London Aquarium (2015.8)
At the start of V&A project, it seems that everything goes well in our project – or I will say that is incredibly smooth. We have designed a whole procedure of visit for audience – entering exhibition room, generating action, interacting with exhibit and receiving feedback. Therefore, we have arranged several solution when we met the first problem.
Which is the best way to interact? In my point of view, interaction is the most important part for this project. For the reason that interaction can lead difference for our project, which can interest the audience more. After referencing ideas from three artists, we have gotten more than one plan toward the problem [ as stated in previous blog ]. Thus, we decided to do surveys to take the proper plan.
How can we get useful feedback through a efficient survey in such limited time?
In the beginning, we tried to ask interviewees to describe what they expect for in this exhibit – obviously, it is a stupid way, since audience usually can impossibly have any exception for an exhibit. What people describe is often from their experience of life, thus, it is not very useful for artwork to take such survey.
We later on tried to change the description way into a selection way. We offered the plans we arranged before as selections to interviewees, then ask them to pick one. We found, as a result, this kind of survey can help us to make a proper choice indeed. However, we were expecting some inspiration from survey, which it still can not give us.
We did more survey in different way – we bought a dot matrix printer, and placed it in our school, to observe how people would interact with the printer. We surprisingly found that what people interest more is how to run the printer, rather than what it can print out, which inspired us a lot. Benefited from it, we start to think more about the way of running printer.
According to Thomas (2005), through religion and imperialism, globalisation shrank the world from a size large to a size medium; through global economy – movement of goods and information, globalisation shrank the world further, to a size small; globally standardised knowledge competition and collaboration, at last, shrank the world to a size tiny, meanwhile, flatten the information flow, economy filed and culture diversity (pp. 9-12). Globalisation has infiltrated our lives for a long time, more than that, it will possibly last for another long time. It is not the first time we realise globalisation. Actually, some people were aware of it earlier than one hundred years ago. Engels (1847) even argued that the concept of ‘countries’ will finally disappear (p. 81). In fact, globalisation is affecting the world more than it has ever done.
It is true that cultural products on market are more and more similar. However, spreading of popular cultures is not equal to homogenising cultures. Moreover, cultures are interconnected and complex. Judging them from only one perspective is not observant. Likewise, it is not proper or rational to simply define the influence as ‘destroying’. Globalisation is in general favourable for human cultures, and may have more positive impacts on development of the world. This essay will also attempt to argue that influence of globalisation will be more and more significant as a consequence of internet revolution.
Globalisation is redefining culture, instead of homogenising nor destroying it. Some people argued that globalisation was destroying culture only after they glimpsed standardisation of cultural products. In fact, these cultural products seen by most people might be from major culture. On the other hand, products from those minor cultures usually might not impress them deeply. As statement of gestalt psychology, which is established by Lewin (1947), people would be more likely to perception, accept and disseminate things that they touch frequently. People should not simply state that they are non-existent. Accordingly, just like cultural products, most people may only feel and touch the major culture, which means there are more other kinds of cultures that they can not realise but do exist. It is hard to say that it is globalisation that is mainly affecting cultures.
Actually, globalisation is blurring the edge of regions and races, meanwhile, to rebuild the categories of products totally based on personal hobbies, habits and faith. Through penetration of cultural products, globalisation is actually redefining culture. This is completely based on individuals, which used to identity according to regions, nationalities and races. We can not arbitrarily assert that Korean like kimchi, nor chi-pao is born for Chinese ladies anymore. Because of the flattened movement of goods and information, culture is less and less depend on region and race, but beyond these. However, this is not destroying culture but reshaping and categorising it – we may call it revolution in some way.
