En Cui

Note that all letters were pasted on in the printed version, but digital renditions have been uploaded for web viewing. Photos of the printed version can be found alongside the Final Explanation.

Research, Process and Final Explanation:

W6 Process & Final Explanation: Making in Itself

Preceded by | Succeeded by (FINAL)

I realised I didn’t particularly mention the typeface and colour choices during the presentation, and thus have indicated them clearly in here.

Overarching ideas/common themes:

  • Jobs can work both digitally and analogously
    • To depict the versatility of the digital
  • Jobs are non-descriptive
    • Only the “base” job, and the specification is hinted through the composition
  • Names are of invented online handles
    • To depict the temperamental nature of the online identity
  • Backgrounds are vector drawings
    • To present differentiation between the digital world and the “real” you
    • To provide flatness, to avoid standing out
  • Foreground letters are pasted on
    • To present differentiation between the digital world and the “real” you
    • To draw focus through layering
  • Logo(s) present in each composition
    • To show online nature of each job
    • To show what kind of online website it might be associated with
  • Borders have colour and pattern
    • Either black or white to contrast image, e.g. if composition is too light-coloured, use black background to offset
    • Patterns related to each composition for visual quality than just plain colour




  • Of sushi
  • Tumblr logo (implication of food blogging)
  • Experiment with Illustrator pattern brush
    • Edited in Photoshop to fix perspective and lighting issues which could not be resolved with the sushi brush
    • No particular typeset choice as opposed to looking reasonably like a normal piece of raw salmon (hence the curves along the corners than straight cuts)
    • Neutral colours matching typical wooden sushi table, and orange with white for contrast and pattern. Green wasabi to accent slightly.


  • Of cats
  • Instagram/Youtube logo (implication of online sharing)
  • Collaging with use of gestalt
    • Dissection of pictures of cats into parts, then collaging together
    • No particular typeset choice as opposed to fixing the parts together in a comprehensive manner, where tails/legs define direction while eyes/paws/etc cover up small gaps
    • Cats of various shades of brown to avoid too high or low contrast (light-coloured/black cats), avoiding too much focus to any one part of the typeset


  • Of Japanese/English
  • Self-designed logo (referenced from, implication of online translation services)
  • Painting with brush and ink
    • Dissection of hiragana into parts, then mixing together to form English letters
    • “Painted” calligraphic-styled font to evoke Asian brush strokes
    • Black strokes to emulate calligraphic style


  • Of terrariums
  • Amazon logo (implication of online selling)
  • Acrylic on cut plastic
    • Shaping of terrarium with plastic, display of terrarium through plastic
    • Convex “bubble” font to resemble terrarium’s curved surfaces
    • Browns and greens with red-orange-yellow to resemble terrariums’ trees/plants and flowers

What I stated during the presentation was that the difficulty was really in using Illustrator, as aforementioned and suggested, particularly in relation to the brush creating (it took me a while to understand joining and separating shapes too). For me, too, the difficulty always lies in making the product match the overarching concept I have in mind, which is a necessity for me lest I end up with too wide a scope and a lack of direction. Certainly, though, what I HAVE taken away is that it’s always good to experiment nevertheless, and to avoid creating the “final” product too early lest it’s subject to changes when you think of something better.

truly, Interaction in its most Experimental form

Do It With Others—The name says it all. To give due credit, DIWO is essentially the overarching theme guiding our lesson objectives. It makes sense: with a title like Experimental Interaction, it’s certainly most important to focus on, you guessed it! Interaction, especially those experimental in nature, which is what DIWO is really all about.

Image courtesy of Ruth Catlow, of the DIWO graphic.
Logo courtesy of Furtherfield.

Furtherfield, an art community, is the proponent of this collaborative approach. It is in itself a revolutionary organisation heavily concerned with “collaboration and experimentation”, contrasting traditional perspectives of the artist as an individual, of art as the product than the process1. While still maintaining a physical gallery in Finsbury Park, London, Furtherfield also makes full use of online platforms and technology.

Many of its projects fall into the social practice art category2, including DIWO, which focuses on engaging “with social issues while reshaping art and wider culture through shared critical approaches and shared perspectives” (Catlow & Garrett, 2007). Simply put, it’s about working together to create something great, perhaps even greater than if we all worked individually to make our own individual things.

