・Voicing the Other: Post-medium Articulations of Sound and Image in The Arbor / Laura Sava (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
・Style-Based Commentary on Narrative Levels in Anime / Eija Niskanen (University of Helsinki)
・On Moving Grounds: Urban Space and Spiritual Materialism in Chrome Shelled Regios / Christophe Thouny (The University of Tokyo)
Chair and discussant: Keisuke Kitano (Ritsumeikan University)
Voicing the Other: Post-medium Articulations of Sound and Image in The Arbor / Laura Sava (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
I propose to explore the post-medium condition in cinema via an analysis of the sound-image relations in Clio-Barnard’s 2010 film The Arbor. The film combines fragments of archival footage, lip-synched interviews and an open-air theatre staging in order to produce a complex intermedial meditation on the intersection between document and artistic experiment. The cinematic medium has long been understood to be composite and dual-track, or, in the words of Rosalind Krauss, characterized by the ‘additive condition of the soundtrack’s audio edge running along the celluloid strip of images’ (‘Two Moments from the Post-Medium Condition’). The sound-image split is constitutive of the medium but also ideologically concealed through synchronization. The Arbor brings to the fore this troubled complementarity, all the more relevant in a post-indexical, digital context. Transplanted into cinema, the verbatim technique, a theatrical device, engenders an expressive disjunction between the recorded voice and the performing body that lends itself to the act of hosting the voice, re-opening the subversive gap in the representation. What we see and hear on screen is at the same time presumed to be to some extent historical and adhering to biographical fact (Andrea Dunbar’s life and work), but also patched, refracted and incongruous. I argue that any discussion of the post-medium condition of cinema has to pay heed to the sound-image interaction and that a film such as The Arbor, with its use of radically disruptive techniques, has fruitfully internalized these latest theoretical developments.
Style-Based Commentary on Narrative Levels in Anime / Eija Niskanen (University of Helsinki)
Hosoda Mamoru's Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ、2009) features two co-existing worlds: the real world of the main characters, and OZ, the social networking system where all business and social activities are conducted, and to which every microchip-controlled system in the world is connected. In this anime, the superflat style of OZ co-exists with the Ghibli- style depiction of everyday world, the setting of which is drawn in the Film Commission - aided (in this case that of Ueda, Nagano) detailed realistic style of recent anime. Summer Wars is a central example of recent anime, where the co-existence of different levels of communication are worked as a meta-narrative through different styles of animation, as the central characters have to work their way through a game in the cyperspace.
This kind of meta-narrative depiction of media realities through the involvement o the main characters in cyperspace game-playing is also prevalent in Oshii Mamoru's Avalon (アヴァロン, 2001), where the different levels of game form the film's puzzle: are the realistically depicted Warsow of the last scenes the reality, or the highest level of ”Game Real”?
In my paper, I would claim for the specific ability of game narratives to bring out different meta-narrative levels of commentary on media practices in contemporary society through the variation of film and animation style.
On Moving Grounds: Urban Space and Spiritual Materialism in Chrome Shelled Regios / Christophe Thouny (The University of Tokyo)
Recent Japanese animation based on the light novel form have shown an intriguing concern for the present crisis of urban sovereignty brought about by the rescaling of State formations in a planetary urban space. From Kino no Tabi and Shangri-La to Durara!!, the allegory of the fortress city, a closed space of political practice whose identity is defined by a constant state of crisis when stasis have become the privileged form of representation of the ongoing crisis of urban sovereignty. By discussing the 2006 anime TV series Chrome Shelled Regios, I will argue that the allegory of the fortress-city allows us to engage in a productive dialogue with Ursula K. Heise's recent defense of an eco-cosmopolitanism in a planetary urban space defined by non-linear dynamics, movement, and a continuous state of emergency. Following a young Campbellian hero in a quest for his legendary home, the famed city of Glendan, we encounter a world of moving urban fortresses called Regios, engaged in a double battle against desert monsters and other city states. Movement has become the only form of urban life, materialized in a mystical source of energy, the urban spirit. I will then propose in conclusion to consider the urban spirit as an anime-ic form of mediation that actualizes the planetary urban crisis in terms of a spiritual materialism.