Contemporary artists are increasingly creating works that lack the presence of the human, as if to imagine a posthuman world, a posthumous world, a world without us. Such posthuman use of androids draws attention to the significance of negotiating different states of perception and transcending established value systems to sustain a viable position in a global world. But the human instinct to create images of ourselves is still strong, as we see not only in the androids used in the robot theatre of Ishiguro Hiroshi and Hirata Oriza, but also in such popular virtual idols as Hatsune Miku. Prof. Mari Boyd will situate the new 21st century development in Japanese robot/android theatre in two contexts: first, the karakuri (trick) automata popular from the 17th century and, second, the present national push in branding Japan as a society 5.0, i.e. a technology-based society emerging through the fourth industrial revolution.
Mari Boyd, Sophia University, Tokyo
M. Cody Poulton, University of Victoria, Canada