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Reverse Engineering: No Place Like Home

Title No Place Like Home – reimagination of objects from traditional shoe-making industry Field of Study In this project, I plan to start from the everyday objects in the traditional industry – shoes, give the imagination from literature or culture and explore the potential relationships between users and things. Through the interaction with our prototype, I hope to bring a reflection on reconnecting people to the craftsmanship inherent in shoe-making, and also stretch the boundaries of possibility for the industry. Context It is the commission from Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, the county which was famous for the shoes-making traditional industry. More

Dioramas – Hiroshi Sugimoto

“Dioramas” is the first photo project of Japanese photography Hiroshi Sugimoto. In American Natural History Museum, Sugimoto captures his scenes with a large format camera, long exposures time and adjustment of light to present his idealistic vision of nature. His photos brought these dioramas to live, “However fake the subject, once photographed, it’s as good as real.” Sugimoto said. In this moment, the boundary between fake and real get blur. Back to Natural History Museum, to make these three-dimensions dioramas, researchers and photographers are sent to the spots, collected lot amounts of specimens, photos and data from nature, then created the illusion of reality. Sugimoto’s re-photographing… More

Making Nature

When I was a child, I was really obsessed with a series of animal specimens exhibited the zoo of our city and visited that again and again. The stuffed specimens were positioned in front of the elaborately painted backdrops with the artificial plant, displaying animals in their natural surroundings. My favourite one was a group of wandering wild yak. Every time when I stared at it, I felt crossing the limitation of time and space, and the diorama brought me to the imaginary Tibetan Plateau that I had never seen. Probably we could view diorama as the work result of making nature. Human order everything according to the classified labels… More

Interview of Kawaii Gazette

Kawaii Gazette is an over 10 years blog managed by two lovely Italian girls written in both Italian and English. What they discuss about is not only the general stereotype(such as Hello Kitty, shiny pink stuff or Lolita style) but the kawaii elements on really wide aspects. The blog shares kawaii information of lifestyle, commodities, Japanese origin characters, handmade craft and even consumer electronics. I emailed them for the interview to understand more about European kawaii lovers perspective, then they replied me kindly and promised to help me with a written survey. Q1. Would you please… More

Go further from kawaii…

Nowadays, since the consumer market of kawaii lovers has strong potential, lots of technology products are designed with cartoon characters or pastel colours. The innocent smile face or fancy patterns might be the best decoration to melt the coldness of consumers electronics, on the opposite, can we turn the role of technology helping to decorate the kawaii culture? In the near future, the cute character in the the virtual world might be created to interact with us, applying technical skill on kawaii accessories and costumes would bring the diversity of colours and textile. Combining with technolegy knowledge and the characteristic of kawaii, the possibility of kawaii will… More

Visiting ARTBOX

ARTBOX is a shop located in Shelton Street, London which sells kawaii character houseware and stationery from Japan and Korea, such as Rilakkuma, Moomin, Monchhichi, Gudetama, Sumikko Gurashi, Domo Kun, Hello Kitty, Mamegoma, Snoopy, My Melody and many. Today, I visited there to observe the customers and merchandises, and had a short conversation to the stuff. Q: How long have you started the brand? A: About 8 years. In the beginning, the product was mainly from Korea, but now we focus on Japanese characters. Q: The style of your brand focus a lot on cute Japanese characters and really closer to Asian… More

Daily life kawaii

Japanese characters such as Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and Sailermoon is one of the most important components in the rise of kawaii culture. The consumer goods with kawaii characters which were created and developed originally in Japan diffused largely and acculturated culture in foreign countries. For myself, it hard to find kawaii fashion elements in my closet, but the products of Japanese character exist in my life everywhere. I have a black cat doll from the animation Kiki’s Delivery in front of my window, the capsule toy of Piske and Usagi by Kanahei on my desk, and the Rilakkuma cable tidy clip for my… More

Kawaii in London

To meet the kawaii lover tribe in London, I search some related events and blogs. Below are the hosts and bloggers I have tried to join or contact so far. [HYPER Kawaii] As part of HYPER JAPAN Festival, the biggest Japanese culture event in London, HYPER Kawaii provides live stage performances, Harajuku fashion catwalk and kawaii merchandise booths, which offers a wide selection of clothes, makeup, wigs, and accessories either from Japan or from local UK designers inspired by Japanese aesthetics. Last August, it collaborated with the art project DOMO TIME CAPSULE and let HYPER Kawaii participant join the activity as well. I tried to contact… More

Kawaii International

Kawaii culture is not only popular in Japan. The influence grows quickly all around the world, more and more Westerners obsessed with kawaii fashion and decoration. The Japanese state television NHK produced a series of programs “Kawaii International” to discuss the essence of kawaii culture, introducing kawaii evolution and trend in many different aspects. In this episode, two mainly sections are introduced to the audience. [ The Evolution of Kawaii ]  It gives a detailed narrative of kawaii costume style definitions and histories originate in Harajuku. No matter what kind of kawaii style you belonged to, according to Harajuku fashion statement, “There are no sets of rules for the kawaii fashion. More

