Collection: Unit 7 - Sense of Existence

Sense of Existence information file

What is Existence?
The fact or state of living or having objective reality.

What is Sense of Existence?
'Cogito ergo sum' - I think, therefore I am. This is from the French philosopher René Descartes in Discourse on Method, 1637, where he attempted to prove his existence as a thinking being, by thinking.

'To be is to be perceived'. For Berkeley the question came down to what we mean when we say that something "exists." He analyses this question from several different angles and concludes that all we can possibly mean when we say that a thing exists is that the thing is being perceived.

For me, being existed and having the sense of existence is when there are linkages between you and other people and also getting responses from them. Being noticed and needed.

What is an Extrovert?
A person characterised by extroversion; a person concerned primarily with the physical and social environment.

How to get attention from others?

What makes you special and stand out from the crowd?

- Talents

- Being different - exaggerated/eccentric style

- Being extreme

- Distinctive features (e.g. birthmark? 6 fingers in 1 hand?)



Harajuku is the centre of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. Many young people gather around Harajuku Station and engage in cosplay ("costume play") on Sundays, dressed up in eccentric costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, etc.
I like the idea of how they only dress up on Sundays and being 'normal' in other days in the week. This is like a getaway from the real life and being different from everyone in the society.

Gothic Lolita 
Gothic Lolita involves wearing gothic, feminine and elegant clothes, to the extent that you look like a living Victorian doll.



Sweet Lolita
Sweet Lolita is heavily influenced by the Rococo era more so than any of the other subcultures of Lolita. It focuses much more too on the child like aspects and uses light colours and child like fantasy themes. Alice in Wonderland, fruits, sweets and classic fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood are recurrent themes in Sweet Lolita.


Japanese Punk
Japanese punks, inspired by the punk movement that began in London in the 70s, magnify rebelliousness with over-the-top clothes, accessories, makeup, and piercing.


Cosplay entails dressing up like your favorite cartoon/anime or computer game character.


Decora Style
Decora style favors bright colors, flamboyance and accessories from head to toe. You decorate yourself with plastic toys and jewellery, and it's not uncommon to have so many that you can hear them click together when the person moves.


Kawaii places an emphasis on childlike playfulness--anime characters, ruffles, pastel colors, toys, and so on.


Typical Harajuku essentials:

- Dress in layers. One of the hallmarks of Harajuku is layering. Sweaters, vests, or jackets over blouses over t-shirts, dresses worn with leggings, and so on. Layering clothes (or giving the appearance of layering by wearing ruffled dresses, for example) allows you to mix and match a wider variety of different styles, and adds more dimension to your outfit.

Customize your clothes. Secondhand clothing and do-it-yourself styles are popular ingredients in a Harajuku outfit. Like that flowered skirt but think it would look cuter with a ribbon pinned on it or with a more uneven, angular hemline? Get out the scissors and glue and make your store-bought clothes uniquely yours. Or, go even further and make your own skirt. Cutting the fabric to create bold angles and lines can make even a plain black dress appear remarkable and fun.

Accessorise. Add any wild accessories you have, such as belts, earrings, hair clips, jewellery, and handbags. Remember, accessories can be colorful and loud, and they don't have to match your clothes. Speaking of loud, in Decora, a particular Harajuku style, accessories embellish an outfit from head to toe, and objects such as bells are sometimes used to add an aural dimension to the wardrobe.

Go wild with your hair and makeup. The Harajuku style doesn't have to stop with your clothes. Pigtails and other "cute" hairstyles are particularly popular, as is dying your hair. Creative, even theatrical makeup can be a fun addition.



Street Performers / Busking - Attention seeking

Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities. In many countries the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given. Street performance is practiced all over the world by men, women and children and dates back to antiquity. In English-speaking countries people engaging in this practice are called street performers or buskers.

In order to receive gratuities, street performers need to get the attention from people. Other than showing their talents, they always have colourful / eye-catching costumes and special equipments.



Performance Art

In art, performance art is a performance presented to an audience. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or via media; the performer can be present or absent. It can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, space, the performer's body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between performer and audience. Performance art can happen anywhere, in any venue or setting and for any length of time. The actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work.

Performance art is a term usually reserved to refer to a conceptual art which conveys a content-based meaning in a more drama-related sense, rather than being simple performance for its own sake for entertainment purposes.

Campaigners encourage people to give blood donation in London during 2012. Britain's blood stocks need to rise 30 per cent above normal levels in time for the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic Games in 2012 summer, according to the NHS.

Animal rights activist group Animal Equality staged a demonstration that would give the most devoted omnivore, like myself, pause. For the International Day Without Meat in March, demonstrators created giant supermarket-style meat packaging trays and had human models covered in fake blood and plastic sheets lie in them in front of the Cathedral of Barcelona. Large labels with barcodes and the words ?Human Meat? or ?Carne Humana? were added to the plastic coverings.


Lawrence Malstaf is an artist who literally shrink wraps volunteers as an art form. The intention is to encourage people to consider the threat to their survival and how they would protect themselves.



Anime eyes - unrealistic 
In most of the Japanese anime, the eyes of the characters are always huge which we will not see in real life. 


Contortion is an unusual form of physical display which involves the dramatic bending and flexing of the human body. Contortion is often parts of acrobatics and circus acts. In general, "contortionists" have unusual natural flexibility, which is then enhanced through acrobatic training, or they put themselves through intense, repetitive and consistent training o gain this flexibility.
To most of us, these postures are crazy and impossible to do. Only by looking at the photos I can already feel the pain!


