asiascape vistas

Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia

Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.

One-day Manga exhibition & seminar

Please join us on Saturday 6 December in The Hague for a few hours of manga, art, virtual ninjas, drinks and snacks!

Admission is free and all are welcome.
For catering purposes we kindly ask that your register.

More information and registration is here:


Martin Roth is awarded historic PhD degree: 'Games encourage us to explore alternatives'

The Asiascape hosted Beyond Utopia is a Leiden University project funded by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) concerned with identifying the potentials of artistic media such as manga, anime, and video games for expression, criticism, and intervention in political thinking.

On August 27 Martin Roth, one of the project's three PhD candidates, was the first to get the degree for his research on the political potential of video games. An historic PhD degree it seems; it is Leiden's Faculty of Humanities first one ever in this field.

Below a translation of an article by Bart Braun in Leiden University newspaper Mare about Martin and his PhD thesis. The original article in Dutch is available on Mare Online

 (translation by
The academic interest for games has finally reached Leiden: last month the Faculty of Humanities bestowed its first PhD degree in this field.
 ‘Games encourage us to explore alternatives’.

In the 1950’s the University of Manchester assisted in the development of the worlds first commercially available computer: the Ferranti Mark 1. It consisted of a huge box containing over four thousand vacuum tubes, built under the supervision of the legendary computer scientist Alan Turing.
This computer outperformed the mechanical calculators of the time and you could also use it to play chess. When you entered your move with a punch card, the computer presented a countermove after 20 minutes. The human opponent then had to put this move on a wooden chessboard; the Mark 1 was not equipped with a monitor to display the course of the game. If you were smart enough to understand the punch card hassle, you were likely to beat it at chess because the machine could not think more than two moves ahead. But still, depending on the definition, this was the first computer game of all time.
The computer game has come a long way since. Monitors came and more and more beautiful things could be seen on it. Apart from programmers, composers, authors, actors and artists all participate in the creation of a game and the computer games business forms the largest branch of the entertainment industry. Destiny, the console game that was released this week, cost 500 million dollars to make, almost twice as much as the most expensive movie ever.
Games have gained enormously in popularity and sales, yet they command little respect. Music and film can be considered art; the written word literature and interactive artworks in museums receive praise. But the real culture vultures turn their noses up at a mix of all these elements.
The academic interest in games is lagging behind that of other art forms too. If scientists have been doing research into games, it is to examine whether they make you smarter, faster, addicted or more violent.
This is slowly beginning to change, also in Leiden. Games did come into play, but only now they are made explicit. Recently Leiden started to offer a minor in Game Studies, in which games will be approached in a art historical and philosophical way rather than a neurological one. The introductory course has already begun and all 35 spots for the minor are taken. Professor Comparative Philosophy and Political Thought Chris Goto-Jones [Asiascape : the original Dutch text wrongly states that Goto-Jones is professor of Eastern Philosophy], has won a NWO scholarship to research the ‘intersections of visual culture and political philosophy in Japan’. Last month Martin Roth was the first of the PhD students on this project who had to publicly defend his thesis.
 I believe that gaming culture and the game industry can profit greatly from more academic research into games’, Roth says. ‘Theory-based critique and methodical inquiry offer new perspectives on the medium. I also believe in the innovative force of a research-based scholarly critique, which is not only interested in judging how „good“ or “harmful” a game was but also looks at its content critically and against the background of our lives, our history and ideologies. With my thesis -and with the book I plan to publish sometime soon- I hope to stimulate a dialogue between the humanities and gamers.’
Art, and especially literature and film, enable us to get closer to the other.  A man who grew up in the nineties can better imagine what it must have been like to be a Jewish girl in World War II thanks to the diary of Anne Frank. In a similar fashion, art and games should be able to let us imagine something reallydifferent. Roth: ‘The world won’t change when you enact a soldier even if you haven’t been one yourself. The “Otherness” I’m interested in is the kind that hasn’t existed before but seems plausible to imagine. Science Fiction authors have tried to create Otherness in their works, with more or lesser success, and my question is if games might have the potential to do something similar.
The search for new possibilities of “Otherness” is central to my work, because these days we seem to live under the impression that the status quo is the only possibility. It scares me that I am not able to come up with an alternative to the current socioeconomic system. Perhaps videogames are capable of stimulating our thinking of radical alternatives because they put us in situations that don’t fit with our common views, opinions and experiences. In other words, when we are disrupted. Games manage not only let’s us experience new roles and situations remote from our sofas and daily lives, but are also capable of profound disruption on very basic levels of our experience and thought.’
If you mainly play Angry Birds or Candy Crush and don’t recognize these kind of gaming experiences: don’t worry. For his thesis, Roth used a selection of Japanese games that haven’t all gained much popularity in the Netherlands. ‘Japan has a long and rich gaming culture, which has influenced gaming globally worldwide. There is an enormous amount of Super Mariogames but there are also many notable exceptions. Plus, Japanese games are less violence-focused. My personal favorite is the Metal Gear Solid series precisely because it plays with violence in a very ambiguous way. The games in this series feature instances in which violence is directly criticized or in which the tragedies of war are displayed in a critical way. In some cases the characters in the game even directly address the player and confront him/her with the violent actions committed throughout the game, and the fact these were done solely for entertainment’s sake.’
Another example: ‘The time travel game Shadow of Memoriesconfronts the player with a world in which our concept of time does not make sense anymore. This game invites us to question our own understanding of time and its linearity. What does it mean to measure our entire lives in the same time - I worked 8 hours, you worked 10.  We spend time although we never seem to really have it, in the sense that it is ours to distribute freely. What kind of world would it be if we did have time? Would it work?
‘This is a rough sketch of my though process while playing the game and reading Paul Virilio’s political philosophy on time and the speed of our society. Games can speak to this, express it in a palpable way. Some games, at least, and and maybe only if you want to be disrupted.

