12/19/2022: I have a lot more to add since I made this list below, so stay tuned for updates!
My name is Mashi, I'm 26 years old, born and raised in Queens. I admire good storytelling, and have always enjoyed exploring new modes of expression as I experiment with my voice. Below I share a brief record of these excursions across media, from high school until now.
0. Codices on The Kingdom of Basilius
1. Thesis: "Breaking Traditional Styles"
2. Style Transfer as @photobebop
3. Observing Color & Class in Media on Chairo+
4. Romhacking Heroes Like Me
5. Blending Space With AR & GPS
6. Looking Forward: Digital Open Spaces
Codices on The Kingdom of Basilius
Limited access into the fantastic worlds I grew up exploring led me to build my own in high school. Beginning with a hand-drawn map and an old Greek word for king, I wrote dozens of entries by merchants, soldiers, scientists, and others about their lives, struggles, and the intrigue throughout the Kingdom of Basilius.
Thesis: "Breaking Traditional Styles"
I wrote my thesis for the Asian Languages & Civilizations department of Amherst College about Cowboy Bebop's use of disparate genres to navigate the memories and gender identities of its cast. In doing so, I advocated a critical intertextual reading of anime, contrasting with the tendency to prioritize its relationship with Japan and Japaneseness. In the spirit of the show, I read from a variety of fields intersecting with film, including sociology, psychology, and gender studies.
Style Transfer as @photobebop
After building deep learning models for super-resolution in my summer internship at Recruit Communications, I began tinkering with neural style transfer – the manipulation of images using different source styles. I applied this technology and other image processing algorithms to my own photography, which I practiced with friends and models in NYC and Tokyo, and shared the fruits of these excursions as the persona @photobebop.
Observing Color & Class in Media on Chairo+
Nostalgic for my thesis work, and longing for more opportunities to discuss the anime and games I grew up loving, I created Chairo+ as a platform to house analyses of these media's portrayal of race and class, as well as document the activism and movement-building I experienced in Tokyo. I wrote over 20 articles over the course of a year, attempting different editorial styles in the process.
Romhacking Heroes Like Me
Among the worlds I wished I could experience more was that of the tactical RPG Fire Emblem, and apparently the Game Boy Advance ROM-hacking community felt the same. Using open source tools to edit the maps, sprites, and dialogue of game files, I began prototyping an original campaign featuring exclusively brown characters, who are all but missing from the actual series and fan-made works.
Blending Space With AR & GPS
As an R&D engineer at the Japanese tech startup Eukarya (co-founded by current ITP fellow Shinnosuke Komiya), I prototyped an AR extension in Unity3D for the spatial visualization tool Re:Earth, allowing users to create and interact with virtual landmarks. Given access to a mobile device's compass and GPS, I could calculate the distance of a given landmark and represent its position in AR space relative to the user.
Looking Forward: Digital Open Spaces
First, using a self-hosted livestream server, I'll broadcast discussions with guests from a variety of backgrounds about inclusive storytelling and design, while attempting our favorite games using characters who look like us. The goal is to create a community-moderated space in Chairo+ that functions independently of ad- and traffic-driven platforms.
Second, through partnering with artists of the video game world, I will create an open-access database of video game assets featuring the backgrounds, bodies, and cultures of communities underrepresented in both the medium and industry. I hope that new game developers might use such a resource to tell more stories as themselves.