Angela – Connection to Research

The inspiration for my blogroll topic came from a conversation I had with Iban tattoo artist Ernesto Umpie of Borneo Headhunters tattoo studio in Kuching, Malaysia. At the time I was coming to my own realizations about learning to make the traditional crafts of the Borneo tribes; even something as seemingly simple as basket weaving would take at least a year or two of living with a community to engage with the way craft is integrated into daily life.  Ernesto is one of the few artists left practicing the traditional tapping tattoo method. His studio is a small museum, dedicated to authentic Iban artefacts (those used in actual ceremony).

We struck up a long conversation, and I told him about my research endeavors to use the internet to teach crafts. His response was that it would be fine to teach technique, but there would be no way to pass on the cultural significance of making a craft. He became quite adamant about how there can be no community on the internet because there is no  way to guarantee honesty. These two points have directed my research interest in this course. For the blogroll I will explore the ways that the culture of Borneo indigenous craft has been and can be explored on the internet.


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