Welcome. I am an associate professor in media studies and Japan studies at MIT's Comparative Media Studies / Writing program. I study how media technologies shift the way people perceive the environment around them, and what is at stake in this mediation of spatial awareness.
My first book, Ambient Media: Japanese Atmospheres of Self (Minnesota, 2016; open access via Manifold and pdf) explores the use of music, video art, cinema, and literature to generate "healing" atmospheres for relaxation and reflection. The book establishes a critical framework for understanding the development of what I call ambient subjectivation, or the use of atmospheric media as indirect forms of personal mood regulation that can soothe social stressors while simultaneously sustaining the illusion of an independent liberal subject. Through formal analyses of ambient aesthetics and their deployment in urban Japan, the book examines how ambient media both consolidate and critique contemporary demands for emotional autonomy and individualized self-care.
My second book, The Immersive Enclosure: Virtual Reality in Japan (Columbia, 2022), sets out a novel approach to the virtual reality headset as a form of head-mounted perceptual enclosure, extending my earlier work on ambience to theorize what it means to move spatial awareness into the realm of computation. In addition to the book, other writing to emerge from this project includes an essay and introduction to a VR special issue I co-edited for Visual Culture; an article in Sound Studies on spatial audio; a short piece exploring peripheral vision in VR at Real Life; and an essay on VR telework robots in Media Theory (with a short version in LOGIC magazine).
Recently I've been writing about YouTube ambience videos, the cultural history of motion sickness, and how the 'metaverse' hype has played out in Japan so far.
For awhile now I've also been exploring experimental animation as a site for understanding how human affect, emotion, and labor become transfigured into audiovisual space. So far this includes a piece on animating an augmented reality future in Dennō Coil, a piece on the cosmic imagination of Night on the Galactic Railroad, and a couple essays on the labor of solo animation practioners like Tsuji Naoyuki, Wada Atsushi, and Kuno Yōko.
At MIT, I teach courses in media studies, digital and immersive media, cinema, and literature, with a focus on bringing more East Asian perspectives into the curriculum. Check the other pages here for more details and other publications, syllabi, videos, and podcasts, and feel free to get in touch via email or Twitter (see below). Thank you for visiting.