HyungKoo Lee

A helmet-like object, merges the worlds of sociology and biology into a strange and unnerving mix.  Lee?s ?helmet? contains spaces for interchangeable lenses which can alternately emphasize or minimize various facial features.  The lenses can produce disturbingly exaggerated facial expressions, faces that are cartoonishly demure or aggressive.  Lee?s series underscores the body?s important role in social life and everyday flows of power.



Attention seek:
Behaving in a way which is pursuit of attention from others. Where such behaviour is excessive and inappropriate.

Attention seeker:

- Drama queen:

every incident/ opportunity, no matter how insignificant, is exploited, exaggerated and if necessary distorted to become an event of dramatic proportions.

- Busy Bee:

OH-SO-BUSY person who never has a moment him/herself, never has time to sit down...etc. She/he is never too busy. Though, to tell you how busy he/she is. 

- Saviour:

Creates opportunities to be the centre of attention by intentionally causing harm to others and then being their saviour, by saving their life and by being such a caring, compassionate person.

- Mind Poisoner:

Adept at poisoning people's mind by manipulating their perceptions of others, especially against the current target. 

- Organiser:

She/he may present him/herself as the one in charge, the one who is reliable and dependable, the one people can always turn to. However, the objective is not to help people but to always be the centre of attention.


Human beings are social creatures and need social interaction, feedback, and validation of their worth. The emotionally mature person doesn't need to go hunting for these; they gain it naturally from their daily life, especially from their work and stable relationships (achievements).

The emotionally immature person, however, has low level of self-esteem and self-confidence and consequently feels insecure; to counter these feelings of insecurity they will spend time creating situations in which they become the centre of attention

reflects a person's overall emotional evaluation of his/her own worth. It is a judgement of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.


The most common words used to describe people with low self-esteem:

- Quite

- Insecure

- Underachieving

- Negative (attitude)

- Unhappy

- Socially inept

- Dependant/ follower

- Poor self-image

- Acts out


How to build up self-esteem/worth?

- Understand the power of your attitude toward yourself. Recognise and celebrate the fact that you are a valuable person, equal to everyone else, and that your talents and thoughts are unique and worthy. 

- Learn to overcome a fear of self-love

- Trust your own feelings. When you trust your own feelings, you will realise that when demands are placed upon you, you don't feel great and you will want to respond with what works better for you, rather than what works better for everyone else except you. 

- Analyse yourself.

- Stop making your self-worth conditional on other people.

- Prove to yourself that you matter.



Popularity is a social phenomenon that dictates who/ what is best liked. 

Why is popularity important?

"Popularity is being well-liked by the majority of people. People who are popular are people who get along with most people, leave good lasting impressions on people, have good personalities and are generally fun, interesting people to hang around with. Being popular doesn't make you liked, it means that you are liked - because humans are social creatures, we want to be accepted and liked by our peers, so we want to be popular."


"Being popular is one of the best feelings in the world, especially when you're used to being a nobody. People adore you, or at least pretend to, and you always have tons of friends and things to do. Being popular is amazing."


"Gaining 'faces' in front of friend when they know I am a popular person."




Body modification

Body modification (or body alteration) is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance. It is often done for aesthetics, sexual enhancement, rites of passage, religious beliefs, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art, for shock value, and as self-expression, among other reasons. In its broadest definition it includes plastic surgery, socially acceptable decoration (e.g., common ear piercing in many societies), and religious rites of passage (e.g., circumcision in a number of cultures), as well as the modern primitive movement.


Why do people get body modification?

- cosmetic reasons (same concept as plastic surgery?)

- Trends of societies (standard of beauty)

- Stand out from the crowd (being different)such as bright hair colours and piercing.

- Self expression (tattoos...)

- Spiritual

- Hating the idea of 'normal'. Want to change the appearance that opposite what the society found acceptable.

- Give confidence / boosting self-esteem.


 Bagel Heads


Bagel head is a type of body modification pioneered in Canada and practiced in the Japanese underground scene. It is a temporary (6-to 24-hour) swelling distortion of the forehead created by a saline drip and often shaped to resemble a bagel or doughnut. In 2012, after appearing on a National Geographic TV special, this practice became the subject of sensationalism as news outlets worldwide misleadingly declared it a "Japan trend"


Horn Implants

Small pieces of Teflon, coral or silicone are inserted beneath the skin of the forehead, giving the appearance of small horns. These can be gradually replaced with larger and larger pieces as the skin stretches, creating larger horns. Coral is no longer used for larger horns, as it tends to be too brittle.



Stalking Cat

a man who has done his utmost to resemble a tiger, which he calls his "totem." In addition to extensive tattooing, he has had his nasal septum surgically altered, his lip split, his ears given feline-like points, and his teeth taken out and replaced with fangs. He's even had brow implants.




Skin Stretching


Skin Stretching is in the context of body piercing, is the deliberate expansion of a healed piercing for the purpose of wearing certain types of jewellery. Ear piercings are the most commonly stretched piercings, with nasal septum piercings,tongue piercings and lip piercings/lip plates following close behind. While all piercings can be stretched to some degree, cartilage piercings are usually more difficult to stretch and more likely to form hypertrophic scars if stretched quickly. 


Stretching is usually done in small increments to minimise the potential for damaging the healed fistula or creating scar tissue. In North America, most stretching methods go up by a single even-sized gauge increment at a time. 00g, or 10 mm, is considered "the point of no return" where anything 10 mm and up will not close to a standard piercing size, while 9 and under will. In Europe and most of the rest of the world, jewellery is metric, but the increments between standard sizes are similar. 




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