By Claudia, Mel and Isabel
For my main digital artifact, I have been investigating Korean girl groups. So far, I have reacted to three videos and also provided a bit of extra background information. In my second blog post, I realized the extent of my my prior knowledge and bias, and how they had effected my reactions to the K-pop. In order to gain another perspective, I had my dad watch and react to the same videos as I had in my post.
I thought my dad would be an interesting person to choose because we come from the exact same cultural background except he knows basically nothing about girl groups. As a bit of a disclaimer, my dad knows I like Fifth Harmony and therefor thinks that they are always the correct answer. Although it may seem like it, I promise I’m not threatening him to talk about Fifth Harmony. So with out further ado here is my dad reacting to Korean girl groups:
Only after filming and editing this video did I realize that it may not actually count as autoethnography. Ellis et al (2010) say “When writing an autobiography, an author retroactively and selectively writes about past experiences.”. The ‘auto’ in autoethnography does of course refer to the self, but Ellis et al (2010) also say “In writing, the author also may interview others…to help with recall”. I would still consider this autoethnography, as I filmed it and am now using it in relation to my own experience. It allows me to generate epiphanies about my opinions and thoughts when compared to those of others.
Overall, my dad and I had pretty much exact opposite experiences with Korean girl groups. I enjoyed the bright colours and the franticness of the videos whereas my dad did not. The last video was my least favourite of the three, whereas my dad thought the videos got continually better. What I think the main take away is though, is that my dad didn’t want to watch any more videos after three, whereas I wanted to keep watching as many as I could.
I think this all comes back to me having a lot of knowledge and experience with girl groups. I know the formula, the tropes, I can see past a lot because I know what I’m looking for. Despite these videos being Korean, they were all very similar to what I was already used to. My dad could probably count on one hand the number of girl group music videos he’s seen (plus three more now), this is probably why he prefers the more simple videos with less going on. I also think it’s interesting that my dad was a lot more likely to comment on cultural differences within the videos than I was.
Overall, this made for an interesting comparison.
Prezi Link: https://prezi.com/p/_khngg17grlh/
Group Members: Isabelle, Blair, Izel
When thinking of what to do for this assessment I was stumped. I didn’t know which way I wanted to go in terms of topics and found myself procrastinating heavily through the weeks and putting it off. It was a few weeks before I had to present this Digital Artefact to a group of people in the tutorial that I had an epiphany that guided me to the topic that I have chosen for my DA. Originally for another class, I’m creating a paper origami crane art piece. This involves making as many cranes as possible in the time frame, tying them to fishing wire then hanging them from the roof from three metal meshes.
In order to tie this subject/idea of origami paper cranes to this subject, I have chosen to do some ethnographic and specifically autoethnographic research. Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing which seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand a cultural experience. In order to “do autoethnography,” I have chosen to investigate the history behind origami and paper cranes while also drawing my experiences with making these cranes for my art project.
The word “origami” comes from the Japanese language where “Ori” means folded and “Kami” is paper. The art of paper folding infiltrated the Japanese culture more strongly than any other. However, the traditional art of paper folding didn’t just exist in Japan alone.
During the 6th CE, paper was introduced into Korea and then into Japan by Buddhist monks. The process of folding origami become an art form as well as a religious ritual for formal ceremonies. It was also practiced in the Japanese imperial court where it was considered amusing and an elegant way to pass the time.
An earlier example of paper folding called “Shide” is a method where the paper is cut into zig-zag shapes. This method of paper folding was used in Shinto purification rituals and are found tied around and in objects, shrines and sacred spaces as an indication that spirits and Gods are present.
When the art of folding paper become recreational as well as ceremonial a book was published in 1797 by Akisato Rito, which documented recreational paper folding called ‘Folding 1,000 paper cranes’. Before this book origami was taught by elders to the younger children but after this book was published the secrets of origami were recorded and allowed for many people to learn how to fold origami.
