AUTOETHNOGRAPHY: WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

When I first came across the term “autoethnography” I had initially dismissed it as another tedious, research-related term which I would struggle to comprehend and eventually get frustrated by. However, mid-way through reading “Autoethnography: An Overview” (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011), I had the realisation that the term referred to the method of using personal experiences as a means to subjectively comprehend cultural experiences (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011, pg.1), with subjectively being the key word. Because, as the article points out, “autoethnography is one of the approaches that acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality, and the researcher’s influence on research” (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011, pg.4).

 

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When I started to think about this form of research, it occurred to me that I have been an autoethnographer since I started university, although for most of the time unknowingly. Through my blog, I have been using personal experiences to gain an understanding of cultural experience. With a huge interest in film, I realized that film-makers too (especially documentarians) are autoethnographers. They reshape their own personal  and cultural experiences and use it to create a narrative which goes on to share a film-maker’s experience. 

With this in mind, I am now beginning to think about how I will use auto ethnography to gain a further understanding on Asian horror films, particularly ‘J-Horror’. As someone who is a massive fan of the 1998 classic “Ringu”, I am incredibly excited to use J-Horror as the basis for my autoethnographic research. In the coming weeks, I will hopefully zone in on the specifics of the research process and through what medium I will present it.

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Until then…

References:

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol.12, no.1, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>

‘GOJIRA’: Reaction + Thoughts

Those people who know me well, will (rightly) tell you that I am a massive film geek. So when I found out that we would be watching the 1954 allegorical B-movie ‘Gojira’, I was naturally thrilled. As the film started, I began to think about the differences between the Japanese film industry and the Hollywood film industry.

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As I said in one of my tweets posted during the screening, NO-ONE makes genre films quite like the Japanese. Unlike many (there are exceptions) Hollywood blockbusters, Japanese blockbusters always seem to try to incorporate some  form of social, religious or political context. With this in mind, it was fascinating to watch the way that ‘Gojira’ uses genre (in this case b-grade sci-fi) in order to make a bold allegorical critique of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WW2. Contrastingly, if you look at the 2013 remake ‘Godzilla’ (which I actually kinda liked) you’ll notice that it has none of the original’s political undertones, but is more interested in establishing Godzilla as a major player in the new MonsterVerse (as is now the trend).

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Having said this, it doesn’t mean that all Japanese films are as smart as ‘Gojira’ and that all Hollywood blockbusters are simply disposable pieces of entertainment that exist solely for financial reasons. It just occurred to me, as I watched ‘Gojira’, that very few American film-makers would be make such a ballsy, political blockbuster.

Another difference between the two film industries, which I briefly discussed with my tutor after the screening, is the perception of their audience. By making such a allegorical film, the director of ‘Gojira’, Ishiro Honda, clearly perceives the audience to be clever enough to understand the ideas and messages that the film is trying to convey. Hollywood, however, often believe that a blockbuster has to be ‘dumbed down’, in order to satisfy audiences and are often very reluctant to finance big-budget films with complicated narratives or concepts (although this trend is starting to die down, thankfully).

In the end,  the screening of the 1954 ‘Gojira’ was an eye opening experience which led to a deeper understanding of the way the Japanese film industry works and the differences between them and Hollywood.

Until next time…

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WHO ARE YOU? Exploring Online Personas

Who am I? It’s the question we ask ourselves almost everyday. However, most of us fail to identify the differences between our real-life personas and our online personas. Our real-life personas tend to present ourselves as we truly are, whereas our online personas tend to be a more consciously fabricated version of ourselves, or more specifically, the person we want to be. However, another question that can be asked is whether our online personas can affect our real-life personas?

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As I write this post, almost everybody around me is either on their laptops, smart phones or tablets.  With this in mind, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to assume that about half of those people have a social media tab open, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram. This is the world we live in and as technology continues to develop, our online-personas slowly begin to cast a shadow on our real-personas. Frightening, isn’t it?

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This is Max, logging out.

Note: I would highly recommend watching the episode of Black Mirror titled ‘Nosedive’, which really examines this concept in depth.

Geoblocking

Amongst the many things that the internet has changed, the users’ increasing demand for more content, particularly with streaming services, is undoubtedly the biggest. As information is increasingly quicker to access, audiences therefore demand immediate access to more content. In the world of the internet, patience no longer exists.

Amongst the many things that the internet has changed, the users’ increasing demand for more content, particularly with streaming services, is undoubtedly the biggest. As information is increasingly quicker to access, audiences therefore demand immediate access to more content. In the world of the internet, patience no longer exists.

