Reading Technopoetic Japan

Colloquium | April 24 | 2:30 p.m. | 142 Dwinelle Hall

 Earl Jackson Jr., National Chiao Tung University

 Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), Department of Comparative Literature, Film & Media Studies

What is often dismissed as “otaku culture” actually names a complex network of creative industries and equally creative engaged participants. The media that emerge and sustain these subcultural formations include anime, manga, novels, etc.. In studying these media I focus on relations among technology, representation, and subjectivity as well as the politics that inform and circumscribe those relations. In the course of these inquiries I have adopted the term “technopoetics” as a way to characterize both my object and method of analysis. In other words, I study representational technology on at least two levels: on one level, what it does; another level: what it means. The second level encompasses at least two registers of “meaning”: [1] changes in conceptual systems; [2] new metaphorical lexicon.

In this lecture I will survey three anime (Serial Experiments: Lain; Perfect Blue; and Ergo Proxy) and examine the media-mix experiment of Otsuka Eiji’s MPD-Psycho Detetctive project. My technopoetical reading of these will be guided by the technopoetical readings the media themselves perform: one level they depict the functions of technology, and on another they exploit its imagery and the fantasies it elicits and sustains.

Earl Jackson Jr., Associate Professor emeritus from UC Santa Cruz, is currently Professor at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. He is author of Strategies of Deviance: Studies in Gay Male Representation, and essays on Japanese literature and Japanese and Korean cinema. He worked in Korean indpendent cinema as screenwriter, editor, and actor. He appeared as the villain in Barbie (Sangwoo Lee 2010). He has recently completed a monograph on Japanese anime, Technopoetic Japan, and is currently writing a study of the relation of theory and practice in Japanese Cinema., 510-642-3415