Akira Yoshizawa is also considered to be one of the instigators or modern origami. He developed a system of folding patterns which used symbols, arrows, and diagrams that were published and became widely available which contributed to its global reach and standardization. As the art of origami became widely available the methods of folding started to develop and mix together into origami that we usually see today. Many of the origami models found in Europe tended to have a grid crease, pattern with squares, rectangles, and diagonals while ceremonial folds from old Japanese methods tended to have judgment folds where the location of the creases was up to personal taste and interpretation of the individual.
Paper cranes are usually the first thing people think of when origami is concerned. The paper cranes carry heavy symbolism and meaning in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures. In these cultures, cranes represent good fortune and longevity. In Japanese culture the crane is known as the “bird of happiness”, Chinese culture also believes them to be heavenly and full of wisdom. In these cultures, the wings of the crane were believed to be able to carry souls up to heaven and carry people to higher levels of spiritual enlightenment.
Mainly in Japan, the crane is known to be a mystical creature which is believed to be able to live for thousands of years. As a result, these animals are held in the highest regard and has become a symbol of hope during challenging times. Because of this, it has become popular to fold 1,000 paper cranes or “senbazuru” in Japanese. The cranes would usually be strung together on strings and given as wedding or baby shower gifts.
The story of Sadako Sasaki was the reason why folding 1,000 paper cranes became so popular. Sadako survived the Hiroshima bombing when she was only 2 years old, as she grew older her injuries grew worse and she notices her glands were becoming swollen and purple spots appearing on her legs. She was later diagnosed with leukemia – a cancer of the bone marrow. While she was deteriorating Sadako made the decision to make 1,000 paper cranes, she made the cranes as a way to let out her pain, suffering, and boredom. Sadako hid her suffering and pain through making paper origami cranes and ended up making 644 cranes out of her 1,000 goal. She ended up passing away before reaching her goal so friends, classmates, and family members came together to finish it for her and she ended up being buried with her cranes and a promise of a wish.
So far I have made around 200 paper cranes and am hoping that I will be able to create another 200 for my art piece. Folding paper cranes have become somewhat therapeutic for me and it’s something that I will continue to do in my free time. I originally used Youtube as a source to understand how to fold the cranes properly because the diagrams available were quite confusing and hard to figure out. When I used Youtube as a source I found that other people who were helping me make them also found it easier to understand which was also helpful. When the art piece is finished and marked I’m planning on keeping it and hanging it somewhere in my room somehow. I think that the story and history behind the origami art form is a beautiful one that I think will definitely stick with me beyond the university assessments I have completed about it.
Hello! For the group auto-ethnographic study, I partnered up with Rose to do a viewing and in-depth look into the Chinese Reality show- The Great Challenge! We divided the different discussion topics between us, and both recorded our own initial reactions to the program via podcast. For this study, I’m looking at the international audiences of the show, and also the production/ how the show was created and formed.
Firstly, I’ll talk about how the show was created.
The Great Challenge, which can also be translated as Infinite Challenge- which is one of the most popular Korean TV shows of all time. Infinite Challenge in Korea holds over 17-18% of all viewership during its weekly timeslot, and the main protagonist of the show has even come to be known as the “nations MC”. The Korean Infinite Challenge was first broadcast in 2005, and has over 545 episodes to date. Due to my personal history with Korean media, I’ve been an avid viewer of this program for a few years- although I was never able to fully immerse into it.
The Great Challenge, is the Chinese version of this show. It’s creation was announced after MBC announced it would be taking legal action against ‘copy-cat’ programs that had been showing up in Chinese media. They announced the plans to take legal action, along with the news that they would be collaborating with one of China’s biggest TV networks CCTV1.
CCTV1 claims the greatest number of international channels in all of China, with an annual 1.2billion viewers. The Great Challenge only increased their viewership- when it rose to become the no.1 highest viewed TV program in China.