As aforementioned, the importance of different people coming together to create something, is in the myriad of ideas which can be derived from a database larger than your own head3.

On a more logistical level, it might even simply just be that there are some things you can literally only do with others, like creating a gigantic cross across multiple screens.

Screenshot courtesy of Randall Packer, from the Telematic Embrace micro-project. Certainly, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to do this alone.

As established by Randall Packer before, too, this form of creation will definitely require “negotiation”. This was also reiterated during the lecture, where Marc Garrett remarked that individuality should be kept, but also challenged4. Furtherfield’s own projects are certainly no exception. VoiceOver Finsbury Park, for example, relies on the willingness of the participant to give up a degree of privacy, so as to benefit the future of London5.

Image courtesy of the Museum of London.

One of the most unique things about the DIWO approach, though, is that much of it is heavily based around technology, and experimentation with it. Blockchain6, as mentioned by Garrett in the lecture, is an example, where the algorithms of the decentralised database allows for mechanised security.

Photo courtesy of the Institute of Network Cultures, displaying the blockchain-based Terra0 project7.

To end off, a key feature of DIWO is merely that “the process is as important as the outcome”8. Perhaps even more so, in that the artwork is often not the end result, but the process through which it is made. Sometimes, the artist is nothing more than an engineer who creates the platform, while the actions of the audience is the art itself.

Galloway, Kit; Rabinowitz, Sherrie «Hole in Space»
Photo from Medien Kunst Netz, of the 1980 artwork, Hole in Space. A classic example of the artist as the engineer, and the audience as the true artwork.

Due to the word count, I’ve placed footnotes on everything which had supplementary, interesting information. Additionally, references are also listed where appropriate.

1 From Furtherfield’s About Us page (link). It is also stated that, apart from various indie movements in Britain, their main inspiration was that of the open source structure.

2 Previously mentioned in my post on Open Source. As I’ve mentioned before, ‘social interaction is often an important way to express those messages [of social activism]’.

3 Previously mentioned in my post on the Telematic Embrace. The significance is that ‘the panel discussion involves 60 participants from over 30 countries answering in real time, bringing a myriad of opinions, shaped by each individual’s experiences in their various cultures, to the table’, a prime example of how collaborative work can lead to a much more interesting result.

4 From Marc Garrett’s DIWO Lecture (link), 00:14:25 to 00:14:32.

5 From a review on the Museum of London. VoiceOver Finsbury Park is described as a “hyper-local social radio project, allowing instant, open conversation between people who live in the same building”. The objective is to improve the quality of life in the city through creating connections between people who may have otherwise shunned each other.

6 Blockchains are defined as “a decentralised database cryptographically secured by a network of computers” (00:32:27 of Garrett’s lecture). Furtherfield, being an organisation interested in the use of technology in conjunction with art, works a fair bit with them, such as in their Blockchain Imaginaries Spring Editorial. While blockchains started out as a form of mathematical technology for things like secure finance, they have increasingly become a medium through which artworks can be produced, especially artworks associated with automation, such as terra0 (detailed below).

7 Terra0 is an example of an artwork powered by a blockchain system. How it functions is that the forest, in a sense, governs itself through the use of algorithms (i.e. decentralised autonomous organisation). Key themes involve “ownership, personhood and autonomy” (Ueberschlag, 2016)

8 Quoted in Packer’s article on Open Source Studio, but originally from Marc Garrett. As mentioned at the start, a prominent idea in the modern style of “experimentation”, subverting traditional notions of the product as the art. Interestingly, we learn in another class that this is an idea which is closely associated with modern graphic design too, where the concept is more important than the product.

