Things I Wanted to Say to You But Never had the Courage

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Installation Piece

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Book

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Content

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Interaction

The public are given instructions on how to interact with the book and they are encouraged to pen down their feelings into the book and it allows them to share their feelings and experience where other people can read too.

Location

I chose this location because firstly it is a quiet spot in the library. The content that I wanted the public to pen onto the book is rather personal hence I felt that the spot that I chosen is ideal. It is secluded and sheltered from the public yet accessible. It is also close to the entrance. The people who usually visit the sofa are people who are alone trying to find some peace and stillness. This allows them space and time to ponder about their feelings and think about if there is anything they want to say to a certain someone. The availability of the table next to the sofa also gives the user space to write on the book.

Production

I bought fancy papers in order to create the book. The photos printed on the paper gave it an interesting texture, look and feel. I also used different paper texture for the cover and content because I want to differentiate the two. I cut down another hard paper to use as the spine. I sliced each A4 paper individually into A5 size and carefully lay on several layers of glue before placing the spine on it.

Artist’s Statement

#wordsforyou

How many of us have something we want to say to someone badly but never have the courage? How many times such thoughts spring up only after we observed the stillness of silence?

We tend to post our feelings on social media to convey a message, hoping that the intended receiver would notice what we truly feel. The rise of social media and the digitisation of messages seemed to have transformed words into hashtags.

In the booklet, the artist compiled a list of things he would want to say to someone but never had the courage to. Only one sentence appear in every pages exclusively. The placement of the words at the bottom of every page symbolises the possibility of the end of the relationship should he say the words out.

The artist wishes to collate the words that are never said from different people and share with the community. He believes that the collective voices of people who pen down in the booklet allows it to contain an immense amount of bottled up feelings. It is only when a reader peruse the book do they realise that many others may have the exact same words that they wanted to say to someone but never had the courage to. 

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Lessons Learnt

I appreciate that we get to try to produce an installation for our 4D final assignment. I was always amazed by the works presented in museums and art shows and I was thrilled to be able to produce one myself too. From planning, to changing of ideas to submitting the idea for approval and working with relevant parties gave me the idea of how it is like curating an installation piece for the public. This assignment is relevant to my major in Visual Communication in terms of showcasing the work and working with space.

Update 15/4: Writings by the public. Short listed two of my favourite.

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Project 1 Walking Home 2

Password: walkinghome

Title: Tell Me You Love Me

Medium: Video

Work description: When it comes to task 2, I decided to change the concept of my home. I decided to explore something more intimate to me. Hence, I focused the project direction to the in-depth relationship with my parents instead. Parents is an interesting idea to explore because it connects people. We all have parents and we bound to be something in common to share. I am grateful that I have a good relationship with my parents such that I could communicate with them on issues and I felt that our relationship greatly strengthen after I started working for them. We have more topics to discuss about albeit disagreements. I noticed that I rarely or rather, never said ‘I Love You’ to my parents and I started questioning this issue and realised that some words don’t have to be said in order to convey its meaning. Meanings can subsume under other words that could also be delivered effectively. I used different imagery, scenes and dialogue to represent the feelings that I feel about my relationship with my parents. I feel the most effective medium to convey the idea of closeness would be the use of dialogue. The recorded human voice provides a sense of intimacy between the speaker and the listener. It gives an almost real life familiarity as if we’re hearing the voice first hand. The use of soundtrack is a supplementary medium to deliver the emotions and ideas that I was trying to convey.

I guess the advantage of using still images to convey an idea would be that your audience are only focused on the single piece that is presented at the period of time as opposed to moving image where multiple things can occur simultaneously. The limitation is that a still image may not evoke as much emotions or pique as much interests compared to moving imagery. The role of sound work as I mentioned above act as a supplementry tool to accentuate the emotions and/or ideas that the artist is trying to convey. However, one must note that while the layering of sound effects may be interesting, one should vary the volume of different sounds because it may distract the audience/listener when they are viewing your work.

Library

The furniture and fixtures that exist in the library are mostly clean and simple. At the studying area, the tables and chairs are mostly white. While the bookshelves are mostly black. The area was also occupied by beanbags and red sofa for users to read and spend their time in the library.

Here are some of the photos that I have taken in the library.

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The place is mostly surrounded by students all over NTU. Some told me that they find the ADM library to be one of the best studying spot in NTU. They love it that it is so quiet and the lighting in the library is pretty warm too with natural light shining in during the day. If not for studying, the students would be looking through the bookshelves to view at the books that interest them or to look for a particular book.

The people there are usually quiet and they sort of exist in their own world studying. This is because the library is really quiet. When you speak, it is really clear. Hence, the students wouldn’t want to disturb the others. Usually the people there would whisper and do minimal movement.

Although the ADM library is a great place, it is still a library where people come to simply just study. There are not much interaction going on within the library itself. Most of the people I spoke to simply viewed the library as a library itself. They wouldn’t think of it as a hangout spot or places to explore in NTU.

