Review for Week 10

 “Shifting Futures,” micha cárdenas

Invisible to visible, this idea is very interesting. As Cárdenas points out although the world tends to focus on the technology of visible to invisible, we also need the technology which makes invisible facts visible. For example the technology of making people in majority recognize the actual situation of minority people.

Quotations below are from Passing.

“Passing is a technique of modulating visibility in order to be perceived as belonging to a particular category, and there is an extensive body of literature on racial passing.”

“Passing is gesture that brings the contemporary racialized trans subject into an analogous relationship with the flickering digital signifier, where the performative utterance of making one’s body be read in a certain way reveals both its mutability and reveals that one’s body can be a sign with more than one signifier, like the digital image.”

“Passing is not simply a question of being or becoming visible or invisible, but instead a question of attaining a particular form of visibility.”

“Passing involves both the modulation of visibility by the person who is passing but also the reception of that image by the viewer who makes a decision about whether or not a person fits into a particular category.”

“As passing relies on the judgement of an observer, its usefulness for a racial or gender coalition politics must be questioned. If our value to each other is defined by our passing status, we are leaving our political definitions in the hands of those who may wish us harm”


The white skinned cyborg which turns into a brown skinned woman in The Shift shows the “shift from inhuman to human,” which shows transgender (or non-conforming) people of color are neglected as if they are less than human (Passing).

“Yet the modulation of visibility is not only a form of resistance, it is also a form of oppression” (Necropower, Opacity and Movement).

“These modes of being between visible and invisible have particular relevance for contemporary necropolitical situations which seek to restrict movement in order to ensure death for trans people of color” (Code Poetry Library, Conclusion).


 Elizabeth Lapenseé, Survivance

I played THE CORE VALUES QUEST from Survivance. I was asked to think of 10 core values for me, and eventually pick only one among them. My result was love, which was actually surprising to me. When I compared love with the other options I came up with, I thought if we have love, we can overcome everything. For example, health was one of my options. Maybe you can’t heal your cancer with love, but if you don’t feel love, you will get sick because your mind status influences on your health. And even if you are severely sick, if you feel love, it is better than being healthy but feeling no love at all, in my opinion. For another example, family was my last second option. I thought family is important because I love them, but if there is no love between me and my family, it is better to “make kin” with other people as the previous reading suggests. Thus, I think love (or empathy or kin in another word) is the best core value.


Blast Theory, Ulrike and Eamon Compliant

The significant point of this game is, “They probe for the inconsistencies in your stance and the gap between your ideals of social engagement and the reality of your lifestyle.” Indeed, it is easy to say “we should” or “we should not”, but it is difficult to take an action in actual life. It shows how important taking an action is.


Review for Week 9

 Mainichi, Dys4ia (info about the game heredownload for macdownload for win)


It was interesting to play games which show someone’s personal experience. I have never imagined that a game can be a tool to show one’s own experience. I could see how she (ze?) felt about being transgender mentally and physically through these games. Although I do not know them personally, I now feel more familiar with transgender people. When I played Mainichi, I found myself avoiding walking the crowded street for the second time because it was annoying to hear people whispering about me and be abused for an unreasonable reason. I now can imagine how often transgender people feel annoyed or depressed in their daily life because of people’s bias and discrimination. I have been learning how major video games have shown stereotyped and biased gender roles, and used tropes of women in another class at UWB. In most games, female characters are kidnapped and just wait for the hero to help her, or are murdered to give the hero a good reason to revenge. I believe there should be more games like Mainichi and Dys4ia and games which break stereotype and bias of gender roles.

Review for Week 8

Octavia’s Brood, pp. 123-135, 249-283
Lalibela / Gabriel Teodros
Children who fly / Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Star Wars and the American imagination / Mumia Abu-Jamal

These three stories above tell us two significant points. One is that we human beings are destroying environment, which leads to our own death. The other is people are misbelieving that they are doing right (or trying not to see the truth they are doing wrong). Abu-Jamal points out that Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are one. And says, “For generations, Americans have declined to define themselves as imperialists,” “We were for freedom. We were for self-determination. We were good. We were white (mostly)” (257). Similar thing can be said to Japanese people as well. No, not only Americans and Japanese, but also people in stronger countries. It is hard to admit that we have been wrong, especially in the case of politics because governments are seeking their profit. We, however, HAVE TO admit and stop being wrong. Our humanity has been tested. And hopes of our humanity are written in the story below, The Only Lasting Truth.


