The modality of contemporary narratives in the digital era

I share another presentation I did in the 20th International Congress of Aesthetics, Seoul National University, on 27th july 2016.
This study concern the act of writing via digital devices such as smartphone or social networking platform such as blogs. I focus on its objectives and utilities or positive impacts on the contemporary society.

If you are interested in the topic and in discussing further more, please contact me (garcone_mk atmark yahoo.co.jp). I will be happy to make collaborative projects or possible experimental works.

The modality of contemporary narratives in the digital era

Narratives written not only by artists but also by amateurs have never been so easy to carry out, exhibit and share. Individual engagement in writing personal narratives has become a mundane, commonplace undertaking. We have a vast array of means available to realize our intimate storytelling, including traditional and modern medias and advanced technologies: keeping a diary or a blog, writing a novel (either traditionally or for Twitter or Smartphones), making notes on Facebook then sharing them with “friends”, “tweeting” frequently via Twitter, creating a visual novel, and so on.

Despite this ease of access to platforms and the disposition of media, authors have no chance of becoming a celebrated author. In our highly information-oriented society, it is extremely difficult for individuals to manage to have their writing read by numerous readers. That is why today ordinary people engage in excessively intimate writing (about family situations, love, illness or mental affliction, etc.) without causing a scandal, making a strong impact nor even embarrassing others. Determined confessions are viewed with indifference by others. All that these ordinary “authors” can expect to gain through their personal, self-centered writings is a kind of auto-therapy or satisfaction for their human narcissistic desire.

In this study, we also observe an important current trend in narrative structure. As Hiroki Azuma mentioned in his book, The birth of realism like games (2007), contemporary literature has been gravely influenced by video games or online games and shares several characteristics: emphasizing characters’ presence, recycling repeatedly stereotypical scenarios, combining fragmented scenes. The novels have been written similarly to games, adopting their dramaturgy and staging. In other words, the changes undergoing modern writing concern not only ordinary, individual people but also the literature domain. The influences are complementary to each other; literary works and digital writing.

Through my presentation, I will construct a new aesthetic theory of contemporary narratives in the digital era, referring to what we observe on the Internet through different realizations via new media in order to understand the utility and the signification of the act of writing.

Keywords: digital, writing, blogs, social media, character, twitter novel, keitai culture, narrative.

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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