Description: Deliverable 2 is a product of ‘Masak Time’ which is a cooking competition in the poster (Deliverable 1). It consists of a box to hold a sample of four recipe cards. The idea behind it is that they are recipe cards of recipes created by the participants of the competition. The recipe cards will be given out to residents after the competition as a little token from MY YEW TEE 2019. How the competition works is that residents are required to build a team with their neigbours to be qualified for the competition. They are then to create original fusion recipes. This way, it creates a platform that encourages neighbours to get to know each other by working together in something that everyone loves: FOOD!
In a fast-paced country, it is no surprise that the social cohesion between neighbours in Singapore is not very strong. Everyone is too caught up with getting by their days that they overlook the importance of getting to know neighbours, people who are physically closest to them, second to their family members. This is my topic of biggest interest as I would like to explore creative ways to solve this seemingly small but important and relatable issue and bring light to it.
Singapore has seemingly lost its ‘kampung spirit’ where neighbours would visit and interact with one another on the daily. Children playing with one another while conversations brewing between the adults were the norm. According to a study by HDB and the National University of Singapore Centre of Sustainable Asian Cities and Sociology department, interactions between residents today are ‘incidental and minimal‘. It goes as far as a smile or a hi only when they run into one another. Otherwise, everyone is behind closed doors.
This stems from the pride of being independent in today’s modern society. As such, no extra efforts are put in to getting to know neighbours that do not value-add to personal lives on the surface level. In fact, neighbours, being people living in the closest proximity to you, are likely to be of big help in emergency situations. Knowing your neighbours would be good for the sake of safety and security.
In a survey of 2,200 residents in five HDB towns, they were asked to score their frequency of interactions with neighbours, from a score of one (never) to five (daily). Overall, they ranked “exchange of greetings/ small talk” as the most frequent activity, with a mean score of 3.47. Safekeeping of house keys and borrowing and lending household items ranked the lowest at 1.11 and 1.25 respectively.
Undoubtedly, there have been efforts to counter the issue such as the Good Neighbour Movement:
In this project, I would like to adapt some of the current measures taken to improve the social cohesion while also tackling it in a creative viewpoint. This lack of interaction between neighbours proves to be a problem and I would like to create means that become catalysts for a heightened social cohesion in Singapore neighbourhoods.
My main target audience would be adults who I believe are largely the victims of the lack of social cohesion between them and their neighbours. In the busy school and work lifestyles, they do not see the importance of getting to know their neighbours but instead rush for their precious and minimal private hours. They put up a sub-concious barrier without realisation and eventually becomes a norm. Besides that, adults could also be a leading example of better neighbourhood bonds as their children would mirror their actions which would later follow them in life.
Sensing Punggol by Spang & Lei
Sensing Punggol is a collaborative artwork between residents in Punggol. They were from neighbourhood environmental data collected by Punggol residents of all ages. The data sculptures allow you to discover hidden life stories behind sensor data such as air particulate-matter levels, sound levels, and UV levels, as a way of quantifying the relationships between humans and their environment across a period of time. I believe it is a fresh and creative way to present connections in neighbourhoods that is interactive and suitable for all ages. It really targets the interaction between neighbours when they interact with the artwork collectively.
HDB Community Week 2019 Poster
The poster is very clear in presenting the available activities throughout the community week and has very simple and concise illustrations. The connecting lines helps my eyes move throughout the poster which makes it easy to digest. However, I feel like the colours used could be improved as it looks quite dull and not exciting.
Kejiranan by Toby Tan
This project involves residents from different neighbourhoods in Punggol coming together to repaint their neighbourhood basketball court. I believe that this project directly improves the issue at hand, being social cohesion between neighbours. It involves neighbours of all ages painting, which is a job anyone can partake in. I commend the inclusivity of this innovative and meaningful project.
Perry Hoberman is an installation artist born in 1954 who works mostly around machines and media. He has taught in several art institutions and is currently an associate research professor in the Interactive Media Division at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. Hoberman pays particular attention to the interactive character of technology and human beings in his works, namely Bar Code Hotel which demonstrates so which will be of focus in this hyperessay.
Bar Code Hotel is one of Hoberman’s works that really displays interactivity between computer technology and human beings. It is an interactive installation that generates a virtual world using an inanimate object Hoberman was intrigued by: bar codes. Hoberman’s inspiration behind this work are the bar codes he chanced upon while reading cereal boxes during breakfast.
