This project has been challenging in every way, it has challenged my technical skills and abilities whilst simultaneously challenging dedication to my favourite childhood T.V show Pokémon. Throughout this process, I have found a new love and respect for the world of Fan art and the value of user generated content. I have emerged myself in this world, exploring and expanding my knowledge of not only the text but the hierarchy and ecosystem of a fandom. Something which I have often only explored from the outside looking in. This world is something unlike anything I have ever seen, a quasi relationship between brand and fan, fan and content and content and brand.
A world where these 3 aspects operate parallel to one another, inseparable, yet distinctly unique. I guess in some ways it is pretty much a reflection of my own cultural identity, I am unable to see myself as distinctly ‘South African’ or Australian, but merely a conglomerate of the two, which are meshed into all aspects of myself. Each has influenced me in a different way, but it is the combination of the two that create a meaningful exchange. Similarly the relation between Pokémon, fans and fan art operates in the same manner, see without participating in fan art, one can still be linked to the brand but it is from the perspective of ‘passer-by or enthusiastic fan’ (Emmanouloudis 2015, p. 24), it is not until one indulges into this creative avenue that you start to connect deeply with the text.
Whilst creating fan art I found myself interacting on several layers of engagement, on one level I was reminiscing about my memories about experiencing the text as a child, on the other hand the making of the origami Pikachu was intrinsically inter-woven with my memory of the text. Similar to the artist I explore in my first autoethnographic experience. Meanwhile the connection between the historical craft of origami and the origins of the text both being situated within the Japanese culture allowed me to further engage and experience this culture. A culture which I have always wanted to be a part of since the little yellow mouse-like creature with his electric powers first ran onto my screen 11 years ago.
The reason behind choosing to spend 4 years studying the Japanese language at school, for participating in exchange and further exploration of the Japanese culture. The T.V show might have started the journey but I engaged with other aspects of the culture through exploring various associations between the show and the Japanese culture. Furthermore it was my extension into fan art that allowed me to connect wit the text in a deeper level, an attempt at making a contribution to the brand that showed me so much about friendship, persistence and hard work, not to mention allowing me into the wonderful universe that is Pokémon.
Featured below is the project that I have slaved over for the last few weeks, it is a recreation of the Pokémon Yellow Game boy and Nintendo DS game. My first piece of gaming that I bought, and the first commercial product that I purchased from the brand. The video features several backdrops, props, all made of paper, whilst also featuring a 50 piece origami Pikachu(each piece was folded in an origami fashion to create a 3D character, then all elements where glued together, and interiorly reinforced with glue in order to enhance durability). I had planned to make 4 as their expressions and poses would have matched better but each version takes 5 – 7 hours to make, and thus it wasn’t manageable, instead I opted to do a little editing to achieve the desired look. I was unable to create the standard of video that I desired, due to my lack of skills in origami, paper craft, photography and video editing. All skills needed to create this artefact.
My version vs Professional
As you can see my version looks like a hunchback of Notredam/Frankensitein looking creature. None the less I have completed the video and hope to redo the video in the near future once I have honed in my skills more.
I do hope you enjoy. Pika-see you later
Emmanouloudis, A 2015, You Are Not Alone. The Emergence Of Fan Communities Around User-Generated Content: A Comparative Analysis, PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam, pp. 1 – 64