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.
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.
Demonstrating my topic by the use of film, for my prototype I have prepared a short clip of the main idea of my project. The screen shows a single match burning brightly on top of a black background, this is to represent acts of self-immolation. Although these acts are for protest purposes, a singles persons life is what is being sacrificed at the moment of self-immolation, hence the singular match. The importance of this event as a whole (to protest cultural restraints placed by the Chinese) is slightly less important than the toll it takes on the individual. The audio is that of a speaker narrating Thích Quang Ɖúc’s self-immolation in the late 1960’s. This singular event is commonly known, even though self-immolations’ had been occurring long before Thích Quang Ɖúc. Tailing the narration from the man, a woman broadcaster reports that multiple Tibetans had self-immolated as a result of strict Chinese rule. This becomes the connection between the singular person and a whole. A single mans (Thích Quang Ɖúc) self-immolation, followed by a media report of multiple self-immolations. I will adapt the media section if there is more research to be done on my topic. I have changed my focus to the lack of American coverage of this topic, rather than an overall lack of coverage around the world.
Ethnography is the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures. In my research paper I use archival research instead of ethnographic. The ideal objective of media is, “News reports that are broadcasted around the world are what keep the civilian parts of a nation informed of political, social, and economic standings of another nation”. In the case of American media portraying Tibet, there is an absence of cultural representation and an abundance of the political disputes. The balance of political and social news is tilted away from the cultural destruction happening in Tibet.
Personally, to exist is to have emotion and care for others and I think I show that, and the absence of it, through my projects. The Disappearance piece is an absence of myself and how it can affect others. My System Collaboration and System Visualization both have to do with the destruction of a culture of how their very existence is being wiped away.
I show an interest in Buddhism in more than one project in this class. For the System Collaboration, Visualization, and Final projects, I chose to focus on Tibet and how their culture is being threatened. Although the projects had more to do with acts of protests and not forms of religion, Buddhism is what led me to care about Tibet in the first place. I personally think that Buddhism is a beautiful thing to believe in because it centers around selflessness and overcoming of suffering.
In the sense of self-immolation, mortality is seen in a couple of my projects. I believe that self-immolation as a form of protest is a beautiful way to express your strong belief for the purpose of which you are self-immolating. The death, or even an absence, of a single person is seen throughout my pieces.
Not only does my use of real events and deaths occurring around the world evoke emotion, my emotion towards my subject affects the outcome. I am aware that I have a strong opinion of whether or not the media is accurately portraying Tibet to its viewers. I try to be objective about the topic but my feelings towards the subject are so strong that I am also aware that I cannot hide my opinion.