Definition of Kawaii culture and Lolita style

In modern Japanese, the word “kawaii” means “cute,” “adorable,” or “loveable,” and is associated with a huge variety of ideas and objects. Some Japanese sociologists have even suggested that “kawaii” can be used to represent pretty much everything that is acceptable and desirable in Japan. The following paragraph quoted from this article goes deep into the narrative of kawaii culture. “To explain the Japanese adjective “kawaii”, “cute” is not a perfect translation but gives some idea of what it is about. The term emerged in the 1970s, at a time of economic prosperity in Japan when consumer goods… More

Recent Posts Page 2

Starting from Kawaii

In 2012, I was an exchange student in Linköping University, Sweden and had an opportunity to attend activities hold by the East Asian Association(EAA) at school. EAA gathered Swedish students who are interested in Asia culture and learning Chinese or Japanese, acting as a bridge between them and us Asian students. In the language exchange events, I had conversations with some Swedish. Interestingly, students who learning Chinese usually because of the practicality while Japanese learners tend to be obsessed with Japanese culture and view there as a dream country. The appreciation of contemporary Japanese popular culture is one of the most common motivations for foreign students to… More

Neo-tribe or subculture

In modern lifestyles, traditional tribes such as class and gender image have become less significant in an increasingly unstable and liquid world. The individuals in social group seek to move and adapt to the ever-changing world. Comparing with the traditional tribe, the neo-tribe is not bound by geography and kinship. It does not rely on historical tradition, as it comes into being as the occasion arises. Neo-tribe only exists for the duration of its rituals. The difference between neo-tribe and subculture is the characteristics of identity. In a subculture, identity is unified and fixed. It assumed the members to keep the static roles and identities. In the meanwhile, neo-tribe is a… More

The identity in neo-tribe

“The neo-tribe is ‘without the rigidity of the forms of organisation with which we are familiar, it refers more to a certain ambience, a state of mind, and is preferable to be expressed through lifestyles that favour appearance and form” — Michel Maffesoli The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society(1996) “Neo-tribes are intentional ‘communities of feeling’ ” — Kevin Hetherington Expressions of Identity: Space, Performance, Politics (1998) According to Maffesoli, neo-tribes is the groups of people come together in a shared interest. Identities are… More

The Great Silence

Last week I visited the exhibition Making Nature in Wellcome Collection. Under the subject, it examine the relationships between human and nature. Human collect animals, put a label, re-make their body and display the result. The way we think and value life around us reflects the realisation and definition to ourself at the meanwhile. As one one the installation in this exhibition, “The great Silence” presents three-channel videos by Allora & Calzadilla, and collaborated with science fiction author Ted Chiang on a subtitled script. The text tells a fable focusing on the world’s largest radio telescope, which transmits and captures radio waves to and from… More

Prototype and projection testing

To know more about projection, I did some testing to switch the projecting pattern on the physical postcard roughly. My future work is connect the javascript with MadMapper file, control the projection switch through the points on the map interface.       The prototype and survey result shows below. More

Human library

“Just like in a real library, a visitor to the Human Library can choose a Book from a range of titles. The difference is that Books are people, and reading is a conversation.” I’ve know the organization Human Library for a period. When Betty mentioned Little Free Library in Walthamstow, I surveyed it again as a reference and found out that their idea was challenging the stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The diversity of world results in many differences, which exist between cultures, races, religions, sex, politics …. it is easy to resist the unknowns and simplify them to an unpleasant conception. Sometimes if we… More

The map leads to …

“What sort of society are we trying to realize? How should we act in order to bring it about?”  –William Morris, News From Nowhere   So far we’ve decided to focus on a few main themes: sharing mutual memories the participation from community shorten the distance between different culture craft spirit Initially, our conception(shown in the following figures) was about creating the ideal city or garden based on the current Walthamstow map. On the first presentation in this term, both Betty and me chose map as the… More

The information design in ImpulsBauhaus

ImpulsBauhaus is an exhibition displays the establishment history of Bauhaus school, aiming at influences and social network of Bauhaus movement. Once the physical token with the Bauhaus member’s picture is put on the interactive digital tabletop, the table reacts to the placement and shows the visualise personal relationship between the members, and more details of this selected character would be displayed after the yellow points on the surface is touched. The interaction between the physical objects and the virtual social network is an attractive way to display the information and makes the action put/remove the individual object on the table meaningful, inspiring more innovation and possibility to interaction design… More

Primary research in Walthamstow

For knowing more about Walthamstow community, we visited there again and I tried to collect the colors from building, plants and people’s clothes, compared it now and then. The color collection plan was not so successful since the color record in William Morris’s generation was only paintings.        Walked around in the borough was a nice way of thinking. Betty noticed the little library box and The Salvation Army shop, both of them was based on the spirit of “sharing”. One man’s trash was another man’s treasure, and your every possession might had it own story behind. This conception and the interview we did… More

Where is the utopia

The novel “News from Nowhere” is my most impressive part in William Morris Gallery.This soft science fiction describes a Victorian’s unexpected time travel to the year 2102, and the discovery of future society frees from capitalism, isolation and industrialisation. As a socialism, William Morris illustrates an utopia where resources are sharing and the concept of private property is gone. Just like the audiences of “Back to the future” compare the future scene in the movie with 2015 in reality, I am wondering how does William Morris fell once he witnesses the society nowadays? Look closer to Walthamstow, Morris’s family home in his childhood, can we find any connection… More