Porting Media: Asia (2015)



J.A. De Sève Cinema, McConnell Library Building, LB-125
1400 Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
15 May 2015
4:00-6:30 PM

LAIKWAN PANG (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
The Social, the Private, and the Political: The Use of Social Media in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

This presentation begins with the way Hannah Arendt theorizes the terms the “social,” the “private,” and the “political,” and it proceeds by juxtaposing Arendt’s political theory with the specific happenings in Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement. The aim of this paper is to understand the interaction between the private and the political in spontaneous political movements such as the Umbrella Movement, and the focus on social media sheds lights on the movement as a process instead of a product, as a temporary port instead of the final destination. It also helps us understand the movement beyond a narrowly defined campaign for universal suffrage, but it is also a gala for a new generation to make themselves seen and heard against the status quo.

THOMAS LAMARRE (McGill University)

Everyday Media Comportment: Living Between Infrastructure

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 is a James McGill Professor in East Asian Studies and Associate in 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), to silent cinema and the global imaginary (Shadows on the Screen) and animation technologies (The Anime Machine). He has also edited volumes concerning 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, volumes on manga, anime, and fan cultures. He is a participant in a Canadian Foundation Innovation grant to construct at Moving Image Research Laboratory.

Laikwan Pang is Professor of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is the author of The Distorting Mirror: Visual Modernity in China (University of Hawaii Press, 2007) and Cultural Control and Globalization in Asia: Copyright, Piracy, and Cinema (Routledge, 2006). Her latest work, Creativity and Its Discontents: China’s Creative Industries and Intellectual Property Rights Offenses (Duke University Press, 2012) about the Creative Economy and Intellectual Property Rights offenses taking place in China, demonstrates that the proliferation of piracy and counterfeiting in today’s China opens the door to a new understanding of the logic of late capitalism. She is now working on two new research projects, related to China’s Cultural Revolution and Hong Kong’s independent film culture.


Moonim Baek is a Professor of Korean language and literature at Yonsei University. She is the author of Zoom-Out: Politics of Korean Cinema (2001), Crippled Daughters of Chunhyang (2001), Figural Images (2004), Scream under the Moon: Korean Horror Film History through Female Ghosts (2008), and Im Hwa’s Cinema (2015). She recently edited a volume called Choseon Cinema and Hollywood (2014) that examines the vernacularization of Hollywood during the colonial period. Her next publication plans are on the visual anthropology and ethnography of Asian colonial cinemas and on masculinity in contemporary Korean cinema.

Weihong Bao is Assistant Professor of Film & Media and East Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Fiery Films: The Emergence of an Affective Medium in China, 1915-1945 (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and is currently working on a few research projects, including the geopolitics of film theory, the historical interaction between cinema and theater, and cultural constructions of secrecy as media theory and history.

Jasper Bernes is the author of a book of poems, Starsdown (2007), and is currently completing a book of literary history, The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization, about the role poetry and art played in the postindustrial restructuring of labor. His poems have appeared in Lana TurnerThe American ReaderThe Capilano ReviewHi ZeroPrelude, and elsewhere, while his essays on logistics, contemporary politics, and political economy can be found in venues such as The New InquiryLARBEndnotes, and Viewpoint. He lives in Berkeley with his family and teaches in the English Departments at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. His long poem, We Are Nothing and So Can You, will be published by Commune Editions this summer.

Michelle Cho is a Korea Foundation Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at McGill University, Montreal. She is completing a book entitled The Disenchantment of the Global: Post-millennial South Korean Cinema, which analyzes the form and function of South Korean genre cinemas in the “Sunshine Policy” decade.

Kay Dickinson is Associate Professor of Film Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Arab Cinema Travels: Syria, Palestine, Dubai, and Beyond and recently completed a co-edited anthology: The Arab Avant-Garde: Musical Innovation in the Middle East (Wesleyan University Press, 2013).

Yuriko Furuhata is Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and a faculty member of the World Cinemas Program at McGill University, Montreal. She is the author of Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (Duke University Press, 2013,) and is currently working on a book exploring the historical connections between Japanese expanded cinema and video art, multimedia environments, and security technologies.

Kajri Jain is Associate Professor of Indian Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Gods in the Bazaar: the Economies of Indian Calendar Art (Duke University Press, 2007). Her current research builds her on earlier work on contemporary religious imagery in India and its interface with vernacular business cultures.

Sang-gil Lee is Professor of Cultural Studies at the Graduate School of Communication & Arts at Yonsei University in Korea. Some of his recent publications include Socio-Cultural history of Korean Broadcasting (editor, Seoul: Hanul Press, 2011) and “Oral Life Histories of 5 Female Cultural Producers in the Earlier Korean Broadcasting” (2011). Currently he is preparing a book manuscript in Korean about the sociology of Bourdieu.