Cultures are multi-embodied and interdependent, thus it is not rigorous to judge impacts on cultures caused by globalisation only according to cultural products. Globalisation is affecting almost every aspect of our lives – culture, economy, society, language and even race. It is true that meansteam cultures flooded most of products on global markets. However, those minor and precious cultures are still existent in a properer way. For example megalithic culture is familiar to us because of sightseeing, exhibition, education and documentary. Maybe it is a better way to broadcast and protect it, rather than put the image on every T-shirt. Besides, it is not a tension when more than one kind of culture consist in the same way. For example, Chinese speak mandarine, meanwhile, people from different areas of China have their own dialect, even their own language and text, which is completely different from mandarine. Change of culture is a inevitable trend. What globalisation did is boosting it.
Moreover, globalisation is reinforcing and evoking attentions upon those minor cultures, since internet, which is one of the most important product of globalisation, make the goods and information flow equally and flatly. Existence of ‘long tail market’ in e-commerce is a significant proof of this. According to ‘the long tail theory’ proposed by Anderson (2008), there is no more strong regulation between supply and demand on internet; shelves on e-commerce are limitless and zero cost. Facing to numerous categories of goods, consumers do not have to choose products subject to yield or origin anymore. Instead, they can find whatever they like on e-commerce website (such as eBay) if they want (pp.217-247). This is to say, any cultural product, even originated from minor cultures, will possibly own market and consumers. In other words, minor cultures will have more effective and more low-cost access to promote themselves than ever before.
As a part of globalisation, e-commerce did cause a flood of meansteam culture in some way. However, what should be paid more attention to is that e-commerce brought a fair, efficient, effective and accurate way of diffusion for all cultures. Rooted in model of Amazon and eBay, which have reached a great success in the long tail market, a Chinese e-commerce company named Alibaba moved a step further. The product designers formulated a system completely according to users` demand, which includes manufacture, products demonstration and sales mode. Through this way, they can classify millions of products into segments, which will deliver every product to every proper consumer precisely. Therefore, every product will have its own market. This is an remarkable complement of traditional commercial mode. According to O’Neil (2012), ‘[culture is] a part of your learned behaviour patterns and perceptions’. This is to say, culture is originated from habits and backgrounds. Vise versa, to classify the products, is to attempt to categorise cultural background of consumers. In other words, the commercial mode of e-commerce is creating a parallel cultural diversity, which is based on habits, notion and appreciation.Apart from this, same things are happening in other area of internet. ‘Online to offline’ service industry is a good instance for this. Group buying websites(such as Groupon) collect the potential minor demands, assemble them, and arrange this kind of consumption. All of these can be supportable and positive for cultures.
In term of internet, it is because the international standard caused by globalisation that people may sometimes allege there is homogenisation of cultures. For example, metro design style from windows 8 and flat design style initiated from android are popular choices for web designers. The fact is that designers design like this because their users like this. Meanwhile, there are some users do not like this. Therefore, there are actually some other design styles. People do not realise them only because they are few, but they do exist indeed. Designers create a standard for efficiency, based on users` habits. Standard is not caused by globalisation, nor destroy culture. As long as there is cultural diversity, there will be product diversity. Conversely, according to Krug (2006), web designers and app engineers think from users` scale, sticking to the way to think and act of users, to design and make an app or website. This law of usability will help people to find out what they exactly like and being used to, and even rebuild their habits (pp.11-19). For instance, Some people are now used to using ‘slide to unlock’ (designed by Apple) to unlock their mobile phones, others may prefer consume on Amazon. Aigrain (2014), who is a sociologist, even defined this phenomenon as ‘a cultural element’ (p.70).
In summary, globalisation is a trend. It is hard to describe or predict how globalisation will work in future, however, for now, it is indeed favourable for human cultures. Globalisation promoted the definition of ‘culture’ to a larger scale, which was beyond region and race. People from minor cultures get together to reinforce these cultures, while those from major cultures get more recognition and identities from each other. Impacts on cultures like this from globalisation are existent not only in cultural products, nor only among areas, but in almost all aspects of lives. Although changes caused by globalisation till now is part and limited. With the help of technology and creative people, it will boost the communication and interaction among different group of people, industries, and very possibly, more than these.