Ferment Media Research
FMR / Fermentation Media Research is the name of the seminar organized by researcher Dominique Chen at Waseda University, as well as the name of the academic research and exhibition with various collaborators and project partners. The origin of this name began as the title of a WIRED Japan web series in 2017, which later led to the birth of Nukabot, and from 2021 it became the name of a seminar in the School of Culture, Media and Society at Waseda University.
Fermentation media research is the study of fermentation media, as in the book "Fermentation as Metaphor" by Sander Katz, translated by Bun Mizuhara and published by O'Reilly Japan, in which hints for human life are taken from the ecology of physical fermenting microorganisms. Fermentation is a term that expresses an attitude of researching more desirable information technology from a media-theoretical viewpoint, taking hints for human life from the ecology of physically fermenting microorganisms.
After his doctoral research on how to design communication-related information from a life-systems perspective, Dominique started an IT startup and have been involved in the design and operation of numerous web services. In the process, he realized that the modern information technology industry lacks a perspective that puts the wellbeing of its users first, and he began to think about how to envision a better form of technology for human life. In parallel with this process, he was fascinated by the wonders of fermented food culture through a relationship with a colleague who had co-founded the company with him. He began researching and developing a talking nukadoko robot with the sole intention of bringing fermenting microorganisms closer to people. As he researched fermentation, Dominique found many hints in fermentation culture that would help him break free from anthropocentric thoughts of control and change his perception of the world.
In FMR / Fermentation Media Research, Dominique is trying to design a new relationship between humans and technology in our daily lives by organically combining knowledge from the humanities, natural sciences, design and engineering, while deepening his thinking about the concept of fermentation not only as a physical fermentation phenomenon but also as a valuable metaphor to conceive preferable design forms.
Born in 1981. Of French nationality. Holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Information Studies. Since April 2017, he has been an Associate Professor at Waseda University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and from April 2022, he became a full professor there. He leads the Ferment Media Research seminar and studies the relationships between technology and humans, as well as more-than-human relationships.
Starting in 2004, at the NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC], he launched HIVE, the world's first cultural institution to release all of its content under an open license. Around the same time, he began promoting the adoption of Creative Commons Licenses in Japan. In 2007, he became a founding director of Creative Commons Japan, now renamed to Commonsphere. In April 2008, he co-founded the company Divideual and has since planned and directed numerous web services and smartphone application developments. In 2008, he was recognized as a Super Creator under the IPA's Mitou IT Talent Development Program. Due to his efforts to promote Creative Commons in Japan, he received the Good Design Award in 2008. He won the Apple Best of AppStore award consecutively in 2015 and 2016 for two apps he developed: "Picsee" and "Syncle".
Between 2016 and 2018, he served as a judge for the Good Design Award, acting as the Focus Issue Director for "Technology and Information" (2016) and "Evolution of Social Infrastructure" (2017). In 2018, he was the unit leader for Unit 14 "General/Public Software System Services" and judged the Hong Kong/China units in 2017 and 2018. After a three-year hiatus, in 2022, he became the Focus Issue Director for "Designing Our Well-being" and a judge for Unit 7 "Audio-Visual Equipment". In 2023, he judged for Unit 18 "Regional Initiatives/Activities". From October 2020 to June 2021, he was the exhibition director at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT for an exhibit called "Translations", which expanded on the concept of "translation".
He showcased the "Nukabot", a fermentation robot, at exhibitions such as XXII La Triennale Milano "Broken Nature" (2019.3.1~9.1), and the Miraikan Visionary Exhibition "The World is Full of Microbes" (2022.4~2023.9).
At the Aichi Triennale 2019 "Tame Y/Our Passion" exhibition (2019.8.110.1), he presented an installation called "Last Words / TypeTrace" (#10 Minute Will), collecting the will-writing processes of over 2,000 people. This installation was subsequently displayed at JUT ART MUSEUM "LIVES" exhibition (Taipei, 2022.3~7), Pier-2 Art Center "YOLO" exhibition (Kaohsiung, 2022.12~2023.4), and the “END” exhibition in Tokyo (2022.5~6).
Single Author Books
- Dominique Chen, "Words to Create the Future: To Connect Beyond Misunderstanding", Shinchosha, Jan. 2020, 208 pages. ISBN: 4103531118
- Dominique Chen, "Religion of the Cyberbrain: Creating the Soul in a Big Data Society", NTT Publishing, 2015, 167 pages. ISBN: 4757103581
- Dominique Chen, "Bringing the Internet to Life: The Thought and Practice of Proclonism", Seidosha, Jul. 2013, 368 pages. ISBN: 4791767160
- Dominique Chen, "A Guidebook to Create Free Culture: Circulation of Creation through Creative Commons", Film Art Inc., 2012, 312 pages. ISBN: 4845911744
- Dominique Chen, "The Age of Open Creation: Expanding Copyright with the Methodology of Creative Commons", Kadokawa Minutes Book, May 2013, 69 pages. ASIN: B00DI8TMPU
- Dominique Chen, "Modern Japanese Literature as Commons", East Press, Aug. 2021, 320 pages. ISBN: 4781619983
- Junji Watanabe, Dominique Chen (Supervised), "For Our Well-being: Its Philosophy, Practice, and Technology", BNN New Society, Feb. 2020, 304 pages. ISBN: 978-4802511612
- And others (Listed names), "SPECULATIONS: Beyond the Design of Anthropocentrism" (Responsible for "2-2. Protocol: Designing Communication Paths"), BNN New Society, Jul. 2019, 312 pages. ISBN: 978-4-8025-1139-1
- Junji Watanabe, Dominique Chen, "Creating Well-being: A Design Guide to Connect 'I' and 'Us'", BNN, Sep. 2023.
- And others (Listed names), various titles and details.
- Sandor Ellix Katz, supervised translation by Dominique Chen, translated by Fumi Mizuhara, "Fermentation as a Metaphor", O'Reilly Japan, Sep. 2021, 160 pages. ISBN: 4873119634
- And others (Listed names), various titles and details.
- Various editors, titles, details, and Dominique Chen's contributions listed.
- Coded Cultures: New Creative Practices out of Diversity (Dominique Chen: Future of Creative Commodities in the Coded Cultures, pp.160-199) Springer Vienna Architecture, Mar. 2011, 384 pages. ISBN: 9783709104576
- "The Practice of Creative Commons and the Research on Secondary Use Interfaces for Open Source Development of Media Art Archives" (Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The University of Tokyo)
- "Interdisciplinary Research on Community Activation Design on the Internet" (Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The University of Tokyo)