Peer Review // Benjamin Trainor: Youth Legal Aid Blog

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The concept of Benjamin Trainor’s project ‘Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights‘ is to create a legal-aid style resource, with a young Australian audience. Beyond this youth focus, there was initially no particular limitation placed on the scope of content to be covered beyond that of the project’s goals. Ben uses a blog-style website to put forward aid/knowledge/research as a Media and Law undergraduate, about legal topics pertinent to his aimed audience and ultimately Generation Y. I have chosen to compose this critical appraisal of Ben’s work because not only through his words “The firm I am employed with doesn’t have an affiliated or in house legal aid resource as do its competitionand to add to his CV, but rather, it is immensely relevant to my own demographic as a young Australian. Living in a country where we have the privilege of a fairly decent legal system, I see it as an obligation to know my own rights in order educate and protect myself in all situations.

The social utility of this project and why it deems importance in the lives of its audience is the way it educates and informs responders about the the legal system and the legalities surrounding an array of issues. It’s free-to-view purpose allows readers (so long as they have internet connection) to seamlessly examine the legal structures that affect them or want to be informed by. It aims to challenge the misinformation that is so commonly found online in terms of our rights and what we can and can’t do in all sorts of conditions. This form of work also helps Ben and his aims in defining himself within his desired field of Law, showing his capabilities in highlighting diverse sets of data for online audiences.

Throughout my experience in Ben’s work I have witnessed the variation in regards to his trajectory.  This change is evident in his content scope to which he was expressing to his audience. His first three blog posts delved into the ‘Rights Framework‘ within Australia as well as digital misinformation within our digital spheres – these posts were informative but I feel did not grasp the audience that he originally wanted and were not hitting the mark for strong utility. The posts were not were composed in a way that would be well receptive by all members of the intended demographic because of its dense use of language and context. His reiterations through the development stage refined this content scope as he turned away from dreary matter and harnessed his efforts into the more contemporary.

Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights is conceptually germane, the  latest prototype examines legal issues that deal with the (17-25) age bracket directly or that we as a generation may have or could perhaps experience at one point in our lives. He has shown adaptivity in this transformation –  exploring topics such as:

  • Vehicle Offences – Drink Driving
  • Police Powers – to arrest/search property
  • Legal stance on the use of VPNs
  • Tutorial-like information (Writing a Character Reference)

It focuses on the actual law, putting them in context with thought-out scenarios which helps the responder frame it’s usefulness in terms of their own experiences. For example, a scenario of domestic violence is laid down as a foundation for the work’s continuation into the topic of Police Power and the how one should deal with officers who want to enter their property:

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[https://youthlegal.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/police-powers-power-to-enter-property/]

Performing this step explains the situation in a way that is digestible for the average viewer, suggesting real terms and outcomes – making it a valuable resource for the legality of everyday occurrences. Knowing what precautions to take, and what authorities have control of (if any) in a position where so many internal and external factors come into play, is a useful tool to have.

The methodology of ‘Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights’ has been a crucial factor for the project from it’s start-up, progress and now current state in terms of it’s functionality and relevance to audiences. The goal of the project was to combat legal issues clearly, with no misinformation or disruption from its reception – supported by current statistics/legal information, scholarly materials and  legislation and case law. Though his take on the topic on VPNs and their legality was depicted in a different way, because legal information on this form of emerging private networking is definitely new – which would highlight blurred boundaries of research. The methodology therefore was shifted in this response, outlining what VPNs are and do and what laws they may be linked with (Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)),  rather than presenting data they would very well be biased and unclear. Therefore the integrity of the work is maintained by delving into facets that VPN’s are capable of and how they could be wrongfully used. Critically thinking about his approach I feel as if harbouring another medium/s through his project could have been very effective and could have allowed a good opportunity to scale up. A podcast or video series may have ticked boxes of accessibility and professionalism in expressing the legalities of specific issues.  Ben could have really benefited from presenting himself and his knowledge in formats more than just text, but in saying this he has kept his content short, precise and to the point.

Ben presented his BETA effectively, outlining his new approach based on the feedback from his curated seminar, tackling issues that we wanted to see and that were important to us a collective of young people. Myself along with many others found his work resonated through the notion of helping today’s youth at the same time effectively building up his own portfolio. He was able to find a stable middle ground both both goals were elevated and were in the stages of successful progress. Because this project is so applicable to the daily lives of this generation – where most people do not know the legal parameters in modern issues, this resource would boom further if given the opportunity to gain traction. Suggestions like reaching out to licensed or larger-scaled  publishers that deal with young people or those in contact with the offended or offenders of such legal situations. Triple J, VICE and even collaborations through universities would have great potential to reach larger audiences under he same social banner. I would heavily suggest that he go through with these forms of avenues to further build his practice and credentials.

