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Introducing GEISAI University Season 4 Professor: Satoshi Hamano

Introducing GEISAI University Season 4 Professor: Satoshi Hamano

Hamano giving live critiques at the “GEISAI University in GEISAI#14! GEISAI CRITICAL MEDIA“ at GEISAI#14.

Born in 1980, Hamano is a researcher for Nihon Gigei. After completing his master’s degree in media research at Keio University, he reached his current position after working as a researcher at the Global Communications Center for the International University of Japan. He specializes in information theory and is especially active in analyzing the structure of web services. Among his published works include the book Architecture no Seitai Kei (NTT Publications, 2008) and his dissertation Nico Nico Douga no Seikou Ryoku (Shisouchizu vol. 2) (Japan Broadcast Publications, 2008).

Hamano also participated in GEISAI#14 as one of the judges at the “GEISAI University in GEISAI#14! GEISAI CRITICAL MEDIA.“ Now he’ll be bringing his unique perspective to GEISAI University.
(The jurors from the GEISAI University stage event at GEISAI#14. Satashi Hamano is the third from the right. )

Round About Architecture With Architects

My lecture will focus on my academic specialty – the “architecture” and “architects” of our information environment.
In my book Architecture no Seitai Kei, I analyze the basic structure common to the internet services which have grown up in the new millennium, including 2 chan, Winny, and Nico Nico Douga. There I discovered problems which were uniquely Japanese, similar to those found in the works of political theorist Masao Maruyama. Though the text did not delve into the architects of these environments themselves, this time I would like to shine a light on these 21st century creators as well.

But why this focus on architecture and architects in the first place? Allow me to explain.
One of the issues which most fascinates young critics in recent years is the subject of authorship in a network society. No matter which of them you examine, from 2 chan to Nico Nico Douga to cell phone novels, Japan’s social networks are famous for their anonymity. And everyday, art seems to rise up naturally from this pool of anonymous creators, the numbers constantly multiplying. In this environment, the rather human concept of authorship is diluted and replaced with animalism (to use the term coined by Hiroki Azuma). This transition, more than anything sums up Japan’s network society in the new millennium.

In the face of this new world, critics have reached varied conclusions. As might be expected, the majority have taken the view that the vast rabble of works which have found their way onto the net are by their very nature lacking in artistic merit and not worthy of attention. However, some have also seen it as an opportunity to make new explorations into the question of authorship and authenticity. For example, Ryota Fukushima (who will be lecturing on April 2) has taken to applying the mythological apparatuses of structuralism to this modern environment, while Yohei Kurose has examined the forms which lie deep at the heart of manga, anime and games. Each has set off on their own journey, updating the modules through which we measure art and literature.

And where, in the midst of all of this, do I myself stand? Many readers probably imagine me as someone who believes that network society is speeding the death of authorship itself. This idea stems from my essay in Shisou Chizu Vol.2, where I claimed that one of the primary elements of network society was a shift from the human-centered idea of imagination to a system where new creations are generated through natural processes. The case study was backed up by an analysis of Nico Nico Douga in which I proposed that the system of tagging videos and posts is emerging as an alternative to the concept of authorship.

Viewed at a glance, this may indeed look as if I am arguing that the creator has lost their importance in the modern world. However, my true intention is sactually something different. I mean to propose that in our network society, it is actually the architecture of Nico Nico Douga itself that is the work and would like now to focus on the men and women who “created” that architecture.

I now believe that it is possible to further express and clarify my sense of the problem in this way. While I will not actually have time to offer specific critiques, I would like to restate the words I used in a recent debate in Souzou Chizu Vol.: “What kind of architect designs a system which is in constant flux, effectively resulting in an endless beta? Will these people become the powerful - the elite - of the network society of the future? If we accept that they are mainly building Japan-centered versions of internet services coming from America, what is the true standing of these architects? My ideas are still in the process of maturation so I’m not sure how smoothly I will be able to analyze and express myself in this lecture, but I will do my best to offer specific examples which illustrate my points.

It might interest you to know that none other than Hiroki Azuma has called Hamano’s book Architecture no Seitai Kei an essential guide to understanding Nico Nico Douga and modern Japanese society. That’s high praise!

Architecture no Seitai Kei – Jouhou Kankyou ha Ikani Sekkei Saretekitaka
by Satoshi Hamano

These three men: Ryouta Fukushima, Satoshi Hamano, and Yohei Kurosemay possess the key to understanding modern Japan. Don’t miss these exciting lectures from the future of Japanese critisicm!

For more on Ryota Fukushima’s lecture, click here (English page coming up soon) ↓

For more on Yohei Kurose’s lecture, click here ↓

To apply: info@geisai.net

We await your visit!



【GEISAI University Season 4 Details】

■Season 4
Dates and Times:
Friday April 2,2010 Ryota Fukushima (Literary critic/Scholar of Chinese literature)
Friday April 9, 2010 Satoshi Hamano (Critic・Researcher for Nihon Gigei)
Friday April 16, 2010 Youhei Kurose (Artist, Critic)

Times:19:00 ~ 20:30
※All times are subject to change

Tuition:One Lecture 3,000 yen / 3 Lecture Set 7,500 yen

・To apply for admission please write in Japanese to the address below
 or apply via Ticket Pia.

・Application address: info@geisai.net

※Please make sure your mailbox settings enable receipt of messages from the following address: info@geisai.net

※The follow-up mail will be long so if you enter a mobile address, be sure to disable limitations on the number of characters it can receive.

※Please be aware that the application deadline may change depending on how many seats are filled.

※If you apply after all seats have been filled, your name will be transferred to the waiting list. We may contact in the event that someone cancels.

Venue: Kaikaikiki Gallery
   〒106-0046 Motoazabu Crest Bldg., B1F, 2-3-30 Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo

○Bus:Toei Bus橋86 (Stops in front of Meguro and Shimbashi Stations  Get off at Aiiku Byouin Mae – 2 minute walk to gallery      

○Train: Hiroo Subway Station (Hibiya Line) - 8 minute walk from exit one
Azabu Juban Subway Station (Namboku/Oedo Line) – 10 minute walk        

※The gallery is some distance from the closest station. Please use caution.

For more information on GEISAI University, please visit the GEISAI website.