asiascape vistas

Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia

Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.

International Conference: Revisiting the Emancipatory Potential of Digital Media in Asia

Join us on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 January at Leiden University (the Netherlands) to discuss the transformative role of digital media in Asia in all its complexity. 

Image (c) F. Schneider / 2013

Over the past decade, new forms of information and communication technologies have shaped the way people relate to each other, engage in social activities, conduct commerce, and participate in political processes. The inception of so-called Web 2.0 services such as Facebook in 2004, Youtube in 2005, and Twitter in 2006, has introduced a degree of interactivity to communication processes that surpasses that of previous technologies. Numerous companies from around the world have since imitated the success of these large networking, video-sharing, and micro-blogging sites. The popularity of such interactive digital media has meanwhile generated much debate regarding the emancipatory potential of these tools – a debate that has largely focuses on American and European experiences, and that in its extreme revolves on the one hand around the arguments of liberal scholars like Clay Shirky or Yochai Benkler, who emphasize the potential of such technologies to empower citizens, and on the other hand around the concerns of cultural critics like Evgeny Morozov or Sherry Turkle, who see these innovations as exploitative, domineering, and potentially damaging.

This international conference moves such debates to Asia, and confronts them with the realities of digital media usage in this vibrant region.
There'll be contributions on e.g. China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India  and a special panel dedicated to digital media in Taiwan.

With a keynote speech by Professor Richard Rogers, Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam, Director of the Foundation and the Digital Methods Initiative, and author of book such as 'Information Politics on the Web' and 'Digital Methods'

The academic journal Asiascape:Digital Asia (DIAS), in collaboration with the Goto-Jones VICI project Beyond Utopia funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Spotlight Taiwan project, welcomes all those interested to this international conference on digital media in Asia.

More information and free registration

Can Cowboy Bebop's Creator Make More People Take Anime Seriously?

A new series from Shinichiro Watanabe could help bring Japan's animated TV shows, often dismissed as low-brow or kiddie entertainment, some well-deserved critical consideration.

from The Atlantic, 3 January 2014

When Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature films last September, countless media outlets and fans around the world mourned the loss of a beloved filmmaker—Japan’s most famous since Akira Kurosawa—whose movies had brought gravitas to the country’s animation industry, long a niche interest in the West. Thanks to thought-provoking films like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and of course, Miyazaki’s work, American interest in Japanese animation had exploded over the last three decades and made a huge cultural impact.

Critical focus, however, has stayed largely on feature films, while anime—referring specifically to Japanese animated television series—has not earned the same kind of respect. An animator like Daisuke Nishio, for example, who directed the hit Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series, is not considered an artist like Miyazaki, whose drawings have been displayed in museums in Paris.

image: Cartoon Network

But while anime has always struggled to be taken seriously as an art form, one director might be able to make critics reconsider: Shinichiro Watanabe, director of Cowboy Bebop, whose new series Space Dandy is debuting on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim on January 4.

Japanese filmmakers first began experimenting with animation in the early 1900s, not long after animators in the West like Winsor McCay (Little Nemo in Slumberland), but it was not until the 1960s that the industry began to take shape under Osamu Tezuka, the artist whose large-eyed aesthetic is most associated with anime to this day. In 1963, Tezuka's Astro Boy was the country’s first popular televised animated series and was such a hit that it was the first anime broadcast overseas. Demand grew over the years and spread around the world, but despite its by-the-numbers popularity, anime remained a largely subcultural taste, not helped by the social outcast otaku image that persists, even in Japan. In general, animation is still widely considered children's entertainment, which has been difficult to overcome, and anime has added cultural boundaries to conquer.

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The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies - as chosen by scientists

Published on on 4 January 2014

What better way to start of the new year than with a 'Best of' list.

Real scientists can be the harshest critics of science fiction. But that doesn't mean they can't enjoy a movie just because it bends the laws of nature. Popular Mechanics polled dozen of scientists and engineers to discover the sci-fi movie they love.

No 10. The War of the Worlds (1953)

This cinematic update of the 1898 H.G. Wells novel about a violent Martian invasion was particularly jarring because of the timing of its debut—namely, when World War II weaponeering prowess and the threat of nuclear attack were very much part of the national consciousness. The idea that humans could be vastly overmatched in battle by aliens terrified viewers and set their imaginations spinning. "I was sick all night long," Seth Shostak, the senior astronomer with the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, says of his first viewing of the film. "That's the mark of a film that makes a difference."

No 9. Star Wars (1977)
No 8. Blade Runner (1982)
No 7. Jurassic Park (1993)
No 6. WALL-E (2008)

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