Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

Archive for the ‘week 7 – avatars and cyborgs’ Category


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This is an image of a robot that was designed Albert Hubo is a Humanoid robot with Einsteins face on top of it. It was developed by South Korean scientists. The face is built by Hanson Robotics, a company specialized in making robot faces. here is a link of the video clip, it’s pretty cool..

Relates to week 8 aswell.


Written by anfunny

October 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm

HAL Suit now for Rent (in Japan)

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Remember the HAL suit that Hide posted previously? It can be rented for around US$2200 a month (which means nearly AU$3000 because of our weakening dollar rate). The company targeted a market of older people, less-mobile people and even paralyzed people. But it is not limited to the seniors and diseased… If you have the money and want to looks real cool (or menacing), you can absolutely have it! Check it out here

HAL Suit

HAL Suit

Written by guavarepublic

October 7, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Cyborg within a world that is close to us

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While most of us talking about science fiction cyborgs with a post contemporary world setting, I just wish to show you guys a cyborg within a world that we live in, much more realistic, much more cruel, with a more humanic feeling – IRON MAN.

Iron Man was created by Marvel Comics, nearly 50 years ago. The creators wishes to use Iron Man to discover through the cold war theme at the time. Tony Stark, the genius behind the Iron Man suit is to thought as an ideal icon of the American’s inventor. He is rich, he is smart, and he is a lady’s man. And he also supports the US government by providing weapon developing technologies and products to use against the communism at the time. With the time goes into 21st century, the concept of Iron Man has to be modified in order to capture the taste of the modern world. Therefore we see terrorists and corporate crime masterminds inside the movie adoption of the comic.

Although Iron Man is a super hero, he is born human, with no super powers, only uses his brain and mix the ideas with state of the art mechanicals and extra funds. 😀

Written by superdioplus

September 30, 2008 at 8:55 am

Now Hold Responder! Respond to Formular Car Racing…

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Just a quick respond to post AI computer systems in “Formular Car Racing” on something everybody should know. The greatest fictional robot ever. Period.

In the West there’s Mickey Mouse, in the East there’s Doraemon.

Super popular and super influential, Doraemon is arguably the number one social literature that shape the development of technology in Japan today.

With around FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDREDS fantastic fictional inventions coming out of Doraemon’s 4th dimentional pocket, it stemmed so many directions in current researches.


Interactive Robot Project “Doraemon The Robot”

Takekopta project (Bamboo-coptor)

and more to come. 4499 inventions left to go.


THe ‘Third ear’

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The earliest ‘Cyborg’ was from Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960. i think the Performance artists Stelios Arcadious’s ‘third ear’ referring to the earliest ‘Cyborg’ concept. he has had the ear created in a lab from cells and implanted into his skin, but he spent 10 years searching for a surgeon willing to perform the controversial operation.

He got his wish after working as a Research Fellow at Nottingham Trent University’s Digital Research Unit. The ear was grown in a lab from cells and implanted into the 61-year-olds left forearm in 2006.

Mr Arcadious said he thought art “should be more than simply illustrating ideas.” Once the ear has fully developed he hopes to get a microphone implanted as well.

“It is more of a relief at present than an ear but it is still recognisable as an ear,” he said.

“The last operation was in September 2006 and its only now that I’m about ready for the next step.

“I hope to have a tiny microphone implanted to it that will connect with a bluetooth transmitter; that way you can listen to what my ear is hearing.”

An audience in Newcastle Centre For Life was introduced to Stelarc’s latest project, a ‘walking head’ robot which will be a feature there for a month. The six legged robot with its head on a screen is one of the highlights of the Dott 07 design festival.

It is programmed to respond to someone entering the room, so every visitor will be treated to a little robot dance.


also he gave a presentation ‘Visions and Imagination: Advanced ICT in Art and Science‘ at Tesla Symposium on 24 November 2007.

if you want to watch the Video, please click here.

