The Art of Chinese Calligraphy Part 2

As some of you may know from my first blog, which can be found here I am currently working on my final project. My final project will be about Asian calligraphy specifically Chinese and Japanese calligraphy. For my final project I will be documenting my learning of calligraphy through prezi and through videos. I will be doing different styles from both the Chinese and Japanese culture. This will allow me to learn about different Asian cultures, one of which comes a little from my heritage . Through conducting an autoethnogrpahic study I have learnt that there are many aspects of calligraphy and Asian culture that I was not aware of.

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Just as I mentioned in my previous post calligraphy is part of not just Chinese culture but also Japanese culture. While it was created originally in China, Japan also felt the need to create uniquely beautiful writing. Calligraphy is traditionally valued in the high court and is an important skill to master. The imperial court studied Chinese calligraphy and created a style that was more fluid and elegant for Japanese people to use.

Calligraphy is not the only thing both Chinese and Japanese cultures have in common. Asian cultures have many things in common. They are:

1)Religion

Both Asian cultures take religion seriously. There are various different religious groups and churches that welcome people to view the perspective praying and soul-searching. Japan considers religion a way of life and living and welcomes all different types of group. China also considers religion part of life however they only officially have five different religions

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2)Social Conventions

Social conventions in Asia is also a huge thing. Manners and customs are highly regarded in any part of Asia. They feel that respect is important in building a positive relationship and it allows them to be open and positive with everyone. Some of the social conventions Japan and China have in common are: taking off footwear when entering a home and not directly sticking chopsticks into a bowl or rice or noodles.

Through doing more research on both Chinese and Japanese calligraphy I have noticed that there are some similarities to both of these cultures. Previously in my first blog I have written down all the main types of Chinese calligraphy styles. Through researching Japanese calligraphy I have noticed that their main styles are roughly similar to some of the Chinese styles. The main Japanese styles are:

Kasha Style (Correct Writing)

  • Similar to the popular Chinese calligraphy style Kai Style aka regular script
  • Each stroke is made in a clear and deliberate way
  • People usually study this form of style first

Gyousho (Travelling Writing)

  • Similar to the prettiest Chinese style Xing aka semi- cursive script
  • This is the style people usually use when taking notes
  • Strokes are flow together to form a rounded whole word/ letter
  • Can be read by educated Japanese individuals

Sousho Style (Grass Writing)

  • Similar to the Chinese artistic style Cao aka cursive script
  • The brush does not leave the paper
  • Can be hard to read only people who are trained in this style are able to read it
  • Makes graceful, swooping shapes
  • It is mostly used for decoration than conveying information

Firstly an area of calligraphy that surprised me were the different styles. I always thought that calligraphy was mainly cursive writing that didn’t have any other styles. I always thought that there was one main style of calligraphy being taught and that they just look different based on different people’s handwriting. Through researching thoroughly on Chinese and Japanese calligraphy I have found that there are actually many different unique styles. As generations go by they add their own quirk and twists and this results in a new style being created.

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As I was reflecting on the types of styles that are similar I started to notice that there are other aspects that were also similar for both cultures. Japanese and Chinese culture have taught individuals from both Japan and China that calligraphy and writing beautifully is a reflection of their character and personality. It is all about the flow, being focused and real emotions that come from the heart. Through this research I have noticed that different Asian cultures value their emotions and well-being. The stereotype for Asians is that they rarely  show any emotions physically which leads people to believe they are emotionless. It is clear that while most Asians may not like or are used to public displays of affection they do show it through their styles of writing.

Lastly another aspect of calligraphy that I have learnt through this process is that it is a highly regarded art form. I always thought of calligraphy as a hobby but it is much more than that. Calligraphy comes with a high status and is usually taught by higher nobleman such as people in the higher court. In most Asian schools they are required to learn how to speak and write in different languages such as english, Chinese and Japanese. Other times calligraphy is taught by their parents and passed down from generation to generation.

I believe that by having an Asian background can give me an advantage on understanding the cultural aspects of calligraphy. Due to my research and revelations I believe that it would beneficial to go out a visit temples near by in person and see calligraphy in action. I believe that by doing some calligraphy physically myself will also allow me to further understand the culture and research that I have done.

