UN/REAL workshop on 11 November 2022
Mr Raditya Nuradi, a Ph.D. student in the IMAP program at Kyushu University, then took the floor to talk about "Spaces of Negotiation: Connecting Narratives and Constructing Realities in Anime Pilgrimage" - or how people share their love for fictional characters to the point of wanting to modify real spaces to look more like their images, even adding bus stop signs where there are no buses in real life, or what should we call that kind of life? Speakers and audience started realizing we were getting in trouble with that slippery word 'real'.
Our third speaker of the day was Mr Max Berghege, a Ph.D. student at the very end of his student days at the University of Wolverhampton, having submitted his thesis right before embarking on his journey to Japan. Max was the driving force behind this workshop, and he also delighted the audience with a fascinating talk "From Immersion to Aspersion: A Transcultural Rethinking of Virtual Reality and Imagining" - in which there was reference again to ambiguity, and layers of ambiguity and in-betweenness, like when you're being attacked by a virtual shark, while worrying about your unlocked bike, a crucial mistake in Amsterdam.
The next speaker in our amazing lineup was Dr Ramona Fotiade from the University of Glasgow, giving a presentation on "Getting to Grips with Reality: Presence, Haunting and Technology in Jacques Derrida and Hitoshi Matsumoto" - on how cinema is an art of ghosts, where we can wake up to (un)reality, as in the movie Symbol, one of Matchan's craziest works (and Matchan's works are pretty crazy), revolving around some kind of deity in a white room with suspicious-looking knobs that allow him to intervene for better or worse in the life of say, Escargot Man, a Mexican pro wrestler.