Eng-Beng Lim is Assistant Professor of Sexuality Studies in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias (NYU, 2014). He is currently working on two book-length studies, one on the visual and performative interplay of boy harems as a form of sensate queerness, and the other on the assembly of transnational performance through the global university complex, botanical performance, and large-scale theatrical adaptations of world authors

Xiao Liu is Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at McGill University, Montreal. She published essays on parody videos, the political economy of artistic appropriation and contemporary blockbusters in venues such as Journal of Chinese Cinemas and the anthology China’s iGeneration. She is currently completing a book that examines the transformations in media practices and aesthetics in relation to the cybernetic and information discourses in post-Mao late 1970s and 1980s China.

Thomas Looser is associate professor of East Asian Studies at New York University. He is the author of Visioning Eternity: Aesthetics, Politics, and History in the Early Modern Noh Theater (Ithaca: Cornell University East Asia Book Series, 2008), and “The Global University, Area Studies, and the World Citizen: Neoliberal Geography’s Redistribution of the ‘World,’” in Cultural Anthropology Vol. 27 No.1, Feb. 2012, among other works.

Joshua Neves is Assistant Professor in Film Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. He has published in Social TextDiscourse, Film Quarterly, Sarai, Cinema Journal, and the Media Fields Journal, among others. He is currently editing a collection (with Bhaskar Sarkar) examining Asian Video Cultures for Duke University Press, and completing a book manuscript exploring the role of media technologies in shaping urbanism, development, and political society in Olympic era China.

Amit Rai is Senior Lecturer in New Media and Communication at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Rule of Sympathy: Race, Sentiment, and Power (Palgrave, 2002). Rai is also author of Untimely Bollywood: Globalisation and India’s New Media Assemblage (Duke University Press, 2009). He was recently in India on a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship diagramming the perceptual mutations involved in gender identity and mobile phone networks in urban areas.

Marc Steinberg is Associate Professor in Film Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. He is the author of award-winning book, Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan (University of Minnesota Press, 2012). He is co-editing a volume on Media Theory in Japan (under contract with Duke University Press) as well as working on examining the formation of digital platforms for content distribution in Japan, South Korea and North America.

Tae-jin Yoon is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Communication and Arts in Yonsei University, Korea. He recently published an article titled “Game playing as transnational cultural practice: A case study of Chinese gamers and Korean MMORPGs” (co-authored with Hyejung Cheon, 2014). His research topics include digital games/gamers, television dramas, fandom, and subculture.


Friday, 15 May 2015


Laikwan Pang, “The Social, the Private, and the Political: The Use of Social Media in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement”

Thomas Lamarre, “Everyday Media Comportment: Living Between Infrastructure”

Saturday, 16 May 2015

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PANEL 1: Informality

Amit Rai, “Porting Affects, Embedding Timescales: Diagramming Ecologies of Sensation in India’s Digital Cultures”

Joshua Neves, “Porting the South: Piracy and/as Political Society”

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM LUNCH

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM PANEL 2: Logistics

Eng-Beng Lim, “Future Island: Architecture, Infrastructure, and Queer Discipline”

Kay Dickinson, “Every Port in a Storm: A Logistics, Re-Exportation and Free Zoning of Cinema”

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM COFFEE BREAK

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM PANEL 3: Mediation

Kajri Jain, “Gods in the Time of Automobility”

Yuriko Furuhata, “Pre-Medium Condition: The Geopolitics of Japanese Expanded Cinema in the 1960s-1970s”

Sunday, 17 May 2015

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PANEL 4: Performance

Weihong Bao, “Staging in the Age of Mass Mobility: Hong Shen and the Porting of Social Effects”

Michelle Cho, “Porting Politics: The Cosmo-logics of ‘Hip Hop for the World’”

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM LUNCH

1:30 PM – 4:15 PM PANEL 5: (Im)Portability

Xiao Liu, “The Curious Case of a Robot Doctor: Labor, Artificial Intelligence, and the Interface”

Sang-gil Lee and Tae-jin Yoon, “Watching Moving Images on Mobile Devices: Experiences of Youth in Seoul”

Marc Steinberg, “Im-portable Media”

4:15 PM – 4:30 PM COFFEE BREAK

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM ROUNDTABLE: Porting Asia


Organizing Committee

Dr. Michelle Cho, East Asian Studies, McGill University
Dr. Kay Dickinson, Film Studies, Concordia University
Dr. Yuriko Furuhata, East Asian Studies, McGill University
Dr. Joshua Neves, Film Studies, Concordia University
Dr. Marc Steinberg, Film Studies, Concordia University

Conference Research Assistants

Beatriz Bartolomé Herrera, Film Studies, Concordia University
Weixian Pan, Film Studies, Concordia University
Pooja Sen, Art History, McGill University


Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts
Concordia University Office of Research
Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG)
McGill University
Korea Foundation
Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies
Global Emergent Media Lab