Martin Roth, Disruptive Conflicts in Computopic Space – Japanese SF Videogames as sources of Otherness and Radical Political Imagination.
Date PhD defence: 27 August

New edition 'Manga in/as Essay' available now

All winning entries to Asiascape's 2014 manga competition 'Interpreting Kurama Tengu' can now be enjoyed in our 3rd Manga in/as Essay publication.
The publication is available on the Asiascape Issuu page:

Manga in_as Essay vol.3_Kurama Tengu_Issuu 1

25 September - opening 'Artist in Residence' manga exhibition East Asian Library

In the summer of 2014, Asiascape and PAI Artist-in-Residence Dr. Lien Fan Shen taught a series of masterclasses exploring Taiwanese female masculinity through gender & queer theory and manga creation.
The artistic results of these masterclasses of the Political Artist Residency 2014 are on display in the East Asian Library of Leiden University from 1 September until the end of 2014.


Please join us for a festive opening and reception at the East Asian Library on Thursday 25 September from 17:00 - 19:00, with a short introduction to the exhibition at 17:30.

Location: Leiden University East Asian Library, Arsenaalstraat 1, Leiden

For catering purposes, please register your attendance here:

'Kurama Tengu' manga competition winners announced

Asiascape is happy to announce the winners of its 3rd manga competition 'Interpreting Kurama Tengu'.
Each of the winners offered a unique and compelling graphic interpretation of the classic Japanese Noh play Kurama Tengu.

The first prize (Euro 500) goes to Elena Vitagliano from Italy for her impressive 'Tariki: Divine Intervention'.
A joint second prize (Euro 200 each) is awarded to Brittany Partin and Carl Li, both from the USA.
Deanna Taylor Nardy from the USA wins third prize (Euro 100).

All winning manga and bio's of the artists will be available in our online publication 'Manga in/as Essay' soon.

Excerpt from Elena Vitagliano's winning entry

We thank all those who participated for their hard work and creativity, resulting in wonderful manga!

