Welcome. I am associate professor of media studies and Japan studies in Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT.
I work on media theory and history with a focus on ambient mediation, or how media transform the perceptual background and in so doing remake the relationship between a person and their surrounding environment. I am interested in how and why ambient mediation has emerged as a major component of self-care and spatial design in recent decades, and how power and ideology circulate and can be challenged through the mediation of spatial awareness. My writing focuses on how all this plays out in Japan, with its rich history of experiments with the mediated environments in everyday life.
My first book, Ambient Media: Japanese Atmospheres of Self (Minnesota, 2016) explored 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 current project rethinks virtual reality as a form of head-mounted perceptual enclosure, extending my earlier work to theorize the cultural stakes of moving spatial awareness into the realm of computation. Writing to emerge from this project so far 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).
In what has turned into an ongoing side project, I have been exploring experimental animation as a site for understanding how human affect and emotion 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've been teaching courses on digital media, cinema, and literature, with a focus on bringing more East Asian perspectives on media and technology into the curriculum. In support of MIT's new Korean language program I've been teaching a number of classes incorporating South Korean media as well. 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). Thanks for visiting.