Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

The Otaku Way – Orgasm Ocean from planet Solaris…

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Man, it was a pain to go through all the reading, but I’ve finally finished the first week portion. See you later, RFID chip, I’m moving on…

Transforming Mirrors is very fitting to be the first reading, in my opinion. It outlined many interesting relationship model between the artist, the artwork, and the audience.

The one that catches my interest is the namesake “Transforming Mirror” model. According to the text, “the technology transforms our image in the act of reflection, it provides us with a sense of the relation between this self and the experienced world.” Relation is the keyword here. The Mirror always reveals more than our face…

UtaKata is a 2004 anime TV series, by no means sci-fi since the most advance technological item in the show is a Japanese cellphone. Intended to be for little girls, this series surprisingly explore the psychological concept of seeing oneself and the world be revealed, both good and bad, and the effect thereafter.

The show’s premise is simple. Each week the Heroine saw herself and the world around her in a different eye, revealing little by little how evil and imperfect we are. At the very end, she is asked to judge if human race is worthy to continually live.

Just like the article, this series focused on how seeing the reflection of herself and the world around her – change her. (In the heroine’s case, she became misanthropy.) Thus, underlining our relationship with technology in which we can’t help but see ourselves in them. They will change us, and that is what I believe.

Now, for the next article, I might be wrong. English is not my first language and I have to read this paper two to three times to try to understand it.

Technological Other/Quasi Other: Reflection on Lived Experience also talked about and summarised the way human can have relationship with computer, followed by real life example on sound and video editing.

In my opinion, the most interesting point is the examples given to models of interaction. This is not some fantastic fiction instance but our everyday activities with computer. I muttered “I so did that” with many of them. My computer is the first electronic device I turned on each day, and the last one I switched off each night. I eat, work, involved, and be entertained by it.

Now, I really want to say something about Ghost in the Shell since it is such a dramatic contrast in the way people live with their quasi-other compare to the examples given, but I will saved it for when we actually get to Ghost in the Shell. Instead, I’d like to bring your attention to the setting of CLAMP’s 2001 manga series, Chobits. Similar to Zettei Kareshi, Battle Angel Alita, and hoards of other sci-fi, Chobits represents the experience with quasi other to the extreme.



Chobits set in a world where personal computer takes a shape of human being with anthropomorphic traits. Interfaces are voice activated, just like you’d talk to another human being. The major difference between Chobits’ humanoid PC and, say, robots from Bladerunner, is that in Chobits, there is no artifical life, period. Everything is just computer programs expressed in lines of code (to an extended). In this world, we can see that people began to exclude other human being from their life. Why deal with real human when the PC can fulfil anything you could have ever asked for? Lived Body, Lived Time, Lived Space, and Lived Relation are being perfectly filled with the present of a PC up to the point that the inability to reproduce becomes a problem. Are we heading into that direction now and should we be concern?

Next up is Solaris – Sci-fi novel by Stanislaw Lem. How can you ask us to read the beginning of the story and skip EVERYTHING to read the ending chapter? This is not doing the work justice! With that thought I read through the entire 14 chapters.

And what a journey!

Again, I might lose the point completely due to my limit ability in English but one aspect has strongly impacted me – how human try, fruitlessly up to the point of almost comical, to classified the despairing jelly of Solaris. In the span of over 100 years, human arrogantly tried to impose his own theories and categories based on his understanding to the ocean. Everything can be summed up by one plum schoolgirl’s question – “And what is this for?” Indeed, would human be any worse off if we cannot conquer this unknown? Is it fair to say that human must proved our superiority or at least have our existence acknowledge by higher power as different, more superior than other species? Isn’t this the point of the Contact? If all life is equal, why the double standard?

After finish the novel, I’m still not sure what the answer to that question is.

Parasyte is a 1990 manga series about “alien pods come to Earth and, naturally, start taking over Human Hosts.” Even though after taking over human host they resemble human, these shape-shifting Aliens cannot be understand by human. They do not know why they are here, nor do they care. Their diet consists of animal meat, human included. The story is involved around how various people react to the incident. It really highlights the attitude we have about ourselves – that we are superior species, period. If you are going to check out anything I mentioned today, check this one out.


In conclusion, I believe Stanislaw Lem summed up his own work extremely well in a respond to the 2002 movie remake of Solaris. He said that Solaris is:

a vision of a human encounter with something that certainly exists, in a mighty manner perhaps, but cannot be reduced to human concepts, ideas or images.

Till next time~!!

Written by masterpete

August 12, 2008 at 9:36 am

Posted in 1, week 1–3

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