An ironic and metaphorical oil painting ” Beijing 2008″ by Liu Yi.

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” Beijing 2008″ by Liu Yi (available at: http://bitchnburlesque.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/liu-yis-beijing-2008.html)

 

Sometimes, there may be some hidden meanings and messages in an artwork.

 

This artwork ” Beijing 2008″ describes four young women playing Mahjong. Five characters in this painting represent different nations. The woman with the tattoos is China. On her left, is Japan who focused intensely on the game. The one with the shirt is America. Russia is the one lying on the floor. And the girl standing on the right is Taiwan.

 

“The painting is talking about who the rule-maker is. Mahjong is a Chinese game. It’s very confusing for Western people. The game represents the political situation between countries around the world,” says Liu (Global Times, 2013).

 

The four women’s degree of undress represent the geo-political situation in the world. America seems to have advantage since she looks tidy and well-dressed at first glance. However, her vulnerability has already been exposed. China and Russia look naked, but their key private parts is covered.

 

China is hiding some tiles below the table, Russia is helping her to cheat by passing a tile to China secretly. On the other hand, one of her foot is hooking America coyly. Japan is very concentrating on her own tiles and seems to ignore other players’ situation.

 

Taiwan is wearing a traditional red slip that symbolises she is the true heir of Chinese culture and civilization. She staring at China with fury,sadness, and hatred. She is out of the game but eager to participate in. America is glancing at Taiwan, maybe trying to read Taiwan’s face to gain the information between China and Russia.

 

The dense clouds darken the sky in the background painting. This gloomy sky shows the international relations is unstable.

 

 

References

Global Times. 2013. Erotic echoes.. [Online]. [Accessed 20 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/776661.shtml#.U1tzm_ldV8s

 

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MACE, Designing a Business.

 

1. Summarise the course and our group works.

We have participated in the Designing a Business for two terms. The course aimed to build a company and a product, sale the product and get profit during the period. At the beginning, we started from the group brand storming, trying to find out the creative and innovative product which is possible to be made by ourselves and be accepted by our target consumers. Finally, we created Memoby, a memorial box for storing memories. This idea was inspired by one of our group member’s personal story, she wished there were a fine product that can store the letters and some small treasures from her pass away family since she was little. From the very beginning,  we targeted new born babies and their parents as our target consumers due to through our research, we found that the recent parents are willing to keep memorable things for their baby since they get pregnant.

 

We decided to customise the product for customers, customers can select the colours they want on the box. They can choose to have soften fabric inside the box. They can also decide the figure they want to be on the lid of the box, it depends on the picture or photo they provided. Overall, we offer our customers the chance to build their own memorial box. Each products are made by hand from the foundational protecting process such as polishing and varnishing to the customising process including painting the colour and scanning the picture outline on the lid. We design and create the outline picture for each customers and use the scan machine to print it on the lid.

Finally, after receiving several inquiries from our non-target customers, we extended our target market to people who want to store memories and have the need to create a customise product, instead of only focusing on new born babies and parents.

 

We had attended several presentations and two trade fairs, one was at Kingston town centre, another is at Kingston Business school. We build up social medias such as Facebook, Instergram and Twitter to broadcasting and marketing our products. We also created a one minute advertising and released it on Youtube.

 

Overall, we had practiced the theories about pricing, marketing and developed new product by analysing the competitors and the market environment the through the whole process. Basically, if company considered these fundamental knowledge when they are running the business or developing the new product, they would exactly know which direction should their company go.

 

Environment Background

Digital photos have become the standard media for individual photo taking (Shneiderman, Bederson and Drucker, 2006). Moreover, cloud storage has become an integral part of our modern, mobile lives. Services including Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive and Box are provided to hold our vital date (Casserly, 2014). We can say that people are enjoying the convenience that digital methods have given.

 

Although people are now facing the digital revolution, everything has started digitalising, and storing online, our company is trying to deliver the importance of storing valuable memories that can be touched and be felt; moreover, the family members can sharing the physical memories during some important family events.

 

2. Porter five forces analysis

According to Michael E. Porter (1979), the essence of strategy formulation is dealing with competition. Five forces model describes and analyses five main competitive forces that shape a industry and find out it’s weakness and strength. In order to understand industry competition and profitability, basic structure of industry should be analyse through five forces (Porter, 2008).

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Figure 1. Porter five forces model (Myers, 2013).

 

a. Threat of new entrants: High threat.

