby assuming that everything is centered around the human. Having said that, I’m studying anthropology – the knowledge of humans – because I’m interested in humans, and my final project is about extremely human constructs. So the “ecologies” will have to wait while I’m enjoying the anthropocene.
A third reason, or a variation on the first, rather, is that I’ve started to realise how little time there is left to prepare for my fieldwork and filming in Japan, which must probably happen already in February 2020. So I’ve started to engage with the material again. I’m transcribing interviews and editing short clips. I wrote my main informant Y to ask him if he wants to participate in a movie in February, but no reply so far.
Some more anime this week:
I watched the first episode of Puzzle & Dragons Cross (2016) after having read about the manga in Illust Note 51, a whole issue about Korokoro Comics which I bought in Tokyo. Both the manga and the anime are spinoffs of a successful game. Watching the anime I realise that the boy hero that inspired shota in the 1980s is still around in pretty much the same way (which is not very surprising as he represents the norm). He still has a rival, and I noticed striking similarities between the “hovering blobs” around him and the “old woman” and “magical girl” of both Wataru (1988) and Granzort (1989), and why not Ranma ½ (1989) or even Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho (1992; manga 1990), in the way they talk and in their roles as sidekicks. Have old women and young girls turned blobs? The way the blobs are drawn, not to mention the whole setup as such, reminds a lot of Yo-kai Watch (2014), which was an extremely popular 3DS game when I lived in Japan in 2013, which in turn of course was trying to emulate Pokemon (1997), which I have never watched.
As I continued watching Wataru and Granzort tonight, I was also reminded of how the whole concept – boy on adventure with a group of newly found friends – is like a prequel to Hunter x Hunter (1999; manga 1998). Especially Wataru reminds so much of Gon. Suddenly the brilliant manga, created by Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho creator Togashi Yoshihiro, doesn’t feel as original as I first thought. It’s a difference in depth and quality rather than in terms of the outer characteristics, because Hunter x Hunter remains a brilliant anime and one of my absolute favourites.
On Wednesday I went with S to see the Japanese documentary Shusenjo, but it was so full that we were not even let in.
On Friday we went to the Prenzlauer Berg planetarium where we were guided live to the stars and galaxies in the universe while leaning back in comfy chairs and gazing up in the artificial sky. It was the first time for me in a planetarium, and it was amazing! Such an immersive experience, far from both Einstein lecture and Mercury transit (although that one was pretty cool). I finally got S’s obsession with space. I want to go back!
And yesterday we watched Lars von Trier’s Idioterne at home. Third time for me, and it just gets better. Even though it’s easy to mock the Dogma 95 manifesto, it is still inspiring to see such a great film being made with so little of the fancy stuff.
Oh, and I’ve spent a couple of days filling up Zotero with over a hundred items, properly sorted and tagged, and with annotated pdf’s attached to them. I love the programme and started paying for extra cloud space (2 GB), so that I can have all the pdf’s there (too).
Artistic practice in transcultural contexts
Presentation on Superflat (unit 4)
- Darling, Michael. 2001. “Plumbing the Depths of Superflatness.” Art Journal 60 (3): 76–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/00043249.2001.10792079.
Borggreen, Gunhild. 2018. “Art and Consumption in Post-Bubble Japan: From Postmodern Irony to Shared Engagement.” In Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan: A Transdisciplinary Perspective, edited by Katarzyna J. Cwiertka and Ewa Machotka, 175–94. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv56fgjm.13.
Images, race and representation
Unit 5: An‘other’ perspective
- hooks, bell. 1992. “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance.” In Black Looks: Race and Representation, 21–39. Boston: South End Press.
- McLelland, Mark. 2012. “Australia’s ‘Child-Abuse Material’ Legislation, Internet Regulation and the Juridification of the Imagination.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 15 (5): 467–83. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367877911421082.
- Zanghellini, Aleardo. 2009. “Underage Sex and Romance in Japanese Homoerotic Manga and Anime.” Social & Legal Studies 18 (2): 159–77. https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663909103623.
- Anderson, Leon. 2006. “Analytic Autoethnography.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (4): 373–95. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241605280449.
- Boellstorff, Tom, Bonnie Nardi, Celia Pearce, and T.L. Taylor. 2012. Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Chapter 10: “Data Analysis.” Pp. 159–81.
- Stoller, Paul. 1997. Sensuous Scholarship. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Chapter 2: “The Griot’s Tongue.” Pp. 24–43.
- Starry Night (60 min)
- 1988: Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru. E7–8.
- 1989: Madou King Granzort. E8.
- 1992: Super Bikkuriman. E4 (raw).
- 2016: Puzzle & Dragons Cross. E1 (raw, Youtube).
- Idioterne (Lars von Trier, 1998, 117 min)