“We are so familiar with bar codes that we hardly even notice them, just an unpleasant fact of contemporary life. They are ugly, plastered onto countless consumer products, defacing the design of packages, books, magazines. And they don’t seem to have any of the magical properties that often get attributed to advanced technologies. They are, however, one of the earliest infiltration of the digital infrastructure into the universe of existing objects. They represent a kind of alternate reality superimposed onto the physical world. This reality is not addressed to us, but instead directly to the computer.” Hoberman
This is so interesting to me because he transformed something often overlooked into something so of greater purpose. Using bar codes as a tool, he created a 3D virtual environment that transcends boundaries of the reality.
The artwork offers a series of objects, arranged on tables, covered with bar codes where a pen-laser manipulated by the participant then activates the codes. A representation screen follows by displaying the result of the “commands” determined by participants that interact with the object. On the screen, a series of everyday objects appear, interact, and die as seen in the images attached below:
For each simulation, an object is activated by a start trigger given by the participant who will wave the pen-laser over a selected bar code on the objects placed on the table. Just to briefly give an idea of the work, attached below is a video of it:
Interactivity in the artwork
Clearly, there is a “reciprocal exchange” between the participants and the work itself which is essentially what defines interactivity. The participants would use the pen-laser to scan bar codes that transmits messages to the computer screen which elicits a response being the imagery on the screen. When the participants wave the wands in different manner, it manipulates the objects on the screen as it enlarges or moves around which represents the back and forth action and communication in interactivity as suggested by Norbert Wiener in his essay.
Bar Code Hotel demonstrates entropy which is “the process of receiving and of using information is the process of our adjusting to the contingencies of the outer environment, and of our living effectively within that environment.” It is the indeterminacy and unpredictability as results fully depend on participants given that the bar codes can be scanned at any time and in any order. Graphics created then vary between the different groups of participants creating entropy.
This is also being discussed in Roy Ascott’s essay where he thinks that interactive art is, if not, should be behavioural. Outcome of the artwork is never fixed and will change from participant(s) to participant(s). Interactive art is a dialogue and not a monologue meaning the artists give up some control as to how the artwork turns out, leaving it to the interpretation and control of the audience. As for Bar Code Hotel, the outcome of the work I feel, fully depends on the decisions of the participants who determine what object is to be on screen along with its manipulations.
Bar Code Hotel in my opinion, is a good example of an interactive art piece that explores complete interactivity between computer and human beings. The artist created a space where the participants create a narrative that the artist has zero control over. This really demonstrates entropy, the undetermined outcome.
Project Social Life is a performance art piece done to learn what would happen if we gave control to the public to decide how our day would go. I have always thought that it is such an interesting concept ever since I saw Yes Theory’s video attached below.
Similarly, we utilized the social media application, Instagram to carry out our experiment. We also made use of the poll function in the story to get our followers to vote for decisions sent in by them to would determine how we spend our day starting from around 11am to 5pm. Each poll ran for 10 minutes before went with what was in favour.
This idea stems from the notion that we get to construct a digital identity that may not be completely representative of our true selves because we are in full control of what we choose to display online. So, when all control is stripped away, how “real” can we get?
En Cui, Cecilia, Shu, Jocelyn and I first met up at ADM, our starting point. We then put out a poll on our collective page @projectsociallife_ asking the masses whether we should hang out somewhere near being Boon Lay or travel all the way to Bugis. Of course, if I still had control, I would surely choose what was convenient, Boon Lay. Unfortunately, Bugis was in favour. Apart from the regular activities such as having lunch, throughout the day, we received many interesting and funny suggestions such as:
However, we did not exactly do any of the above. That to me is interesting because it shows how we cannot help but still try to maintain our digital image. We just cannot completely let go of control. We deliberately chose not to do those suggestions. Personally, it is because I am afraid of being judged by people online who would be watching the stories because again, I feel like I have a digital image to maintain.
As such, in the final trailer above, done beautifully by Shu, you can see how we depicted a utopian narrative throughout most of the video. We only portrayed the happy bits of what went down throughout the day. Also, the quirky video style drew much reference from Carla Gannis and Paula Pinho Martins Nacif.
Given that we were shown performance art pieces by Blast Theory prior to the project, of course we took inspiration from their works. I’d Hide You gave much influence to this project. We were interested in the way the team gave control to the mass public to make decisions for them to create an outcome that could turn out in many different ways.
To be honest, before it started, I was so afraid I would have to embarrass myself in public because that is really the last thing I would want to happen. Surprisingly, nothing major happened but I had fun nonetheless.
Overall, I personally think we succeeded in exploring the social in this project by deliberately allowing followers (some strangers) to curate our day. We communicated through the DMs (direct message) to receive/accept suggestions. No doubt, there was a form of interaction. However, to accentuate that, I feel that we should have done an activity that forces us to interact with real-life public to make the project more interesting. Nevertheless, a fun project with fun people.