I have chosen the theme “Intercultural communications” as my research topic. As a foreigner student living in the Europe, I have experienced many cultural differences as well as similarities between Middle Eastern and European culture. These differences and similarities are varied in many different ways, such as the way people communicate with each other, the way they decorate their houses, how they shop their groceries and cook, how they celebrate, how different relationships define, better to say, how “design” in different fields looks like. I suppose many international design students such as me, need some time to get to know the new culture in order to make different designs for it. Personally, I often try to find a way between both cultures in order to create something unique as well as understandable for both cultures.
There are many questions that I ask myself almost all the time, for instance, what does beauty mean? What is the best technique to show a specific message? How can I break boundaries and make something understandable without any geographical restriction? Is there any way so I could make at least a small summary about design and beauty factors in different cultures and compare them?
There are many Iranian artists who have more or less same experiences such as, Marjane Satrapi, Shirin Neshat, Farhad Moshiri etc. who are inspirations for me and also have tried fining answers for these questions.
I would like to start my research about defining intercultural topics and realize firstly, what really happens when two different cultures confront each other. After that, I would like to investigate about visual cultural differences such as forms, colours, compositions etc. For example, how do people work on same subject but in different cultures and how do they use forms and colours and other visual elements.
I would like to give some examples about traditional stories in different cultures and analyze the difference. Stories, better to say, children stories, play a significant role in order to culture the next generation. It is possible to achieve some cultural hints through the simple litrature of children stories.
The Story of “Naneh Sarma”
Firstly, I would like to give you a short explanation about celebrating the new year in Iran. People celebrate the new year Nowrooz at the first day of spring on the 21st of March. There is a very beautiful children story about the reason, why Iranians celebrate this day as the new year.
Once upon a time, there was an old woman living in the mountains of Alborz. Her name was Naneh Sarma (Winter/Cold Grandma).
Old Naneh Sarma had a son called “Nowrooz”. Some other stories say that Nowroos was her lover. He was very charming and beautiful. Every where he walked, he brought the warm weather, life and spring. Flowers grew on the ways he passed. Ancient Iranians loved him, and celebrated his arrival every year.
Naneh Sarma had long white hair like snow. She loved the cold weather. As the cold weather arrived, she sent it to the alley down the mountains. As the days got shorter and nights where longer, she started singing and the trees fell asleep. Animals could find shelters and poeple gathered wood.
Nahe Sarma spun linen threads from the clouds above her house. The colours varied from day to another, reflecting the sunlight that beamed through them. She was thinking about her son/lover. He promised her to visit again in a few months. She was waiting for him for a long time and prepared a nice and beautiful tish decorated with colorful birds and flowers.
At these times, she would get up and stretch for a few minuets, then slowly walk to her front door. She took a deep breath and slowly blow into the air. Down in the alley, the snow would start. Children and adult were happy, dancing and playing under the snow.
On the fortieth night of winter, people gathered at elder houses, singing poems, eating pomegranate and watermelon. Celebrating the longest night of the year, as the sun was being born that night. From this point, the days would be longer and every night get shorter.
As days were getting longer, old woman got tired more and more. But she was hopeful visiting her son again and it was what kept her happy. She step and washed the floors and down in the alley there was a fluffy snow. She dusted her furniture and down in the alley was a strong wind.
At this point, the old woman was thinking only about Nowrooz, although all her house cleaning, made her exhausted. She was very tired however she grew seven trays of cereals so that people could see which one would grow the best during the next year. When seeds grew taller, she put a red ribbon around them and continued decorating her table with red apples, dyed eggs, candles, wine, milk, lotus, fruit, a mirror, sweets, coins. As she put each item on the table, she wished everybody, health, wealth and love.
One the eve of last Wednesday of the year, people in the valley, started making fire and dance happily around it. This was their way of calling upon their ancestors to visit them, and bless their homes and their families.
The weather began getting warmer and the old woman was very tired. She sat on her chair and fell into a deep sleep. At this time Nowrooz walked into the valley. With every step that he took, grass grew and everything turned into green and the flowers started growing. He finally stepped into the old woman house but she was asleep. She was so old and tired that he did not wake her up. He was supposed to continue his way around the world to bring the spring and warm weather.
Cmes.fas.harvard.edu. 2020. [online] Available at: <https://cmes.fas.harvard.edu/files/cmes/files/sarma_story.pdf?m=1429890316> [Accessed 24 November 2020].
Human beings have been moving all over the planet earth during the history. They could have had different reasons for their decision, such as curiosity, discovering new places, studying , new job opportunities, a new beginning, etc.
Places that we have been raised and grown up, better to say, “Homeland” can differently affect the way we take different matters into consideration. Furthermore we define our relationships in countless ways. Intercultural means, when people with different cultural backgrounds meet each other and communicate. This is exactly the beginning point of an intercultural happening. However, cross-cultural means, different comparisons based on different factors, between different cultures.
Where we live, specifies the language we speak at that certain point. Every language consists of many words that are not easy to translate in another language, because they are culturally defined. As a result, we can be a different person and interact with people differently in various places.
Very first tool that people illustrated their intercultural experience was travelogue, for example “Naser Khosrow” an Iranian traveller during 11th century. Many travellers made sketches and small paintings as well as their diaries. Later on, with the invention of Photography, people were able to record more information, in addition, what they have seen and highlights in a more exact way. Consequently, it became easier with less barriers for us to understand
During 21st century, technology means helped us, move faster and easier to different countries and places in the world. As a result, intercultural experiences got well-known and understandable. In addition, we have access to more tools in order to illustrate our own stories in a clearer way. One of these tools is animation.
Animation can be a good package of varied tasks for media design. It consists of story telling, building characters, illustrating the places, finding the right time-based technique, in order to demonstrate the message in the most best and the brightest way.