Public lecture & manga exhibition opening

Our Spotlight Taiwan Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Lien Fan Shen, has settled into The Netherlands and started her masterclass series on gender representations in popular culture at Leiden University's Honours Academy on June 4.
In addition to the technical and theoretical aspects of visualising sexuality in various media, Dr. Shen introduced her residency project--storyboarding for her upcoming animated documentary on female masculinity in Taiwan--to a diverse group of masterclass students hailing from anthropology, film studies, gender studies, graphic design, law, liberal arts and sciences, literature, philosophy, and psychology.  We look forward to hearing more as these intimate and intensive masterclasses continue, and to seeing the fruits of everyone's creativity at the final exhibition opening at the very end of this month, preceded by a public lecture programme featuring Dr. Shen's keynote on "(Re)visualizing femininity/masculinity".

You are most warmly invited to join Dr. Shen and her masterclass students on the early evening of Monday 30 June 2014 at the Leiden Honours Academy for the final lecture and festive opening of the residency exhibition.

17:00 - 18:00 Lecture programme
    • Welcome by Prof. Willemien den Ouden (Dean, Leiden Honours Academy)
    • Remarks by Mr. James Lee (Taiwan's Representative in The Netherlands)
    • Introduction by Dr. Cissie Fu (Co-Founder, Political Arts Initiative)
    • Keynote lecture by Dr. Lien Fan Shen (Artist-in-Residence)
    • Closing words and exhibition opening by Prof. Chris Goto-Jones (Director,; Co-Founder, Political Arts Initiative)
    18:00 - 19:00 Exhibition reception

    Do join us for a chat, drink, snack, and stroll through the residency exhibition, which highlights the artistic output of Dr. Shen's residency project as well as the manga creations by her masterclass students.

    This event is free and open to the public.  Please find further details and register here.  We greatly look forward to welcoming you on the 30th!

    Event announcement: New States and Societies in the Past and in the Future

    The LIAS State & Society Network invites you to an exciting event on Thursday 12 June 2014, entitled New States and Societies in the Past and in the Future, with 6 PhD student presenters and 2 distinguished keynote speakers on topics ranging from garbage to church hierarchy and from Babylon to future imagination.

    What can we learn from past and future states and societies today? Why should we care about their struggles, wars and transitions? What do they tell us about ours? The network’s spring event aims to address these questions by bringing together two distinguished scholars who work on the past and on the future with students from the network “State and Society” within the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.


    My State and Society (12:45 – 15: 00, Lipsius 307)
    PhD students of the network give brief presentations of the states and societies they work on.

    Renate Dekker-- The Social Integration of a New Church Hierarchy in Late Antique Western Thebes
    Valantino Pamolango-- The Old and New Celebes (Sulawesi) - Indonesia
    Martin Roth -- The State of Play
    Aditi Mukherjee-- Negotiating Space: Refuge Colonies and the Indian State
    Yun-An Olivia Dung -- Garbage Matters: Recycling and Wasting in Taiwanese Society
    Sarthak Bagchi-- State and Society in India: a Journey from sammaan (Respect) to saamaan (Material Aspect)

    Keynotes (15:30 – 18:00, Klein Auditorium, Academiegebouw)
    We relocate to the Klein Auditorium of the Academiegebouw for the keynote lectures by our guest speakers. The session will be introduced and chaired by Erik-Jan Zürcher (LIAS).

    Seth Richardson (Chicago) -- The Many Falls of Babylon: Anticipation, Reception and Mesopotamian State Collapse
    Babylon in its day, like Rome, held a symbolic position as both the site of state collapse and as an “eternal” city.  This apparent paradox created an historical echo chamber which was productive of Mesopotamian notions of civic fragility and resilience for more than a millennium. I will try to grapple with not only the retrospective claims of reception histories of Babylon’s collapse(s), but their particular relationship to prospective evocations of state collapse in Mesopotamian thought: when is anticipation precipitation, and how?

