I was not able to attend this year’s exhibition, due to my busy schedule and fear of crowds. However, I did attend the one last year and the one exhibition that gave me the biggest impression was Fissure by Ong Kian Peng (feature image). It is basically 2 halves that will only light up if you touch the 2 metal plates on both halves, completing the circuit and lighting it up. You could also do it between 2 people, and it lights up as well, somehow suggesting the importance of human connection. It was beautiful and meaningful.
The other exhibition was Groove Light by NUS. They attached a lever to the light bulb so that visitors can raise or drop the light bulb in and out of the sculpture. The interesting part is the play on the light. The sculpture has curved lines, but the shadows projected onto the floor have straight lines instead, which is incredible that it is even possible!
In this TED talk, Chipchase talks about being connected, how everyone is going to be connected (and now are) via mobile phones that transcends through space (by calling) and time (by messaging with convenience). It was a rare thing then, with the streets of China even reverse engineering the production and functions of a phone, and then producing them.
But this TEDtalk was filmed 10 years ago. In this 10 years, much of technology has developed and almost everyone are connected via mobile data and has at least 1 smart phone. Everyone is connected virtually, albeit too much. Now we have what the experts call the phone addiction syndrome. With neck bent, and earphones plugged in, even if friends are close by, no efforts were put in to converse with them. People even got into accidents because they were not paying attention to the road traffic and pedestrian lights. A television show even in Singapore, The Noose, even made fun of how parents have to talk to their children via Whatsapp to talk to them. Indeed, technology has given us various perks like better connectivity, but is it actually making us lose human connection?
reading this extract is an eye-opener. There are many little bits of details that I would miss out if i were to go on a research trip, like the signs of Do’s and Don’ts and what they imply of a given area, the languages used and how it implies multilingual communities, the icons on the signs and how it implies literacy rates in that country, or how different menus in different countries implies a certain diet adopted by the citizens, etc.
What surprised me most was how he interpreted the lack of certain signs. How did it occur to him about what the lack of signs mean? The only answer i could guess was that he had done research in so many different countries and compared them to understand it better.
The other question I had in mind was: Do the signs(laws) make the citizens, or the citizens make the signs(laws)? Taking Japan for example, they are one of the most gracious community, keeps the streets very clean even though there are no rubbish bins around (as compared to Singapore where bins are everywhere, but littering still exists), sorts out their trash for recycling, and are very considerate people. Yet, they have numerous signs and rules for public spaces.