Origami – My Autoethnographic Experiences


I love learning new things so having the ability to explore Japanese, Chinese and Korean culture through the use of autoethnography has been awesome. As someone who has dabbled in Japanese culture through high school, I did start off this journey knowing a thing or two about the culture through books and materials the school gave to us. I’m not necessarily saying I know everything about the culture because in reality I only know a very small aspect of something so big, but what I do know has definitely opened my eyes.

Autoethnography is something that has taken me some time to get used to, but looking at it from a new perspective and especially using it during the time of discovering new aspects of Digital Asia’s cultures I have discovered that I was able to sort through my thoughts and ideas in a narrative autoethnographic form. By doing this my narratives would place emphasis on what I was thinking/feeling and remembering while engaging in these topics.

For my Digital Artefact, I followed an epiphany that I had during the week and chose to look further into the art of origami and specifically paper cranes. In order to make my research into an autoethnographic experience, I chose to investigate the history behind the folding of origami and paper cranes while also drawing on my own experiences with making these cranes for my art project.

Origami is the art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures which originated in Japan. The crane is considered a mystical animal that is believed to live for thousands of years and because of this, they have become a symbol of good luck and long life. Origami was considered a ceremonial and religious art form since the symbol of the crane is lucky and sacred. A sense of wonder about the paper cranes sparked my curiosity which leads to the art of origami.

When approaching this subject to find out the history of the practice I chose to try and look at it in an autoethnographic way. Autoethnography is known as a genre of writing which displays multiple levels of consciousness, which connects the personal to the culture (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). When looking at this practice I wanted to place emphasis on the study of the practice and my research and interaction with the practice.

When approaching the research side of the project I wanted to find out as much as I could about the evolution and history of origami. To do this I found a lot of websites that gave me information on the folding methods and also interesting points about its history. I found that there weren’t many academic articles on the topic so I chose to use those instead.

Coming into the research aspect of the project I found that I knew very little of the history of origami and origins of paper cranes. I found that most if not all of the information was new to me and in the long run I found out a whole lot more of a culture that I found intriguing.  The research as a whole did give me a lot more information, understanding, and insight into the culture and in hindsight, by researching the topic more I did end up understanding the practice a whole lot more which changed my outlook on the project. It started as something that I was doing because it was pretty and fascinating to something I was doing because I loved the history and story behind it and wanted to delve into the culture.

The criteria for the art piece is to create a device of wonder that spurs imagination, examination, investigation, and speculation that is caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar. Devices of wonder invite the audience to engage in the work and ultimately become a part of it. The idea of curiosity is sparked between an individual’s and the work encourages investigation which is where the idea of someone becoming a part of the work is explored.

The prototype of the art piece was successful when it was put together and everything turned out how I wanted it. There were, however, setbacks though with the process of actually putting it up and hanging it from the roof. The reality was that my prototype was only a small indication of how it would look and I did need to change the way that the cranes were hanging from the mesh to get the impact that I wanted from the audience.

I thought that folding all these paper cranes would end up turning in to a chore and I would despise paper after, however, I think that the process of folding paper cranes has become quite therapeutic for me to do after having a stressful day or just needing some time alone.  Through experiencing this I have an understanding why this practice was originally an art form for formal ceremonies as well as an elegant way to pass the time.



Origami Paper Cranes


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.416px-Hiden_Senbazuru_Orikata-S25-1

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.

855480_orig.jpgPaper 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.



Paper Crane Installation


My response to the theme ‘Wonder

Wonder is an emotion that spurs marvel, imagination, examination, investigation, and speculation that is caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar. Devices of wonder invite the audience to engage in the work and ultimately become a part of it. The curiosity sparked between an individual and the work encourages investigation which is where the idea of someone becoming a part of the work is explored.



Contextualisation of the project in relation to MEDA


Origami is the art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures which originated in Japan. The crane is considered a mystical animal that is believed to live for thousands of years and because of this, they have become a symbol of good luck and long life. Origami was considered a ceremonial and religious art form since the symbol of the crane is lucky and sacred. A sense of wonder about the paper cranes sparked my curiosity which leads me to the art of origami which I’m hoping will happen to others when they engage in my work.


The outcome of the prototype:

The outcome of my prototype was successful when I was putting it together, everything was just how I wanted it to look. There were some setbacks though with the process of hanging the mesh to the ceiling – some of the strings I bought didn’t hold it well etc. The prototype was only small as I wanted to make it this way to test how it would work in the space. I found that it was a bit random in the space so I’m hoping to put the finished product somewhere where it will fit better and feel like it belongs. Hanging the cranes one on each string looked a bit weird so for the finished product, I will be including a few more to get more length plus make it feel more full.


