A (Digital) Paper Trophy

I was listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour, a weekly podcast commenting on everything popular culture has to offer, and it discussed the method of self analysing why you’re a fan of something and why you might be avoiding other content. I related this to my interest in Papercraft and I started listing reasons why I chose to create some models and not others. I found that most of the models I have created were of Japanese anime characters, but the revealing find was half of these designs I didn’t know what they were from; I had chosen them purely for artistic reasons. However, now that I had chosen them I was interested to know more about them, and from this process of research I revealed that my Papercraft models were a digital catalog of new interests in content I was not familiar with.

I’ve discovered through my methodology that Papercraft is a digital and physical communal practice. Papercraft models represent a physical symbol of a cultural icon you cherish, and you create the model as a paper trophy. You assemble a design of a character or symbol of the content you’re a fan of. But before the final paper trophy, Papercraft models are digital designs that connect and distribute fan culture. Most of the Papercraft models I’ve made or collected are based on anime characters from Japan. My collection builds a catalog of “digital trophies” that connect me to different Asian content forming a familiar cultural bubble. While some of the designs are unknown to me, I want to challenge my familiarity. I want to challenge my cultural “rut” and find designs of other Asian cultural elements, from India, South Korea, Thailand to China.

gdragondrummerpapertoyFrom my first search I discovered official Papercraft merchandise of Kpop band 2PM that you can buy. It comes with pre-cut designs of each of the 6 Korean band members. So if there’s official Papercraft, there has to be unofficial designs of Kpop stars. And there is; Pandabobo designs models from the KPop band ‘Big Bang‘ as they’re depicted in their music videos and live events. At first, I didn’t understand the appeal of models designed off real people and not characters, but after watching Big Bang’s music videos I found them do be very creative and an appropriate choice for Pandabobo to design from, like his “Pinochio” costume from G-Dragon’s song ‘Crayon’. The idea of creating your own papercraft designs on something you love interests me and has sparked an idea about my digital artefact project: why don’t I create Papercraft models of digital Asian content?

I’ve been collecting, downloading, printing and folding Papercraft models for years, but I’ve never analysed my interaction with the community, and asked my self: why don’t I design models? Sure, I find it a little intimidating, but designing and remixing Papercraft work is half of the process of the Papercraft community and there are programs that are engineered to help with making models. Creating a model based on a piece of digital content is a simple way to communicate and distribute culture among my peers. I could use the research DIC330 is providing and design cultural models of each of the students research sites. If that’s too hard a task, I could chose KPop videos and design models from them. I could utiilise Papercraft as a means to communicate and display an unfamiliar aspect of Asian digital content to an audience.

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2 comments

  1. First of all, Pop Culture Happy Hour is the greatest! it’s got me through many a boring-clean up-duty around the house. Second, I like your idea that Papercraft models are a physical symbol of a cultural icon that is personally cherished. Everyone appreciates their cultural interests in different ways, but creating a model that you actually have put your time energy and creativity into is sublime. Good luck making the models! Looking for to seeing what’s created 🙂

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  2. I’ve been researching Big Bang and other relative K-Pop stars lately for another project so this idea of creating Papercraft models has really intrigued me. I’ll have to look into it further! This is perhaps one of the best and more adventurous ways to immerse yourself in the culture as well, by putting your own spin on Papercraft models. Look forward to hearing how it turns out!

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