in Art & Culture
A Cultural Conservation &
Design Thinking Theory Project
By Melvin Tan
We see similar characteristic traits of the way snakes are perceived as powerful or to be feared. But how different are they from one place to another? In this research, we discuss the possibility of instinct through a cross-cultural visual assessment to eventually use these findings to reassess our approaches and reflexivity in cultural conservation.
Reflexivity in Representation is an investigation into the human interpretation of snakes. This is a three part inquiry addressing how our perception of these reptiles are not very different from one culture to another, proving a certain instinctive collective unconscious. This project believes in the creative role our understanding plays in sustaining culture, art and designs all over the world.
Pt • 1
~The texture of the Flexa Mandala reflects the Snake Skin in it’s truest form. It holds the manifestations of different serpentine intepretations of mandalas.
~Every Mandala has a different number to describe the uniqueness of what each contains.
~Unfurling the Flexa Mandala is approached from the centre, it blooms like a lotus flower.
~The instructions would clearly describe the workings and process of this special mandala piece
~The wrapper is made from hand folded glassine paper that produces the idea of a snake shedding it’s skin it is wrapped with, to unveil a renewed form which in this case, is the Flexa Mandala.
~The Flexa Mandala collapses into a triangle and opens again at the top in an infinite algorithm that alludes to the Mandala’s central conception as a cultural symbol.
~We will observe the many ‘flexes’ of Mandala Applicaitions from Chinese, Grecco, Mesopotian, Celtic, Jewish and Indian decent.
Pt • 2
Online Database Catalog
The website will mirror the publication however with an interactive crowd sourcing feature where we collect snake images submitted by visitors to continue and develop the snake zeitgeist beyond the course. A continuous approach to all projects of today is new media, this is a website where people can submit snake images to assemble a pictorial zeitgeist of snakes across all cultures, art and design.
~This becomes an interactive platform. Users send in their snakes to add to the collection. The writings are also available for download on the site.
Pt • 3
A Three Tier Publication
A discourse publication is the backbone of the project where we intellectually reassess our approach and appreciation of snakes in cultures. This will determine whether there is a difference in our perception of these from one culture to another, proving a certain instinctive collective unconscious.
The textures of the different sections represent the serpentine characteristic qualities.
In this publication, we:
 Consider difference, diversity and per perception.
 Challenge the fallacy of mentioned practices which is not grounded in theory.
 Changing the angles to view the situation in different perspectives from experts.
 Step back and put distance between us and the situation through case studies.
~A thin glassine paper overlay a weave that resemble the nagapanchami snake interlocking patterns. This application also reflects the interconnectedness of the information presented in the publication.
~Here you see the snake tongue as a way finder feature and the wiggled edge that mimic the snake slither.
~Another instance of glyphs and wayfinders that reflect the slither of a snake.
~The format gets the viewer very involved. The publication makes you turn the book horizontally or vertically to access certain information.
Culture and tradition are often practiced without consciousness of its own cultural resonance or significance. Instead it is always being involved in a practice adapted, changed or originated. Conservation in a modern social context is often removed from the chain of human behavior of cultural development.
Sustainability becomes a superfluous concern when sustainability is breaking even. Reflexive conservation is potential. This publication eventually leads to position and collect the final points and summary of the publication and set the tone of Snakes, instict and reflxivity for the future.
Special thanks, Nanci Takeyama