The World Is Ours

Ann Oren

5 channel video installation| duration: 00:38:00 Min. | production year: 201

“I sleep inside the display that depicts the end. And in that end, I will sing a song that only you wanted to hear.“ – Hatsune Miku

The World is Ours is an expanded cinema project mixing sampled animation with documentary scenes shot in Tokyo by filmmaker and artist Ann Oren.

The project revolves around Hatsune Miku, the feminine manga personification of a synthesizer software, created for promotional purposes and to enhance user engagement. All content related to Miku is fan-created, from her music and lyrics to animation. In Japan she became a cult figure, a cyber diva who even performs live as a hologram.

Oren’s project explores the merger of fantasy into everyday reality by a cosplay enactment of the figure, performed by the artist herself: By transforming herself into a Miku character through cosplay, Oren enters a world of real hardcore fans where fantasy is more real than reality and the differentiation between the two becomes obsolete. Along scenes from this journey, the project combines excerpts from an abundance of fan-made music and animation.

The phenomenon of Hatsune Miku is a timely subject that is making its way into mainstream culture, with the increasing blur between producers and consumers – as we all have experience as users of social media. Participatory fan culture, while empowering the creativity of the regular end-user, ultimately provides free marketing and content for powerful global brands; in a sense, one’s own fantasies are resold to them. The character of Hatsune Miku is exemplary in that fans literally recreate her through the music and video content they produce while continuously investing in Miku-related features and merchandise, hooked by their own creation. The same can be said for virtually everyone on social media, where we all create content and consume it obsessively.

“Fantasy teaches us how to desire… A phantasmic narrative always involves an impossible gaze, the gaze by means of which the subject is already present at the act of his/her conception.” (The plague of fantasies, Slavoj Žižek)

The dawning of the internet some 20 years ago came with a promise of escapism in both the individual and collective sense. Through chat rooms, cybersex, virtual gaming and a cyber characters, one could privately fulfill their desires in a communal, but anonymous world. We may not all attend concerts where the performer is a hologram, as with Hatsune Miku; but we communicate with customer service computers, chat with our idols via chatbots, and use Siri. Is living one’s life deeply immersed in fiction all that different from how we interact with social media already, constantly performing and fictionalizing our selves? If we fake reality, is reality fake?

In addition to the multi-channel installation on this topic, Oren also created the feature-length film “The World Is Mine” (2017), examining the performative nature of cosplaying of the artist herself as the Japanese character Hatsune Miku.