The Zen’s at work

Last year I was working at my father’s sustainable architecture firm, mainly doing administrative work, but occasionally getting to help out with the ‘creative’ sides of things. 2013 was the first year that the Australian Institute of Architecture Awards introduced the entry requirement of having a short film, along with a poster, to show the judges what the buildings actually looked like. The video that I created below was a design that was entered in the ‘Commercial’ category and ended up being shortlisted for the Awards. Unfortunately the video is rather bad quality (because it needed to be a very small file). Looking at the colourisation and transitions makes me realise how much better Adobe Premiere Pro is in comparison to Final Cut Pro, which was the editing suite I was working on at the time. Nevertheless, ‘Warm Concrete’ by my good friend Tom Guida (stage name ‘Leaks’) works seamlessly with the time lapse effect that dominates this clip…

Carlton Graphic Design Studios – Zen Architects from Zen Architects on Vimeo.




This week’s symposium was rather philosophical and thought-provoking. It centred around the importance of materiality, rather than the meaning behind something (which is often the thing we concentrate most on today). The example used was a book and we were asked how we would explain this object to someone who had never seen the written word before. The answer (if there is one), was extremely complex – to even begin to explain how to use a book requires the explanation of a printing press and of course how to understand the written word in whatever language the book might be written in. In very broad terms, a book seems to be an amalgamation of materiality and meaning. When I say this I mean that to some extent, the physicality of a book can both limit and aid the creation of the meaning that can be taken from reading the text. For instance, the average book appears as follows: 300 paper pages, 40 lines which you read from left to right, top to bottom, a page number at the bottom of every page and a spine a couple of centimetres in width. All of these aspects to a book’s materiality in some way limits the medium.

Let’s take the size of a book as an example; the fact that a book must be portable means that the amount of pages and how big they are is limited, which in turn means that the book must end – it must have a finishing page, just as it must have a first page. This concept brought about the question of whether or not stories in books were limited because of the very materiality of the book itself. And in short, yes, they are. Although oral stories also have beginnings and endings, their limitation is time, rather than space. So then came the big question… if there is ‘no limitation’ to the time and space of the internet, do online stories need a beginning, middle and end?


02 Reading

The links for Week 2’s readings surrounded the concepts of copyright and creative commons. Having researched the laws of copyright and appropriation in Art studies, it was interesting to note that the laws were exactly the same for music, literary works and computer software, as well as standard pieces of art like paintings and drawings. Copyright is applied to all works automatically at the moment of their creation and ensures that others cannot appropriate a copyrighted work in part or in whole without the permission of the original artist’s permission. However, creative commons gives creators the option to share their work with others more freely, essentially removing the hassle of having to grant permission every time someone wants to use the work. Creative commons also gives creators the option of  applying a more ‘refined’ license on their work. These include ‘non-commercial’, ‘no derivatives’ (meaning that the person who is going to use the work cannot alter it in any way) and ‘share alike’ (meaning it must be shared with the same licenses attached). In regards to Network Media, creative commons aids the interconnectedness of the cyber community, fostering the concept of ‘protected participation’, offering people the opportunity and encouraging them to allow others to use their work. Oh…and it lets people like me (a media student) appropriate and remix other creators’ works into something new!



As I popped on the television last night after uni, flicking through the channels I noticed that ‘Popasia’ was on SBS2, a show I have never watched before but have particular interest in at the moment as I am planning to head to Japan (and hopefully Korea) at the end of the year. The program is principally a music video show, something like ‘The Loop’ or ‘Video Hits’, but consists only of pop music hits from, you guessed it, Asia.

I absolutely loved it…even if half of the joy came from laughing at the pop stars.

There was something nostalgic about the way the videos were put together, most involving highly choreographed dance numbers set in studio spaces framed by ‘funky’ camera angles – very similar to ’90s videos like ATC’s ‘All Around the World’ or TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’. In addition, almost all of the videos were from boy bands (think Asian versions of One Direction or Back Street Boys) or girl groups reminiscent of Destiny’s Child or today’s Little Mix, take 4Minutes’ video clip ‘I Me My Mine’ for instance.

