The Background Fantastic: Ambient Fantasy from YouTube to the Metaverse
Committee for Film Studies
Wed, 3/29 · 4:30 pm—6:00 pm · 100 Jones Hall
Join the Committee for Film Studies for the first lecture in our spring 2023 series that brings prominent film scholars into conversation with members of the Princeton community. This event features Paul Roquet, associate professor of media studies and Japan studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“The Background Fantastic: Ambient Fantasy from YouTube to the Metaverse”
What happens when the heightened emotional environments of fantasy fiction and role-playing games are recruited as backdrops for the completion of everyday tasks? This talk examines the prominent role of fantasy settings in the spread of YouTube ‘ambience’ and ‘study with me’ videos, as well as the fantasy backdrops so central to life in social VR. Situating ambient fantasy within the broader turn to magical thinking in twenty-first century American and Japanese popular culture, I consider what it means to recruit the fantastic as an atmospheric resource for everyday mood regulation, and what happens when these ambient horizons are enclosed within the algorithmic logic of commercial media platforms.
Paul Roquet is associate professor of media studies and Japan studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Ambient Media: Japanese Atmospheres of Self (Minnesota, 2016) and The Immersive Enclosure: Virtual Reality in Japan (Columbia, 2022).
This event is free and open to the public.
The spring 2023 lecture series is sponsored by the Humanities Council’s Committee for Film Studies.
Please email program manager Margo Bresnen at email@example.com with any questions.