ICA 2019 Belgrade, miki okubo, « Virtual Idol » and « dietary philosophy »

I participated in the ICA2019 (International congress of aesthetic studies) in Belgrade 21-26 July 2019. Here are my abstracts of presentations.

The virtual idol is getting more and more present and popular not only in geek cultures or subcultures, but also in a global music market. The virtual idol is generally a character based on its vocaloid voice completed with graphic image, detailled information on profil, amateurs’ participation in developping its universe and active consumers of its musical productions. We know as a pioneer example Miku Hatsune. A girl at the age of 17 in costume inspired by school uniform whose totem is Welsh onion, Miku Hatsune is a character based on Vocaroid commercialized by Crypton Future Media in 2004, through technological improvements, having become a real popular idol in Japan and lots of countries in the 2010s. In Paris, where Japanese pop-culture such as Manga, Animé or Cosplay fascinates many young peoples, her concerts archived such a high level success. On the stage, Miku Hatsune visualized by holographic projectors, singing, dansing and talking to her fans, mesmerized completely the spectators.

The first point I will develop is the aesthetic challenges of this new creature – virtual idol – for encouraging amateur creations as well as impacting on the contemporary artworld. The most important contribution of the virtual idol’s eminent advent to visual arts is the expansion of creative spheres as well as their restructure. The development of virtual idols world is fed by amateurs participations, who are often fans, consumers and creators. It welcomes also deviative creations associated with differnets genres such as video games, mangas, animations, films, fanzines, secondary creations or commercialization of character’s goods.

The second point concerns a new body consciousness brought to the importance by virtual idol culture, and more globaly by digital cutlres. Their particular corporal modality is due to the ontological ambiguity among human, artifact, robot, imaginary creature or set of digital information. Their immaterial corporality brings us to transform ourselves in a sort of hybrid existence in regard with movements, gestures, self-consiousness.

Through analysis of the corporal modality and phenomenological significations of virtual idol, I will consider its impact on visual arts as well as new aesthetics of body consiousness appearing in our society of information.

Index terms | body consicousness; character; corporality; digital culture; Japanese pop culture; virtual idol; vocaloid


Abstract |
We are living in a particular era with regard to the notion of health and the way of feeding ourselves. Today, our dietary situation is in a dilemma; we are surrounded by various information about foods for well-being and good health, as well as advices for a diet or different calorie controls. When we watch TV programs, take a look at publicity in magazines, newspapers or on the Internet, it is obvious that excessive information on these topics are circulated around our everyday life, which brings us naturally to be conscious of what we eat and how to control our appetite to the obsessive extent. Moreover, we take sometimes medicaments or supplements for weight loss as compensation for the appetite satisfaction, gourmet and fine food loves.

The information about hygiene and security of food that we should rely on is also questioning. Certain organic foods succeeded commercially due to their “clean” (non-contaminated, secure and good for health) image. At the same times, these foods are so expensive that only wealthy people can afford to purchase. Thinking too much about food security can cause to increase food waste, especially food loss.

New attitudes against this food loss and challenges for overcoming information saturated society about eating and dieting are getting more and more visible. Food sharing, recycling, donating or other possible solutions are getting developed. This presentation aims at better understanding the veritable situation in the contemporary relation between our body and environment in order to seek the more appropriate dietary philosophy which is compatible with contemporary humanity thinking.

Index terms | body consciousness; diet; dietary philosophy; food loss, gourmet; hygiene of food; notion of health; security of foods


「未熟性」のジャパン・ポップ : 海外における受容について / Development of Japanese-pop infantilism abroad – Observation of contemporary fashion and specialized makeup


9月17日に、ブルガリアの国際記号学会で、室井尚さんがチェアをするこちらのラウンドテーブル »SEMIOTICS OF POP-CULTURE Focusing on the analysis and effects of the JAPAN POP« で、参加されるみなさんといっしょに発表します。わくわく。

スクリーンショット 2014-09-13 15.57.06

Development of Japanese-pop infantilism abroad – Observation of contemporary fashion and specialized makeup

I will analyze Japanese contemporary fashion and makeup observed among today’s youth, especially on girls. Japanese-pop fashion characterized as « Kawaii » (“very cute” in Japanese) embraces an infantilism, or babyishness. Its influence has taken a profound hold in some European countries. I will present a theory of universal characteristics in Japanese contemporary fashion.

I am especially interested in the remarkable crossing over of bizarre Japanese pop culture into western populations who don’t share any cultural background. Foreigners who take special interest in this original culture have brought attention to it in their own countries, where it takes hold progressively and develops in different manners in different places. European countries have a completely different geological context in comparison to Japan. Japan is an isolated island while European countries are loosely connected to one other. This geological difference affects cultural issues. The surpassing of cultural frontiers and international acceptance of the specialized universe of Japanese pop means the potential to become something universal and ubiquitous.

Several years ago, in my class of Univesrity Paris 8 (France), I introduced emoticons (Kaomoji, in Japanese, ex.o(^-^)o ) along with a sociological analysis of the effect of frequent emoticon usage. I suggested that these typographic representations of human facial expressions meant to imitate real human expression and portray emotion could, in turn, affect human gesture and behaviour. To my surprise, at that time, European people found my suggestion ridiculous, declaring these effects relevant only to Japanese people, not to Westerners. However, today, I can point out clear influences from Japanese animations and mangas on various behaviours including gesture, facial expression and onomatopoeia. Emoticons have become very familiar and young people are influenced by their appearance throughout their activities on social medias.

In general, socio-cultural studies focusing on Kawaii culture and the infantility of Japanese contemporary fashion deal with extreme style such as Lolita or Gothique Lolita. Then there are studies of radical or eccentric cultures such as Cosplay. In my opinion, Japanese pop culture is something like “air” surrounding us daily and its penetration into foreign cultures is absolutely significant. In my report, I attempt to theorize a study of traversing cultural borders, focusing not only on extreme style but also a fashion loosely accepted and appreciated by ordinary people.