    Adam Roberts (Royal Holloway) -- Clerisies, Science Fiction and the Future of Society
    In this lecture, Adam Roberts will talk about the way the two halves of his intellectual and creative life came together: science fictional thought-experiments about how society might be structured and 19th-century conceptions of 'the state' and political thinking.

    Drinks (18:30 – 19:30, Grote Beer)
    Please join us for drinks and further discussions in De Grote Beer, Rembrandtstraat 27.

    We hope to see many of you on the 12th, for the network’s first spring event!

    Martin Roth, Tero Alstola, Renate Dekker, Eftychia Milona, Daniel Soliman, Bastian Still, Caroline Waerzeggers and Erik-Jan Zürcher

    Call for papers - Post-Screen: International Festival of Art, New Media and Cybercultures

    The Post Screen Festival is calling for research papers about art, technology and culture mediated by screens, to be presented at the Post Screen Festival Conferences, November 28-29 in Lisbon, Portugal.


    The theme for this year is "Device, Medium and Concept'". The intention is to discuss the use of screen-based "devices" (traditional, analog or digital) as a tool used in artistic practices and social behaviours; the screen as "medium", entails the production and archiving of works of art, cultural and social activities, exclusively generated through technological screens making use of intrinsic technological attributes that a given medium provides; the screen as a "concept", refers mainly to the aesthetic, phenomenological and social aspects that involve the use of the concept of screen in visual arts and in our society.

    The proposal for paper must have 3-4 pages (according to the template provided on the festival's website), including references, introduction and abstract. Authors should present two abstracts in different languages (one must be in English).

    Fields of work: Visual Arts, Art History, Aesthetics, Film Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, New Technologies, Curatorial Practices, Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, New Media, Cinema

    Deadline: 15 June 2014

    For further information please go to:

    The 48hr Flash Fiction Challenge 2014

    Sci-Fi London (The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film) and are setting you an exciting challenge: a 48 hour flash fiction competition on a sci-fi or fantasy theme.


    How it will work:
    - Entry is free and open to anyone who writes or would like to dip a toe in the literary water.
    - The story must be between 1000 and 1500 words (excluding title and author’s name and contact details).
    - Entrants can take part by registering below and receiving the elements to base their story on by SMS message and email.

    On Saturday 12 April (sometime between 10am -1pm) Sci-Fi London will send you:

    1/ The TITLE for your story
    2/ A piece of DIALOGUE that must be incorporated somewhere into the story
    3/ An optional SCIENCE THEME for the story.

    You then have 48 hours to write your story. The deadline for submission is Monday 14th April at 1:00pm

    More information is here:


    Asiascape's Spotlight Taiwan Film Festival 11&12 April

    Asiascape is delighted to host the 'Spotlight Taiwan Film Festival' on 11 and 12 April at Leiden University College The Hague.

    announcement for the Spotlight Taiwan Film Festival

    Over the past 30 years, Taiwan film has had an outstanding record of achievement at major film festivals, particularly those in Europe. Our Taiwan film festival under the title ‘Performing Taiwanese Identity’, to be held on 11th and 12th April 2014, follows up on this success. It has two objectives. The first objective is to introduce the Leiden University Students and the general public in the Netherlands to Taiwanese cinema. The second objective is to have these film screenings as a key platform for understanding modern Taiwan, especially the issues of Taiwanese identity.

    Over the course of 2 days (actually one evening and a day) we will introduce you to 4 blockbuster films that directly and indirectly relate to the performance of identity from different standpoints. The films touch upon the triangular relationship between Taiwan, China, and Japan. Each screening will feature a follow-up Q&A session with invited scholars and film critics.
    All films are free of charge.

    We start the festival with a festive opening -with drinks and snacks- to which you are all invited (registration is advised)

    More info and registration for the opening event is here:

    Symposium 'Gaming the City'

    The quality and character of urban space has long been the concern of city-planners and architects, striving to make versatile, functional, or even beautiful environments for people to work, shop, and live. Increasingly, urbanites have sought to re-appropriate these spaces for themselves, re-imagining and re-tasking structures, buildings, and layouts in creative or radical ways, transforming the city into a site of play.

