Tag Archives: aesthetics

Dispatches from a Heterotopia

Cuba did not turn into a socialist utopia. But whatever it has become, it is certainly not a time capsule as it has often been suggested. Instead, the Caribbean nation represents an alternative reality, one that is surreally augmented by vivid color hues and the sound of crowing roosters. This is a place where humans can once again be in touch with their inner senses. In this place, the color choices of everyday objects from clothing to cars are not mediated by the aesthetic regimes set by designers and corporations. The use of public spaces, too, is not dictated by automobiles and urban planners. Even dilapidated buildings are being utilized in ways that radical architects could not have imagined. The expression of “Cuba Libre,” hence, takes on a new significance. But, of course, as twenty-first century tourists, we are no longer humans but posthumans. We are therefore having difficulties to make sense of it all.

Meanwhile, with the arrival of global capital, one wonders how long could this last before Cuba “finally” joins the “real world” in the name of creating a utopia of consumption. Viva Cuba Libre!

 

Posted in Ruins Also tagged , , , |

Japan Lost and Found

We like to imagine Japan as a clean and technologically savvy society. Yet, little known to the outside world is a burgeoning subculture of visiting abandoned factories, mines, theme parks, and resorts that have been left behind by Japan’s bubble economy or the so-called “Lost Decade” of the 1990s. How do we make sense of this “haikyo mania” (ruin mania) practiced by Japanese ruins aficionados? My book chapter, “Japan Lost and Found: Modern Ruins as Debris of the Economic Miracle,” in the newly published Introducing Japanese Popular Culture (edited by Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade) examines this local phenomenon in a wider global context.

20% discount available – enter the code FLR40 at checkout

www.routledge.com/9781138852105

Posted in Publication, Exhibition & Media, Ruins Also tagged , , |

When Art Meets Scholarship in the Age of Digital Production

In a recent interview with Dissertation Reviews, I chat about my various visual art ventures and how they interact with my scholarship…  >>> READ MORE >>>

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Posted in Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |