Welcome. I am associate professor of media studies and Japan studies in Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT. I am interested in how media technologies shift the way people locate themselves in their surrounding social environment, and how power and ideology circulate through this mediation of spatial awareness. My research focuses on how this has played out in the context of everyday life in Japan.
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 sets out a new approach to the virtual reality headset as a form of head-mounted perceptual enclosure, extending my earlier work to theorize what it means to move spatial awareness into the realm of computation. The Immersive Enclosure: Virtual Reality in Japan is forthcoming from Columbia University Press in Spring 2022. Other 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, 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 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 also been teaching a number of classes incorporating South Korean media. 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.