In conclusion, I am thoroughly impressed by ‘Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights‘ and Ben’s application of this resource through a contemporary manner. We learn about the importance of our rights and understanding the law, so that if we are ever faced with such circumstances, we have correct knowledge and judgement to effectively deal with them. Furthermore, he was able to channel his own desires of building a profile for himself through an important facet of society and law. His project is a successful depiction of a intent-driven resource which is very valuable to his audience.

 

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These Epiphanies Are Making Me Hungry

Digital Asia

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Nowadays it’s hard to turn on a television without seeing food – whether it is cooking programs or lifestyle food commercials. Well, from what has originated in South Korea, the big food fad is watching strangers eating. The country is glued to live streams of other Koreans binge eating, to the extent that these eating individuals have now become nationwide micro-celebrities.

In my previous blog post I narrated my experience of diving into the highly popularised South Korean food trend of Mukbang, which recounted my consumption of over 60 minutes of consumption. This time I will be using the autoethnographic methodology to analyse my narrated experience – highlighting my key ‘EPIPHANIES’ and also the assumptions, histories and  prejudices that I am bringing to the investigation. This enables reflection, in order to develop my insights into another culture.

Autobiographers write about “epiphanies”—remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a…

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Korean Food Phenomenon // MUKBANG

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I love food as much as the next person and growing up in as a Vietnamese-Australian I was brought up with quite a wide scope in terms of food culture –  such as diverse flavours, etiquette and perhaps the ability to use chopsticks more competently than a fork.

As I entered the subject of Digital Asia I slowly began to recognise on social media the growing rate and popularity of a different kind videos online. These videos were depicting people, from what I was seeing, mainly petite females, eating large quantities of food whilst talking to a camera and ultimately their internet audiences simultaneously. This triggered my curiosity and put me in a state of awe as I began to look into it’s country of origin, South Korea and dig a little deeper into the industry phenomenon of ‘Mukbang‘.

Mukbang, or 먹방, is an abbreviation and addition of two words:  먹다 (sound: “Muk-Dah” / meaning: to eat) + 방송 (sound “Bang-Song” / meaning: (TV) broadcast).

I found this really interesting because it’s one thing to broadcast yourself singing, playing video games or dancing but within my own cultural parameters, broadcast eating was unfamiliar – which made it all the more absorbing! I wanted to commence my auto-ethnographic journey with immersing myself with some of the best in the biz, micro-celebrities in the eating industry or the OGs of Mukbang, if you will. So with a quick google search with something along the lines of ‘South Korea’s most famous Mukbanger‘, I discovered BJ (Broadcast Jockey) Benzz and BJ (Broadcast Jockey) Shukii and watched a single video of theirs in its entirety.

 

 

Okay, after effectively watching collectively over an hour of broadcast eating I have so many thoughts, reflections on my own upbringing/life and questions about the notion of Mukbang. Firstly, besides the straight-up obscurity of it for me, it is impressive. It is impressive to watch a single person consume enough food to feed a group of people, especially that of very slim individuals that were in these texts.

Secondly, reading into this form of media more-so, whilst I was watching this I learnt that Mukbang content is streamed to live audiences, mainly through AfreecaTv which is a P2P technology-based video streaming service based in South Korea. So, there is a huge viewership for these videos where hundreds of thousands of people tune in during to interact with the creator and also millions then after the initial broadcast. And with this, during the experience I could definitely acknowledge a sense of community, a sense of company and maybe even a level of comfort for the regular viewers of this type of content. I think that we as humans definitely do need connection to one another and whether that is through having coffee with someone in the flesh or a meal via digital screen, the effects will be major/minor. The person eating in the video would talk to the engaging public which I felt was pretty cool, it gave the content more substance than just eating and it clearly matters to the public for them to take time out of their lives to comment on features within the video. In regards to my own upbringing through an Australian/Asian filter, food was a very social matter, growing up my family would gather at all times during the day to eat, share food, not necessarily talking to one another but enjoying the overall presence of the gathering. Drawing these linkages highlights the strong social utility that Mukbangs encompass. Building upon this theme, these eating individuals are placed on a pedestal where audiences then become fans – and like any other industry like K-Pop for example, celebrities/micro-celebrities are birthed.

I am not a fan of loud eating or eating sounds at all for that matter, it’s pretty much nails on a chalk board for me and as I continued to watch that was the main audio accompaniment that I endured. And as painful as it was, I began to think that might be a reason why people watch. There is a stigma of fetish-related reason as to why people watch by the herd, people may tune in to watch K-POP-esque people devour food but may also hold the weird fixation of listening to eating sounds similarly to the also growing trend of ASMR that I have also come across in the media today. Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a term used for an experience of physical sensation of tingling that often begins in the scalp and moves down through the spine and sometimes to the limbs. It can typically be induced by auditory behaviours (sounds that some deem to be relaxing), which in fact includes eating sounds.