This market of storing memory productis not difficult to enter, the barriers is low since there is no proprietary technology in this market. The customer switching costs is also low. We should try to build up customer’s loyalty for overcoming this disadvantage. Erdoğmuş and Çiçek  (2012) concludes that social media is the most significant driver to stimulate brand loyalty. Since our company had built several social networking, this threat might be possible to overcome.

 

b. Bargaining power of suppliers: Medium threat.

Due to the fact that we take part in the overall producing process. There are various material suppliers we can select. However, in terms of scan machine, we have used the machine in Knight’s park campus for free so far; if we wanted to maintain our long-term performance, we should definitely search for another supplier and keep the cost as low as possible. We cannot keep using the machine for free in long-term in Knight park campus. This is the reason that the threat of bargaining power of supplier is medium.

 

c. Bargaining power of customers: Low threat.

The amount of product for each customer in single purchase is small. For the customer who has special need for customise memorial storage product, they have low price sensitivity. As a result, the bargaining power of customers is low.

 

d. Threat of substitute products or services: Medium threat.

In the digital age, our substitute products can be those things which can be used in data storage. For example, electronic gadgets such as PC and mobile phone, and the software, applications and social medias including instagram, facebook and the cloud. Therefore, Memoby aims to transport the meaning of “the importance of tangible heritage for the whole family”. People may forget their account password, their account might be hacked, their mobiles might crash and the data may be gone. There are many possibilities to prove that the internet or digital world is not safe enough for keeping an important memory. Besides, it is more heart-warming for family members to share the memories by touching these memories and tell the stories together. As a result, customers loves our emotional, heart-moving product more than those digital products.

 

e. Rivalry and jockeying among existing competitors: Medium threat.

Every boxes which people can store thinks in are all our competitors in the existing market. These boxes can easily be found in many shops and . Customers can put everything they want into these boxes. However, few of them target both parents and the new-born babies at the same time like Memoby or offer hundred percent of customise product.

 

We had analysed our disadvantages and advantages by considering five forces model, it helps us to understand our weakness and improve the product.

 

3. Pricing Strategy

For new product, there are three types of pricing strategy: skimming, penetration, and experience curve pricing (Noble and Gruca, 1999).

 

Skimming pricing strategy is to set a high price at the beginning, and to give discount systematically with the passage of time. It aims to distinguish between customers who are not price insensitive since their special needs. After the segment is saturated, in order to increase the attraction of product, the price is lowered. This strategy is suitable for a market with high product differentiation (Dean, 1950 cited in Noble and Gruca, 1999, p.441).

By contrast, penetration and experience curve pricing strategy contain setting a low initial price. The company that has cost advantages can use penetration strategy. The purpose of experience curve pricing is to set low price at first for building cumulative volume speedily and decreasing the unit cost (Noble and Gruca, 1999).

 

We priced our products separately and differently due to we offer different customise boxes which depends on customers’ need. The customise box is £22 for each, with basic protecting process, calendar attaching, fabric inside the box, optional colour on the box and the photo or picture from the customers inside the lid; most important there will be customise outlining picture on the lid scanned by the scan machine . Overall, our price is slightly lower than other competitors that already exist in the market. However, there were still some people suggested us to reduce the price as well as some potential customers say our price is a bit higher than their expectation.

 

We do not have the ability to keep the cost down due to the high producing cost and high human resource cost of our customise product. Our company does not need to own a large market share; in other words, it is unnecessary to keep the price down in order to gain the market share. Furthermore, one of our advantage is high level of product differentiation. We have no fear to price our product in a price that higher than some people’s expectation. Because we focus on the customer who has that special need.

 

4. Promoting and Marketing by using Social medias.

The development of social networking media has created a chance for business marketer to communicate with plenty and various of customers about their

products, and to broadcast the companies and its core idea. Moreover, the influence of consumer to consumer communications has been extremely increased in the business environment. As a result, offer customers networking platforms and fully utilize tools such as blogs and social media tools for promotion is crucial for today’s businesses (Mangold and Faulds, 2009).

 

The evidence shows that consumers are more frequently to use different types of social media for searching the information of products and making buying decisions. Consumers tend to require immediate and direct information transmission. Compare to the traditional advertising, social medias provide consumers more flexibility to access information what they really need at their convenience (Vollmer and Precourt, 2008 cited in Mangold and Faulds, 2009, p.360). Moreover, consumers regard social media as a more reliable information resource instead of usual corporate-sponsored communicational transmission (Foux, 2006 cited in Mangold and Faulds, 2009, p.360 ).

 

Internet-based social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have transformed the way people communicate (Cox and Park, 2014). In terms of Facebook, Cox and Park (2014) conclude that Facebook page is a beneficial and valuable tool for marketing.

 

According to Hanna, et al. (2011), using social media strategy does not request elaborate and plenty of budgets. Business can established the platform to communicate and the strategy that reach customers and involve them in base on the use of social media. It does not require high spends and creative development.

 

As a result, we decided to built a various of social media networking, including Facebook, youtube and Twitter. We have released the information about our product and recent performance of our company via these tools, customers can also place the orders and describe what type of customisation do they want. Overall, these tools are platforms for our company to communicate with customers. Furthermore, due to the limited budget, we considered that using social media is the easiest way to run the company long-term.

 

In order to broadcasting our company, we encouraged customers to follow us during the trade fair, and boost them to retweet Memoby. The one who retweet most may gain a free Memoby box.

 

5. Conclusion

As a financial manager in our company, the most important thing I learn from this project is the financing skills. Although I have learnt accounting from IBM courses, such as how to create financial statements and count the costs and profits, the real practice experience is crucial. It helps me to develop the practised skill in the real business environment.

 

Furthermore, to forecast the future profit and company activities is more important than I though. This is a valuable experience that we had practiced and used those theories such as marketing and pricing through this two terms process. This project gives the chance to understand the importance of using social media. After experience the advantage such as low cost, wide transmissibility and the convenience of communicate with customers, I will definitely concentrate on developing the social network if we wanted to found a real business. Overall, this experience will help us to build up a enterprise or develop a new product in our future career.

 

 

References

Casserly, M. 2014. 7 best cloud storage services – 2014’s best online storage sites revealed. [Online]. [Accessed 9 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/features/internet/3506734/best-cloud-storage-services-review/

 

Cox, T. and Park, F.H. 2014. Facebook marketing in contemporary orthodontic practice: A consumer report. Journal of the World Federation of Orthodontists. 3(1), pp. e1-e5.

 

Erdoğmuş, İ.E. and Çiçek, M. 2012. The Impact of Social Media Marketing on Brand Loyalty. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. 58(1), pp. 1353–1360.

 

Hanna, R. et al. 2011. We’re all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem. Business Horizons. 54(3), pp. 265-273.

 

Mangold, W.G. and Faulds, D.J. 2009. Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix. Business Horizons. 52(4), pp. 357-365.

 

Myers, M. 2013. Five Forces by Michael Porter — Fundamentals Through Graphics. [Online]. [Accessed 9 April 2014]. Available from: http://masonmyers.com/five-forces-michael-porter-business-fundamentals/

 

Noble, P.M. and Gruca, T.S. 1999. Industrial Pricing: Theory and Managerial Practice. Marketing Science. 18(3), pp. 435–454.

 

Shneiderman, B. et al. 2006. FIND THAT PHOTO! Interface Strategies to Annotate, Browse, and Share. COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM. 49(4), pp.69-71.

 

Porter, M. 1979. How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review. 57(2), pp. 137–145.

 

Porter, M. 2008. THE FIVE COMPETITIVE FORCES THAT SHAPE STRATEGY. Harvard Business Review. 86(1), pp. 78–93.

 

The creativity at the corner of city. The Trouble Note, an amazing band.

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Three talented musicians catch people’s eye on the street. We met this band in Brick Land market. At that time, they were surrounded by a larger number of audience. With a unique and exotic music style, the virtuosity and the fascinating skills, they easily attracted plenty of people who passed by that street.

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According to the official website of The Trouble Notes, this band was formed by violinist Bennet Cerven and guitarist B-zy Brain in New York City late in 2012. In June 2013, Bennet and B-zy embarked for London where they would meet percussionist and future Note, Oliver Maguire, who added a new pulse to the compositions and completed the group’s sound. They have performed in many different cities around the world. After embracing different cultures and music styles, they built up their repertoire. They describes their music as an eclectic fusion of genres from every corner of the musical spectrum, creating a listening experience that is truly unique to its own.

 

They already released their first EP, Court the Strom in 2013.

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The form of artworks in the developing digital environment

 

The type of artwork has become diversified since the digital technology was introduced. Internet has developed into the platform for reaching the global community. Under the background of social and culture change, online art and digital art came up as a considerable development throughout the whole artistic spectrum, for example, visual arts, music and creative writing.

 

Interactive art works build a communication between viewer and art product itself. It attracts people’s attention by inciting their curiosity and encourages them to affect artwork. Online crowdsourced art is a kind of art form which use the internet as a platform to stimulate audiences directly participating in the creation of artworks. It aims to display the relationship between the artistic emotions of participants and the collective imagination (LITERAT, 2012). Digital artist Aaron Koblin is the lead innovator in the field of online collaborative art. He used to reference the connection between art and crowdsourcing. One of his recently project is This Exquisite Forest (www.exquisiteforest.com) which designed by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin and produced by Google and Tate. The project invites online visitors to create short animations that build off one another. People explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of animated narratives visualized as trees which anybody on the web can explore (Koblin, 2012). This Exquisite Forest had been exhibited in London at the Tate Modern for 6 months in 2012. This is also an example that shows online crowdsourced art projects is penetrating within traditional and institutionalized spaces of art exhibition.

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This Exquisite Forest (available at: http://www.exquisiteforest.com)

 

References

LITERAT, I. 2012. The Work of Art in the Age of Mediated Participation: Crowdsourced Art and Collective Creativity. International Journal Of Communication. 6(23), pp. 2962–2984.

 Koblin, A. no date. Aaron Koblin. [Online]. [Accessed 2 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.aaronkoblin.com/work.html

 

Joyce Pensato exhibition, Joyceland in Lisson Gallery

I visited artist Joyce Pensato’s exhibition in Lisson Gallery. A strong smell of paint spread every corner of the gallery, the painting of crazy cartoon characters and various of toys, postcards and advertisements are around the exhibiting room. The artist uses white and black enamel paint feature Batman, the famous Disney characters such as Donald Duck and the characters from The Simpsons. It seems like she has tried to reveal the evil side of those popular characters and maybe kind of demonized them. For example, Marge Simpson in Marge from Hell in pastel and Chalk. There are also some charcoal and pastel for smaller-scale drawings of those characters. Overall, Pensato’s work evokes a disturbing undercurrent for these normally loveable characters.

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Joyce Pensato “Joyceland”. (available at: http://www.lissongallery.com/exhibitions/joyce-pensato)

 

There is a large mural painted in the gallery is a giant Batman mask overlooking the studio. The golden, black and silver paint has managed to spatter the adjacent walls.

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Joyce Pensato “Joyceland”. (available at: http://www.lissongallery.com/exhibitions/joyce-pensato)

 

The New York-based Pensato transport the majority of her Brooklyn studio to London, bringing her stuffed animals, talking toys, plastic action figures and collaged ephemera of postcards, found adverts and posters that she refers to and draws inspiration from for her paintings. Her working environment is installed in the gallery, visitors can also see the paint pots, brushes, books and discarded scraps of newspaper that are similarly covered in the spatters, splashes and drips that result from her obsessive painterly method. (Lisson Gallery. 2014).

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Joyce Pensato “Joyceland”. (available at: http://www.lissongallery.com/exhibitions/joyce-pensato)

 

 

Lisson gallery, available at: http://www.lissongallery.com

A contemporary artist, Kara Walker

An exhibition at Camden arts centre from 11 October to 5 January.

My friend and I visit Camden arts centre in January. We were in great surprise about the content of these works and the information the artist trying to deliver. However, we had enjoyed the whole exhibition very much in general.

There are many paper-cutting characters on the big wall, we can easily see that those works are full of sexual and violent elements; moreover, there are some information about the relationship between races in the US. We can say that the artist had revealed the dark side of the America history.

 

The works reflects her current research into the White Supremacist movement and gun culture in the USPeopled with subjects from both past and contemporary history, the work constructs together historical documents of slavery with more recent racial issues. The exhibition combines several topics and concepts of her recent works, including the investigation of pivotal transitions in black American history, the missing narratives of the black migration, the highly-charged subjects of repression, discrimination and sexual violence. (Camden Arts Centre, 2013).

 

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Kara Walker, 2013 – 2014 (available at: http://www.camdenartscentre.org/)

 

Kara Walker (b. 1969) is a contemporary African-American artist who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence and identity in her work. Her works critically and unapologetically shroud and interrogate racial and gender tensions that renouncing the sensitivity. In the past few years, Walker has obtainednational and international recognition for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes which illustrating historical narratives haunted by sexuality, violence, and subjugation (Walkerart, no date).

 

Through characters drawn from American popular literature, culture and history, Kara Walker exposes the evil side of the US cultural archetypes and the darker aspects of human behaviour. We can say that, due to her racial background and the seamy side of American history and culture, Kara Walker has created artworks based on these concepts and has built up her own identity.

Nine Song by Cloud Gate.

We talked about leadership in Re-Imaging leadership course and showed the example from different notions. Eunice showed an example from a famous scene in “Legacy”, which is one of the dance work from Cloud Gate, a modern dance group based in Taiwan. I would like to talk about Nine Songs, another classic work from Cloud Gate which is also my favourite.

 

The Nine Songs by Cloud Gate, using an original aesthetic feeling from the ancient worshipping ceremonies, shaking the stage and the audiences, and was full of vitality and mystique. This ritual draws on the ancient imagery and sensibilities but still presented contemporarily. It was away from the elegant classics which was over decorated through thousands of years, the gods were given to a renew life and a fiery soul. The various music for rites that Lin Hwai-min abundantly used in the dance were from India, Tibet, Java, Japan and indigenous tribes of Taiwan, let this performance be more close to the solemnly primitive rituals.

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(available at:http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/ce/CulturalService/Programme/en/dance/000003df.html)

 

At the beginning, the masked shamans with brilliant red dress walk to the stage and sprinkle the water from lotus pond with benison. Suddenly, she starts shaking her body with rhythm. Her body shuddered, arcing back and forth in percussive movements. She dedicate herself to gods for the fate of race, and brings the gods out: the solar deity, the great lord of fate and the young goddess of fate, the river god Madam Xiang with sorrow but beauty, and the cloud god who speeding across the sky.

 

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East meets west: choreographer Lin Hwai-min’s spectacular production ©Alastair Muir (available at: http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/nine-songscloud-gate-dance-theatre-sadlers-wells–dance-review-9148640.html)

 

The gods from Cloud Gate do not have mercy or benevolence. Their dance steps may be firm, liberal or shocked, but lack of some sentimental attachment and the concern to the land of living. The cruelty and misery in the secular world were fully depicted. A heavy voice begins to recite names of real heroes and ordinary people who died under the Japanese, the 228 Incident, a 1947 clash between local Taiwanese and newly arrived Chinese Nationalist government. The souls wander in the wilderness and can’t found the way back to home. After the slaughter, gods did not arrive, but just an infinite bleakness leaved.

 

In the last section, hundreds of candlelight have enkindled in order. A single of light is a symbol of life. The symbols are as much as the stars. The flickering firelight looks like the arising and passing lives. The myth came to the end, but return to the beginning. It seems that every soul in the universe gains the blessing and tolerance, Nine Songs shows the strength of life.

 

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The final ritual: honouring the dead. Photographs by Liu Chen-hsiang. (available at: http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/nine-songs-cloud-gate-dance-theatre-taiwan-sadler%E2%80%99s-wells)

 

The first act, the religious ceremony, was for introducing new deities. The similar ceremonies are existed in the country which have influenced from Chinese culture, like Japan and Taiwan. In “Nine Songs”, it might be the way the ceremony evolved into a dancing performance in the development of traditional art.

In the “Madam Xiang”, it uses two simple timber frames as an original sedan chair, and the female god standing on it. This mode can be seen in Taiwanese temple festivals that people shoulder a sedan chair with gods on it and go around neighbours.

In the last act, thousands of fires have lighted, for condoling ghosts. It straight connected to the traditional ceremony, water lanterns. This kind of ceremony not only exist in Taiwan, but in Japan and China, for the purpose of guide the wandering souls.

Lin Hwai-min took Chinese ancient lecture as a base and blend with Taiwanese, Asian and western dancing elements together, finally created an intercultural work. The music was various, it contained the variety of traditional music from different Asian place. For example, the music in the beginning and the end were from one of the aboriginal tribe, The Tsou, in Taiwan.

 

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Huang Mei-ya in Nine Songs. (available at: http://dancetabs.com/2014/02/gallery-cloud-gate-dance-theatre-of-taiwan-in-nine-songs/)

 

Taiwan is a multicultural island with many different races combined, included Han nationality, Japanese and local aboriginals. It is important to figure out where we from and who we are, returning to our own island and find out the local core culture, then, remixing and creating a new culture. In this respect, “Cloud Gate” showed a modal and did appropriate, those cultural ingredients were perfectly fused.