Ambient Media: Japanese Atmospheres of Self by Paul Roquet

By Paul Roquet

Ambient Media examines tune, video artwork, movie, and literature as instruments of atmospheric layout in modern Japan, and what it ability to take advantage of media as a source for private temper law. Paul Roquet lines the emergence of ambient types from the environmental track and Erik Satie increase of the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies to the newer healing emphasis on therapeutic and relaxation.

Focusing on how an environment works to reshape these living inside of it, Roquet exhibits how ambient aesthetics delivers affordances for reflective waft, rhythmic attunement, embodied safety, and concrete coexistence. Musicians, video artists, filmmakers, and novelists in Japan have accelerated on Brian Eno’s idea of the ambient as a method producing “calm, and an area to think,” exploring what it capability to domesticate an ambivalent tranquility set opposed to the doubtful horizons of an ever-shifting social panorama. providing a brand new manner of figuring out the emphasis on “reading the air” in eastern tradition, Ambient Media records either the adaptive and the alarming facets of the expanding deployment of mediated moods.

Arguing opposed to opinions of temper rules that see it basically as a sort of social pacification, Roquet makes a case for figuring out ambient media as a neoliberal reaction to older modes of collective attunement—one that permits the oblique shaping of social habit whereas additionally permitting members to believe like they're those eventually in control.


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While insightfully diagnosing the incompatibility of BGM sentimentality with the lonely space crusader, Akiyama replaces it with an ambivalent proposal to do away with emotional considerations entirely. While for Akiyama and many of his circle this lack of sentimentality was key to the music of the future, for many would-be listeners—including visitors to Expo ’70 a few years later—the lack of attention to human feeling made the new music just as off-putting as the older forms of BGM, if not more so.

The noise corridor of Shuto Route 3, Tokyo, as seen from Roppongi Hills. Image by itoshin87/Wikimedia Commons (public domain). effectively transformed my relation to the existing environment, regularizing its rhythms and softening its contours by sifting it through the music streaming at low volume through my headphones.  . 3 Under the music’s influence, I could hear the highway not as an endless roar of combustion engines and scraping tires but as something closer to the relaxing sound of waves breaking on the seashore—a sound acoustically similar to the indirect echoes of the raised highway but with emotional associations far more calming in effect.

He was one of the founding members of the influential Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop) in 1951 and in the early sixties participated in the Fluxus movement in New York before returning to Tokyo middecade to help start the Environment Society. Akiyama repeatedly published essays in the 1950s and 1960s warning against the dangers of emotional manipulation in commercial background music, which for him represented a threat to both art and culture. 24 He begins by emphasizing his general disdain for design as a field of activity and the way it has—in recent decades at least—functioned mainly as a tool of commercialism.

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