Tom Lamarre

October 30, 2015 - 4:00pm

"Everyday Media Comportment: Living between Infrastructures"

This presentation proposes to explore the relations between three distinct yet overlapping infrastructures in contemporary Tokyo: broadcast television, mobile phones or keitai, and the commuter train network. The basic aim is to how consider the lived experience of polarized medial tendencies between and across these infrastructures.

Building on recent studies that explore the continuity (rather than rupture) between broadcast media and mobile social media, I will focus on a basic polarization of tendencies within and across such media — between a one-to-many unidirectional tendency (commonly associated with broadcast) and a point-to-point environmental tendency (usually related to mobile networking) — in order to explore different ways of assembling or “comporting” these tendencies. How are medial tendencies “carried together” in everyday comportments?

While a variety of everyday comportments have arisen between broadcast television and keitai, there are sites and moments where comportment seems to reach a limit, and life across polarized tendencies feel impossible, unworkable. Commuting time in particular is often articulated as the site of such a limit-experience, where comportment is at once all the more necessary due to its apparent impossibility. Considering media comportment in commuter trains also invites a tentative thesis about what is happening in the everyday experiences happening across infrastructures in Tokyo: not the destruction of everyday life but its ongoing transformation into anti-production.

Thomas LAMARRE teaches in East Asian Studies and Communications Studies at McGill University. He is author of books dealing with the history of media, thought, and material culture, with projects ranging from the communication networks of 9th century Japan (Uncovering Heian Japan: An Archaeology of Sensation and Inscription, 2000), to silent cinema and the global imaginary (Shadows on the Screen: Tanizaki Jun’ichirô on Cinema and Oriental Aesthetics, 2005) and animation technologies (The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, 2009). He has also edited volumes on cinema and animation, on the impact of modernity in East Asia, on pre-emptive war, and, as Associate Editor of Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, a number of volumes on manga, anime, and fan cultures: Circuits of Desire (2007), The Limits of the Human (2008), War/Time (2009), Fanthropologies (2010), User Enhancement (2011), Lines of Sight (2012), and Tezuka’s Manga Life (2013). He has recently completed two translations, Kawamata Chiaki’s SF novel Death Sentences and Muriel Combes’s Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual. He is a participant in a Canadian Foundation Innovation grant to construct at Moving Image Research Laboratory.

Research Interests: History of Thought; Animation and Media Theory; Science and Technology Studies; Comparative Philosophy and Cultural Theory

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Location and Address

Conference Room A, University Club