Audience experience:

I believe that my device of wonder will invite the audience to experience something new and exciting that they may not have done before. I want the work to be audience participatory by allowing them to create their own cranes and even put them with the others on the mesh. This will give the audience the power, in the end, to display it how they want.


My Feedback from peer and tutor:


The prototype has some room for improvement before the final product to further enhance it and makes it more of a device of wonder. There were some concerns about the aesthetic of the piece and it is more based on visual then meaning. To change this and add more depth I will be trying to further enhance the piece by making the paper cranes symbolise something meaningful. Some options that I have looked at include using them to symbolise the results of gun violence/death, I think that by doing this I will be able to create something striking and to the point, that will impact on the audience. There were also ideas some ideas from my peers to include mood lighting to better enhance the mood of the project which would be quite effective to further strengthen the depth added.


Any further work to be done? Plans for improving or altering the works for the final presentation:


There is obviously more work to be done to this project for it to be improved before showing the finished product to an audience. Alterations to the piece include buying bigger meshes to hang from the roof of the space so it will be better established in the room. The mesh will be closer to the ceiling so you can’t see it and experience the cranes more. This change will stop people from running into the mesh rather than being surrounded by cranes, I think by doing this it will make it more wondrous.  To improve the work further, I will be giving it more meaning and symbolism to improve the depth of my work and audience experience. Instructions will also be provided to the audience to encourage participation with the work, this will be done by cardboard and will include instructions and background of the work.


I think by altering these improving these things that I picked up from the prototype my work will become a more wondrous experience for the audience.

Electronic Frontier Foundation


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a non-profit organisation that works to defend the civil liabilities in today’s digital age. The EFF works to ensure that the rights and freedoms of citizens are enhanced and protected as technology develops and becomes the central pillar of today society. The foundation believes that protecting the access of developing technologies for citizens is central to advancing freedom for all.

The EFF uses a voice independent from government or other organisations to defend freedom of speech, fight illegal surveillance and advocates for both users and innovators when supporting freedom enhancing technologies. The organisation works hard to advise policy makers and educates the press by developing public documents on their website to provide comprehensive analysis’s, educational guides and activist workshops.


What global media intervention has occurred?

The EFF has worked through many cases that involve the global inequality of censorship. A global media intervention by the EFF was held through the Canadian courts as recently as June 28, 2017.

The case Google v. Equusteck was brought forward to the court as Equusteck reached out to google in an attempt to block Datalinks websites from appearing in a Google search result. Datalink had been stealing intellectual property from Equusteck and manufacturing a competing product with the help of their trade secrets through “a complex and ever expanding network of websites where they advertise and sell their product”. During the litigation faze Google was asked to de-index websites from google.ca Google which were related to the Datalinks sales however they were still able to produce sales outside of Canada through other websites.  The intervention occurred as Equusteck made an application for a worldwide de-index of Datalink against Google in an attempt to make them invisible to all citizens around the world.




The Electronic Frontier Foundation intervened in the case highlighting the flaws of their application to wipe out this company and their websites from around the world google engines. The foundation believed that by granting the wish of de-listing domains worldwide from google they would directly interfere with the U.S Constitution of freedom of speech and set a dangerous precedent for other cases alike around the world.

Google’s submission is that this analysis would give every state in the world jurisdiction over Googles search services

The case Google v. Equusteck became a trend around the world as governments began asking for the content to be removed from the internet and the act of censorship to be enforced on citizens.


What was the outcome of this?

 The trend for governments to ask for their specific content to be censored from their citizens has also spread to France where they are calling for their “right to be forgotten”. The same themes as the above case are evident, as regulators are calling for a de-listing of search results at a global scale to keep them from users across the world.

The case Google v. Equusteck works as a precedent in regards to internet censorship on a larger global scale. Cases like these are dangerous, especially when countries begin to have control over the amount of information which can be given to citizens.



Censorship is present in today’s society around the world, where governments or bodies are suppressing the right for individuals to access books, films, news sites and websites because they are considered to be obscene, politically incorrect or a threat to security. The idea of internet freedoms is rapidly becoming understood as a normative framework for how the internet should function and be used around the world. Internet freedoms have even been declared as a human right by the United Nations and have become a central pillar for the USA’s 21st-century policy doctrines.

