Jan. 23: Future of Biotope Salon

In this session of the Biotope Salon, the members shared their thoughts about the Salon, as well as their opinions about how the Salon (or other similar informal gatherings) can be organized in the future.

To begin with, Prof. Mizukoshi talked about how the Salon can mean to him.
Firstly, besides the “formal” academic activities such as research conferences or laboratory seminars, one needs some “informal” occasions (such as this Salon) to nourish those still vague and not-so-logical ideas, which are nevertheless the seeds for future intellectual work. Secondly, this Salon can be seen as part of the “colony” or “coral” that consist of several media forms such as magazine, website, salon, and radio station (the last being the latest project of Prof. Mizukoshi, which will be discussed later).

The other members then shared their experience of informal gatherings with academic friends. Lin first talked about a study group in Taiwan, of which the focus is on classical works and the members include retired and young professors as well as graduate students. Son from Korea talked about lunch gatherings among graduate students, in which one person will present his work and receive feedback from the floor. Iwona talked about study groups in Poland that “live and die” from time to time but nevertheless provide opportunities for young professional scholars to get feedback that are more difficult to get in formal settings.

Small sized media colony

Prof. Mizukoshi then revealed his new project: creating a small-sized media colony. One of them is a low powered radio station, of which the broadcasting range will be only around the Fukutake Hall. This radio project has been supported by one radio artist, Hiroki Kehara who has been also running a low powered radio station to explore a new media experience among neighborhood communities. While the range may not be very large, Prof. Mizukoshi believes this is what makes the medium precious.

Mizukoshi has been also working on a new magazine and website. These ideas were inspired by the legendary media artist, Nam June Paik, who demonstrated the importance of having one’s own media to Mizukoshi. This project also echoes Prof. Mizukoshi’s book, titled Media Biotope: Designing Media Ecology. The details of the small-sized media colony are to be worked out.

The next Salon session will be on February 20th.

(Yi-Ren LIN: PhD student of  the GSII)

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