The Art of Chinese Calligraphy

Over the following weeks I will be delving  into the art of Chinese calligraphy through conducting an autoethnographic study. This will be part of my final digital artefact. This autoethnographic study will showcase my own personal experience with Chinese calligraphy.

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Through this final project I will learn what Chinese calligraphy is about and learn all the different strokes and techniques Asian artists use. Everyone knows that Asia has some amazing  unique foods but Asia also has some beautiful artworks and unique ways of writing. Through this blog I will be learning about the different techniques, strokes and facts about Chinese calligraphy. I will be doing this by looking at photos and videos online and also by attempting to write it physically myself and posting it onto my final project.

Now lets got back and refresh our memories about autoethnography. From my previous blogs of Autoethnography and State of Play and State of Play- Two autoethnography is known as ‘an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience’ (ellis. 2011). By using this reading by Ellis I am able to delve in deeper to autoethnography and understand it further. By using my own personal experience with Asian cultures I will be able to further understand calligraphy and the knowledge behind it.

For this blog post I am going to research the background and culture of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy. I will also research and learn a few different calligraphy styles from both the Chinese and Japanese cultures. I will be conducting an authoethnographic through watching different videos online and comparing photos, styles and techniques.

Working Title/Artist: Huang Tingjian: Biographies of Lian Pou & Lin Xiangru Department: Asian Art Culture/Period/Location:  HB/TOA Date Code:  Working Date:  photography by mma, DP1153193.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 5_5_08

Calligraphy is known as ‘writing beautifully’ and just by seeing photos of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy it’s not hard to see how it got this meaning. Calligraphy in China is very much an art form. Although it’s not like many traditional artworks we see around, it is regarded highly in China. In fact calligraphy is known for its high status and longevity in Asia. Chinese calligraphy has been around for about five years and was once an important critical standard for the Chinese literati in the imperial era. Calligraphy in Japan came in the 6th century after it was already developed in China. However because Japanese grammar is different to Chinese they have had to develop different unique styles just for them to use.

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Many artists consider calligraphy empowering and spiritual. It is very much like painting where there are different strokes and brushing techniques to learn. This unique art form is not just about learning how to write beautifully in calligraphy, it also teaches you how to apply your subconsciousness to practice control and patience. Many artists in China and Japan find calligraphy relaxing and self entertaining. Calligraphy allows artists to show their emotions, character and style through their handwriting. It is the best way to show a person’s character and personality. Although calligraphy is best known to have started in China,  it can be seen in many different forms of Asian culture. From China, to Japan the art of calligraphy is spreading and is becoming a unique feature of Oriental Art

The different Chinese styles are:

Kai Style (Regular Script)

  • This style is known as the popular standard script in China
  • It is the easiest to remember and the best style to start learning on
  • emerging between the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period
  • This style is used to help people familiarise themselves with different techniques the brush and ink can make
  • This style uses strokes slowly and carefully by having the brush lift from the paper with every stroke painted

Xing Style (Semi- Cursive Script)

  • This style is known as the most ‘beautiful running’ script
  • This style allows strokes and characters to run into one another and connect with the brush lifting from the paper less regularly
  • This is used by people who are educated and can reading semi-cursive writing but have difficulties separating the shapes

Cao Style (Cursive Script)

  • This style is known as one of the most artistic
  • A person who can read the semi- script (Xing) can not be expected to read this script without training
  • The brush does not lift from the paper at all with characters and letters flowing frequently into one another
  • The writing is seen as smooth and beautiful

Li Style (Clerical Script)

  • This style is commonly known as the ‘bold print’ script
  • This script is the oldest out of the above three styles
  • Invented by Miao Cheng from China
  • This script is mostly used as decorative purposes (e.g. for displays) it is not commonly used for writing
  • It has a distinct shape and is often seen as ‘flat and wide’

Zhuang Style (Seal Script)

  • This last style is known as one of the most ancient and formal script
  • It continues to be the most widely practiced style
  • This script is mostly used on seals and usually make a signature like impression
  • It is hard to read and is not commonly used for everyday writing, however it has sentimental value

I will be attempting to learn and write these Chinese styles above and also some of the Japanese styles for my final project. In my next blog I will be writing more about Japanese calligraphy and the different cultures of China and Japan. I will be pointing out the differences and similarities between these different cultures and calligraphy styles through my autoehtnography results.