Governments around the work block internet access to online content for a variety of reasons including to shield children from specific content, prevent access to copyright infringing material or to protect national security.  This is done by tampering with domains, filter and block specific keywords and sites, block particular IP addresses and urge online content providers to remove content from Google search results. Surveillance of these types of materials can be understood as an expression of state or country power.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 2.11.00 pm

There are many cases where governments around the world have censor information from their people. China, for example, has used a combination of techniques in order to remove certain content from their citizens. China’s firewall is sophisticated and was produced in order to attempt to have an economy intricately connected from the outside world, but still, keep their political culture cut off from their political culture cut off from ‘Western values” of freedom of speech and democracy. Iran is also another nation where censorship is an issue as the nation’s filtering has been rated as being ‘highly’ consistent with a ‘medium’ transparency. Iran seems to be pervasively filtering in the political, social and internet tools and categories. Censorship in Iran has been demonstrated when access to several news sites and even Facebook were blocked if they were supporting of Ahmadinejad ahead of the elections. These two examples highlight the need for nations to promote an online ecosystem through censorship that reflects the interests, principles and values that are developed and governed in these areas. When doing this the power component of censorship becomes a threat to the ideas of human rights and agendas for states which is dangerous.

There are obviously various disadvantages and advantages that come along when censorship is concerned. On one hand, censorship is used in order to protect copyright protection laws especially when content such as music, films and TV is involved. Other instances censorship would come in handy is when addressing hate crimes online, online bullying tactics or even to just limit the amount of data an individual can gain access to. Disadvantages such as limiting freedom of speech, giving the government too much power and control over its people and the annoying limitation on what you are allowed to access from where you are in the world are a few concerns censorship produces.

Overall censorship of the internet can become dangerous when governments cross that fine line and use it to control citizens. However, internet censorship might not always work in favour of those who enforce it due to it’s dynamic and the ability for citizens to use other technologies to bypass it. Software such as VPN’s are available to individuals to use to bypass censorship, however, even these software’s are slowly becoming taken down by governments such as China and even Russia.



Before this week’s seminar, I have never really watched a Godzilla movie or found anything to do with it interesting. I knew they existed and that there was a movie franchise produced around them but I have never watched one.


However, I have to say that watching the Godzilla movie this week was quite interesting. I enjoyed it to an extent. The most interesting part of the movie I think was seeing how different the scenes, dialogue, acting, graphics and even sound effects were. When comparing these things to this day and age there is a dramatic difference between them. It’s quite awesome to see how far film has come.


My high school gave us the opportunity to learn and study Japanese language, culture and history. The class opened my mind to this very different cultural identity and gave me the opportunity to explore the art of manga and Japanese films. I found that the film Godzilla gave me a different view point of Japan and especially their stance on nuclear energy. I think, however, because I was able to study Japan, I was able to make sense of the film text a whole lot better.


Godzilla in the film becomes a metaphor for the nuclear bombing nightmare that happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the time. Images shown the film depict a raging Godzilla producing destruction in the form of a sea of flames, smouldering buildings and apocalyptic ruins. Director Honda explained “I took the characteristics of an atomic bomb and applied them to Godzilla” in an attempt to portray the atomic bomb and the effects that it produced on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during the attack. The portrayal of the character to this day can still be adapted and evolved in an attempt to portray the ideas of climate change and especially the problematic missile tests in North Korea.


Overall I think that the film was very interesting, it brought up topics that I hadn’t considered or thought about before. Depicting the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima through Godzilla was a great way to emphasise the destruction and fear individuals felt during this time. Let’s hope that the devastation of the bombing will be enough to stop this from happening in the future.


MEDA101: Where I’m From Remoscopes

Where am I from? Well, that’s quite an interesting question.

George Ella Lyon’s poem ‘Where I’m from‘ sparked my investigation to explore places, objects, events and people that are important to me throughout my life so far. When reflecting on this, a few fundamental things came to mind: my family, camping and reading.

My approach to this task was to take as many videos as I could of things that are important to me. I planned to go to a family’s farm to shoot some footage which was mostly used in this assessment. By using this kind of footage I would be able to convey the spatial and overall experiences of where I’m from to an audience more effectively.

I made the decision to stick with the remoscopes that I have displayed in this video over the others because I believe that they were more effective in conveying the things that are important and have been influential in my life.

