Digital Artefact Idea- How’s the Binge

The way we consume media has changed drastically over the last few years.  With the emergence of streaming juggernauts such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, people no longer consume entertainment the same way. By that, I am, of course referring to the act of binge-watching.

During my mid-semester break, I spent most of my time, (when I wasn’t working) binge-watching Sons of Anarchy. One day, after finishing my 3rd or 4th episode of the day, I thought back to the way I watched the masterpiece that was Twin Peaks: The Return. Now, when watching that, I could only watch an episode per week, as the episodes were released weekly and although I found myself impatiently waiting for the next episode, I realized that it was not the binge-watching type of show, mainly due to its overwhelmingly cerebral nature.

sons of anarchyTwin Peaks

 

This leads me to my idea: a blog that evaluates the binge-worthiness of certain shows. People are always looking for new television shows to binge, and with so much content being released and created daily, it can be very overwhelming to know where to start. Therefore, I believe that is project would have a social utility.

Now, at this stage I am still unsure as to what platform I would use for the project, but at this stage it is more likely to be through a blog.

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DA- Max Watches Anime!

Pt. 5 – Concluding Thoughts: Challenges of Autoethnographic Research

In the past three weeks, I have been conducting autoethnographic research (through my blog) into the world of anime, with the focus being on the anime show “Death Parade”. This research has really allowed me to delve deep down and evaluate my previous assumptions on anime. This blog series project also allowed me to further my personal understanding on autoethnography and what it entails. That being said, the autoethnographic research process presented me with many challenges, some of which I may not have properly overcome.

Inglo Winkler (2017, pg 12) acknowledges one of the biggest of the fore mentioned  challenges that I faced. Winkler states that ” autoethnographic research requires balancing the “auto” and the “ethno” to the extent

that there is sufficient emphasis on the cultural settings to enable a research or a text to pass as autoethnography”, which for me was the hardest aspect to get around. How do I successfully balance the ‘auto’ and ‘ethno’ aspects to a manner which can be considered both a personal reflection and a legitimate cultural evaluation. However, that is up to you, the reader, to decide.

Another problem, which I may have mentioned in Part Two of the series, was concerned over how to convey my honest preconceptions of anime, without being disrespectful. In order to do this, it is essential to be understanding of other cultures and the notion that what people perceive as ‘strange’  or ‘normal’ varies among cultures.

Yet, despite these challenges, I found the autoethnographic experience to be incredibly rewarding. I hope that you have enjoyed this five part blog series and, on a personal note, I highly recommend watching  the series “Death Parade”.

References

Winkler, I 2017, ‘Doing Autoethnography – Facing Challenges, Taking Choices, Accepting Responsibilities, Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 00, no. 0 ,pp.1-12, viewed 26th October 2017,  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1077800417728956

DA- Max Watches Anime!

Pt 3. The Binge

Everybody loves a good binge, right? Particularly a Netflix binge. However, my binge this week was a significant one for me. This week, I had my first ever anime binge and boy was it an experience.

As I’ve previously mentioned in my last two posts, my current autoethnographic project involves me delving into the realm of anime. The particular show I decided to watch, as part of my research, is the existential episodic show “Death Parade”. Although I didn’t manage to binge the entire season in one sitting, as I had intended, I did manage to set one day where I went through 4 episodes, which for me, satisfactorily replicated a bingeing experience.

The binge took place on the 19th October, whilst I was folding the pamphlets, which I deliver on weekends for money. For me, this was a more ideal way to binge-watch, than the traditional lying-in-bed or sitting -on-the sofa method. It prevented me from constantly checking stuff on my phone and therefore allowed me to focus on the themes and concepts of the show. However, because I was using the free version of Anime Lab (I’m a uni student after all), this meant that my binge was frequently interrupted by ads. Funnily enough though, they were all ads for other anime shows that were available on Anime Lab and surprisingly these frequent ads didn’t make me mad, like the ones on YouTube do. 