  • Catlow, R. & Garrett, M. (2007). “Do it With Others (DIWO): Participatory Media in the Furtherfield Neighborhood”. (link)
  • Furtherfield official website. (link)
  • Garrett, M. (2017). “DIWO Lecture.” on Vimeo. (link)
  • Packer, R. (2015). “Open Source Studio.” in IEEE Spectrum. (link)
  • Parker, L. (2017). “VoiceOver Finsbury Park: an Idea for a Future London.” on Museum of London. (link)
  • Terra0 official archive. (link)
  • Ueberschlag, L. (2016). “Terra0: The Self-Owning Augmented Forest.” on Institute of Network Cultures. (link)
  • Catlow, R. & Garrett, M. (2007). “Do it With Others (DIWO): Participatory Media in the Furtherfield Neighborhood”. (link)
  • Furtherfield official website. (link)
  • Garrett, M. (2017). “DIWO Lecture.” on Vimeo. (link)
  • Packer, R. (2015). “Open Source Studio.” in IEEE Spectrum. (link)
  • Parker, L. (2017). “VoiceOver Finsbury Park: an Idea for a Future London.” on Museum of London. (link)
  • Terra0 official archive. (link)
  • Ueberschlag, L. (2016). “Terra0: The Self-Owning Augmented Forest.” on Institute of Network Cultures. (link)

Featured image courtesy of Packer’s recording of the DIWO Lecture.

W3-5 Research & Process: actually trying to make the composition

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Previously, I established the brainstorming behind the main concept, and the selection of jobs and names. This post focuses more on compositional process, edits after consultations, etc.

Note that as of this point I’ve yet to particularly finish compositions, in that I prefer to work on and finalise a draft before actually embarking on creating the final piece. This, unfortunately, means that I’m very susceptible to changes which MUST be made to the final piece for it to look alright, even if it SUPPOSED to look alright according to the draft. Said final changes, if any, will be updated in a separate post.

Consultation 1 (via email)

I sent Shirley the sketches from previously, along with a few new ones. These were the general ideas I had in mind, though:

All in all, the conclusion was mostly to avoid forcefully warping objects into certain shapes, and to add more dynamism through avoiding straight lines, if possible.

Consultation 2

I attempted to have a clearer composition by using Illustrator to make vector sketches.

Other than that, I also established the Translator font by doing as Shirley suggested:

  1. Dissecting Japanese strokes (specifically, hiragana), then
  2. Mixing them together to form the letters

(insert picture when I actually have it)

I didn’t bother to try to make it look like actual characters, as opposed to a clear amalgamation of preexisting Japanese strokes.

Email Suggestion

Shirley mentioned to Google to see what already exists, which I realised I didn’t even think of.

1. Cat Photographer

The font I had established in the meantime. This was done by downloading many, many cat photos, using the Lasso tool to take out various parts like the legs, ears, paws, mouths, eyes, etc, then pasting them together. I mainly used tails and legs for direction, with smaller parts used as per appropriate to fill spaces based on their shapes.

The key image is cats, so I searched for cat typography.

Of all of them, my current typeface resembles the first and second most closely, that of the collaging of many cats to form the letters. Looking at it makes me finally understand what Shirley meant by cat gestalt, and what she meant when asking what I’d do to cover the gaps during consultation (which I didn’t understand at the time, but now I think it meant that she thought I would be putting a lot of small cats together?)

On the bright side, the misunderstanding means that, yes, it’s not a mainstream idea currently in use, probably because who would even want to cut up cats?

2. Japanese/English Translator

It seems to be a rather common idea to edit Japanese strokes into English words… I’m unsure if it’s considered too similar due to that, but I’m inclined to believe it’s alright, simply because most typefaces seem to be attempting to convince viewers that they are legitimate characters, while I’m merely dissecting and reassembling without attempting to make it convincing.

3. Terrarium Retailer

Since then, I attempted to make the actual picture, but while watercolour translucency is effective for the terrarium, its severe dilution makes the colours somewhat dull. Also, I’m out of practice.

At some point we must all remember that if we were clever enough to come up with something entirely unique, we wouldn’t need to be in school. Mine is really rather similar to the 2nd one, apart from the direction (plants grow upwards than sideways), font (bubbly than straight cut) and colours (mix of other colours than just green).

4. Sushi Blogger

After the consultation, I decided to try making a sushi art brush in Illustrator, of which this is the prototype (lacking details or whatsoever). In the middle left is the tileset for the brush, while the middle features my attempts to use the brush together with different fonts. In the top left corner is the rice texture brush I attempted to make, which does not seem particularly effective.

I have tried Googling “sushi illustrator brush” to no result, so…? Seeing the 2nd composition reminded me that I hadn’t thought of a suitable background, though, so I considered a sushi plate.