In the process of research, I am pretty interested in getting to know what the students are feeling at the point of time when they are studying. Some could feel angry (because they could not solve the questions on their paper). Some could feel happy (because their work is on the right path and they are looking forward to complete it. Or some might also feel stressed because exams are coming soon.

I recently visited an exhibition called SingaPlural 2016. The exhibition showcases the best design elements from the multi-faceted creative spectrum and there many amazing installations that encourage the audience to interact with the artwork presented. I was particularly intrigued by an artwork.

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Memoirs of sense by C+C&CO X Rajee Vissa X Vera Kwok X Rick Smith

“How do memories remain for a lifetime? Recall can transport us despite our awareness of the present. Personal memories are reimagined through sensory memory stations. This immersive experience examines the persistence of memories through triggers of Sight, Sound and Smell.”

The work encourages the audience to use their senses to feel the object and based on their interaction with the object, take a piece of small round sticker provided and paste it onto the board. For example, the audience is required to approach a jar filled with flowers. Pick it up. Smell it. And based on their past experiences, and mood and perception, derive a feeling. Take a small round sticker provided and paste it on a board which include feelings like “Happy, Sad, Surprised, Angry’. I felt that this piece is pretty interesting because different people are made up of different experiences and past. Hence, when the stickers accumulated, viewers and audiences and see how certain smell, or visual resonates with most people.

I have a idea in which probably when the students approached the work, they could first indicate their current mood. Then view certain visuals that I put up, and smell certain scents before taking a small sticker and paste it on another board. They can see if their mood changes based on certain visuals. The visuals could be something disturbing, outrageous, peaceful. The smell can also range from calming to irritating to awakening (eg. coffee smell).

My vision would be to help the students to engage in something interaction and engaging. A point to visit when they’re stressed out from studying or reading. I also want the audience to question the reason for the feelings generated after interacting with the visuals or scent.

UPDATE 22/3:

Upon further research, I had another idea. Talking about timeout and reflection. During the class discussion on Monday, I heard from some classmates about their opinions on the ADM library. These are my findings:

  1. The ADM  library is simply a place where people come to borrow library for research, chill, watch video or study.
  2. The library is made up of students age group 19-25.
  3. Almost everybody who visited the library owns a smartphone.
  4. Almost everybody have an Instagram account.

I want to create something where audience can interact with the artwork. I want my audience to reflect their experience of coming to the ADM library and think back whether their time spent in the library is useful or not.  I thought of creating a Instagram poster. It measures 1m x 1.5m. It will be pasted on the wall with a cutout in the middle. I will place a mirror instead where users can take photo of themselves. The comment section below the mirror will have something like,

“I spent (numbers) (hours) (actions) in the ADM library.” (#hashtag)

For example, “I spent 30 minutes studying in the ADM library. #proud”

There will be numerous tags that the audience can paste their tags on the poster.

Example:

  1. Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
  2. Hours: minutes, hours
  3. Actions: studying, doing nothing, sleeping, researching
  4. #hashtags: #proud, #lazy, #happy, #whenwillschoolbeover, #missionaccomplished

After which, they will take a photo of it and most probably upload it to social media.

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Based on the frequency of students using social media, I have a feeling many students will make use of the medium to post their actions in the library. Some may be proud that they spent 5 hours studying the library. This art work also kind of become an activity that the students can do when they are bored in the library.

I am thinking of placing the installation here.

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22

22 tells the story between my grandmother and I. Set in Lorong Buangkok where my grandparents have been living in the kampong for almost a century. It reflects the intimacy and tension between myself and her against the house as we converse about our lives, and the kampong house. In this film, I seek to explore the depth of our relationship and try to fathom what it feels to be in a place that fills with so many memories even though there is lack of strong physical connection. The film allow the exploration of silence and space together with conversation and close interaction.

Post Production

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Video with no colour correction.

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Video with colour correction. Layering of texts, video clips and sound.

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Adjustment of sound levels

NTTDocomo: Xylophone

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohe4Qh-j0t8

Title: NTTDocomo: Xylophone

Name of Artist: Morihiro Harano & Kenjiro Matsuo

Description: The video is a commercial by DOCOMO for the Touch Wood SH-08C, a limited edition phone of which there are only 15,000 being made. NTT DoCoMo created the Touch Wood phone in part to help the Japanese forestry industry, which is struggling due to a drop in demand for timber. By combining many pieces of wood, they were able to make a long, downhill track that was able to reproduce Bach’s Cantata 147, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. The instrument is tilted, and a wooden ball would roll down its length, producing sounds as it hit the wooden tiles. At the shoot, a sound engineer held a gun-microphone and chased the ball.

Morihiro Harano, creative director at Drill Inc., wanted to emphasize the feature by evoking the tactile sensation of wood—to awaken the common feeling everyone has that there is something good about wooden texture. Harano decided to magnify the sight and sound of wood in the ad, in the hope of making it feel almost touchable.

