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Technology and the Mediation of Place

by Sanchia de Souza last modified Apr 05, 2011 04:37 AM
Talk by Emma Ota

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Mar 28, 2009
from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore

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(+91) 080 4092 6283

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When mediated space surrounds us and our sense of place is increasingly constructed through technology, how do we locate ourselves? Challenging notions of location and locality, Emma Ota will present an overview of two years of research into the mediation of place through technology and the developments of media art in Asia.

We carry many locations with us, virtual, physical, psychological and cultural locations which have a complex relation to each other; this presentation will consider the impact of new media upon the construction of these locations and how they interact with each other, as these technologies increasingly become part of the reality of our located experience, no longer separate apparatus, not merely a portal to elsewhere but part of our encounter of place.

When identity, community and culture are formulated upon mediated experiences we are led back to Benjamin’s discussion of the loss of aura, debating what meaning can still lie in the original; yet, arguably, such an original state has never existed, all phenomena encountered and assimilated through one form of mediation or another. But to be mediated is to transform and, as Heidegger has demonstrated, technology presents an enframing of its content, which may lead to new revealings but also a loss of that which lies beyond the frame. We have perhaps reached a stage where we can no longer comment upon mediated localities, but must turn to the localities of mediation.

These are just some of the critical debates which Ota has been investigating in her research. While pursuing theoretical research into this topic, Ota has also followed studies in Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia in an examination of new media art provision and development in East/South East Asia. Interviewing artists, curators, theorists etc. over the course of a year, a large body of documentation has been accumulated which will be presented as a small glimpse into the new media condition of the region.


Emma Ota is a curator and researcher based in Tokyo, the Director of Dislocate, Project for Art, Technology and Locality, and a Researcher at Musashino Art University, Department of Visual Imaging and Sciences. Her practices focus upon media arts and international exchange. She has worked for the media arts organization Trampoline, based in Germany and the UK and co-curated the Radiator Festival for Art and Technology in 2005. She initiated the project Traversing Territories, fostering collaboration between students and young artists in Japan and the UK (which has since continued annually). In 2006 she established the project Dislocate for art, technology and locality which brings together international artists and experts in the discussion and debate of the role of new media in relation to our surrounding environment.

Ota is guest curator at Ginza Art Lab, an independent artist run space and was also co-curator of Space Rabi Adesso, Koenji in 2008. Ota is highly concerned with promoting international cross-cultural communication between children and is co-founder of Inter-play, an organization which runs collaborative workshops and projects between children in Japan and other countries around the world.

Other projects have included ‘The Moon’, a groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition of Japanese and UK artists held in the historic gardens of Kodaiji Temple, Kyoto, and ‘A Gift to Those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling’, an artist in residency exchange project with participant artists Erika Tan (UK) and Mio Shirai (Japan).

As a researcher Ota is investigating the development of media arts in Asia and its relation to specific social and cultural contexts, in particular ideas of place, these investigations have led her to China, Korea, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. For more information please see and

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