    The Political & Philosophical Arts Initiative (PAI) based at Leiden University, is delighted to welcome Iain Borden (Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture at University College London) and Dan Edwardes (Director of Parkour Generations) to offer keynote talks at the official opening of PAI's geo-caching photo-exhibition at The Nutshuis in The Hague on Wednesday 16 April 2014. Iain and Dan were recently part of the team that designed the Southbank Centre re-development in London to better facilitate skaters, freerunners, graffiti artists and other urban players. 

    The full programme and info on how to register is here:

    Asiascape:Digital Asia inaugural issue out - limited open access

    On 24 & 25 January, Dr. Florian Schneider, editor of the Asiascape:Digital Asia, invited leading scholars to join us at Leiden University to revisit the emancipatory potential of digital media in Asia and discuss the digital turn in Asian studies.
    Read more about the discussions and ideas that accompanied this Asiascape:Digital Asia conference  on Florian's 'Politics East Asia' blog. In case you are also interested in pictures of the event, they are here.

    Some of the papers presented at that conference also appear in the inaugural issue of Asiascape:Digital Asia which is out now.
    Brill is offering open access to individual users until the end of 2015.
    All the information is available here:

    Manga, Social Media, Art, Movies & Drinks - Spotlight Taiwan reminder


    Professor Chris Goto-Jones, Director of Asiascape, is delighted to invite you to the Spotlight Taiwan Sampler on Monday 2 December from 19.00 until 21.00 in the Auditorium at LUC The Hague for a taste of Asiascape’s vision on Taiwan.
    All players in the Asiascape Spotlight Taiwan Project will be present (physically and virtually) to warm you up for the exciting events in 2014.



    19.00 Welcome & Introduction by Chris Goto-Jones
    19.10 A few words by Taiwanese Representative Mr. James K.J. Lee
    19.15 Florian Schneider – Conference: The Emancipatory Potential of Social Media in Asia
    19.25 Jay Hwang – Film Festival: Some Thoughts on Taiwan
    19.35 Cissie Fu – Artist-in-Residence: Exploring Taiwanese Female Masculinity
    19.45 Closing by Chris Goto-Jones, followed by conversations over drinks

    More information on the project is here:

    Manga in/as Essay:First Contact online

    The results of Asiascape's 2012 Manga Competition 'First Contact' are now finally brought together in the Manga in/as Essay Magazine.
    This issue can be viewed and downloaded via our webpage or Issuu

    manga2_firstcontact 1_thumb

    New Asiascape Ops - Florian Schneider on 'The Futurities and Utopias of the Shanghai World Exposition'

    In Asiascape Ops nr 7, Florian Schneider (Lecturer of Modern China at Leiden University and editor of Politics East Asia) argues that the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition "...was a large-scale attempt at political communication. This paper examines this communication process, which the Chinese government initiated as a core part of its public relations strategy for the 21st century. The paper analyses multi-media data collected at the Expo site in July 2010 to answer the questions: what futurist and utopian visions did the five themed pavilions present to visitors of the Expo, and what relevance might these visions have to our understanding of how media events like world fairs construct political discourse? The paper engages with recent research on the Expo and reviews theoretical concerns about the general power of media events to manipulate audiences. It then provides an analysis that shows how the themed exhibits provide diverse interpretations of modernity and utopian futures. These visions at times collide with the worldview that the Chinese government is trying to foster, and which is communicated throughout much of the event. Yet this is not to say that the institutional constraints and the general set-up of the Expo collapse the entire event into a monolithic discourse that re-enforce the political ideals of the Chinese authorities, or that the participants and visitors of the event are successfully co-opted into an overarching narrative of capitalist modernity. In fact, the Expo offers opportunities of utopian thought that demonstrably escape control"

    The full text of the paper is downloadable from's Publication page or can be read online on Issuu.

    the world of Manga - exhibition wereldmuseum Rotterdam

    The Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam)'s exhibition 'the world of Manga' opens on 28 June 2013


    The makers of Samurai are now bringing you face-to-face with the fear-inspiring guards of Buddhist philosophy, flanked by the savage heroes of Street Fighter. The mighty Machines of Shinkichi Tajiri paved the way for manga, an international community that blurs the boundaries of rational reality.