In Illustrator I might envision this as a top-down perspective, with the plate implied through its patterns and textures. However, this made me realise the fatal problem of perspective: the sushi would be lying sideways on the plate if the rice were visible… Also, if it were straight on like the 2nd reference, it would be somewhat lacking in dynamism.

Consultation 3

I raised the following questions:

  • The composition of the Photographer
    • I felt it was not focused enough due to the background
  • The composition of the Blogger, in terms of the perspective
    • A top down perspective would mean that the sushi is technically lying on its side, an improper placement…
Shirley mentioned the possibility of making swatches for the rice and salmon texture than a brush, and adding perspective to the plate instead


  • The composition of the Retailer, which was somewhat too rigid
    • The initial idea involved boxes and boxes in straight lines to match the online shop format, which was somewhat boring
She suggested putting the terrariums together in a bundle, than separating them. It’s amazing how such obvious things don’t always come to mind!


  • The medium of the Retailer, of which I couldn’t quite decide what would work well
In accordance with the terrarium texture, I attempted painting directly on the plastic as an alternative. Between the dull watercolour on paper and the simplistic acrylic on plastic, she showed a preference for the plastic, and gave crucial suggestions on the gluing process.


  • The technicalities of Illustrator, where the different custom brush options was really confusing me and Google was not helpful enough
  • The technicalities of printing, regarding bleed area

The ideation and drafts seems alright, so the conclusion from here on out is to actually get to making the final pieces, and any necessary edits, since it’s very possible that it may not actually look good in the end even if it ought to as per the drafts.

W1-2 Process: Choosing Jobs and Names

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One of the things I enjoy about these projects is that we are given multiple compositions: this means there is room to create patterns and links between the compositions. Four is also always a good number to work with, simply because many ideas are associated with four elements (Mendel’s law, temperaments, classical elements, etc.) Additionally, this means it’s easy to associate certain elements with one composition, then create contrast with the other.

Below are certain ways I’ve tried to approach the project, especially where I tend to get very easily confused by myself. Even if I’ve come up with something I like to re-evaluate it repeatedly and try to think of better alternatives.


Image result for punnett square
Example of Punnett Square model. In this case, we change “Mother” and “Father” to 2 binary opposites, or 2 qualities, anythign to provide enough variety.

I initially considered using a Punnett Square model to define two pairs of binary opposites, forming 4 resulting jobs.This would allow me to work with a variety of styles, as well as provide clear visual differences between the compositions. For example, this list:

  • Optimism vs pessimism
  • Tangible jobs (revenue provision) versus intangible jobs (human duty)
  • High vs low income
  • Skilled vs unskilled work
  • Outdoor vs indoor
  • Real vs fantastical
  • Physically demanding vs mentally demanding
  • Nature-related vs technological-related
  • Male-oriented vs female-oriented
  • Bizarre versus ordinary
  • Stable versus unstable

As such, it might end up with something which looks like this:

HIGH INCOME Biologist Programmer
LOW INCOME Farmer Plumber

However, I had difficulty trying to come up with 2 pairs that could work with each other, especially where some of these pairs did not have very clear visual differences. Also, it doesn’t really provide any kind of overarching idea except for that of that diversity of jobs.


Choosing jobs wasn’t going too well, so I opted to try to choose names first instead. Here’s a list of the initial thoughts:

  • Full name as per NRIC (official, business-y)
  • NRIC number (disparaging remark on society, rigidity and capitalism)
  • Nicknames (until I realised I don’t really have any)
  • Online names (game character names, forum handles)
  • Titles (“ma’am” by my cadets, “xiao mei” by stall vendors)

The notion of online names stood out simply because Shirley suggested to have more quirky jobs, and it seemed like there’d be more “associated images” which I could use to make it easier for others to understand. (Also, it’s easier to change the names if I want, because online names can be anything!)


Here’s some online handles I’ve used before in different situations, to relate to the ideas of 1. the rise of jobs pertaining to the internet, and 2.the ability of a single person to take on various different personas through the net.

