Turtle Brush & Eggs slicer

This new technology arrived..

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.

Can you believe it, or even dream of that someday this brilliant technology became reality and part of our everyday culture? Design has continue to make impact in our life and the way we do thing. Now this new technology, invented by a British Engineer and Mathematician, Adrian Bowyer that allow us to reproduce in a small scale our every artefact, instead of buying it at the hardware shop. RepRapProject is an open-source self-replicating 3D printer. This printer allow us to first make duplicate of itself, so that then we can start making duplicates of other little thing.

What is more interesting with this self-replicating 3D printer is it can duplicate almost anything provided you could find an open source 3D work of an artifact for example a coat hanger online. If you do have it, then you can reproduce a coat hanger as much as you can. Now when it comes to the material, here is where I am concern. That these material are made from plastic and I am wondering if it can be recycle and not ending up as a waste. If it does then what can we do with it? So far this project is still under its working progress with several engineer around the world participating in the prototype testing project.With this printer, we move to another era and perhaps it is not too much to say here that we might move little step forward. Imagine in future, if you think of needing something for the house, instead of going out to hardware shop, you download a 3D model which is an open source, and print it. It is almost similar to the changing era from print (paper) to digital world. People don’t have to buy newspaper anymore, because they now can download (through subscription ) a digital online newspaper monthly monthly. Or they can connect to the web and read it online. Well.. even though most of us still catching up with many new updates with new technology, we cannot stop it from evolve..
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It is obvious that Japanese culture have been parts of our everyday life, in particular popular culture. Hello Kitty, Mangga, Samurai, Bento, Sushi, Honda and Kawasaki are among products and brand that most of us are familiar with and perhaps adore to owned. I like to engage in the discussion about Japanese culture and its influences in Malaysians everyday life since the time Japanese occupied Malaya between 1941-45. At that time the name Selipar Jepun (a Japanese made slippers, or also know in Australia as tongs) and Terompah (a wooden made sandals used outside of the house) became popular.

Popular cultures in Malaysia are very closely linked with the Japanese culture or it is not to exaggerate to state here that have shaped partly most Malaysians everyday life. A soap opera known as Oshin (Im sure most of Malaysia remembered the spirit of strong Japanese girl who have fought for her life to survive and gained respect for her generation) for example have an influential recollection of teenagers life for many Malaysia in 1980s.

The close connection between Japanese and Malaysia are inevitable, since their occupation in Malaya early 1940s to the establishment of Malaysia in 1963 and till present days. Large numbers of Japanese products are used in most Malaysian household, from the bigger scale appliances such as rice cooker, washer machine to the little tiny stuff such as hand brush and eggs slicer.

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My visit to one of the most popular Japanese café in Melbourne known as CIBI reminded me of my childhood in Malaysia. CIBI is a café that served coffee, Japanese breakfast and lunch. It is situated along 45 Kelle St, Collingwood, Melbourne. An interesting set up and approach, CIBI not only provide delicious home made Japanese breakfast and lunch, but also been actively participating in promoting and exhibiting Japanese design kitchen products.

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Recently CIBI conducted an exhibition called ˜Japanese Kitchen tools or Nippon No Daidokoro Daigo (contact CIBI for further info at info[at]cibi.com.au). It exhibits mix of old and new kitchen appliances used in Japanese kitchen. What I found fascinating while browsing around the exhibition space is that some of the products are very familiar to my childhood. And all this while I thought it is locally made because it is heavily used in last decades of Malaysian generation. My grandmother used to have it all the time in her house. Can also be known as all-purpose brush, the hand brush known as Japanese Turtle Brush or Kaminoko Tawashi is a traditional Japanese brush made from hemp palm fibre. It is a hard brush mostly designed for the hard and rough surface to scratch mud on rough surface vegetable, shells fish, bathtubs, floors or muddy shoes.

Another product is the egg slicer. Most of the hawker or roadside store that sells Nasi Lemak one of the all time Malaysian favourite dish (coconut rice served with anchovies, sambal “cooked chili paste, slice cucumber and eggs), will have this egg slicer handy to slice the eggs. Discovering more and more product that are used in Malaysia comes from Japan, makes me wonder how much Japanese culture have influence Malaysian everyday life practices.

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The Author :
Nurul Rahman is currently working on a research project under School of Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia on tracing the Japanese cultural route in Malaysian culture
(Jan-August 2011). Permission and copyright (photograph and text) in this blog please contact through email : nurulrahman[at]gmail.com

Turtle Brush and Eggs Slicer by Zainurul Aniza Abd Rahman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Text or Visual in Advertising?

I found this text in the book called Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture by Arthur Asa Berger (2007). Its a really useful book about advertising and in one chapter the author takes the reader step by step to analyzing advertisements (printed and television).

Have a read at this text and let me know what you think about it because Im surprise the way the author describe the visuals (I think it is visuals artifacts).

The things we have to realize about radio and television commercial and print advertisements (and all other forms of advertising as well) is that they are, aside from their commercial functions, works of popular art. Or maybe ˜commercial art is a more fitting term. In this chapter and the next I will focus upon print advertisements and television commercials, the two most interesting “ from my point of view “ kinds of a texts. I will use the term ˜text here for both; it is a term conventionally used in criticism nowadays to cover all form of artworks. Berger, Asa Arthur (2007:137).

The words text conventionally used in criticism nowadays to cover all form of artworks? How about visual? Is this mean that the word ˜visual is not recognized as a language, therefore the word ˜text is use to describe it? May be Im a bit unaware and not familiar with some of academics language but I cant understand why the word ˜Text instead of ˜Visual?

