Studio and Seminar: Final Project


  1. Description of System: The system that I chose is the American media system. My system is limited to the recent events of the Tibetan-Chinese dispute, where China has taken over Tibet and inflicted their rule onto the Tibetan people. American media focuses their reports on the political aspects of Chinas occupation of Tibet, rather than the strict rule China has set in place resulting in many Tibetan deaths and imprisonments. Focusing mainly on prominent American media outlets, such as Fox News, Channel 4, and other widely known news broadcasting stations, there is a prominent absence of  Tibetan cultural representation. A contributing factor to this is that China has a strict policy against media, regulating what can and can not be released.
  2. Point of View: I am affected by the system that I chose. The fact that the media that directly affects me (television/radio broadcasts) chooses to neglect certain issues in the world, deprives me of information. Without the news, the public cannot be informed about world events. Upon seeing a video about the self-immolations occurring in Tibet by chance, I then began to take interest. I found a video on Facebook of the self-immolation of Thích Quang Ɖúc, a widely known event that occurred in the early 1960’s. Due to research on the internet, I found that these self-immolations were a result of Chinas occupancy of Tibet, and that these acts of martyrdom are still present in 2016. I became enraged with the idea that Tibets culture was being wiped away and no other nation was trying to help. I came to the conclusion that if more people knew about the events that took place in Tibet, they would want to act. This became my immediate thought because once I heard of the current events, I wanted to help. My interest in this topic dwells on the fact that I find the act of martyrdom to be exceptionally courageous and beautiful. Although I do not want anyone to harm, or kill, themselves, an act of self-immolation is a beautiful demonstration of peacefully dying for what you believe is just. I chose to do this system and this topic to bring light to the media that chooses to neglect these acts of martyrdom and uprisings in Tibet. I am aware that my strong stance on this issue has affected my project and research paper in some form.
  3. History: “Tibet, prior to 1949, included ethnographic and political regions. The two regions were considered “Tibet”, but the ethnographic section was claimed, by Chinese Communist Party, to be a part of China. When China claimed that Tibets’ ethnographic region was once theirs, it was integrated back into China. Depending on the view point, there are two different historical backgrounds to the matter. Tibetans believe that Tibet had been its’ own state, having their own currency, laws, and beliefs and had been wrongfully conquered by the Chinese Communist Party. China, on the other hand, believes that they are simply “reintegrating” Tibet into China after its separation as a result from the fall of the Machu Dynasty. With the goal of “reintegrating” Tibet into the “motherland”, Chinas’ military successfully defeating Tibetan forces in 1951. The Seventeen Point Agreement was signed by the 14th Dalai Lama, agreeing to Chinese sovereignty. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the current Dalai Lama. The spiritual leader is a Buddhist monk who began monastic education at the age of six, learning about Tibetan art and culture, medicine, philosophy, and more. He became Tibets political leader in 1950 after China invaded Tibet 1949/1950. The 14th Dalia Lama later rejected the Seventeen Point Agreement and tried to regain his political status.
  4. Design Process: In the beginning stages of my process I chose to do a video of some sort. This came about due the idea of “show” and not “tell”. I thought I could easily show the way American media chooses to discuss political and not cultural issues. I began with a video of a match burning and voice over narrating the historical self-immolation of Thích Quang Ɖúc which faded into foreign news reports of self-immolations in Tibet. I could figure out a direction in which to take the video and I realized that it was telling the viewer about events rther than showing. Scraping that idea, I came up with a political cartoon. As an Illustration major, I found it easier to think of different directions I could take a cartoon. The one I chose for the final product was one that depicts CNN news reporters with boxes of political issues in Tibet behind them, such as “Land Dispute Between China And Tibet”, “Obama Meets Dalai Lama”, and “Tourism Booming In Tibet”. There is a man next to those boxes who is handing papers over to the news casters, showing that these are the events they are broadcast. On the left, walking out of frame, is a man holding three others boxes saying, “Tortured Prisoners: Tibet”, “Monasteries Burned Down”, and “144 Tibetans Burned Alive In Protest”. These boxes represent the “cultural” news that American media seems to neglect. I think I diminished my personal influence by using real news titles or summary sentences of actual new articles. The three boxes behind the news reporters are ones that I could find broadcasted reports of.
  5. Link: My seminar paper and studio project have to do with the same issue, that is that American media focuses news reports of political issues rather than cultural. I used my research from my seminar paper in my studio project.
  6. Research Process: As stated in my “Design Process” section, I did change my project from a video to a political cartoon. The research that affected this was my changing from writing about a lack of media attention about self-immolation, to that of American media not focusing on cultural aspects of Chinese Rule in Tibet.
  7. The importance of research: I think research is an extremely helpful tool in anything that you do. I am an Illustration major, and the research from my seminar paper helped me create an accurate political cartoon. In my career, if I choose to illustrate cartoons, logos, book covers, games, etc., then the research of the topic in which I am illustrating can be immensely helpful. The research can help me accurately portray a cartoon character, background, or historical relevance. The research of a group of people can also help me design something that they would be interested in.
  8. Reflection: I am really happy with the way my project turned out. I am aware that objectivity is a difficult thing to do in a political cartoon, but I believe that I did what I could to make my cartoon as objective as possible and succeeded. If I could change the project in any way I would definitely create at least one page of a newspaper that included only the headlines that I had used as the ones that get broadcasted, and then add my cartoon in there as well. If that did not work out well somehow, a series of theses comics would be interesting. If I were to extend this project, using my second idea of making a newspaper and placing the cartoon in with certain headlines, I think physically making them and handing them out to a certain crowd or group of people would be an interesting and interactive idea to get the word out about my topic.

1 Comment

  1. J · May 11, 2016 Reply

    please don’t forget the reflection section!! see the blog for details

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