Year

2000

Degree Name

Master of Creative Arts

Department

Faculty of Creative Arts

Abstract

In the last 25 years - my life span - Taiwan has undergone enormous changes. Hie first part of this thesis shows my own skills developing from a craft tradition to a more technologically- based approach using electronics to generate designs. It was logical to continue this development here in Australia, so I chose an interactive CD ROM as the medium to present my final work. At the same time as my skills base was changing, conceptually I wanted to explore the modem and very popular shift towards imported dolls that have been affecting and changing Taiwan in recent decades. To establish a traditional background to this phenomenon, I looked at the historical development of puppetry in Taiwan in the second part of my thesis, to show how it has been used as a popular entertainment and educational art form to instiU social values in the largely rural-based population. The ease of using puppets as propaganda to influence the population was not lost on the Japanese who occupied Taiwan for 50 years. The rebuilding of Taiwan with the expulsion of the Japanese and the establishment of the Kuo Min Tang saw puppetry revive traditional values. This continued as the puppets were translated to television. With this long history of being influenced by puppetry, Taiwan was ripe for accepting new ''puppet'' forms as the foreign dolls - Hello Kitty, Pokémon and Betty Boop - were exported to the island. These have led to widespread and in some cases subtle changes to the fabric of Taiwanese society. In the third part of my thesis, the interactive CD Rom, I wanted to explore these aspects of change and heighten peoples' awareness of their effect as they explore the CD. Tliey see the pervasiveness of Hello Kitty spread through dispensing machines, use one doll (Pokémon as a cursor) to seek and destroy another (Hello Kitty) in a simple game, and graphically see the social effects as real girls take on the sexy form of Betty Boop to enhance betelnut sales. The CD culminates in my creation of a new figure Han-Gee. His design returns to the old tradition of puppetry but in a modem setting, and symbolises the re-establishment of the old values in the face of these imported and influential dolls.

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