References:

Los Angeles Chinese Learning Centre. (2016), ‘Chinese Calligraphy Facts/ History/ Styles’, (online) http://chinese-school.netfirms.com/Chinese-calligraphy-facts.html, viewed on 8th of September 2016

JNT.com. (2016), ‘About Japanese Calligraphy’, (online) http://www.japanese-name-translation.com/site/about_japanese_calligraphy.html, viewed 21st of September 2016

State of Play- Level Two

In my previous blog which can be found here I decided to write about my personal experience on the Korean documentary State of Play. For this first blog I used Ellis, Adams and Bochners concept of autoethnography to help me understand and record my own personal experiences. Lets refresh our memory on what autoethnography means. Ellis, Adams and Bochner defined it as “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience”. In this case it was all about writing about my experience with State of Play and the Asian culture that surround the game.

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To understand autoethnography first you must explore different sources and data and emerse yourself into a new and different culture. Sometimes that means emerging yourself into a new and different culture.

Now back to State of Play, which is a documentary about professional gamers in Korea competing in the eSports industry. Through this second blog I will talk about a couple of points that I have made in my previous blog. I have done some research into some of the particular thoughts and epiphanies that I had whilst observing and analysing the documentary.

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One of my thoughts that I had were the health factors that come with the gaming industry. Professional gamers spend roughly around 10-12 hours a day training extensively to build and maintain fast hand- eye coordination and a fast reaction time. In fact upon doing further research into this particular area one of the top players Lee Young- ho had fallen victim to one of the many health factors. According to BBC News he had to have surgery on his arm as the strain of his vigorous training schedule had injured his muscles and deformed them. I also learned that the company he is in paid all of his medical expenses.Although this was a big deal in terms of health factors Lee Young-ho didn’t seemed to upset about it stating that having a scar on his arm is ‘like having a badge of honour’.

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My other point that I had made in my previous blog was the gender imbalance. While I was watching this documentary I couldn’t help but notice the lack of girl gamers being shown. While girls didn’t actually play Star Craft they were emotionally invested with the game through backing up their favourite players. As I did further research on this thought I found out that Korean girls acted more as groupies and fans rather than gamers.

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While I was researching this point I did however come across a different game also played in Korea that had a girl player. A game called Overwatch is also played by professional players the same way Star Craft is played. According to Tech Times a 17-year-old Korean girl Zarya, was accused of cheating in the game Overwatch as they couldn’t believe that a girl could ever play better than professional male players. She was so good that two professional gamers quit due to the shame and embarrassment they felt being beaten by a 17 year old Korean girl.

Through doing thorough research into professional gaming I now understand that there are different perspectives in the gaming industry. I always thought that the health risks would be minor and that girls didn’t play much professional gaming due to the lack of interests. However due to the new perspective I now realise that the health risks are much more serious, so serious in fact professional gamers at times need surgeries. I have also found that professional gamers can fall victim to embarrassment and shame if girls dominated the game.

Autoethnography and State of Play

As I was sitting in my seminar many things were running through my head like “what the heck is autoethnography, and is it seriously a word?”

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Well it turns out it’s an actual word. Ellis, Adams and Bochner (2011, p.1) best describes it as

 “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience”.

So autoethnography is your own personal experience to something to put it simply. Throughout the following weeks I will use autoethnography to document and critically analyse my personal experience with different Asian media and their culture.

In this weeks seminar, we watched a Korean documentary called State of Play. This 2013 documentary is all about the competitive world of professional gamers. They undergo training and pressure in hopes to pursue their dream of making it into the world of digital gamers. If you haven’t seen the documentary here is the trailer:

I was shocked to discover that serious professional gaming exists and throughout the documentary I became more and more curious as to what life of a gamer is like. For me gaming is a fun way to kill time and distress but for people in Seoul, South Korea it is their life and world. Gaming is the one priority in their life so much so that they don’t have time for girlfriends or to lounge around with friends and enjoy other hobbies, gaming is literally all they do morning and night.

