Research seminars

Nick Prior | On the Singing Hologram: Miku, Love and Labour

Event details

Speaker: Nick Prior (Sociology Department, University of Edinburgh)

Date: 20 November 2019

Time: 3.15 - 5.00pm.  

Venue: Alison House, Atrium (G10)



The advent of the performing hologram opens up significant questions around the fate of “liveness” in the digital age, blurring if not collapsing distinctions between absence/presence, live/real, original/copy as well as transforming well-worn ideas such as authenticity. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in Japan and the UK, this talk explores the case of virtual idol, Hatsune Miku, originally a marketing mascot for voice synthesis software but who now tours globally and is a representative agent of a new breed of virtual performers. As well as introducing the Miku media model – a relatively flat media ecology where fans are also Miku producers – the talk will offer some speculative thoughts on how a Miku performance “works” as an assemblage of love, labour and socio-technical affordances. Who or what is performing, how is liveness managed when the performer is pure code, and what does this tell us about relations between live music, participatory cultures and virtuality?


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Nov 20 2019 -

Nick Prior | On the Singing Hologram: Miku, Love and Labour

When a hologram performs, who is performing, is it "live", and why does this matter? Nick Prior investigates.

Alison House
12 Nicolson Square