Usually, spin-offs have less success or there’s a lack of support from the original cast members and company, however, in this case, CCTV1’s deputy editor-in-chief stated that Infinite Challenge “reaches out to different sectors of the general public and is an excellent show that showcases the different sides of Chinese and Korean culture.” This demonstrates that rather than create a separate program to shove Chinese audiences into a program of their own- the separate program is still intended to be viewed by both cultures, and highlight the amazing cultural aspects of both.
This is also supported by the fact that the original cast of Infinite Challenge have openly supported the Chinese remake- Yoon Jae Suk (the main MC of the show) has often voiced his support and recognition of the program, as well as how well it’s doing in terms of viewership and interaction.
The next segment I was asked to discuss, was the international audiences that viewed this program. Rose and I watched the program via YouTube- which is very international in terms of who can access the content- however most of the comments appear to be in Chinese and the comments that aren’t in Chinese are English speakers asking for there to be more subtitles from now on. The fact that CCTV themselves have uploaded the series onto YouTube, and have taken the time to add subtitles demonstrates that they do in fact know there is an international audience, or at least they are trying to gain one. However, this could also just be a lead on from the international popularity of the Korean program.
Another thing to consider, was brought up in the comments, Chinese people who have immigrated or were born overseas may not know Chinese well enough to understand the language or subtitles of the program- CCTV could be targeting that demographic as well, since someone in the comments was arguing about it (video link). As well as within the program itself, with the Chinese subtitles throughout the program, it seems like communicating the content to such a large audience requires a lot of translating!
Lastly, here is my podcast. It’s not much of a comparison since I was trying to focus on what the program was showing me more than what I could match up with the Korean version (at the time of viewing, I didn’t know it was the official remake).
It was a pleasure to work with Rose, thank you for reading!
“Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno),” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.
In my previous post, with the benefits of hindsight, I narrated a past cultural experience. This was the beginning of an autoethnographic story. The analysis of both the experience and how I communicate my experience reveals my cultural framework. Once I recognise such frameworks and the related points of epiphanies, will I be able to see how my cultural framework structures my project investigation.
I begin my previous post sharing a personal feeling. When reading back on my post, I can remember being hesitant in sharing this information. I know that it is normal to feel conscious about sharing feeling on a public space, but the fact that I did not shy away from the core of my project work shows that, when it matters, I am able to use language to openly communicate. The nature of an autoethnographic narrative encourages this emotive storytelling. It was interesting to do this in an academic context where we are usually not encouraged to share our feelings and personal bias.
I then in my previous post discuss how I regard travel. It is obvious from the beginning that I am using travel as both a way to recharge my personal batteries and also as an escape. I mention my passion for travel and that I value my privilege as a white person. This idea of being me describing myself as a ‘white person’ was interesting to read. I am a very brown female with curly black hair, raised in a very brown family. And in my day to day life in Australia I pride myself on being vocal about racism in Australia as I do often notice the differences (both good and not so good) of being a person of colour in a very white costal town. Here I realise that many aspects of my life, for example my medical care and travel access are defined by the constructs of my life as an Australian, not as a migrant in a white country.
I narrate that the first structured activity I do when arriving in a country was a visit to a historical site. Reading my previous post I reflect to recognise I was raised with the idea that to understand, respect and enjoy a culture, I must learn about their history, from their perspective, in their land. This is something that I have always done as a solo traveller, but did not previously recognise it was something that stemmed from familial travel routines.
I have always valued art. I grew up in a house of classical Indian music, foreign films, so much food from different parts of the world and different languages of literature. As a child there were many reasons I disliked travel with my parents – we never went to theme parks or stayed in luxury hotels,, Instead we were focused on history, art and food. I moved out of home at 17 and thought that I had left my parents travel habits behind (I do love rollercoasters and the very occasional night in a fancy hotel), but they had taught me so much about how to travel.
This cultural framework, being primarily my life as a first generation migrant and my rooted familial values, is what has structured my project. My access to travel and style of travel lead me to Cambodia and the S21 Museum. It was here that I was exposed to the nature of photography in Cambodia.
“While epiphanies are self-claimed phenomena in which one person may consider an experience transformative while another may not, these epiphanies reveal ways a person could negotiate “intense situations,” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.