    The versatility of manga art has never been portrayed as clearly. The Japanese Buddhas introduce the philosophy of manga in comics, anime and games. When, after the piercing images of Shinkichi Tajiri’s fighting machines, the beauty of manga art begins to unfold the viewer is elevated to a mystical experience. The digital photographic art with graphic effects by Anderson & Low evoke the following question: are these manga-inspired dreams of humans or human-inspired dreams of manga?

    This is the first time in history that such renowned Japanese manga masters as Akatsuki Katoh, Shiho ENTA, Ching Nakamura and Fuzichoco are exhibiting their work outside of their own country. Hoki created a unique work featuring the Erasmus Bridge as a backdrop especially for this exhibition and an entire hall is dedicated to the artwork of director Hosoda Mamoru’s internationally acclaimed anime Wolf Children Ame and Yuki.

    Wereldmuseum website

    7 May - Workshop '(Post-)Modern Futurities: New Directions in Anthropology, Area and Media Studies'

    On May 7, a workshop will be held at Leiden University on the search for new directions in anthropology regarding the study of futures.

    Time: 13-17hrs
    Location: Bestuurskamer (Ground Floor), Pieter de la Court gebouw, Leiden University
    Followed by drinks in the Bamboo lounge (3rd floor), Pieter de la Court gebouw, Leiden University

    About the workshop theme
    "Futurities" or forms of the future have distinct cultural histories and habitats. The division of labor that put "tradition" (or a normative addiction to past templates) in times and places other than modernity, and the future (usually in the shape of "development" or "modernization") in an imaginary Western civilization has itself lost its credibility, but that does not mean it has passed away. Moreover, new self-indulgent classifications of the West by the West have taken its place ("post-modernity"; "reflexive modernization"; "reduction to the present"; "acceleration"; "time-space compression"; and so on). Systematic research into the forms that the future takes after the rise of commodified, "empty" time in the Middle Ages, the "open" future of prognosis and progress in the early modern period, and the epochal consciousness of the period of revolution or Sattelzeit - as theorized by Barbara Adam, Reinhard Koselleck and Jacques LeGoff, among others - is rare. Yet, diagnoses of new forms of the future after modernity abound. This workshop reviews and presents recent research into forms of the future to find out what kind of research is needed to overcome that gap.

    The workshop consists of four presentations from two,
    NWO funded, Leiden research projects: the "The Future is Elsewhere" project led by Peter Pels (presentations by Pels and by Kripe/Zandbergen), and the "Beyond Utopia" project led by Chris Goto-Jones (presentations by Roth and Schneider). These presentations will then be used by three discussants as a stepping stone to illustrate the directions into which such research should be going. The discussants are Diny van Est (see Persoon & van Est 2000), Jane Guyer (see Guyer 2007) and Chris Goto-Jones.

    Please register by emailing your name and surname to 

    Peter Pels (Anthropology, Leiden):
    "Towards an Ethnography of Modern Times: Seven Theses on the Anthropology of the Future"

    Florian Schneider (LIAS, Leiden):
    "The Futurities and Utopias of the Shanghai World Exposition - A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of the Expo 2010 Theme Pavilions"

    Martin Roth (LIAS, Leiden):
    "Another time? Narrative confusion and alternative temporality in videogames"

    Zane Kripe & Dorien Zandbergen (Anthropology, Leiden):
    "Kick-starting the future in the new economy: Perspectives from San Francisco, Amsterdam and Singapore"

    Diny van Est (Netherlands Court of Audit)
    Chris Goto-Jones (Leiden University)
    Jane Guyer (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University)

    Recommended reading
    People attending the workshop are advised to read the following articles (available online):

