Entering an Oasis

Discovering living tree root bridges and the wonders they lead you…



They were the reason I came to the state of Meghalaya in the North East of India, but definitely not the reason I would go back. Like two people with outstretched arms interlocking their fingers, a tree from each side of the river outstretched it roots which laced around each other to form a bridge. Living up to five hundred years these bridges grow thicker and stronger over centuries to carry villagers from one side to the other.

I researched, planned and awed at photos but nothing prepared me for the true magnificence of these formations or the experience of walking across them. I arrived early in the year avoiding monsoon when it wins second place as the wettest area in the world – the winner claims victory only 15 kilometres away. It’s a bit of a relief for locals to know that infrastructures are literally rooted into place, and the bridges act as a symbol to respect the hard work and great ideas of the generations before.

It was a test of physical ability to reach Nongriat, which wouldn’t have been so hard if I hadn’t eaten so many samosas leading up to it. The only way to reach the oasis was a trek down 3500 stairs which was as breath taking as the odd glance at the view when I risked a comic fall or stopped to rest.


Reaching the village in the depths of the lush green forest I was warmly welcomed by Byron who runs a homestay, the only form of accommodation in the village. In their simplistic and poverty-stricken village where basic education has only recently been introduced; Byron, his wife and five children are beautiful, happy, generous and hard-working. They went out of their way to make us feel comfortable, didn’t eat until everyone was fed and were informative and passionate about their home. The communal dinner table was filled with laughter, playful children and warm air… with a hint of buzzing. A magical place like this has to have a catch, and I strongly suggest mosquito repellent.

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Nearby, only an hour trek through 100 shades of green; with a black and white dog as our guide who would patiently wait for us to catch up when we lagged, was Rainbow Falls. Right now, in a moment of weakness as a writer, I cannot describe the transparency and intense blue of the water the fall fell into, it simply wasn’t real.
We arrived mid-morning; and fully clothed we rock jumped, swam and bathed in the sun until the striking rainbow which gave the waterfall its name began to dissolve.


After arriving back from the village, I played with the kids by teaching them solitaire and hand clapping games. I bought some liquid deep gold honey the village is well-known for, which later became useful energy that regenerated my sense of taste while trekking in the Himalayan parts of India. Then finally, it was the difficult task of saying good bye.


Izel Julia Tuncer


Celebrations began well before I arrived, and I arrived very unorganised. First a fitting for my lehenga* which needed to be sewn. Then it was straight to the local “jeweller” where I was lavished in plastic bangles, each arm long enough to cover a can. It was a good day for that salesman after also purchasing a bindi and huge bell shape earrings, which will most likely never be worn again unless I’m feeling especially festive this Christmas. We had to move quick in order to make the Mehndi* party at the grooms’ house thoughtfully moved to the night before the wedding because of an unorganised foreigner; and I was still yet to buy slippers. Feeling like the ugly step sister the standard Australian size 9 shoe was proving difficult to find, and so we settled with a tight fit and the classic phrase ‘she’ll be right’.

On cue, before heading to the function, I was fed again by Aunty* like I had every two hours since I landed. Nitin picked us up; Prachi and I. The three of us and the groom all met in Leh, Ladakh and travelled through the Himalayas of India earlier that year, they were friends since school and I was the new kid. Ashish; about to be married and looking happier than ever, was, in extreme terms, under house arrest. For two days before the wedding he wore a small hand-made anklet to represent that he could not leave the house, or the rugs out the front which was under a huge lavish tent weeping of red and gold that had held functions over the last week as it would tonight.

Although I wasn’t hungry I was made to eat again and started to worry about the measurements that had been taken only a few hours ago. There was no getting out of it I was about to get my Mehndi which would make my hands useless limbs for the next 2 hours. However, I would be too distracted to notice because that’s when Ashish began to tell me the most amazing love story I’ve ever heard.

This was an arranged traditional Hindu wedding as I was told, and as 290 out of 300 guests will continue to assume. But this giddy little birdy told me that this romance began years before the first “arranged” meeting only a few months prior. It was a secret love stemming back from high school, but to increase their chances of family approval they set up the parents from each side to meet as if they hadn’t known each other (with a little help from Ashish’s sister who was the only family member who knew). Parents are less critical when it’s their own discovery and the couple hurdled through compatible star signs, matching religion, appropriate wealth and harmonising families in order to gain the approval to be wed.

It was hard work, it was beautiful, colourful, loud and it was a wedding I will never forget.


Lehenga* – A three-piece modernised traditional Indian garment

Mehndi* – Traditional Indian body art by a paste made from the henna plant

Aunty* – Out of respect and as a guest in their home I referred to the mother of the house as a family member


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Internet of Things


After going through this week’s lecture and watching a TED talk by Dr. John Barret I’ve come to the conclusion that our future has already been predicted, an extreme but definitely possible prediction and I went straight into overanalyses and freak out mode.

Everybody remember this little guy?


How about the people in that movie and how they lived? Traffic, temperature, communication, health, the development of children literally everything was controlled by technology.

The Internet of Things are the ways in which objects; well… everything can communicate (data) with one another. Sounds pretty swell and beneficial at first, less traffic, supressing climate change, immediate knowledge in health; but the more I dug about the more I resented it. As well as it’s many benefits, there are always negatives. I won’t go into it, but relying, being analysed and controlled to that extend by technology is not something I can say I’m looking forward to. Anyone else having similar thoughts?

Dark Fiber

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Honestly, I didn’t know what a sock puppet was in terms of hacking before this week… and I feel this meme accurately displays my reaction. Complete. And. Utter. Betrayal.