One thing I will say about binge watching “Death Parade” is that it really elicits an emotional response: one moment I would find myself laughing at the dry sense of humour and within 2 minutes of that I would then find myself trying to fight back tears. It really is a fascinating binging experience, although I do feel like binging the entire season in one sitting would be a bad idea. A lot of the concepts explored in the show, deserve to be thought over, and the show goes to some incredibly dark places (which shouldn’t be surprising considering the show is titled “Death Parade”).

Me, after episode 4 of Death Parade

The most rewarding moment of binge-watching “Death Parade”, however, came in the 4th episode, when I finally stopped watching the show as a cultural outsider and became emotionally invested. At this moment, I stopped being consciously aware that I was watching my first ever anime and this really enhanced the rest of my viewing.

DA- Max Watches Anime!

Pt. 2 – Understanding my role and preconceptions

As I write this, I find myself still striving to truly understanding the process of autoethnography. As  Wall (2008, pg.39) states “autoethnography offers a way of giving voice to personal experience to advance sociological understanding”, which is why it is so fundamental to my research of the 2015 anthology anime series “Death Parade”. Attempting to form a personal narrative out of my experiences of watching the show is proving much harder than expected. Pritchard (2017, pg 108) explains that the positioning of the author’s relation to the research is crucial in gaining the trust of the reader. So, with this in mind, the purpose of this post will be to determine my role and my preconceptions prior to watching “Death Parade”.

Who am I?

Wall (2008, pg. 39) remarks that autoethnography begins with a personal narrative. In my narrative, I am a 21 year-old French male, who has spent most of his life in English-speaking countries. Prior to “Death Parade”, my only encounters with anime were through the consumption of various Studio Ghibli films, which gained mainstream attention. Although I have has had encounters with individuals who are rooted in the anime culture, I was relatively unfamiliar with the anime culture. My research is my attempt to rectify that and to gain an insight into the world of anime.

Preconceptions

Part of the challenge that comes with authoethnographic research, is the way one represents themselves and others. It’s therefore crucial that my preconceptions of the anime culture is written in a way that doesn’t appear as dismissive or ignorant and that I thoroughly analyse my own preconceptions, rather than fall into the trap of being overly-subjective.

My first encounter with anime culture occurred when I was around 6, when Pokemon trading cards were absolutely dominating youth culture. I was living in London at the time, and never fully understood the concept. Having thought about this led me to an epiphany:

My experience with Pokemon partly shaped my preconceived idea that the anime genre was tailored specifically for kids.

This conception simply stems from the fact that I had not been exposed to the adult-oriented anime programmes or films such as ‘Ghost in the Shell’ or ‘Akira’ and furthermore I was much too young to fully comprehend the more sophisticated ideas or themes that can sometimes be explored in children-orientated anime programmes.

 

 

Years later, when I was around 18 or 19, a friend of mine told me about an anime that he was watching, that had apparently taken the anime world by storm, called ‘Death Note’. When he described the plot to me, I was taken aback by its incredibly dark and rather strange concept. Of course, it is entirely possible that my  cultural upbringing was the reason for such a reaction.

Yet, this led me to another presumption about anime: anything could happen. With that in mind, I’m now off to binge-watch a season of “Death Parade”.

Until next time…

References

Pritchard, J 2017, ‘A Journey to the Centre of Self: Positioning the Researcher in Autoethnography’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 108-127.

Wall, S 2008, ‘Easier Said than Done: Writing an Autoethnography’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 38-53.

DA- Max Watches Anime! A Blog Series

Pt.1- Introduction (Picking an Anime Series)

For a longtime, in my early days of uni, I was determined to introduce myself to the phenomenon that is anime. Is that okay to say? Phenomenon? Anyway, the problem was I had NO IDEA where to start. Instead of doing further research, I just veered into J-Horror instead (which is fantastic by the way!) Now, a few years have passed, and I have the chance to explore the anime sensation and I get to claim it’s for research (which it is)! But again, the question was: where do I start?