This documentary was interesting to watch because it exposed me to something new and something that I had never heard about. At first I was surprised that these gamers require extensive training of 10-12 hours a day. I had wondered what effects these training routines would have on their body, would they have low vitamin D from staying inside most of the time?, would they get arthritis in their fingers and neck?- who knows! Staring at a screen for 12 hours a day or more would also have a huge impact on your eyes!

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As the documentary continued on I began to realise that professional gaming is very similar to all forms of professional sport. They both require extensive training routines, uniforms, perseverance and dedication. The live television broadcasts, commentators, stadiums, sponsorship deal and even match fixing are also similarities that professional gaming and professional sports have in common.

Another part of the documentary that I found interesting was the gender imbalance of professional gaming. I found myself asking where are all the professional GIRL gamers? While females are not participating in the gaming aspect, they are however involved emotionally through investing in a favourite player. A large group of girls would cry every time their favourite player wins or looses and would wait for them after the game to take pictures and give gifts.

Throughout watching this documentary I felt that I couldn’t relate to the physical gaming aspect of it but I however felt a relation to their culture and upbringing through being Asian myself.

 

Hello, nice to meet ya!

 

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Hello Everyone! My name is Sarah and surprise, surprise I am studying a  Bachelor of Communications and Media. I am in my third year of Uni and majoring in Marketing and Advertising and International Studies.

This is my first blog this session, which means trying to get back into the blogging routine (better late than never right!)

I have chosen to do Digital Asia because I did a DIGC subject last year and really enjoyed it and found it interesting. I also decided to do Digital Asia partly because I am half Asian and I am curious to see different parts of the Asian culture that I might not have been aware of before.

Where Are We Going?

Have you ever been on a road trip with your friends and got completely lost?

I bet you pulled out your GPS or google maps to save you right?

Maps have been around for many, many years. Everyone uses some form of a map whether it is to find your way from one place to another, or even just to familiarise yourself with a particular country or suburb. Maps helps us gain knowledge about a specific area or suburb and makes it easier for us to navigate and estimate distances and directions correctly. Recently the way we use maps has been expanding leading to new and exciting ways to find places and destinations.

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This is where Open Street Maps (OSM) comes in. OSM is an online mapping system that allows people to contribute to a mapping source. Mappers are able to add and maintain information about places such as cafes, roads, schools  and much more to communities near them and all around the world. For many years now digital maps are created by major corporations such as Google. Google is seen as a powerful company and they have definitely showed power by spending some time manufacturing and maintaining maps that are now known as Google Maps. As the saying goes knowledge is power and Google accomplished this by developing Google Maps in 2007.

Now you may think but wait aren’t OSM and Google Maps the same thing?

Well I’m here to tell you there are some big differences to them. OSM also known as the ‘Wikipedia’ of maps allow anyone to change and update the locations on the map. This then becomes a less credible reference as it is unsure how accurate the information on their maps is. Google maps on the other hand is very well-known and is a reliable reference in terms of their geography.

But which of these maps is more reliable?

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Open Street Mapping comes in to question a lot. Most people find that Open Street Mapping is less reliable as anyone can edit information whether it is accurate or inaccurate. Another reason why OSM is a problem is that it is not objective and can be sexist. Due to OSM being an open free world map any gender can edit specific places.

Eddie Pickle former CEO of a geospatial company Boundless has found that there are gender influences in OSM in 2010. There are far more males contributing to OSM than females and this can greatly influence what streets and places are being edited on the maps. This can be a problem as not all the important information will be able on OSM. If someone went to OSM to find a day care near them or a specific shopping mall chances are that information won’t be available to them.

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Google maps is seen as more reliable as they rigorously chronicle every address, place etc to their maps. They are also more reliable as not everyone can edit Google maps, they have various gatekeepers that collect information, check to see if it’s right and then load that information onto Google maps. In my opinion Google maps are more reliable as the information provided in organised and checked on.