However, there were some stark cultural differences evident in the videos. For one, the fashion is completely different; although their clothes have been obviously westernised, there is still something distinctly ‘Asian’ about what they wear and how they wear it. Their hair cuts and colours seem over the top by western standards, but appear to be the norm over there… at least for ‘k-pop’ or ‘j-pop’ music artists like SHINee (particularly in their video clip for ‘Lucky Star’). One other thing that seems unique to Asian pop songs is the frequent use of the English language in their lyrics. This was something I was faintly aware of from songs like ‘Gangnam Style’, that interrupts Korean lyrics with phrases like ‘sexy lady’ and ‘baby baby’.  I find this rather peculiar because western artists would rarely sing a few lines of their song in another language.

All in all, watching the program made me realise 1. How big of an impact Western culture has had on the rest of the world in regards to music, and 2. How closed off we are to music that is sung in languages other than English, when it seems that the whole world is able to easily access popular western songs.

My personal favourite from the show was this track by GOT7… keep a listen out for the golden English lyrics!


‘The relationship between the parts, is more important than the parts themselves’

The particular part of week one’s lecture that has stuck with me is the idea that ‘the relationship between the parts, is more important than the parts themselves’.

This concept applies especially well to the Networked Media course, because essentially ‘networking’ is creating these relationships/connections/links. Week one’s reading also looked at this idea in regards to how blogging, in particular, helps people to create these connections. Hypertext in blogs allows one to interlink their blogs to other posts, blogs, webpages, images, audio and videos which helps to extend and connect the online community (or ‘blogosphere’).

All in all, for me the most powerful example of this idea was the analogy of editing film. You can take two different clips of film, and yes, separately they have meaning instilled within them; however when joint together, their juxtaposition creates a new meaning. It is this relationship between the two shots that becomes more important (in terms of meaning) than the shots themselves. Sergei Eisenstein, a Soviet filmmaker in the 1920s was particularly interested in this idea of juxtaposition or ‘montage’ (rather than classical Hollywood style continuity editing). In his film October he played with this connection between shots, placing a clip of a mechanical peacock (pictured below), ‘next to’ a clip of a government leader (a character named Kerensky, pictured at bottom). In doing this Eisenstein prompts the audience to compare the two figures, insinuating the pomposity of Kerensky. This is a perfect illustration to show that it is not the things themselves, but their relationship that is most significant.

'Mechnical Peacock'


01 Reading

One thing that this reading focussed on is the similarities and differences between blogs and other writing mediums such as journals and diaries. I found this particularly interesting because last semester in Writing Media Texts, we were using hand-written journals and I rather enjoyed this process. Both are common in the sense that they are a place (mainly for the writing) of ideas, reflections and activities, they provide a record of learning achievements and they are space where one can express doubt about their knowledge (unlike an essay or report). However, the journals we kept were rather private aside from when they were being marked by our tutors. Blogs, on the other hand are the polar opposite, anyone and everyone can essentially view our posts. This, I feel will take some getting used to, as when I write in a journal or a diary I generally write in quite a personal tone – sometimes making up words that only I would really understand. So in this way, I think that using a blog will help me to improve my writing skills in several different forms, as well as improving my ‘cyber’ literacy due to the fact that blogs enable the use of hypertext, allowing me to link my posts to other blogs and webpages.  In saying this, there is a beautiful quality to a hardcopy journal and as a mainly visual learner I like to draw a lot of my ideas and also use mind maps and other visual ‘tools’ to organise my writing.

Typing rather than hand-writing can also be of benefit to the ‘learning experience’ encountered when creating a blog. I think typing fosters ‘better’ writing because the author is able to edit their work or parts of it much more easily, enabling for constant improvement to their posts. In addition, if my blog was hand-written it would end up being pretty private anyway on account of my disgraceful penmanship!