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Discourse Publication on Snakes in Art & Culture

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    Discourse Publication
    on Snakes
    in Art & Culture
    A Cultural Conservation & Design Thinking Theory Project
    Featured in Metamorphosis Exhibition & Transform Design


  • We see similar characteristic traits in the way snakes are perceived all over the world - Snakes as healers, destroyers, temptuous or simply 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.

    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 design all over the world.


  • Pt • 1
    Flexa Mandala

    Hexagon Flexagon
  • The Flexa Mandala in it's different stages of 'opening'. 

  • We express the common conception of centrality in the mandala concept celebrated in various interpretations of the symbol across different cultures to hint at the plausible collective unconsciousness we as humans perceive something.

    The design opens in the centre to manifest another mandala/labyrinth/crest from another culture of similar middle centric arrangement. These show similarities across cultures as well as depict the idea of metaculture as well as the allusion of reflexivity. The interactive nature of the flexagon allows the user to discover through a symbolic and logical tactile thought process articulated by the form of the Flexa Mandala.

  • 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.
  • We will observe the many 'flexes' of Mandala Applicaitions from Chinese, Grecco, Mesopotian, Celtic, Jewish and Indian decent.
  • ~

    Pt • 2
    Snake Zeitgeist
    Online Database Catalog
  • Online Visitors of the Site will stumble upon an exhaustive catalog of Snakes applied in cultures all over the world, curated by the agency but sourced from the online crowd source.

  • 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.

  • The first scroll down will bring in the infographical web chain from the bottom to the top of the site.
  • The fence texture is taken from the Nagapanchami Festival in India where snakes are presented interlocking like a contemporary wire fence.
  • 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
    The Discourse

    A Three Tier Publication

  • The three tiers of the booklet resemble the three coils below the Cambodian Buddha on the naga. 

  • 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 Discourse publication in its three parts is held together by two loops on the largest booklet that pierces through the 2 smaller ones.
  • The publication can be seperated into it's three sections: (1) Discovery, (2) Discourse & (3) Discussion.
  • The textures of the different sections represent the serpentine characteristic qualities.

  • In this publication, we:

    [1] Consider difference, diversity and per perception.
    [2] Challenge the fallacy of mentioned practices which is not grounded in theory.
    [3] Changing the angles to view the situation in different perspectives from experts.
    [4] Step back and put distance between us and the situation through case studies.

  • Examples: Comparing between the different cultures across the world to discern whether there is a collective instinct.
  • The texts overlaps slightly to mirror the tiered format character of the publication.
  • 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.
  • The sudden burst of color is inspired by the golden dragon roofs from Thailand. 
  • 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.
  • The page number is applied inside to give the reader a unique experience.
  • The pencil snakes its way into the loops to hold the publication together.
  • The two loops resemble fangs of the snake a symbol of power and ferocity.

  • Sustainability

    Culture and tradition are often practiced without consciousness of its own cultural resonance or significance. Instead tradition is always 'adapted', 'changed' or 'originated'. While it is not wrong, cultural 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
    (for opportunity)

    Jane Koh
    (for introducing to me the concept of Reflexivity)
  • As featured in Metamorphosis Exhibition