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Tibetan taggers

This is a couple of years old, but it’s interesting. (Thanks to Norm Jacknis for the tip.)

Tibetans living in Switzerland and non-Tibetan Swiss were asked to provide tags for an exhibit of traditional Tibetan work. Then those tags were analyzed, wondering what cultural differences might show up. Some were fairly obvious:

Taggers disagreed in their perceptions of the esoteric deity Chakrasamvara. Tibetans tagged it frequently with “buddha”, accurately identifying its wisdom aspect; however, Swiss Germans found it böse or “angry-looking” and associated it with death. This exemplifies how tags can help uncover cultural misunderstandings: rather than anger, Chakrasamvara actually embodies the union of bliss and emptiness.

It also revealed (or suggests) some differences in how people approach tagging itself:

When Tibetans were asked which images were easiest to tag and why, their responses were contradictory. One person said artworks she knew were easy to tag because she already has something to say about them. Another found unfamiliar works easier to tag because they seemed “freer” The rating indicates that symbolic and familiar works do elicit less diverse responses from Tibetan taggers. And although some people may find them easier to tag because their meanings are culturally pre-defined, the way in which viewers react to them is likely to be less personal and even “less free.”

One Response to “Tibetan taggers”

  1. on 20 Oct 2011 at 10:11 amImam

    We should be honoring each other and live in peace.