Geo-blocking, is a system which is implemented to restrict an individual’s access to content which is not available in their country. Streaming services, such as Netflix, are consistently fighting to restrict their users from accessing non-localised content. The problem with such as system is that it  is that it denies the public to the right of online liberty. It is a morally grey area, that is yet to be fully addressed and dealt with.g1494804874294051652.jpg

Geo-blocking, is a system which is implemented to restrict an individual’s access to content which is not available in their country. Streaming services, such as Netflix, are consistently fighting to restrict their users from accessing non-localised content. The problem with such as system is that it  is that it denies the public to the right of online liberty. It is a morally grey area, that is yet to be fully addressed and dealt with.

Archer and Transmedia Storytelling

Transmedia storytelling is a very interesting tool that, if used correctly, allows the audience to further explore the content being consumed. In the case of the hilarious animated spy spoof “Archer”, which is currently in its eighth season, it’s use of transmedia storytelling is designed to allow the audience to directly interact with what’s happening in the episode.

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Although not available for us Aussies, the “Archer P.I.” augmented reality app, launched in anticipation of the latest season “Dreamland”, is described as a “multiplatform augmented reality app” which requires viewers to interact with what’s happening in the episode, as well as certain objects in the real world. The objective is that the audience is helping the show’s protagonist, the legendary Sterling Archer, to find clues and help solve cases. The app is essentially a way for the audience to engage with the world of the show, even after the episode is over. It’s a terrific use of transmedia storytellling that results in increased audience engagement. If only the app was available here though…

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BTW, if you don’t watch Archer, you’re missing out badly

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Australia vs. Piracy: What’s the point?

Remember that ad that you would see every time you watched a DVD?  With the quotes like “ You wouldn’t steal a car”  and “You wouldn’t steal a handbag”. You know the one right? That ad is more than 10 years old now. Crazy right! So what exactly has changed in Australia’s war against piracy since then? To be honest, not much has changed. Apart from the implementation of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill in 2015 and the introduction of Netflix in March 2015, nothing has changed in regards to piracy and illegal streaming in Australia.

The war against piracy, is for me, one that the Australian government cannot win. The internet is so  vast and information is so easily obtainable that it makes it  almost impossible for piracy laws to be enforced. If one illegal streaming site gets shutdown, they’ll just be another one created. So, although they may restrict piracy and illegal streaming, Australia will never succeed in its battle against piracy. So the question is: What’s the point?

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Sampling and Recycling Music

The use of sampling in music first emerged in the mid-1980’s, where hardware such as the E-MU SP-1200 and Akai S950 allowed smaller studios with smaller budgets to re-use music from other artists and putting a twist on it. Mostly used by Hip-Hop artists, it has since been perfected and is almost a necessity for hip-hop artists and DJ’s.

One artist who is considered as a master sampling is the controversial Kanye West. Almost all of his music samples beats and musical motifs from other artists, but is always used in a way to create something new. In fact one of his songs “Ni**as in Paris”, which was part of his collaboration album “Watch the Throne” with fellow artist Jay-Z, samples dialogue from the 2007 Will Ferrell comedy “Blades of Glory”. Kanye West’s work epitomises how re-using content can be used and manipulated creatively, in order to produce something new.g1492989132513706372

Below is my rather poor attempt at sampling someone’s work and forming something different (although its more of a remix). Enjoy 🙂

 

The sinister side of memes

If we’ve learnt anything from the last 5 years or so, it’s that memes are here to stay. They have become intrinsic to our culture, the way we communicate and share information. Even the NSW police have recognised this, and increasingly reinforcing their messages through memes. People often forget, however, that memes can often have sinister connotations, especially when venturing into the 4chan area of the internet.

Take Pepe the Frog, for example. If you didn’t know about it’s recent controversy, you would just look at the meme as just a bit of harmless banter, or shitposting. However, if you know about its now controversial appropriation by some of the ‘alt-right’ community, you would immediately think of anything associated with the ‘alt-right’ (Donald Trump, White supremacists, etc.).

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Produsage in Video Games

“A significant paradigm shift is now underway”  (Axel Burns)

The change in the way content is created, particularly in video games, is simply remarkable. With the introduction of the internet, we are now able to share and gather information from anywhere in the world. For some, this would be considered dangerous, but for others, like me, this is very exciting. As a gamer, it is a very exciting time: games are no longer restricted to the boundaries set by game producers, as players are now able (in most video games) to customise their own characters and worlds & then share them online for others to use. Think of it like a player-created DLC (Downloadable Content). Take GTA V, for example. So much of the game’s appeal and popularity is no longer simply down to the ability to carry out all sorts of criminal acts or destroy everything. It is now heavily appealing to those who  simply enjoy creating races, characters and vehicles. Another example would be the incredibly popular Minecraft, in which its whole purpose, is to allow the user to create content (buildings, worlds etc.). It’s an exciting time, for video games, and I’m excited to see how much further video games will allow players to create and share content.

Animated GIF  - Find & Share on GIPHY

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