The Only Lasting Truth / Tananarive Due

“(T)he only lasting truth is change” (262). Since everything changes, what we need to do is make sure that we are changing better not worse in terms of humanity. In that way, we can have a hope.

“I saw her in disagreements but never heated arguments, never heard her raise her voice, and the only weapon she raised was her pen” (263). I want to be like her. I often become too emotional, but I should be calm because I think it’s more convincing if I’m calm.

“For Butler, the highest goal of humanity is survival by any means necessary, but mainly by accepting difference and acknowledging the inevitability and omnipotence of CHANGE” (265). Accepting difference is definitely vital for our better future.

“Black Americans as a collective are also among the most powerful and affluent Blacks in the world. We too were ultimately the beneficiaries of slavery” (274).

Also, the story of Octavia’s death made me think that I should write a letter to my grandmother in Japan who is becoming 93 in next month as soon as possible.


“I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess”, Jasbir K. Puar

To be honest, I still do not really understand what the main point of this article is even after reading four times. Thus, I write my response regarding what I understand so far. Puar the author says, “One productive way of approaching this continental impasse would be to ask not necessarily what assemblages are, but rather, what assemblages do,” “assemblages are interesting because they de-privilege the human body as a discrete organic thing” (57). I understand this as human bodies are not special but what they do matters. When we think of what we human beings have done to our planet, human beings are the worst creatures in the world. Although I still do not understand why Haraway said she would rather be a cyborg than a goddess, I would say I would rather be a cat than a cyborg or goddess.

“intersectional critique has both intervened in the legal and capitalist structures” (62).


With $1 million at stake, U. of Missouri’s president now taking protests seriously

I cannot believe what the former president of University of Missouri did in order to cut costs even though universities are places to provide “higher education.” This is very sad but true that many people in authority take an action only when money is involved. If they think they will lose or gain a lot of money, then they move. Thus, if the football players in University of Missouri did not join the protest, the president would have just ignored Butler’s hunger strike. But Butler’s hunger strike moved the football players and many other students. Thus, even one person’s action is not meaningless.

This article made me think of my universities, UW and Waseda University in Japan. I prefer the environment and classes of UW, and thus I transferred to UW from Waseda. However, the tuition for international students is three times more than students in Washington state, and moreover, there is no scholarship for international students. Fortunately, my parents support me with finance but I must pay them back after I graduate and get a job. UW reduced tuition for instate students but increased for graduate, international and out-of-state students this year.[1] I really wish there was scholarship for international students as Chen, a Chinese graduate student at UW, says (The Daily 2015). In contrast, Waseda, my former university, provides a lot of scholarship for international students. I had received the highest scholarship for national students who have both financial issue and good grade from Waseda, but even the highest scholarship did not cover all of my tuition (it covered 60%). However, Waseda provides free tuition and even living expenses for some international students. I understand that there is a big level gap between UW and Waseda, but still I feel not good although I am not sure which university is unfair. I am probably just unlucky about tuition because since when I started studying abroad last year, Japanese yen dropped rapidly, which has kept being low, and since when I transferred to UWB, the tuition increased. I just hope when I get a job, US dollar will not drop so that I can pay my tuition back to my parents soon.

[1] The Daily


As death threats spread fear at Mizzou, professor asks students to defeat ‘bullies’ and attend class

I am disappointed with what the professor said to his students via email. He decided to hold an exam even though there were death threats to Black students. I wonder if he still did the same even if there was a threat of terrorist attack or school shooting against white people.

I also wonder how the former president of University of Missouri and the guy who was arrested by threatening black students are doing now. I think they are still racists. I do not think they reflected on what they did. Probably, they regret what they did because it caused them to resign or being arrested but I do not think they regret what they did in terms of humanity. To lessen racism we need to accept difference and respect others.


Review for Week 6

Octavia’s Brood

The Token Superhero, the river, Evidence, Black Angel, Small and Bright, In Spite of Darkness, Hollow

One common thing in all of these stories above is that there is something bigger, stronger, and more powerful than the characters in the stories: racism, God, invaders, the Perfects, etc. In most of the stories characters are struggling or fighting against their enemies or something bigger than them. All the stories except Evidence are depressing or gloomy but all of them leave hope somehow. I personally liked The Token Superhero and Evidence because both stories show us that even if we cannot see the outcome immediately when we try to change the world, it surely has some impact and influence on the world regardless how big it is. It encourages me to take an action even if I feel I am powerless. This book gives readers a good opportunity to think of racism, what has happened or is happening to vulnerable people, possible futures, how we should change the world, and so on.