  • Seichi: Name I used when I was doing webcomic translations
  • Threar: Name I used for a healer class game character
  • Ense: Name I used when I wrote stories, fanfictions, etc

Idea 2.2 involves the usage of ONLY game online handles, possibly to reinforce the idea of an alternate irreality? Which may reduce the difficulty in that many games, like MMORPGS, tend to have a job/class system which I could reference.

From Flyff. A job tree showing typical job archetypes, with subset jobs. Some MMORPGS have classes more closely associated with reality, and some, more fantastical ones.

It would certainly reduce my ability to showcase ACTUAL jobs which are online, though, and visually it might be a little challenging.


As the name suggests. I draft typefaces or compositions in my free time (or when I’m bored), and try to fit it to a concept which works.


To mix Idea 2.1 and Idea 3. While I WILL use names I’ve used before, I WON’T use the names in conjunction with the function they ACTUALLY served. I try to fit the typefaces I sketched to jobs which could work online.

The theme is that of the online world, namely that of the inconsequentiality of online identity, alongside the versatility of the digital.

Names are interchangeable, unworldly and simultaneous: I could change the names easily with no consequence simply because it is a fake name, I can name myself whatever I so wish because it’s not real anyway. I can even have multiple names, all associated with different things, all at once because I am allowed to have multiple existences.

And yet at the same time this is a rising platform on which one finds employment, one which provides many opportunities, as presented by the various implied jobs: they are all jobs which can exist both in analog and digital form, and which would easily be mistaken as analog if not for the bizarre names, the subtle hints pointing to its online nature.

Here’s a general finalised list. May be subject to changes.

  • Photographer
    • Implied: Photographer of cats
    • Associated images: Cats, cameras
  • Retailer
    • Implied: Retailer of those glass terrarium things which are a surprisingly popular homemade handicraft to sell
    • Associated images: Terrariums, shop displays
  • Translator
    • Implied: Translator between English and Japanese
    • Associated images: Alphabets, books/editing softwares
  • Blogger
    • Implied: Blogger about food
    • Associated images: Food, reports

gotta h̜̩̦̬̭̮̖̘ͨͩͩ̍ä̵̸̛͓̜͈͙̲ͩ̆ͪ̈̈̚ǹ̗̖̤̍͆͒͑̀d̴̖̭ͤ̌ͣͪ͆̋͂̚ it to you :(


Sometimes you think your hand is pretty normal, and everyone has to p̶͇̠̟̯͇̪̲̭̩̩̬͒̃͒̾ͯ̏͑͛̒̓̓ͯ́̓͒̀̌̚͝R̡̨̈̎̍̉̿̄̋͊̈̊̓̎ͩͨ͏̢̩̳̺͓͖̮̯̝̥̺̻̤͔̩͇ͅƠ̵̜̟̜̺̹̰̝͎͎̖̟̝̤̹̱̂̂̿͂̎ͪ͂͐͐͂̈́V̧̫̞̩̼̱̪̞͖̼̭̮̹͎̙͖̲͖̀ͩ̓̉͆͂ͩͪ́ͧ̈́͒̾̀ͅĘ̸̴̡̢̣͉̥͚͉͑ͬ̀̍̎ͬͮ̆ͤ̒͆ͣ̈̇̌̒̂̓ ̵̸͍̖̠̲̹͈̪̥͎͓͙̄̂̋͆͋̓̏͂͋̃̿ͫͅŸ͛̃́͗ͬ̅҉̨̨̨͕̬̟̼̤̞̩̩̼͡ͅO̵̗͎̱̜͚̗̥̩̹̻̖͎̝̻̗͇͉̗͓ͮ͆ͪ̅̒̄̏̑̀͊̍̓ͯ̄́̉͜͠U̴̵̝̺̠̺̩̭̣̬ͪ̓ͪ̒̍̀͊̋͌̑ͫ͑̃ͦ̄̇̚ ̨͍̞̭̬͇̺̬̞̟̫̟̖̦̥̟̝̹̒͑̽̎̽ͪͯ̎͐͑̌͂̀ͫ̀̑ͦ̚͝W̡̍͐ͨͧ̓͌́͑̇ͮ̎̈̑͢͝͏̙̬̙̥̙͉͎̟̺͎̩̮̞̥̗̬͈̣Ŗ̨͙̱͈͍̥͍̗̪̗̥̻̞͕̲̠̪͙̈̓̐̅̓̃͒̂̚͟͝͞O̢̤̯̮̫͚̥̊̎̈̈ͥͭ̑ͅͅN̳̫͔̪̦̓̏̈̋̊̚͘͝G̎̌ͨ̍̂͑ͫ͏̗͙̳̯͍̣̟̤̰̘̼͙̘͓͉

