Ubiquitous Media: Asian Transformations (Tokyo July 13-16,2007)
Plenary speakers will include:
Rem Koolhaas (OMA Rotterdam)
Mark B.N. Hansen (University of Chicago)
Katherine Hayles (University of California at Los Angeles)
Shigehiko Hasumi (Former President of The University of Tokyo)
Ken Sakamura (The University of Tokyo)
Barbara Maria Stafford (University of Chicago)
Friedrich Kittler (Humboldt University)
Akira Asada (Kyoto University)
Bernard Stiegler (Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris)
Today media are increasingly ubiquitous: more and more people live in a
world of Internet pop-ups and streaming television, mobile phone
texting and video clips, MP3 players and pod-casting. The media
mobility means greater connectivity via smart wireless environments in
the office, the car and airport. It also offers greater possibilities
for recording, storage and archiving of media content. This provides
not just the potential for greater choice and flexibility in re-working
content (tv programmes, movies, music, images, textual data), but also
great surveillance (CCTV cameras, computer spyware, credit data
checking and biometrics). The media, then, can no longer be considered
to be a monolithic structure producing uniform media effects.
Terminology such as 'multi-media,' and 'new media,' fail to adequately
capture the proliferation of media forms. Indeed, as media become
ubiquitous they become increasingly embedded in material objects and
environments, bodies and clothing, zones of transmission and reception.
Media pervade out bodies, cultures and societies.
These ubiquitous media constitute our consumer and brand environment.
Their interfaces and codes pervade our bodies and our biology. They
pervade our urban spaces. They are ubiquitous in art, religion and our
use of language. Yet from another angle art and language are, and have
immemorially been, media. Media are about the physical, algorithm and
generative code; but they are also immaterial and metaphysical.
Communication is about channels and hardware/software; but
communication is also about communion and community. Media deal in
images: that is in the material; but their idiom is also symbols and
To theorize about today's world, we evidently need to theorize media.
Yet to theorize media also means we need to focus on how technological
media are used in everyday practices. Not least, we need to address the
question of the relationship of media practices to politics. This opens
up questions about the formation of informed publics, new social
movements and media events, not just the alleged need to combat media
terrorism, nationalism and crime. Suggesting further questions about
the power and influence of transnational media, intellectual property
rights and openness of access. Raising issues of generativity,
creativity and critical intervention.
Asia - East Asia, South Asia, and increasingly crucial, the Middle East
- are becoming sites for these processes. Global geopolitics has been
restructured by the 'rise' of China and India and the turbulence of the
Middle East. With concomitant transformations of the role of the West
and Japan, this conference becomes also a question of 'ubiquitous
Asia.' These transformations are producing new trans-Asian culture
industries, social movements and activism. At stake are a set of
transformations of Asian culture(s) itself - of language, and modes of
cultural thought and being. We will seek to address these questions of
media transformations and their relation to social and cultural
processes in a number of plenary sessions, paper sessions, round tables
This conference is organized by Theory, Culture & Society and
Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies
/Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo.