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ONLINE/OFFLINE III is an animation that explores how diasporic people navigate through online and offline spaces. As a second-generation immigrant, I use speculative narrative animation as a design tool to further my understanding of my Korean identity and how to find the right words to describe the intergenerational gap between my parents and me. ONLINE/OFFLINE is a digital love letter to my parents.
ONLINE//OFFLINE is a 3D animation that acts as a digital love letter to my parents, visually capturing the miscommunication that occurs within South Korean parents and their children. As a second-generation immigrant, I use speculative narrative animation as a design tool to further my understanding of my Korean identity and how to find the right words to describe the intergenerational gap between me and my parents.
My project is a continuation of my childhood where I kept searching for a word that would describe the feeling of straddling two worlds, two cultures, two identities, in-betweenness. These are some of the words I came up with:
Diaspora, in many ways, is used as a default word to describe a group of people living apart from their birthplace, but has been recontextualized from generation to generation. The definition of "diaspora" Myria Georgiou provides in her book, titled Identity, Space and the Media: Thinking through Diaspora (2010), gave me an insight into describing my experience of being born in Canada. The term ‘diaspora’ refers to people who cross boundaries and who settle in locations different to those of their origins (Georgiou 6). Georgiou’s definition suggests diasporic people have a point of origin.
but then how can someone born in Canada, as I was, feel a longing for a country I have never visited?
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C A N A D A
This prompted me to wonder if anybody else were thinking similar thoughts. I designed a survey that asked diasporic people about their modes of communication as a way of expressing and diving deeper into their cultural identity.
In a few sentences, describe your online identity during your:
I use a mixed methodology comprised of narrative inquiry and participatory action research (PAR) as a way of gathering rich narratives in a detailed survey that covered topics that range from but not limited to diaspora, transnational identities, belonging and communication. (examples of survey questions listed above)
I took a step further by conducting one-on-one interviews of participants, expanding on specific parts of the survey.
Something I learned from conducting these interviews is that the diaspora my parents’ generation and mine experience are widely different. I believe this is due to the strong influence of the internet throughout our childhood.
Many of the survey responses mentioned that they learned more about their culture through television shows, movies and online forums and websites.
While collecting survey responses, I realized how many of us immigrant kin subconsciously develop a digital toolkit which extends beyond a list of favourited media. These digital tools are used as an outlet to freely express our hybrid identities, parts of which we do not understand and want to uncover in a way that speaks to us.
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D I G I T A L
T O O L K I T
I have become resourceful in building myself a digital toolkit, which aided me and continues to aid me in understanding my cultural identity. This DIY digital toolkit is a result of a cultural identity struggle I still experience living in Canada.
This chapter begins with an investigation of miscommunication and lack of communication altogether, which can occur within diasporic families, as experienced by myself, a child of a South Korean immigrant family who grew up surrounded by a South Korean community in Canada.
These tools were developed as a result of how I was raised by my Korean parents. Many times, alone in my room on my computer.
By spending hours online, I discovered what diaspora meant.
But could not relate to it.
Does home constitute a geographical location?
I argue the concept of diaspora offers a critique of discourses of fixed origins, while taking account of a homing desire which is not the same thing as desire for a “homeland.” This distinction is important, not least because not all diaspora sustain an ideology of “return” (Brah 180).
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B E D R O O M
C U L T U R E
Bedroom Culture is a term to describe the bedroom as a sacred place for a child of an immigrant family; a space that may feel like the only freedom for true self-expression and identity. Whether the child occupies their bedroom by choice - or by force - it becomes a safe haven, one where that child can explore themselves freely and feel “at home” despite the reality constructed by their immigrant parents: unrealistic expectations, as well as constant miscommunications caused by the clash of Eastern and Western household cultural traditions.
Western Cultural Households
Eastern Cultural Households