Autoethnography identifies these epiphanies as points of understanding. To put simply, it is only when something stirs or changes that we can recognise a shift. When reading the beginning of my narrative, it is clear that I had one of these epiphanies pushing me to seek something. It was an ‘intense situation’ that demanded reflection and action. At the time, my shift was to travel. In Cambodia I had epiphanies about how strong humanity can be. And about how humanity shares their emotional experience. It is this that inspired me to also use photography as a way to communicate loss.
“…writing personal stories can be therapeutic for authors as we write to make sense of ourselves and our experiences,” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.
Writing and reading the previous post does feel therapeutic. Using photography as therapy is an extension of this autoethnographic expression as a form of therapy.
This TedxTalk by Bryce Evans provides an investing presentation on photography therapy and how it can help a person navigate through their mental health. Bryce Evans says in this video that – “Everyone knows how to take a photo…photos allow you to connect instantly on an uncurious level, without the stigma to of it (‘it’ being mental health),”. HIN both my previous post and the paragraph above, it is clear that I value maintaining a healthy mental health and believe creative outlets can help me achieve this.
My values framed by my family, my experiences as a migrant, unfortunate ‘intense situations’ in life, my love of photography and focus on mental health has evidently structured my DIGC330 final project.
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095
I find that my sense of curiosity and wonder peaks when life takes unexpected turns. One such peak occurred earlier this year, late May. A time that forced me to dig into the dark of my stomach and pull out the reserve of energy and hope I hold within me. And although these few handfuls of memories and aspirations fed me through to the end of semester one, I could feel my tank was emptying. And so, like many other privileged first world citizens, I felt the prick and itch to travel. To a space where no one knows me. Somewhere away. Something new.
I soon found an internship in Cambodia and bought a plane ticket. I love how the soles of my feet buzz when getting on a plane, excited to soon be touching unfamiliar earth. And so while many travellers take the obligatory selfie at the Sydney airport Departures sign, I take a picture of my feet.
After several disappointing airport coffees and a room temperature spinach tart, my plane number is finally called. I have never been able to sleep on planes, so instead I re-read for the umpteenth time my trusted Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia. Like many travel guides, the accompanying photographs are stunning. Tantalising street food stalls. Lush green temples. Rich red dirt roads. Streets that scream colour. Bars that promise fun. I could not wait to be living the photos and take pictures of my own.
Photography, specifically travel photography is a personal interest. It is not the pictures that I value, but the moment that it brings – the ability to take me back to a moment so vividly.
After an eighteen hour journey, I arrive in Phnom Penh. Inside the airport it is hot and the customs officials are not welcoming. Outside the airport the locals are smiles and waves. I leave the buzz of the airport and make my way to the side street to find a tuk tuk. I only have one hour to check into my hostel, shower and be ready for a tour of the S-21 Museum and Killing Fields.
The first photographs I saw of Cambodian life taken by Cambodians was at the S-21 Museum. A place that was first a school – a prison and torture centre during the Pol Pot regime – now a museum sharing the harrowing experience. A stark contrast to the photographs in my travel guide. It was here that I learned how the Pol Pot regime destroyed almost all photographs taken before their reign.
While in country, I started looking for local photographers and photo galleries. I spoke to the artist as often as I could and none of them had photographs pre-1975. If a solider found a photograph during a regular raid someone could be killed – the cost of holing onto the physical photo was too risky.
There are many Cambodian photographers who now dedicate their art to documenting their day to day lives, exploring their personal and community identity.
Vandy Rattana photographs the every day life of Cambodians. The photographs capture the rebuilding of physical structures, land waste, poverty, office life, family life and meal times. The photographs have philosophical and historical purpose. The image below is a photo of a construction site.
Neak Sophal photographs the experience of Cambodian women and poverty post Pol Pot. In the picture above, she frames the colloquial Khmer saying, “No rice for pot,”.