Most of Graphic Designers work with/through visual as a communication medium and not just through text. Does this mean the practice of graphic designer is not recognized instead the copy writer or the author is recognized because of the ‘text’? Im not saying that text is not use in graphic design practices, because it does. Its just that we used the word ˜text for literally the meaning of text and the word ˜visual for anything that have the form of images such as illustration, photograph, painting etc. Visual is another form of language and it is as powerful as text (Barthes, Lupton). Speech is another way of language that sometime can be rhetoric. I was surprise because the author takes the reader step by step analyzing the advertisements, looking at the visuals such as photograph, images, illustration, etc. and call it “text”. Is this because lack of written text, research or information about visual artefacts or graphic design artefacts? Roger and out to you!

Look again and think a head…

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‘Look again and think a head’ by by Nurul Rahman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia License.

I was looking at some of my advertisement collections and try, again and again to analyzed it. I started with a formal lenses, then change the roles to communication designer’s and then to a researcher. It is an interesting process. I had experienced and I have to admit that I’m enjoying every minutes of this process.

It is shocking and frustrating to imagine that everyday we will have to face and sometimes we might consume, images and ton of information each time we walk on the street. Accompany by billboard and posters, nearly every second we turn our head around, we look and unconsciously we gather this information in our memory bank. At home or sometimes in the cafe or bar, adding to this process we have other media such as television, internet and radio surrounding us. Just imagine that! How do we as a consumer cope with this? Our brain must did an excellent job then, recording and remembering these images and recall it again to view, every time we look at other object and managed to recognized it.

Such scene that I just describe is a normal scenario in most of the main city in the world. What actually influences us in consuming material? Do we need them? Is it important to have them or just because be like them, and want to own them? Even if we are aware of if, we cannot say the we can escape from this scenario.

Who are the people that responsible in this process? Advertising, marketing, company, artist and obviously designers. I would say graphic designers, communication designers and interaction designers are not much less responsible that others. Now, in a global world, this scenario cannot be stop. Information is at our fingertip and amazingly easy. We, as a consumer actually play a significant roles in this as we continue consume the product, and therefore there is a market for the product.

I’m not saying that we should not buy anything, but would be good if we take our step in slow motion and think a head before some rhetoric visual and text in the advertisements influences our thought and desire. Just try and explore this process, please be aware that it can be dangerous (dangerous as you might end up using your credit card or use your saving), you might end up buying something at the end.

I’m very interested in this process, investigating the communication designer’s position in this, and how we contribute in shaping the lifestyles. Are we deliberately use the rhetoric of images to communicate? or we didn’t actually think about the impact we created? Well, clearly we managed to see the product or at least we manage to get the information in the market.

Advertising is the mother of graphic design, as how Steven Heller claims in the ‘Eye’ magazine 1994. Clearly that graphic designer contribute most of their work in advertisements, that because at that time, there was not that much job available for graphic designer. Some might be in the printing company as DTP artist, some might be at the hotel as display artist etc. Is graphic designer’s role is minor in the process of creating the visual?

“The history of advertising is more interested in how Marlboro cigarettes tested a variety of trade characters before stumbling on the Marlboro Man as a symbol of manliness. While graphic design appears negligible in the cultural analysis of this campaign, understanding the relationship of this symbol..to the larger mythology provides insight into how the American myth was perpetuated.”Heller, 1994.

So what do this mean, that graphic designer are part of creating these myth? I will take further investigation in my research….it is significant..

In the search of oneself, what is uniquely identity and what is identity?

People do not have a ˜real identity within themselves; it is just a way of talking about self, it is a discourse. An ˜identity is communicated to others in your interactions with them, but this is not fixed things within a person. It is shifting, temporary construction. Gauntlett, D. (1998) on Foucaults ideas of identity.

When a person search for identity, what are the things one should look for and how to look for it.

What are the differences between uniqueness and identity?

Designer’s hand can change the world

It’s been a while I didn’t log in and throw some thought here. I’ve been busy preparing my presentation for the Graduate Research Conference (GRC) which ended last Saturday. It went well and I’m happy with the comments and suggestions from the panel.

Part of my research presentation, I’m interested in the graphic/communication designer’s practices in industries and higher education. Mainly in the contribution of graphic designers in advertising, branding, education etc. I came out with this statement in Malaysian context.

I believe communication design plays an important role in crafting the cultural and national identity. I believe the contribution that the communication designer did influenced the development of culture and lifestyle. I think there it is important to start critical analysis in communication design areas in Malaysia. Hopefully by making critical comments, it will evoke the awareness of the audience about the role of communication designers in the society and enhance the design culture in Malaysia.

KCF in Malaysia

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When I was in Kuala Lumpur (KL) CBD a month ago, I tried to travel around using public transport. Just to check out and update myself with the services. And to experience the changes. Fortunely the services have improved. More people choosed to take public transport than drive. That makes the “Rapid KL” and other public transport services, the LRT and buses improved their services. While taking underground LRT in KL, I saw this advertisment.

I find this KFC adds interesting. For sure this add will not sell or perhaps will never have the chance to be on the billboard in any western country. It says “Kita mesti makan nasi! Jadi kita tidak tercungap-cungap naik tangga” , “We need to eat rice! So we will be able to climb the stairs in a good shape.” Malaysian citizen loves “nasi” rice. Just ask anyone, to the extend that we even make some of the ‘sweet’ dessert with rice flour. As one of the marketing strategies KFC attracts their customer by adding the “culture values” in their menu. KFC serves with rice. A mixture of East (Rice) and West (bread). KFC is one of the biggest sales ‘fast food’ in Malaysia, therefore in order to keep the customer happy they keep on inventing their product that can fit the local taste.

Myth?: Some even said that KFC is much better taste in Malaysia or Asia. I wonder why?