“A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”, Donna Haraway

“The cyborg is resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity” (292).

Cyborgs are “illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism” (293).

Haraway the author writes the new technologies made the homework economy possible and succeeded to attack on privileged men’s’ unionized jobs. I have a question on this. Is it a good idea to attack on someone privileged? I do not think so. As I wrote in my previous review, I believe that hate leads to another hate. Thus, attacking on privileged people brings hate and another attack. Also, I previously questioned that if it is necessary to “frame” everything in my other review. I think framing itself makes a barrier even if you “reframe” into what you think is in a good way. Therefore, it is better to make ‘everyone’s job’ equally safe than to attack ‘privileged people’s job.’

I like the idea of Haraway, “we can learn from our fusions with animals and machines how not to be Man, the embodiment of Western logos” (310). This idea will give us an opportunity to think of ourselves objectively, what we are. I also believe humans must learn from animals because they do not care what color other animals are and they can accept other race, for example, some dogs accept cats, birds, rabbits, not to mention humans. Why cannot people accept other races? Why do they fight against foreigners? The obvious answers are capitalism and politics, and because they we are selfish and greedy.

I am not sure the author’s definition of cyborg. I thought the words, machines, cyborgs, androids get closer to human beings from left to right. And the word, robots include all of them. Machines are robots which do not have human forms, cyborgs are robots which have human forms but not intelligence, and androids are robots which have both human forms and intelligence, which are what I have assumed. It seems, however, that the author thinks cyborgs have human intelligence as well because Rachel the replicant from the film Blade Runner is written as an example of a fear of cyborg culture, love and confusion. I watched this film. Rachel and other replicants have a great intelligence and feelings as well.

There is a shocking phrase to me in this article, “A cyborg body is not innocent” (315). A cyborg body represents political and social intention. It was born with a certain purpose. Haraway insists that exploiting the image of cyborgs can show what is daily activity and experience, and also argues, “the production of universal, totalizing theory is a major mistake that misses most of reality” and “taking responsibility for the social relations of science and technology means refusing an anti-science metaphysics, a demonology of technology, and so means embracing the skillful task of reconstructing the boundaries of daily life, in partial connection with others, in communication with all of our parts” (316).

“Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin”,

 Donna Haraway

“Right now, the earth is full of refugees, human and not, without refuge” (160). This is so true that we must consider what we should and can do to solve this problem seriously.

“Make Kin Not Babies!” is a great idea although I personally think that we still need to make babies as well (maybe this does not mean “don’t make babies” but “make kin not by making babies”). Befriending, adopting kids (as well as animals) who need to refuge or were abandoned, or helping others, anything is okay. I believe that kin-making with others will help the world become a more peaceful and fair world.

Review for Week 5

“Race and/as Technology or How to do Things With Race”, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, from the book Race After the Internet edited by Lisa Nakamura and Peter Chow-White

Race as technology? I have never thought of that. According to this article, “race as technology” now focuses how of race, not what of race, and doing race, not knowing race.

“Most importantly, understanding race and/as technology enables us to frame the discussion around ethics rather than ontology, on modes of recognition and relation, rather than being” (39).

“In the United States, racist theories maintained the contradiction at the heart of the nation’s founding, that of all men being created equal and black slaves counting as three-fifths human” (40).
=> People are opportunists.

Henry Louis Gates Jr argues that using language more carefully can fix racism problem. The author insists, “the best way to combat racism is to offer more realistic portrayals of ‘raced others’ and to produce media critiques that expose the fallacies of racial thinking” (42).
I really agree with this idea although I’m not sure if it’s the best way. I also want to produce this kind of media critiques.

“if online communications threaten to submerge users in representation – if they threaten to turn users into media spectacles – high-tech Orientalism allows people to turn a blind eye to their own vulnerability and to enjoy themselves while doing so, to enjoy one’s emasculation” (51).

“the best way to fight racism might not be to deny the existence of race, but to make race do different things” (57). Although I agree with this idea that denying the existence of race is not the solution of racism, I find this author’s suggestion is a bit too vague. Also, although the author insists, “In order to reformulate race, we need also to reframe nature and culture, privacy and publicity, self and collective, media and society,” I wonder how we need to “reframe” and if we really need to ”frame” everything (57).

Review for Week 4

Design in a Time of Crisis

This article made me reacknowlege that today’s society in the world (maybe especially in developed countries) is obsessed with money (or capitalism). Everything is connected to money. Even your private information is a great resource to make money for corporations. Moreover, when I think of design, to be honest, I also think of money; how I can make money with it (which is maybe the reason why I can’t make a good design or maybe just I’m not good enough). Design shouldn’t be for money. It should be to help people or make them happier. Art shouldn’t be judged by anyone. Even if it doesn’t make any money or doesn’t impress anyone, it’s still an art as long as the person who made the art put their soul in it.