References: http://mori-inc.jp/

Walking Home

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Title: Treasured Sanctuary

Medium: Photographs

Work description: We were given the task to deliver 8 images of what Home means to us. I was walking around my house and I asked myself what is familiar to me here. What is something I interact with everyday? I felt that a good representation to feature my home would be to shoot the way of life in my house. My parents are Buddhists and my mother in particular is pretty religious. Once a month, she would volunteer at the temple. Praying to God with joss sticks, seeing images of Buddha, hearing the Buddhist’s chants and smelling the incense is a common thing in my house. It is a practice that has been going on for as far as I can remember. I placed the picture of the windows first because before we pray to the deity in our house, we have to pray to the Gods above. I would like to think of myself as agnostic. To put simply, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God. However, I do respect my parents’ beliefs and offers my prayer to the Gods that they believe. I believe that every household is made up of its own beliefs and values and Buddhism is one of them (a rather prominent one) in my home. Hence, I chose to shoot the religion as a concept for my home.

Museum Visit

Endings & No Endings

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Artist: Ringo Bunoan (Born 1974, Manila)

Title: Endings; No Endings

Materials: Wooden Shelves to hold the books, wooden frames and the last page of different novels.

Look: Long, extended, suspended plane of book shelf holding up numerous framed page of different novels.

Preliminary read: Initially when i first saw the installation, I found the pages to be rather interesting. I was reading the content for each page. A quick glance made me realised that the pages are all endings of a story. I piqued my interest that ever slightly. I didn’t feel any strong emotion in particular. However, I was just happy to discover the closure of multiple stories. Printed text on books tend to give a rustic effect on its readers due to the rise of smartphones and tablets over the past decade. Hence, it was nice to peruse such medium once in a while.

Moving on to the ‘No Endings’ installation, I didn’t find it too fascinating because all I saw was a ‘wooden’ structure that extends all the way up vertically. I didn’t bother to go close to the installation to see the details.

Secondary read: After reading the work description, I realised that the artist was trying to focus the work wholly to story endings; to show the finality of individual stories thus forming a philosophical statement to multiple possible conclusions of stories and, time. Ultimately, the artist wanted to question the idea of ‘what is a closure without context’. I was particularly interested in this work and it’s actually one of my favourite piece from the museum. I feel that this installation questions more than it answers. It made one to question the value, purpose and existence of stories in its entirety if there were to be no closure. In relation to life where we view journey to be accompanied with a destination, did we really experience the journey in its fullness if there were to be no closure? Also, we tend to view things with a beginning, middle and end and that any missing content will render it incomplete. Thus, the act of piling and stacking incomplete books together, forming a vertical structure gives one the feeling that the work itself is actually complete. The description relates to my initial impression in the sense that it gave me the ‘uh huh’ moment where I was trying to find a reasonable explanation but just could not piece the words together.

I feel that the work is pretty well-communicated thus, I don’t really see a need for improvement.

A Travel Without Visual Experience: Malaysia

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Artist: Tozer Pak (Pak Sheung Chuen) (Born 1977, Fujian)

Title: A Travel Without Visual Experience: Malaysia

Materials: Room installation with travel photographs

Look: Dark, mysterious.

Preliminary Read: This work is different from other works in term of appreciation experience. The viewers are required to walk around the dark room and take flashed photos of the barely visible framed photos on the wall. The content can only be viewed through our phone’s screen. I initially approached the photos with my flash switched on. But the museum personnel told me that in order to fully appreciate the experience, I should only view the content using flashed photography (Something that is banned almost for almost all other pieces of work in the museum). It was quite interesting to walk through the dark room and only viewing the content later. I felt no strong emotions and stopped after taking a few photos.

Secondary Read: It turns out that the artist wanted to contrast the realities of mass media and real life. With only his eyes closed, he depended on his other sense to direct his photography. It was only after he return before he viewed through the images that he took. His ultimate goal was to reveal our habitual compulsion and obsession with documentation rather than to wholly be present in the experience that happening at the exact moment. This art is my second favorite piece of work in the museum because I feel that it relates to me and the people around me. The artist highlighted the issue of the people nowadays of wanting to experience things through our screens instead of the present. The artist noticed that this is a subtle problem that bugs our generation. I myself felt that we are very obsessed with documenting things that we are losing things and feelings that we don’t know about. There is a lost of human connection and interaction to the extent that it felt normal. It felt as if it is a normal thing to communicate through documentation rather than actual, present interaction. It has come to a point that we are so obsessed with technology that we’re slowly losing our human touch and being desensitised. The artist presented a worrying idea and hopes to connect to the audience and highlight the seriousness of the issue. The description relates to my initial impression where it makes me question whether ‘sight is the only sense we need’.

A better way to communicate the idea maybe would be to place the work where it is possible for us to photograph the photos. This is because some photos are placed too high. However, I guess the artist wanted the audience to experience the room as a work a whole.