References:

Rethams, (2011), ‘What Is OpenStreetMap?’, viewed 1st April 2016, https://derickrethans.nl/what-is-openstreetmap.html

Wroclawski. S, (2014), ‘Why the world needs OpenStreetMaps’, The Guardian, 14th January, viewed 1st April, 2016, <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/14/why-the-world-needs-openstreetmap&gt;

Evans. N, (2015), ‘Global Visions: Mapping the planet’, Lecture Week 3, BCM232: Global Media and Social Justice, UOW, 16/03/2015

Schwarts. A, (2014), ‘How Street maps can be sexist’, fast coexist, viewed 4th of April 2015, http://www.fastcoexist.com/3032543/how-street-maps-can-be-sexist

Photos:

http://www.techspot.com/news/48093-wikipedia-ditches-google-maps-for-openstreetmaps-after-price-change.html

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/is-openstreetmap-the-next-linux-or-openoffice/

Google Launches Native Maps For iOS, And Here’s The Deep Dive On Navigation, Info Sheets And More

The beginning of two Technologies

Imagine a world where google didn’t even exist yet, or computers, console games and apple iPhones. I know it is hard to think about but imagine that the only form of communication was the telegraph!

Technologies and various forms of communication has rapidly changed the world even the world now. The impact of the telegraph was almost as big as the impact of the internet. They both share common ground through their social and political influences and in allowing communication to be spread and broadcasted through to various countries.

The military would use the telegraph to communicate orders to people living in a different land as they found that this would be much more efficient than travelling. By 1937 William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone had developed the first telegraph to be used by the public (Bowers, 2002). William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone installed the first telegraph on the Great Western railroad tracks. As the year have gone by the parts on the track were not strong enough and began to deteriorate. In 1845 Cooke then created the Electric Telegraph Company with the help from John Lewis Riccardo. This company helped the telegraph grow and allowing every post office in England to have one. It became the most popular form of communication for that time.

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The introduction of the internet in 1991 had a huge impact on society. Sure the telegraph was great and exciting but as soon as the world-wide web was developed it took everyone by a happy surprise. People found that the internet was way more convenient as it allowed individuals to communicate to people not matter where they lived and how much distance  is between them. The internet allowed businesses, consumers and suppliers to interact with each other and to build a stronger relationship with each other. It has also helped people voice out their opinions about politics and issues within the society.

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There are many similarities between the telegraph and the internet. For example they both allow communication to be achieved in short and long distances. This allowed for their messages to be received faster and to be able to send messages in a matter of minutes. Also with the Great Western railway system, the telegraph also made transportation of goods much faster and allows them to be travelled and delivered world-wide. Much like the internet as you could order anything from anywhere in the world and it would be delivered right to your door step.

Another example is the fear that people had with both the telegraph and the internet. The internet holds private information about you and everyone else in the world. If this information were to be leaked and landed in the wrong hands it could lead to disastrous consequences. When the telegraph was invented people believed that it could also lead to dire consequences. Private messages from political parties and the military could be leaked if the telegraph is used inappropriately. They also believed that both the telegraph and the internet would one day end the world.

References:

Evans, N. (2015), ‘Global Village – Global Empire’, lecture notes, BCM232, University of Wollongong

Bowers, B. (2002), ‘Inventors of the Telegraph’, Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 90 no.3, pp. 436-439

Kurbalija, J. (2013), ‘Ten parallels between the telegraph and the Internet in international politics’, Diplo, 15 October, Viewed 30/3/16                       http://www.diplomacy.edu/blog/ten-parallels-between-telegraph-and-internet-international-politics,

Photos:

This Week in Geek History: Morse Code, Mars Rovers, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Birthday

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/world-wide-web-internet-same-thing-right-rob-burgner

The Media and Suffering

In this weeks lecture we are looking at others. The tone for this lecture was gloomy to say the least and the tutorials were just the same. Poverty can be seen anywhere around the world, from the internet to the news and even just by walking down popular main streets in the city, it is evident that poverty is  a growing concern. I feel like this topic is an important one that people should notice and this is the reason why I chose to write about it.screen-shot-2016-03-19-at-9-39-33-pm

Think about the last image you have seen of a person or people suffering. They could be suffering from violence, famine or war. How did the photos make you feel? Did it make you want to speak out and take action?