Written by kerrylin2008

September 16, 2008 at 2:38 am

The Otaku Way – Tachiko, Fujiko, Uchiko…

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Ghost in The Shell is a series about the futuristic elite police force that deals with cyber-crime – each episode/iteration seems to involve cyberbrain hacking or cyborg going berserk or the combination between the two (the best show premise ever!) As a solid entry into the cyberpunk movement, it explored many philosophical concepts such as what is human and can machine develop a soul. It became inspiration to many other show succeeding, including The Matrix (1999).

Ghost in The Shell has many iterations – 3 series of manga, 2 tv show, and 3 theatrical movies, not including minor spinoff such as Drama CD, video game, and a couple of novel – each with its differences in the way the story is portrayed.

GiTS started of as a Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow, first publish in 1989 and come back again in 1997. It is said to be the heaviest of all the incarnations since Masamune Shirow is a crazy guy. He tried to cram all the philosophy, ideology, and reflection on technological advancement all into something, like, 2 tankubon (Japanese graphic novel) of around 600 pages. It is consider to be very hard to read since not only there are over 60 pages of nearly pure text devoted to explain the setting and the technology, we still have to keep up with all of his footnote as well. It was the first comic I read that actually has a FOOTNOTE! Some are informations that did not exist in the dialog but for other you just get “After this, there’s a scene where Mokoto takes over the driving and Togusa check his gear and put it on, but it was too much of a hassle to draw so I left it out…” Thanks, Japan.

Ghost in The Shell fanart:

To see how crazy Masamune Shirow is – CLICK HEREYOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The first of Mamoru Oshii’s adaptation film of the manga came out in 1995 as Ghost in The Shell, with a sequel released in 2004 as Ghost in The Shell: Innocence. Oshii is a successful anime director, his prior works before Ghost in The Shell included Mobile Police Patlabour series – a cult classic for the giant robot Mecha fan about futuristic police force in a world where giant robot, regarded as weapon of mass destruction in other anime series like Gundam, were used in everyday life chores such as construction and crime. Oshii got his fame from directing Urusei Yatsura, a late 70’s super famous quirky love-comedy show in Japan (You have to know this one, Hide!) Adaptation from Rumiko Takahash’s manga of the same name, it influenced and spawns horrible, horrible spiritual offspring in several other shows collectively known as Rumiko Takahashi’s effect where the main couple are trying to get together and as they take a step forward, they got 2 steps setback – in which it became an obnoxious loop that goes nowhere for A FEW HUNDRED EPISODES. Thanks, Japan.

Mamoru Oshii’s version of Ghost in The Shell is considered to be very focused on the philosophy’s side and discarded many procedure/detective/cop-show elements exist in Shirow’s manga. Instead, Oshii’s version has gray overtone – mute elements – that veil over the source materials in his later works. Most of Ghost in The Shell’s franchise is unpopular in Japan, but is a huge commercial success in the west – all thanks to Oshii’s first film which is so penetrating in the late 90’s, just like how Akira was in the late 80’s. It was, at that point, a show where every anime fan outside Japan – no matter how casual or hardcore they are – must have seen. The first film was focused on the Major (Kusanagi Motoko) and her struggle to identify, and perhaps to confirm, her existence as human. The sequal, Innocence, is all about Batou walking around, talking. No wonder why they did one version of the dubbed with the original cast from the first movie, released it, then go back and re-record THE SAME CAST saying THE SAME LINE and release it again. Excellent dubbed, both times, by the way. Thanks, America.

The “crew” from Innocence

The TV series was the latest addition to the franchise; Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex was released as a 26 episodes in 2002-03 while the sequel, Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig was release in 2004-05. The TV series does not share the same universe as the manga nor Oshii’s film – almost all iteration of Ghost in The Shell in different medium did not share continuity in the same universe, but with the same premise. The name Stand Alone Complex comes from the psychological disease in the show as well as how the show structured – a Stand Alone episode for an episodic one-shot, while a Complex episode contain an overarching storyline throughout the series. Both GiTS:SAC and GiTS:SAC 2GIG have different arching storyline and could consider to be its own complete show.

Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the definitive version, in my opinion.