The remoscopes hold more memories of where I’m from and how those memories have made me who I am today. For example, camping becomes a place of adventure, somewhere you have to look for simple things to do to entertain yourself during the day. This becomes closely linked to my family members and all the mischief and adventures that we got up to at camp. The shot of the campfire is a symbol of bonding time, a place where everyone comes together for a laugh, to talk and free their mind. These simple things are important to me, which is exactly why I chose to explore them for this project.

MEDA201: Experimental Film Project


The theme for my experimental film piece is primarily based on found footage of a group of men in a meeting. Playing on this idea, the footage was edited in a way to make the scenes more interesting and unique by including cuts, overlays, repetition and range differing speeds. A non-linear structure was used as many of the clips were edited into random order and placed anywhere on the timeline.

I believe the idea of rhythm was explored in this piece through the use of repetitive editing and a range of differing speeds as well as the manipulation of the celluloid film through scratching.


Analogue Film


Cameraless film focuses on producing images through directly interfering with celluloid film strips by scratching, painting, drawing, bleaching or destroying them with additive and subtractive methods.

I think that this idea of interfering with the medium of film is appropriately discussed in Clement Greenberg’s argument, where he states:

“Each medium has its own unique characteristics and these should be the basis of how the medium is used. The focus should then fall on the materiality of the medium (the physical and how people interact with it). The medium then often becomes the work)”

Greenberg’s ideas are relevant in this sense, as the film becomes the medium which is being used, and the focus falls on the physical ways that people are able to manipulate and interact with it which results in the medium of the film becoming a major work of art.

As the medium of film was established, an emergence of film avant-garde’s experimented with it which allowed for this practice to become relevant as a principle of film production.

Artists like Len Lye used scratching, painting and drawing techniques on celluloid film in his art piece ‘Colour box‘. Len Lye experimented with different kinds of paints that would be transparent enough to produce bright colours when projected. Lye created dynamic patterns that were both in and out of frame to create a sense of off scene space. Cuban dance music was also added to the art piece to compliment the array of shapes being projected. A loose relationship between the projected art and the music was created where specific shapes were associated with certain sounds.

The film ‘colour box’ had a huge impact because of its novelty and its appearance of a divided audience. Len Lye’s film is considered to be the work which established the genre of cameraless film, which was the cause for some film festivals to invent new categories to cater to this new style.



Reflecting on Transnational Media and Cultural Industries


Reflecting on my BCM288 Transnational Media and Cultural industries experience, I have found that it has allowed me to open my eyes to a range of different subjects to do with film and digital media companies, consumers and the abundance of creative and cultural content flows happening in the world and especially Australia.

While taking this subject I have found exploring television programs audiences and consumers, especially when looking at the block and other kinds of reality TV shows and how barriers between privacy have been demolished in a way. This was brought up in week 2 and 3, where the example of the office was brought up to show the comparison between two different cultural groups and how one was more successful and engaging than the other. I found this topic to be really interesting which is why I decided to further look into the differences between specific TV adaptions with the example of skins. Looking into the reality TV show adaptions was also a really interesting topic. When looking at this we explored the reality show Masterchef and its ability to translate a wide range of audiences around the world.

1464729048.jpgExploring the idea of Piracy and Diasporic media was also very interesting and I gain a lot of information from this topic. Using the global south as an example allowed for the idea of audiences and their interaction to be explored, especially when considering how audiences respond and interact with the media. For example, it was said that the global South’s piracy issue was enough to create corruption and also hinder the development of filmmakers and their profit made which would affect their living conditions. Although I believed at the start that piracy in some regards did allow for a legitimate way for media to be shared my beliefs in the end when doing further research changed. At the start, I believed that the idea of sharing these medias through piracy did allow for a form of distribution, which then benefitted the producers as these kinds of films like Nollywood would become more well known and shared around the globe. However, doing further research into the topic allowed me to realise that just because people are gaining these media through the internet does not necessarily mean that the producers are benefiting from it. This topic has then opened my eyes towards my habits towards piracy and has made me re-think my ways.

Virtual cosmopolitanism was another idea that was very new to me, it’s basically when two or more cultures come together and create a hybrid culture which contains aspects of the previous cultures and puts them together in a way that creates a new unique type of cultural characteristics. Learning this in class allowed me to further open my eyes to different types of cultures and what happens when they merge together.

Overall my BCM288 experience has been a positive one, definitely filled will a whole new list of words to learn and understand. The concepts explored within this subject were really interesting and I think in some way they still apply to this certain point in time. By learning about these topics my view of some things has definitely changed and I have gained a more solid idea of culture and also the way that it interacts with media and the people around the world.