Vuth Luyno photographs the experience of the modern LGBTQ community in Cambodia. The younger population are more likely to accept LGBTQ individual but there is much discrimination and many elements of taboo. In the picture above, he aims to communicate the normalcy of gay relationships – to the right is Sitha’s family, to the left is a recreation of a memory.
Sitha, pictured on the left , describes the context of the memory she chose to reenact:
“I met my wife during the Pol Pot regime when we were digging a canal opposite each other… During rice transplanting month, I went to ask for some salt from her, but she refused…During harvest month, we met again and started to talk, and we fell in love… This love is difficult, because they didn’t let us meet… After 1979, we didn’t get married properly but we created wedding rituals. I play the role of head of the family, as husband and with her as a wife, and we have adopted three children—two daughters and a son—and have six grandchildren. My children call me dad, and my grandchildren call me granddad.””
Pete Pin has conversations with individuals about their life, then takes a portrait that captures the story and intentionality of the person. In the photo above, he was interviewing his Father.
Cambodia for me was a place of learning and love. It was also a place where I was reminded daily that this is a place of loss. As a field NGO researcher, every conversation I had with a local citizen would inform me of the horrors of their war. Almost every family had lost one or several members to the regime.
Here, I learn that modern photography is important. It documents their lives, shares their experience and the work that needs to be done. There is vulnerability and at the same time strength.
There is no way to measure or compare sadness and suffering. So I would like to begin this paragraph by saying that my personal life can never compare to a genocide. Inspired by these photographers, I would like to create a photography portfolio for my final DIGC330 assessment. As a student in my final semester of uni and a women working through loss, I want to document this section of my life. I am hoping to include both pictures of my day to day life, landscape and portraits to create this portfolio.
The following tweets narrate our first encounter with the now hit anime series Attack On Titan. The tweets included will be analysed through further research and personal reflection. This will be in an effort to complete the process of auto-ethnography learnt throughout DIGC 330 at UOW.
Our group project started pretty innocently, we decided to study dumplings for the sole purpose of eating as an assignment and promptly booked ourselves a table at Ziggy’s House of Noms to start researching. All it took was a simple menu item that would change the course of our project forever… the Cheeseburger McDumpling.
Most people probably haven’t thought much about the origin and traditions of the humble dumpling, we certainly hadn’t. A lot of different cuisines boast a version of the dumpling, filling packaged within pastry. From Spanish empanadas, Italian tortellini, Polish pierogies and Swedish kroppkakor, they all resemble the same idea as Asian dumplings.
Whilst there are a few theories on the creation of Jiaozi (traditional Chinese dumplings) the most popular one puts the first dumplings way back in AD 25-220 during the Han dynasty, where they were first made by Zhang Zhongjing, a practitioner of medicine. His dumplings were referred to as ‘tender ears’, because of the shape and the warm soup and herbs in the dumplings were thought to help treat frostbitten ears of the poor during winter.
Dumplings are now associated with prosperity, traditionally eaten around Chinese New Year, sometimes a coin will be put in a dumpling for a lucky individual to find. They are a dish dumplings served year round, for breakfast, lunch and dinner with many people adapting the recipe to create a modern version.
We initially went to the Wollongong dumpling and tea house, Ziggy’s House of Nomms. We chose a variety of things off the menu, including the Cheeseburger McDumpling. As soon as we saw it we were curious, laughing at the bizarre concept of a cheeseburger dumpling. We weren’t sure what to expect. The cheeseburger dumplings were a pleasant surprise, they tasted great, just like a cheeseburger. The flavours definitely didn’t resemble what we thought of as Asian dumplings though, especially considering the side of tomato sauce and mustard in place of the traditional soy sauce. We’d never experienced fusion dumplings before and as a result began thinking about how something as traditional as a dumpling had been completely westernized and turned into something that we are completely familiar with: the cheeseburger. Was this Western-tasting dumpling still Asian? Thus began our quest of creating very inauthentic dumplings.
Our next step was to make our own dumplings. One recipe ran more true to the traditional dumplings, made with pork and cabbage. For our fusion dumplings we walked down the supermarket aisles and picked out the first things we wanted to turn into a dumpling.