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People around the world are aware of poverty however due to the media not shining enough light on the issue it has left people feeling like it is not that big of a deal. This could be because it is not happening to them personally or to someone they love. During this topic we delved in deeper to poverty porn and asked ourselves these questions:

Do we have the right to see videos and images of people suffering and is it ethical to see these images?screen-shot-2016-03-19-at-9-40-46-pm

Above are some of the photos we discussed for this topic. The photos range from crisis such as the Syrian refugee crisis, the Sudanese famine, and the Vietnam War. Yes these images can be confronting but maybe that’s exactly what people need to see to evoke change. Sean O’Hagan stated,

“Perhaps the only people with the right to look at images of suffering of this extreme order are those who could do something to alleviate it … or those who could learn from it” (The Guardian 2010). 

Photos like these show the population how serious these crisis are becoming and allows people to understand how these crisis affects people.

“There is shame as well as shock in looking at the close-up of a real horror.” (Sean O’Hagan, 2010).

These images are unique due to them not being edited, filtered or photoshopped. Through having these photos untouched it shows the true suffering of what these people in different situations have gone through and teaches the public to not be ignorant about what is happening out in the world. In my opinion I feel that it is important that these images be seen so that everyone can unite together and make a change.

References:

O’Hagan, S. (2010), ‘Viewer or voyeur? The morality of reportage photography’, The Guardian, accessed 24/03/16, http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/mar/08/world-press-photo-sean-ohagan

Photos:

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/the-photo-blog/europe-migration-crisis/

http://www.theroadtothehorizon.org/2008/04/news-sudan-from-1994-famine-to-five.html

http://academics.wellesley.edu/Polisci/wj/Vietnam/ThreeImages/brady2.html

1…2…3…Selfie!

What do you do when you have a new outfit or your makeup is looking good but no one is around to see it?…Take a selfie and put it on social media of course!

Ever since social media has become a big part of society the trend Selfies have also been well-known. Through our online personas on social media it has become easier for people to lose touch of reality. With celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Ashley Benson it is easy to see why selfies are the biggest trend around social media.

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Through our online personas we create an image of ourselves that we want people to see and love.

This raises the question are selfies another way of controlling our self-image or are we being narcissistic?

According to techinfographic over 1 million people take selfies each day and 36% of them are digitally enhanced to look more appealing.

There are many different types of selfies that people can take. These are the:

  • Duckface selfie
  • Gym selfie
  • The bathroom selfie
  • and the abs selfie

This selfie phenomena is just the tool to help people portray an image of themselves that they will feel confident about.We are constantly being monitored through our social media through what we post, what we like and through our photos. People today often use social media and their selfies to gain status and recognition among others. Our Identity is then created through the way we interact on social media forming by the opinions of our friends, family and people around the world. We also tend to ‘mirror’ ourselves through interacting on social media, as a way of reflecting our self-worth and status.

Marwick (2013) states that “Status is a powerful tool that reveals the values and assumptions shared by a group; it shows power dynamics and egalitarian ideals”

Evelina, famous for having a fashion channel on YouTube and also famous from her Instagram (Instafamous!) shows he followers what she uses in her beauty routine. This photo shows that unlike all her other photos she is exposed by not wearing makeup or big amounts of jewellery. Although she is not dressed up fashionably her picture still achieved 19.4K likes. This is an example of a controlled photo. Although she is wearing a face mask she still has some control on how she wants her followers to view her photo. Her hair is still perfectly neat, the lighting is flattering and the background is neutral.

We spend hours getting ready and taking various photos just to find the best photo to put online. We desperately want to be approved and liked by people all around the world and sit anxiously waiting for the likes on Facebook or Instagram to rocket up. By being famous online it sets a status to uphold as status is not just about intelligence or wealth anymore but is this why we all take selfies?

References:

Suk, T. (2014), ‘Seflie infographic: Sefliegraphic facts and statistics’, techinfographics, accessed 16/ 03/16,                                                                           http://techinfographics.com/selfie-infographic-selfiegraphic-facts-and-statistics/

Gallagher, B. (2013), ‘The 15 types of selfies’, Pop culture, accessed 16/03/16, http://au.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/10/the-15-types-of-selfies/

MARWICK, A, E. (2013),  Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age. Yale University Press.