It’s so b̢̋̈́̽̏ͯ͒ͤ̂i̒̎͆ͣ͂ͧ̍͂̈́͏҉̷z̸̢͗̿̎͗a̛ͩ̅ͣ͟r͌͌ͦ̈́r̅͂ͦͯ̽͏̷̢ȅ̡ͫ̇ͤͮ͡ how a few simple effects can change the original image so extensively: a hand turned into an outline of a hand, then into waves, and then into just dots and dashes. It’s the stuff of animation, really.

PLEASE clap if you BELIEFS

The truth is malleable: this is a statement brazenly declared by Jenny Holzer’s work, Please Change Beliefs. In this artwork, Holzer provides a list of truisms on a website, where anyone may access and modify as many truisms as they’d like to. These edited truisms are then permanently added to an online database, creating an extensive list of various versions from various individuals.

From Please Change Beliefs. Clear instructions are given, along with a list of truisms.

That anyone can change these absolute truths is a testament to the power each individual holds, especially in an online world where their words can reach far and wide. Like in the artwork, we all have the freedom to type whatever we like on various mediums like social medias and blogs. Case in point: Trump’s claims that global warming is a scam by the Chinese (which some people apparently do believe).

At the time, it draws attention to the overwhelming nature of innumerable truths floating around the internet. How do we determine what is true and what isn’t, in a space which can be simultaneously trustworthy and untrustworthy? On one end can be proper advice from certified professionals, another, scams by internet trolls, and yet there is no way to distinguish nor ascertain the truth. While Wikipedia is mostly reliable, it’s easy to see why we’re told not to use it when internet vandals often mess it up.

A classic example of why you do not blindly trust information on the internet. (I happened to be doing research for an academic essay back then, and chanced upon this.)

Even in this artwork, we can see the influence of those who don’t take it seriously.

Despite the possibility of being played with, we cannot forget that there will be people who legitimately contribute properly, a reminder that the internet is not all about lies and untrue truths.

From the Please Change Beliefs online database. These variations vary from the obvious to the profound, showing that we can’t just disregard everything.

Featured image from the Please Change Beliefs online database.

Telematic Embrace, or: a Touchless Touch

The keyword Randall Packer emphasised upon was “negotiation”: our adjacent positions on Adobe Connect made it important to collude with each other in order to achieve the various tasks assigned to us. It takes a while to reach that conclusion, especially where negotiation often connotes the act of “discussing” to reach a consensus, which did not quite happen (as opposed to natural adjustment on everyone’s parts).

Photo courtesy of Randall Packer. We all cooperate to form a cross with our arms.

Nevertheless, it was a pertinent point to bring up. It’s easy enough to “negotiate” because these are trivial enough that we can autopilot to fit each other, but days will come when we’ll have to “move aside” and make changes even if we don’t want to. Or even force others to, if it’s not something we can budge on.

It’s almost disconcerting, regardless, that this is something which is unique to this specific way of framing the spaces we inhabit.

Photo courtesy of Randall Packer. We all hold up pink objects, which become the entirety of our spaces.

For example, holding up something pink in real life would not work because we can still see everything else around us. On the other hand, the nature of the small scale frame makes it possible to make the pink the only existence in our space. Imagine 16 people holding up pink objects in real life, versus here. Surely, the pink becomes more overwhelming in this third space we all share together, because it becomes all of reality.

On a somewhat unrelated note, the layout of screens triggered a distant memory of a video I had watched before, and so I’ve finally re-found it.

This 2016 video shows a debate chaired by Professor Michael Sanders on the topic of national borders. In an interesting twist, however, the panel discussion involves 60 participants from over 30 countries answering in real time, bringing a myriad of opinions, shaped by each individual’s experiences in their various cultures, to the table.

(BBC appears to have a running series of these kinds of debates, which can be found here.)

Featured image courtesy of Randall Packer.