 

Me, browsing the different genres of anime

So I did what anyone would do these days: go to reddit. It was then I realized I was truly spoilt for choice and that maybe reddit may not be the right way to approach this. I finally decided to just pick the anime that looks the most interesting. Which is what I should really have done from the start. The anime, that I have chosen, is the 2015 anthology series “Death Parade”.

Image result for where do i start gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, for my digital artifact, I will be writing a series of blog posts that will act as an autoethnographic account of my experience watching “Death Parade”.  By experience, I am not only talking about the act of watching the show, but also my preconceptions of what the show would be and also my interpretation of the show after watching it.

I very much look forward to  delving into my autoethnographic research and also becoming  more familiar with anime. I must leave you now, dear reader, as I embark on my first anime binge.

 

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).

 

wtfit

 

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.

RINGU

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>

S i m p s o n s w a v e & G l i t c h A r t

In our fourth BCM112 lecture, we explored the idea of material transformation and digital making. One of the examples discussed was “Glitch Art”, which is basically manipulating digital bugs or glitches, to create an interesting aesthetic. This got me thinking about the Simpsons Shitposting group on Facebook, and how users have manipulated clips from The Simpsons, using similar methods. In fact, this trend is now referred to as “s i m p s o n w a v e”, which refers back to vaporwave  genre, which emerged in the 2010’s.

glitch simpsons art
My attempt at  S i m p s o n w a v e

Much like Glitch Art, vaporwave music principally samples other pieces of music (particularly from the 80’s and 90’s) and then manipulates it to create a strange and unsettling tone. S i m p s o n s w a v e, a sub-genre of vaporwave, first caught on around April last year, through YouTuber FrankJavCee’s video titled “HOW TO SIMPSONWAVE”, which explains the history of s i m p s o n w a v e  and how to s i m p s o n w a v e, in a satirical way. Many are questioning whether these videos are legitimate forms of art or just deeply ironic jokes. I don’t think there will ever be a definite answer to those questions and it is possible for people to enjoy them as either a meme or a piece of art. One thing is for sure: S i m p s o n w a v e demonstrates how exisiting content can be manipulated and used to create something new and beautiful.

Medium is the Message: The Netflix case

It took me a while to fully grasp Marshall McLuhan’s concept that “The Medium is the Message”. However in light of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ recent comments regarding movie theatres’ lack of innovation, I realized that Netflix’s overwhelming success comes down to, not only the quality content, but to the nature of the medium itself and was therefore a perfect example of McLuhan’s concept.

In the case of Netflix, it’s main appeal for a majority of people is the ability to consume content pretty much anywhere. As good as the content is (and it is great!), the streaming aspect is what really entices people. Furthermore, if a medium is truly an extension of us, as McLuhan states, then Netflix too, is an augmentation of ourselves. Take the recommendations feature, for instance. After we consume a film or t.v. show, an algorithm suggests similar content for us to consume. This is all part of the appeal and the nature of the medium.

Triggered Mediums

So, if you, like I did, struggle with the concept of “The Medium is Message”, just consider Netflix’s success. Then, you will understand

DIGC202- Cybercrime and Nigerian Scams

As we move into an increasingly tech-savy world, Cybercrime is becoming an increasing problem. Look at the recent leaks of Hilary Clinton’s e-mails, for example. Another example of cybercrime, which I would like to briefly discuss, is the infamous Nigerian scams.

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Nigeria has become infamous for their internet scams and are so notorious that there is a large scambaiting community, dedicated to engaging in conversations with said scammers, simply to waste their time.  Even though many are aware of a scam when they see one, there are still many who fall prey to these scams. The fact is that, as amusing as these e-mails are, they are still serious cybercrimes, which affect many people. Statistics from Scamwatch indicate that $1 390 619 was lost to Nigerian scams, this year alone.

As we move to an increasingly technological world, it is essential that people become wary and sufficiently equipped to avoid any form of cybercrimes.

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