Does colouring relieve stress in a media filled world?

We live in a world driven by media and technologies. So are technologies and the media to blame for stress?

It is evident that technologies are everywhere. People use smart phones, laptops and iPads in various different places and shopping centres and waiting rooms have televisions and internet connection to keep their patience busy while they wait. Everyone, anywhere gets stressed. This could be stress from your job, stress from school, stress from relationships and even getting distracted and procrastinating can cause stress. Social media can also be the cause of stress. With sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram people get easily distracted and neglect the important tasks they have to do and get stressed over it. In fact a post from the University of Wollongong states that only 13% of young adults are not stressed which means that 87% of people are stressed!

People these days multitask and have trouble paying attention. This is partly due to the way the media has influenced the way we live and the way we interact. Smart phones and laptops allow people to connect to one another anywhere and everywhere. Being on one of these technologies means that people are paying less attention to each other and to the surrounding around them. This could cause people to become more stress as these devices are keeping them from real life and responsibilities.

People are so stressed these days that a new trend has emerged, mindfulness colouring or stress colouring as some people may call it. There are various books that you can buy in different stores that have different designs and patterns to colour. These books and patterns are designed to help you relieve stress and feel calm and collected.

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But does these colouring books really help with stress?

when you search stress colouring on google there are multiple articles and blogs that all suggest that colouring can in fact relieve stress and anxiety. An article on The Telegraph states that colouring books are best sellers in Britain and that sales are raising 300 per cent   each year. The trend has grown bigger now reaching countries such as America, India, China and of course Australia. Another article on The Huffington post states that colouring can be beneficial in a number of ways. Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala says that colouring can not only help relieve stress an anxiety but also vision, creativity and tune fine motor skills.

I decided to test this theory out for myself. I bought two colouring books from Big W and asked my friend Ashley and my mum to colour whenever they feel stressed for one week. I also wanted to see if colouring worked for me so I started to colour for a week as well.

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(Photos taken by Sarah Cario, 1st November 2015)

Above are the end results of colouring after a week. Ashley(above left) found that colouring didn’t really help with her stress but it helped her stay calm and helped her creativeness. She stated that in little ways it did sort of help her forget about her troubles while she was colouring however when she stops colouring she would get stressed again

Mum (above right) also found this activity not very helpful. She found that it does help you forget about your worries for a little while but not enough to help relieve stress. Mum is not  very artistic or creative so she found colouring to be more stressful. She said that figuring out what colours to use and where to colour made her stress out more.

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After I coloured for a week my thoughts were the same. I found it relaxing at the time and it did a good job distracting my brain from the stress that I was feeling but It didn’t help my stress stop completely. For me watching my favourite movie or television show or even listening to music relieves my stress much better than colouring.

Everyone is different and everyone has different ways of dealing with the distractions and stress that comes from the media and from different technologies. Stress is all about prioritising work and although colouring did not really work for me, my friend Ashley or my mum, it could very much still work for someone else.

References

UniSpeak (2014), ‘You’re Too Busy to Read This’, University of Wollongong, viewed 27 October 2015, http://www.uow.edu.au/unispeak/UOW202552.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Prefs_content_marketing&utm_content=SOC_Psych_Content

Bowles, K (2015), ‘Week 7: Paying attention to attention’, (lecture notes Pdf) University of Wollongong, viewed 27 October 2015, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/490912/mod_resource/content/1/BCM240%202015%20week%207.pdf

Furness, H (2015), ‘Adults turn to colouring books to fight stress’, The Telegraph, viewed 27 October 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/11413517/Adults-turn-to-colouring-books-to-fight-stress.html

Santos, E (2014), ‘Colouring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress’, The Huffington Post Australia, viewed 27 October 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2014/10/13/coloring-for-stress_n_5975832.html?ir=Australia

Lassiter, L (2005), ‘The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography’, University of Chicago Press, viewed 27 October 2015, http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html