Material Culture.

This morning we began with a Ted Talk from Adam Savage, which was used to demonstrate how his working processes are actually the same as our own. Although he has far more many years experience in his particular fields of work, like us, he begins every task with a question; a sheer curiosity and drive to research until he can place initial ideas into realised physical objects. It was amazing to see that just a single part of his research alone consisted of over 20Gb of dodo photographs!

Essentially we were aiming to explore ‘stuff in relation to people’ and in turn, how the things that make up ones entirety transpire into what we know as ‘culture’. This is a complex word, which dare I say is heterogeneous, for it consists of a manifold of similar and dissimilar aspects that groups of people either associate or dissociate with.


Everybody has a culture; we are made up of many various cultural pieces and there is always room to expand and grow, add to. There are surface cultures: material outer things and deeper culture: philosophical, inward things. Today we were more interested in the material – the things that we make, interact with and why?

In thinking about these questions, we were left with the homework task: Do you belong to a subculture? Do you belong to an idioculture?”

Well firstly, what the heck are those things? A subculture is basically a smaller group within a larger culture. Now an idioculture is something I hadn’t heard of before. Scott described it as this: a group that is smaller than a subculture and that shares a unique set of beliefs, values, behaviours, experiences and such. 

My Youth Group is a great example of a subculture that I am in. We meet on Friday nights either for ‘youth’ or to do something recreational and awesome together like laser tag, bowling etc. Youth nights are the times when we chill out at church and play fun games together, as well as have a chat about particular topics for the week. Youth group a subculture within my church (The Chapel) which is just for people between the ages of 13-18, with the exception of the youth leaders (such as myself) being a bit older, as we have transitioned through the group and decided to stay but take on a matured role. We have members who either do or do not attend church so there is a variety of beliefs and values that may mix together, although our youth group was essentially established to bring people closer to God as well as to have a safe place to hang out and enjoy time with friends.

As a youth group, we share collective experiences- memories, inside jokes -small quirks that make up what we view as the things that set us apart for other youth groups. We call ourselves “TAT YOUTH” (the abbreviation for Te Atatu) and we have a ‘strong hatred’ for our ‘opposing’ church the Te Atatu Baptist Church. Our own church used recently changed its name to The Chapel, but we are youth and therefore rebellious and we refuse to embrace this new name, but instead still call our church TABC: Te Atatu Bible Chapel. If something sports related comes up, we always suggest to use a particular member, who absolutely hates sports. We have a classic game for newcomers to play called “Have you met?” After asking them a small series of q’s about themselves, we will ask our golden question which is “When doing the do in the loo, how do you clean up afterward?” Ugh its so weird I know, but its all just for shits and giggles nonetheless (excuse the pun). Overall, we have a lot of fun being weird humans in times of transition and change, and we embrace each owns uniqueness in these shared moments together as what we’d call a family.


An idioculture that I belong to would be the BCE course. I’ll keep this one more brief. We share the same timetables, classrooms, have the same lecturers and briefs to work on. We share the horrendous experiences of sore bottoms from the very uncomfortable chairs in our homeroom – ouch!



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