Watch our shopping, cooking and eating experience below:
Dumpling wrappers are quite versatile, they have a flavour however they accommodate not only sweet and savoury but also flavours from different cuisines. We were pleasantly surprised by how all flavours were enabled by the dumpling wrapper, it worked as a medium to accommodate the consumption of small amounts of a specific dish. We found that they are a very practical food medium as it is easy to manage portion size (in theory) and store for later consumption. Dumpling wrappers are essentially made of flour and water rolled flat into a disc that can be manipulated to hold small portions of another food. This makes it extremely versatile to work with and can be altered to suit the tastes of an individual. Dumplings are so dispersed across Asia but vary quite significantly from one town to the next, expressing the local culture of each community. In this way the dumpling can be seen as a communication technology for expressing a local culture. “Food tells us something about a culture’s approach to life. In the end, we can say that food functions symbolically as a communicative practice by which we create, manage and share meanings with others. Understanding culture, habits, rituals and tradition can be explored through food and the way others perceive it.” (Stajcic, 2013)
“Understanding a culture through food is an interesting process because once a person starts asking these questions, such as how something is made, what ingredients are in it, or why it is called a certain way, the answers obtained go beyond culinary learning. (Stajcic, 2013) We aimed to better explore a culture through it’s food; specifically the dumpling. The further we explored dumplings, something we’d only ever considered a delicious stuffed pastry, the more we learnt about the culture and tradition behind the dish. The process of buying, making, cooking and eating dumplings caused us to question how culture is shared through food. Subsequently, we were interested in the history of the dumpling, why they’re eaten and the way in which the fusion of traditional Chinese dumplings with Western food is evolving. In this sense, dumplings become a medium representative of aspects of local Chinese culture.
Our process of creating dumplings was inauthentic in the sense that we had little previous knowledge of how to make dumplings. The way we folded, cooked and experimented with fillings were no doubt different from the traditional sense. But it is hard to determine where to draw the line with traditional cooking, is it food, the recipe, the methods used to prepare the meal or even the cultural background of the individual. We picked a traditional recipe to cook however our cooking utensils were very much from our own culture, which could lessen the authenticity of the traditional meal. It has been suggested that digital culture, pop culture and tourism have a major effect on the social construction of cultural authenticity since the erosion of of traditional values (Kwon, 2012). “Public awareness of culture is constantly reconstructed through interaction between popular culture and tourism, and it can be considered to be the substance of cultural authenticity in postmodern era” (Kwon, 2012). The erosion of traditional values suggests that tradition or in this case traditional cuisine can no longer be invented, with the world so interconnected it is impossible to build on tradition and as a result fusion food is created. “Globalization has not necessarily homogenized all cultural differences nor erased the salience of cultural labels. Quite the contrary; it grows the franchise. In the global economy of consumption, the brand equity of sushi as Japanese cultural property adds to the prestige of both the country and the cuisine. Certainly, the presentation and ingredients or forms of sushi vary from country to country, but it is still seen as something very distinctive.” (Stajcic, 2013)
With the Cheeseburger McDumpling from Ziggy’s House of Nomms and the hybrids we created (Mac’n’Cheese’, Mi Goreng, Kit Kat, Wagon Wheel) there is the question of authenticity and appropriation of a dish that is heavily embedded in tradition. However, just because a dish evolves and is found in one form or another in restaurants across the globe does not mean it has lost its status as authentic Chinese cultural property. The cultural meaning of dumplings remain the same even if the medium is slightly different.
Through our study we have found that dumplings are a food platform, accommodating local expression whether traditional or otherwise. They are distinctively Asian, regardless of how the filling is changed, people will still associate the dish with Asia. The concept of cultural authenticity is constantly being re-defined by pop culture and through the tourism industry, with globalization it has become impossible to invent traditional cuisine leading to a fusion of different cultural dishes.
By Jarrah Bowley and Meg Ensor
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