cute posers (more performativity)
November 1, 2008

I’ve been thinking about and observing social performativities. one of the thinks that caught my attention is the idea of ‘cuteness’, quite an important concept in Japan. to start with, it is what it is. cute means cute. but why I refer to it is because I think in Japan it occupies many spaces: cute is a style, and a way of behaving, a way of singing, a way of designing posters and using furry little mascots in every metro publicity, cute is using drawings instead of pictures, cute is giving characters big eyes and small bodies. in Japan they have words for cute: kawai, moé, and cute itself, of course. in Japan, male escorts (I’m not sure if they are prostitutes all the way) are slender, elegant, dressed and made up, and somehow feminin. my friend Dex says that way they are not threatening. my impression is that in Japan both girls and women generally like to pose as girls. a lot of them walk a clumsy walk, with knees rotated inwards, wearing high heels but constantly tripping over them. I am quite sure it is a fashion (and a sexual stereotype) rather than a generalized postural deficit (and: a fashion that might be rapidly increasing the ammount of women with postural problems). the idea, I suspect, is to look cute.

so, trying to get somewhere from all that ranting, though the whole cute thing doesn’t completely work for me, I am fascinated by how it works in groups, by it’s acceptance (or something like that). I try to be more clear: I think everyone sees it as a pose, but the cool thing (really cool social code?) is that everyone is cool about it. one poses as cute, and another one who poses as something else (we are all posers, right?) celebrates the cuteness of the first one. I find it surprising that different groups or characters don’t seem to define themselves (at least not so much) in opposition or conflict with others… is that very democratic?

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once again struggling for continuity – and further: the workshop issue gets more clear…
September 13, 2008

these couple of days have been quite hectic and intense. to start with, wednesday and thursday were still my jetlag and tiredness days. I managed to lose the directions on how to get back home, I forgot to write down the adress, I missed the last bus, I got lost in the neighbourhood about 7 times, I ‘misplaced’ the key to my hosts’ house while running (which costed some 45′ extra of walking the same path over and over to try to find it)…

so the thing is that, besides my constant praying to Saint Guy Debord to help me find my way through Narita Nishi Ichi, I was lucky to be staying with very generous and caring people who supported me even on my darkest hour (“oh, and Virginia… I’ve also lost already the key you gave me…”). and I was also lucky to meet with Shiho, who has been extremely dedicated and helpful. so last night, when I came back home with a brand new adaptor to charge my computer and pda batteries, and finally managed to connect to the internet at home (after trying hopelessly in 5 or 6 different spots of the city), I started feeling a little bit more in place.

yesterday I briefly visited the Shinjuku area, kind of a banking and commercial center. I had to change trains there, but I also took the opportunity to go into an electronics shop and to walk around the area. then I met with Shiho, and I got to see the Ochanomizu University facilities. we went into a studio together and each of us worked on its own… I tried out different little things, trying to clarify my mind on what and how will I teach during the workshop… and I wasn’t very succesful. but it was good to start getting back in touch with my body, and to try to recall some systematic work. and to define (or, actually, to find out) that the workshop will be a one day three hour session. I will continue preparing it, and when I’m sure that I can’t change my mind on it, I will write down what it will be about. So probably after the workshop (which, I also found out, will be next thursday, 18/9).