    * Persoon, Gerard A. and Diny M. E. van Est. 2000. The study of the future in anthropology in relation to the sustainability debate. Focaal 35: 7-28

    * Guyer, Jane I. 2007. Prophecy and the near future: Thoughts on macroeconomic, evangelical, and punctuated time. American Ethnologist 34 (3): 409-421

    Asiascape Ops nr 6 : Japanese Science Fiction in Converging Media

    In Asiascape's newest paper in the Occasional Paper Series (Asiascape Ops), Carl Li, Mari Nakamura and Martin Roth (all three are PhD students in the Goto-Jones' project Beyond Utopia), discuss the concept of alienation in Neon Genesis Evangelion:

    Neon Genesis Evangelion protagonist Shinji Ikari
    Japanese popular culture, represented primarily by manga and anime, has over the last couple of decades increasingly gained popularity both within and beyond Japan. Based on the assumption that this is partly due to their distinct qualities as media of political expression, this article aims to identify and discuss some of these expressions. Focusing on the SF franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion (hereafter EVANGELION), often regarded as a landmark in the history of Japanese animation, it will trace the recurring concept of alienation through the extremely popular anime (1995), the manga (1995–2012), and the videogame Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 (2003), thus offering an insight into their commonalities as well as their differences.
        “Alienation” is a central concept in modern social and political theory, as well as in sociology and psychology, and refers to “the condition of separation or estrangement.” For Karl Marx, who developed the most influential accounts of alienation in modern social and political theory, alienation is a central critique to modern capitalism. Analyzing the situation of wageworkers in the historical context of modern society, Marx observes that alienation occurs for them in four interrelated senses in capitalist society: alienation from the very product they produce, from the act of production, from their fellow workers, and from their “species-being.” Marx sees “species-being” as the unique human attribute which distinguishes human life from that of the animals, where one’s alienation from their “species-being” in a modern capitalist society is focused through the class structure and the proletariat experience. Thus for Marx, overcoming alienation requires a change in material conditions for a historically specific class of the proletariat by way of their revolutionary activities.

    The full article is available at Issuu or can be downloaded as pdf on's Publication page.

    The Challenge of Studying Digital Asia - An Introduction to the academic journal 'Asiascape: Digital Asia'

    written by Florian Schneider, editor of Asiascape: Digital Asia

    In August and September 2012, the Internet was awash with Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese discussions over a set of islands in the East China Sea that the governments of all three nations lay claim to. The dispute has been a recurring issue in East Asian regional relations, but over the past decade more and more people have become "switched into" this seemingly classic-realist international relations topic through new information and communication technologies (ICTs).

    As millions of bloggers and tweople followed the actions of activists and politicians, and as nationalist protests spilled into the streets in China and Japan, one post on the Chinese micro-blogging service Weibo inspired particularly heated discussions. Yet the post did not come from a politician or from an activist. It did not call for the burning of more flags, for boycotts of foreign goods, or for decisive military intervention. The post was a calligraphy that promoted the friendship between the people of China and Japan, and it had been sent by the Japanese porn star Sola Aoi.

    With the speed that arguably only digital communication allows, the calligraphy travelled across the region, reaching over 13 million people. It received more than 140,000 comments - many derogatory, but many also critically discussing the conflict, as well as the meaning of national identity in 21st century East Asia.

    This example is symptomatic of the challenges that established academic disciplines face as they explore developments in an increasingly interlinked region such as Asia. The ubiquity of digital ICT fuels processes that have always been complex and dynamic, but it has arguably never before facilitated and shaped politics, economics, culture, and society to such a degree as today.

    Other examples from the region abound: In South Korea, online computer games have become so popular that individual matches are broadcasted on TV. In South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, election campaigns are accompanied by online activism in the form of twitter and blogging, which in turn has inspired Taiwanese and South-Korean politicians to integrate new media content into their campaigns. In India, the government is building a controversial digital biometric database that will include personal information on over a billion citizens, allowing for unprecedented experiments in e-governance.