“Futuristic Gizmos, Conservative Ideals: On Anachronistic Design”, by Luiza Prado de o. Martins and Pedro j. s. Vieira de Oliveira

Critical design is to cast a question on or make a claim on society or culture. As this article points out, however, if people don’t consider the meaning of the critical design when they make a political decision, critical design is pointless to them.

Speculative Everything, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, p. 1-10, 33-47

“When people think of design, most believe it is about problem solving. Even the more expressive forms of design are about solving aesthetic problems” (2)

=> I am included in this most people.

“it is becoming clear that many of the challenges we face today are unfixable and that the only way to overcome them is by changing our values, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior” (2).

=> This is very sad to admit but I think it’s true.

one possibility for design = “to use design as a means of speculating how things could be—speculative design” (2).

“To find inspiration for speculating through design we need to look beyond design to the methodological playgrounds of cinema, literature, science, ethics, politics, and art; to explore, hybridize, borrow, and embrace the many tools available for crafting not only things but also ideas— fictional worlds, cautionary tales, what-if scenarios, thought experiments, counterfactuals, reductio ad absurdum experiments, prefigurative futures, and so on” (3).

Probable futures = what is likely to happen
Plausible futures = what could happen
Possible futures = links between today’s world and the suggested future
Preferable futures = crosses the probable and plausible; currently determined by the government and companies

“There has been a gradual shift in the United Kingdom from government that looks after the most vulnerable in society to a small government that places more responsibility on individuals to manage their own lives” (8) <= same in Japan

“although no new forms of capitalism have emerged yet, there is a growing desire for other ways of managing our economic lives and the relationship among state, market, citizen, and consumer” (9).

Critical design = “critical thinking, that is, not taking things for granted, being skeptical, and always questioning what is given,” “critical thought translated into materiality. It is about thinking through design rather than through words and using the language and structure of design to engage people” (35).

This article introduces a clock called statistical clock as an example of critical design. The statistical clock tells you the number of fatalities such as plane crush, car accident, or train colliding. Yet, as the author says no one would want to buy the statistical clock because people don’t want to hear sad news always. I find, however, this idea could be useful somehow. Since people can’t stand it if there is no hope, but only grief, they want to ignore stranger’s death as if it has nothing to do with them, or even if they care, it’s a temporary pity. But what if they can’t escape from the fatality? What if they are forced to get involved in the fatality? It is a painful and harsh way to make people consider others’ deaths seriously, but it is true that people can ignore or forget the fatality happening in another country because they think they have nothing to do with it. Thus, it is a good idea to show people the serious situation of other places and other people more frequently, even ‘too often’ to forget about it. If people think they can’t ignore it anymore, there is no way to hide from the depressing fact of the world, they will start considering it as their own issue and take an action to change it. Or showing it by too shocking way will work too. Indeed, for example, after I watched the movie Blood Diamond, which shows conflicts in diamonds trade, I totally lost my desire to have a diamond because the movie was too shocking and too sad. So I don’t want to buy or receive a diamond anymore.

Dark design = “a counterpoint to a form of design that through denial does more harm than good” (43).

Borderlands / La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa
Chapter 1 “The Homeland, Aztlan / El Otro Mexico”

Whose land is the U.S.A? The white from Europe stole the land from Native Americans and Mexicans. They lost their house, family, and even rights because of the invaders.

This kind of territorial issues will never be solved because once they have advantage such as power and wealth, people do not want to lose it. The territorial issues remain incomprehensible in my mind. Japan has, for instance, territorial disputes with South Korea, China, and Russia. All those islands which Japan is arguing that it is Japan’s are, however, originally no one’s. Also, Japan invaded and conquered Hokkaido and Okinawa. But almost all Japanese people are not sorry about the conquering (at least they forget about the fact most of the time) and they don’t think of changing the current status. Even though returning the land is too late to do, we should at least remember and regret the conquering. Discrimination against and refusal of the native tribes must not happen.

12 Horrifying Photos of the Tech Industry Apple Never Wants You to See

This article shows how terrible labor conditions in the factories of Apple are. We must know there are hidden reasons why the product is cheap or affordable although it is hard to choose more expensive one to buy.

I found an article below which introduces a great idea to solve this problem or at least to make people consider it.