Then I found this…

[BJ Benzz ASMR YouTube channel]

At the end of my immersion into this Korean food trend I felt as if though I kind of had a somewhat better understanding of why fans of this form of media develop interest into it. It really did remind me of how other forms of expression and online engagement occupy social media platforms, it’s just a case of different audiences and relevance to them. Interpreting this from a foreign context my reading of Mukbang culture transitioned from a ‘This is really weird’ standpoint to a ‘This is really weird to me still, but I get it’ one.

Week 4 | MCA & UTS

This week we ventured off to the MCA COLLECTION: TODAY TOMORROW YESTERDAY at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Sounding the Future at the University of Technology Sydney Gallery. We were encouraged to take note of the installations, interpreting their concepts, placement, reception and overall notion/feel to then reflect our own ideation and potential media artworks.

Walking around the exhibitions I began to think about the possibilities of my major project. A work that stood out to me was Vernon Ah Kee’s multi-channel digital video/colour/sound screen-based work Tall Man2010.

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“TALL MAN … IS ABOUT THE LIVES OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLE AND THE WAY WE SEE OURSELVES IN TIMES OF THIS KIND OF TROUBLE. AS A PEOPLE, THE ABORIGINE IN AUSTRALIA EXISTS IN A WORLD WHERE OUR PLACE IS ALWAYS PRESCRIBED FOR US AND WE ARE ALWAYS IN JEOPARDY. IT IS A CONTEXT THAT WE ARE CONTINUALLY HAVING TO SURVIVE. IT IS A CONTEXT UPON WHICH WE ARE CONTINUALLY HAVING TO BUILD AND RE-BUILD.”

This work resonates with my own approach and interest as a media artist, delving into deeper issues that have affected me in some form through my progression as an individual. If a work shows personal elements, I feel that it can speak to the responder on more that one level of engagement and interpretation. My family’s experience of asylum to Australia after the 2nd Indochina War has acted as a catalyst to express a narrative and highlights my storytelling as a creative practitioner and I am aiming to again encompass a similar notion in this sessions outcome. Tall Man sticks to roots of conflict between the Aboriginal people of Palm Island and the emphasised police brutality that was escalating during the events – the way it was composed and put together allowed 4 channels of perspective and engagement which generated multiple avenues of thought, which I really found compelling.

Notable mentions:

Minyma Punu Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters Tree Women),

[2013, Tjanpi Desert Weavers]

Passing Time [2011, Hossein Valamanesh]

Perceiving Cultures

Autoethnography is a form of qualitative research where the researcher explores his or her own experience as a focus within the investigation and examination of cultures. It acknowledges the power of the researcher to explore more closely than others are able, and it connects the personal story to the participatory cultures.

“Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.” (Ellis, Adams and Bochner 2011: np).

Before even being introduced to the notion of Autoethnography I had spent a considerable amount of time overseas and also having looked into the study of communication across cultures – where I mainly focused on addressing the issues involved in communication among people of different linguistic and “cultural” backgrounds.

In saying this one Scholar comes to mind…  Continue reading “Perceiving Cultures”

Week 3 | Building Up!

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This week we were privilege enough to listen to and learn about our guest lecturer and media practitioner, Warren Leung. Hearing him speak about his historical exploration with conceptual inquiry within a contemporary urban landscape was fascinating and led me to think deeply about my own practice and where I see myself in the future.

This self reflection correlates with what I intend to do as a career and also the first assessment of the subject – my own professional profile. I found that I have immersed myself is many facets in media arts from projection, installation, screen based works, documentary work, audio production and photography work (dealing heavily with long exposure). I needed a way to coherently depict what I do in my field, the works I have progressively producedand and their strengths through the filter of myself so that I can showcase to potential employers and clients.

For my own site I intend to keep it minimal, present the true details about myself and my works. I like to think of myself and what I do as organic and raw, when these shine through my doing it often is represented through its reception and overall quality – and I really want this profile to do that justice.

Brainstorm:

  • Photography/Videography/Audio experience
  • Media as materials (content creation/curation)
  • Emphasise on medium utilisation
  • Expression of narratives and storytelling

Progress: 

I am an independent media maker with a focus on content curation. I graduate with a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies with a major in Digital Media and Communication at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

I am a creator passionate about bringing the dimensions of visual aesthetics, rich depth of individual stories, and historical contexts together through the experimental/ innovate use of digital media. My studies have given me the skills in bringing the frameworks of making to the fore, effectively utilising technology  and communicating narratives through expression.

Profiles that I found effective:

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https://chrisandersondesign.info/ ^

 

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http://www.jolaw.org/ ^

 

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http://www.andrewgoodman.com.au/ ^