Aesthetics of “robotized body” in the representation of Aidoru’s (popular singers’) costumes

Here I share the abstract of my presentation I did in the 20th ICA july 2016 about the robotized costume regarding of the recent trend of body consciousness. If you are interested in the topic, you are very welcome to contact me for further discussion! (to garcone_mk atmark yahoo.co.jp)

The 20th International Congress of Aesthetics, July 24-29 2016, Seoul National University
Intervention by Miki OKUBO, 26 july 2016


Aesthetics of “robotized body” in the representation of Aidoru’s (popular singers’) costumes

In the new media environment developed over these past few decades, our body consciousness, from ontological, aesthetic and sociological points of view, has been radically modified. Throughout diverse experiments (virtual reality, augmented reality, video games, simulation, avatars, etc.), our body image today differs vastly from that of previous eras. Cyborgs, humanoids and humanlike-robots that were classic imaginations of SF films have become real thanks to advanced technologies.

In my presentation, I would like to investigate one emerging “ideal body” trend in our mass cultural environment. The observation of costumes of popular singers called “Aidoru” will allow us to understand what human beings consider “an ideal” body shape.

“Aidoru” is a Japanese word meaning “young star singer(s).” These performers, strategically staged commercially since the 1970s, are characterized by their particular style of dance, music and costume. One pioneer example of Aidoru wearing a robot-like costume is the female duo, Pink Lady, popular in the second half of 1970s. The metallic colored costume for one of their hits, UFO, featured mechanized body traits reminiscent of a spacesuit. We can also think of cone-shaped bra designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier for Madonna in the 1990s, which brings to mind a strange humanlike robot. As for a more recent example, the dance style of trio Pahyumu (Perfume, is characterized by unique, inhuman, and unnatural mannequin-like movements. Their costume also resembles spacesuits and their music is electro. There is no need to look for particular singers specifically oriented to the robotic style, this costume trend is shared by a large number of Aidoru.

This trend of aspiring towards a robotic-like body is worrisome. It doesn’t just signify an appreciation for simple physical imitation of cyborgs through costume games, but ontological pursuits of self-image. Analyzing these costumes will help us understand the signification of human body representation from aesthetic and anthropological points of view. Throughout my presentation, I will construct a theory of body consciousness and its representation to reveal the strangeness of idealized body image.

Keywords: robotized body, idol, aidoru, cyborg, humanoid, android, Pink Lady, Lady Gaga, costume, cosplay, character, body image, body consciousness.

LadyGaGa-Metropolis Perfume 4 TR-5