    Read more on the DIAS page...

    Ridley Scott and Machinima Team Up to Produce 12 Sci-Fi Short FIlms

    Stan Schroeder on Mashable, 12 March 2013

    Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and video entertainment network Machinima have partnered up to produce 12 science fiction short films.

    The shorts will not be directed by Scott himself; he and Machinima will choose directors from Ridley Scott's production company — RSA. The list of possible directors is starry and includes Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas), Sam Mendes (Skyfall), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Neill Blomkamp (District 9).

    The idea is that at least some of these short films will lead to new sci-fi franchises, with both RSA and Machinima reaping the rewards.

    “RSA has always been at the forefront of creating innovative work. With new media transforming the way audiences connect with films and filmmakers, Machinima is a great partner for us as we embark on this new model of delivering original content to fans. It’s a tremendous opportunity for pushing the creative boundaries for both our filmmakers and the audience,” said Scott in a statement.

    Though 75 years old, Scott is not afraid to experiment with new formats and distribution channels. In 2010, he produced a YouTube project called "Life in a Day," which captured one day (July 24, 2010) through the cameras of people around the world.

    Machinima, a video network aimed at gamers, owns the top entertainment channel on YouTube and reaches "210 million" unique viewers.

    Life in a Day by Ridley Scott

    'Ghost in the Shell Arise' announced

    The production of popular anime 'Ghost in the Shell' series’ new project 'Ghost in the Shell Arise' has been announced.

    This 'Ghost in the shell' series is a cyberpunk based on Shirow Masamune’s popular manga which was released in Young Magazine Kaizokuban in 1989. Setting in the near future in Japan where technology has been advanced drastically, it tells a story about the members of 'Public Security Section 9', which was organized to oppose an epidemic of computer crime and cyber terrorism.

    In 1995, its anime film adaptation 'Ghost in the Shell' directed by Oshii Mamoru was released, and Oshii also directed the sequel titled 'Innocence' in 2004.

    Apart from Oshii Mamoru’s anime film adaptation, there has also been TV anime series 'Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex' (in 2002), 'Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. 2nd GIG' (in 2004), and 'Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society' (in 2006) directed by Kamiyama Kenji.


    'Arise' will be animated by Production I.G, and Kise Kazuchika has been chosen as the general director. It was also announced that Ubukata Tow who is known for his novel 'Tenchi Meisatsu', will be in charge of the script and composition, and Cornelius will be in charge of its music. Moreover, the author of the original manga, Shirow Masamune will also participate in the new project.

    No other details on 'Arise' have been revealed at this moment, but a press conference will be held at the Nicofarre in Roppongi on February 12th starting at 6:00 pm. At the press conference, more details including the format of the anime and a teaser will be revealed. There will also be a talk show by its staff members and guests. Reportedly, the press conference will be live broadcast on the official site (here).

    taken from:

    Asiascape announces new Manga Competition 'First Contact'

    Following on the success of Asiascape’s first manga competition, which led to the creation of the ‘Manga in/as Essay-’magazine, is proud to announce its second competition in collaboration with the Political Arts Initiative.

    As before, we seek contributions from manga artists, cartoonists, students, and scholars for an anthology and also for an exhibition (in real and virtual space). Contributions should take the form of a graphic essay; they should interrogate the theme of ‘First Contact,’ be this between humans and aliens, self and other, man and god, lovers, material and spirit. Contributors may interpret this task as creatively, expansively, or parsimoniously as they like: style, genre, and length may all be freely chosen.


    Preference will be given to contributions that seek to explore the impact of First Contact on the politics of knowledge. But any treatment of First Contact will be considered.

    Text may be used if desired (in any language, as appropriate – but please provide English translations), but text is not required. The purpose is to explore the expressive potential of manga. Entries can be accompanied by a textual narration/interpretation, but need not be. Winning contributors will be asked to provide such a transcript ahead of publication.

    Euro 1000 in prizes will be awarded for the best entries.

    Deadline: 31 March 2013

    More information is on the Asiascape website