Initial D: The Movie

Waiting with absolute anticipation for the Initial D live action movie (check out the second trailer for some awesome Tokyo pop tunes and Japanese popular culture outside the regular fetished ‘other’ we see on popular current affairs shows!) to come out on DVD in Australia this week. Initial D has a massive following in Japan and around the world. It was originally a manga, that became an anime tv series and is now a live action film.

Plot Summary: High school student Takumi Fujiwara is a gas boy by day and delivery boy by night, transporting tofu uphill on the twisting Mt. Akina highway in his father’s Toyota Sprinter AE86 Trueno. Street racers Ryousuke Takahashi and Takeshi Nakazato take notice of Takumi’s outstanding drifting skills after he overtakes Nakazato on his way home. Soon, other racers like Kyouichi Sudou and Seiji Iwaki of the team Emperor challenge Takumi to see who the best street racer is in the Gunma Prefecture.

The interesting thing about the Initial D franchise and central concept is that the main character, Takumi, has the skills of street racing before he becomes a street racer. His habitus has already incorporated the necessary gestures and apparatus of perception for motor racing. What is absent is an enthusiasm for racing. This is the inversion of the normal “regime of passage” for the precipitation of the ‘enthusiasm-event’. The enthusiasm is normally manifest first in a desire to inhabit a world constructed through images, fantasy and an actual reality to which one doesn’t belong. Thus forcing one to be part of a new world, which includes oneself as an enthusiast.

In Initial D, Takumi is suffering from a bout of nilhism. He doesn’t understand what is so exciting about street racing or driving in a certain way because he has been doing it for a long time. He can already inhabit the world of street racing enthusiasts as a ‘god’ (yes, very Japanese!), but he doesn’t understand why he should…

Excited!

Networking, Wark’s Media Events

With the CSAA conference next week and all the ‘networking’ that is meant to happen, I thought I would post this link to a resource on McKenzie Wark’s old UQ webspace: “Networking on the Network” by Phil Agre.

I bought Wark’s global media events book yesterday in the secondhand Gleebooks. What I have read of it last night looks kind of interesting. I am not that much of a big fan of pure media studies (that is, studies that look at media as a self-contained ‘pirate’ milieu that hijacks reality from the ‘real world’ and doubling the reality as ‘media’, thus providing a space of investigation for media scholars). If Wark’s book looks at the gap between a state of affairs and the language used to denote such a state of affairs (ie the Deleuzian conception of events from TLoS), then I may be more interested. I decided to buy it after being triggered by this article co-written by my favourite Melbournian academic of angry, Christian McCrea. McCrea and Felicity Colman let fly the phrases of fury in a ninja zombie attack of gesture around the cult studs maypole. The physicality of the maypole metaphor captures some sense of the affective dimension of enthusiasm that I suggested was lacking from the critical dimension of Stelarc’s performances (while I now admit that Stelarc’s performances in themselves are highly affective).

While doing a little online loitering I found this interesting article on the X-Files by Wark. He writes:

“The X-Files is an allegory of the way Americans see themselves and their place in the world. If Star Trek reflects American imperial optimism of the post war years, the X-Files talks to an American people soured by the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal. It speaks to an American public for whom the centre does not hold, who are completely cynical about the grand narratives of American empire and progress and righteousness. It draws on the residual, marginal popular cultures of the far left and far right.”

This needs updating. The obvious catalysing point is 9/11 as I have written about here. I wonder if I could get a short article published somewhere comparing the pre-9/11 X-Files to the post-9/11 CSI through a comparison of the way they construct and discuss ‘truth’…? Hmmm…

Badiou on French Riots

Alain Badiou on the French riots (via Steve of the “Lyotard, Badiou, Event” email list):

What makes a country is not where one comes from but what one does together within it and what one wants to do with it. It is the present and the future that unite, not the past. When one does something, it is not enough to say what one is against, who one is addressing and why. One must not just have a vision of the adversary, but also a vision of oneself, otherwise one traces what one is from the adversary and one remains in his game, in his space. A political capacity at a distance from the state is therefore more than ever the crucial question. These questions have been put on the agenda for everyone today by the youth riots.