Kusanagi’s butt

I’ll say it again; Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the DEFINITIVE version to watch, according to me.

Let’s face it, Shirow’s manga was confusing as hell and while being very good, Oshii’s film has limited running time and as a result there was not much of a character development which should lead to more discussion of their dilemma. As a TV series, GiTS:SAC has time to pace things out. The first season is about Section 9 trying to corner the elusive cyberbrain-hacker The Laughing Man while the 2nd GIG try to do Oshii’s plot in 26 episodes.


Not only we have time for character developments for everybody on the team, SAC also introduce other technological concept as well. From Oshii’s film we have the concept of the cyberbrain –

“This is the implantation of powerful computers directly into the brain, greatly increasing certain mental capacities such as memory. Coupled with ubiquitous access to the informational net, this is shown as a fundamental technology integral to the future Japanese society. Applications include wireless communication just by “thinking” it, massive informational recall capabilities, and digitization of printed media and the encryption thereof. The series is notable for portraying a comprehensive and believable user interface to this technology. At the same time, drawbacks are revealed in the form of “Closed Shell Syndrome” or cyberbrain autism and “Cyberbrain Sclerosis”. This technology is in many ways the crux of the series” -Wikipedia

Two more philosophy-related technologies that were missing from Oshii’s film included the ECHELON wiretap system which, because everybody’s brain is hooked up to the computer now, can wiretap every communication from everyone in Japan. A secret technology employed by the government without consent from the citizen. Yawn, I know.

The other technology, and the reason to watch GiTS:SAC is the troup of Tachikoma, sentient light “think tank”. Design to be Section 9’s artillery units, Tachikoma resembled spider while the AI personified little children with heavy dose of curiosity which became a stark contrast between the depressing human interactions in the series. Base on the manga’s Fujikoma, non-sentient light tank, the development of Tachikoma’s AI and the questions it poses (with or without it verbalising them out) drilled deep into what regards as a living’s “soul”. I was quite disturbed at a time when the Tachikoma was “decommissioned” because of its erratic AI.

Oh, and the cloaking device, thermo-optical camouflage, inspired a research in University of Tokyo to produce similar thing in real life.

The TV series spawn a film – Ghost in The Shell: Solid State Society in which the complex episodes were condense down to a feature-length film. Only watch this after you’ve seen the TV series. Please.

The animation of Ghost in The Shell has always been top-notch. The TV show is no exception, since new episode air only just twice a month on a pay-per-view channel, the budget of the show were bigger than normal. The production studio Production I.G. is also an excellent studio with proven track record.

The soundtrack of the film was done by Kenji Kawai, Japan’s excellent composer. Yoko Kanno’s SAC score kept very close to the spirit of Oshii’s film, and some more – in my opinion. The opening to both SAC and SAC 2nd GIG was superb. Check it out

GiTS:SAC Opening

GiTS:SAC 2nd GIG Opening

Let’s not talk about the hidden opening only seen on TV and not the DVD version 😛

In conclusion, I highly recommend the series. Run, people, don’t walk, to your nearest DVD outlet and buy a box set of SAC and possibly the two movies, if you still haven’t got it yet.

Sorry, I was a little bit rush at the end. I’m hungry…

Till next time!

Hikikomori, NEET

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We talked about “Hikikomori” or “NEET” who have chosen to withdraw from social life. It is one of the biggest social problems in Japan now.
NEET stands for “Not currently engaged in Employment, Education or Training”. Also, some of them are known as Net cafe refugees (Japanese Internet Cafe Homeless)  who have no fixed job and no fixed address, therefore they spend nights at Internet cafes.

You’ll be surprised if you go to the Internet cafe in Japan. They usually provide a small room to use a computer. I think the size of the room is almost same as a single bed (you can see the picture below). Most the internet cafes offrer to read manga (Japanese magazinesand comics), video games, television, meal, free-soft drinks. Some places also have shower room for customers.


Here is a video about internet cafe in Japan.

Written by hideyukidesign

September 11, 2008 at 11:42 am