The topics covered this week made me doubt somewhat what I had written in last weeks blog post and scared me straight back to … HACKERS ARE BAD.

Virtual armies to influence public opinion, diverting you from valuable stories, online harassment, then I wanted to see in where in the world has actually been affected by sock puppets. Attacks can start from as little as online reviews and interacting on social media.

Bring it up a notch and you’ve got troll farms in Russia where an army of sock puppets are influencing political online discussions on the internet to their advantage.

Or in another case where a former employee was being harassed after not accepting payment to keep quiet during her lawsuit of sexual harassment against the company.

This has definitely triggered my paranoia.





Digital Resistance

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Previous to this week’s discussion, my reaction to hacking wasn’t a good one. The first thing that comes to mind is the recent international hack outbreak hitting large companies in multiple countries demanding money, majorly in Ukraine and Russia. Other things that come to mind are online virus’ which previously I haven’t had the greatest experiences with. Then there is always that celebrity every year who undoubtedly gets their phone hacked and privacy violated when their nudes go viral. And finally, I’d think of movies such as the Italian Job where there is always that tech savvy person who can break into online systems to benefit themselves:


So no, can’t say I’m a massive fan. However, there is a whole other side to hacking.

“The term “hacker” can mean two different things:

  1. Someone who is very good at computer programming, networking, or other related computer functions and loves to share their knowledge with other people
  2. Someone who uses their expert computer skills and knowledge to gain unauthorized access to systems, corporations, governments, or networks, in order to cause problems, delays, or lack of access.”

In the other world of hacking (white-hat hackers) there is sharing, humour, freedom of information, truth and no censorship. Whistle blower platforms like WikiLeaks which embrace ‘hacktivism’ providing civilians hidden truths. The group of hackers called Anonymous exposing criminals such as Operation Darknet. Finally, people like Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf and Ken Thompson who use their extensive programming knowledge to create many of the systems we use today. These guys really changed my perception of the work ‘Hack’, and as long as there is an internet, hackers will always be needed.

For some reason because of this flip of perception the first thing that came to mind was suicide squad (bad guys doing a good thing)… so there is where my meme came from.


The Social Network Revolutions

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The topic this week covered the internet as an immediate ubiquitous participation platform, where a simple hashtag can influence the action of an important political or social situation.

I’d say that hashtags are getting close to replacing the traditional petition (thoughts when creating my meme), because frankly they are pretty similar. Other than the fact that I’m a Uni student and there always plenty of petitions hanging about; outside the campus… I don’t think I’ve seen one in a long time. Hashtags on the other hand, have fast mobilisation, create a substantially larger audience and have an openness to them… There are so many examples such as #arabspring, #euromaidan, #blacklivesmatter and so many more where the results of millions supporting and contributing to post has had a major push on the development of these issues.



MEDA 302 – W5 (Bringing Things Together)

This week I’ve been going over ideas for my final work. I have a piece I previously created that I am thinking of turning it into a series.


I have completed a drawing which I’ve then made digital. This design originally was to represent muscles and the flow of water, oxygen and blood through them, a visual aesthetic display on the knowledge of the body.

Hydration is a key aspect in a successful performance, especially in endurance sports. In the past, I have competed national level in Surf Life Saving events such as swimming among other events. Swimming; especially, I know depends highly on lung capacity, breathing and the flow of oxygen through muscles, in turn, working with blood (I won’t get into how blood delivers oxygen around the body). These are all things I kept in mind when creating my original drawing. I put a lot of work into this and am really passionate about sport.

Therefore, for my final work I would love to incorporate this piece as well as hopefully developing more ideas and linking it to a theme of the body and the future.




Bridges Made of Pebbles (BRICKS)

This meme was my interpretation of the information avalanches created by prosumers (user-generated content) compared to professional journalistic distribution.

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We all know the story of the 3 little pigs, what I wanted to show was although ‘bridges can be made of pebbles (bricks)’ not all the content made on prosumer platforms are solid. There is an overload information and opinion. Due to the lack of education and professionalism in writing, a lot of this information is hay and wood – not solid – not reliable – not cool, and no house for little piggy. That’s not to say there isn’t any good content – you just have to be able to find it.

We also know prestigious distributers can be bias, although it’s their duty to have the facts right and be reliable. I found this article which I thought explained the transition into modern news really well, in conclusion neither method of communication is going anywhere and “combining the interest and expertise of both the news professionals and the informed citizenry can only make the quality of news better.”


Mutsvairo, B 2016, ‘What is news in the 21st century?’, The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/what-is-news-in-the-21st-century-55073

Battle of the Platforms


Basically this GIF is supposed to represent the difference between the restrictions of a walled iPhone which has total control over iOS, the app market and developers vs. the open platform of an Android (from an Android lover point of view obviously) which is free, allows independent app makers and is an open source.

“Google was never in the hardware business. There would be no gPhone — instead, there would be hundreds of gPhones.” (D. Roth 2008).

D. Roth 2008, ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web’, WIRED, viewed 18 September, https://www.wired.com/2008/06/ff-android/?currentPage=all

The Walled Garden… Cave

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I made this as a visual representation of the ‘Walled Garden’… even though it isn’t a wall. For some reason, whilst learning of the nature of the wall and how content is curated for users by platforms such as Google Play, Facebook etc limiting users to the full extent of the internet; Plato’s Cave into my mind.  The users (prisoners) can only see what’s right in front of the them (I chose Garfield because cats are such an internet success), while they are chained in a cave (platform) stopping them from viewing the infinite web or ‘the big bad web’.