Briefly share your experience going through Dialogue with Time. What were some of the feelings, thoughts, challenges, and insights gained while role-playing an elderly person? (150 words)
Dialogue with Time was an insightful experience learning facts about aging from the various rooms and real-life experiences as shared by the senior guides. We were given some factual information about how we age, and what are the things we can do now as young people to prepare to age happily and to also help others if we can.
I was able to empathise more especially in the Yellow Room where we had the chance to experience some of the physical limitations that the elderly face in their daily lives.
The limitations that we had to experience in the yellow room were not foreign to us. We hear it from our grandparents, we see it from the aunties and uncles at the market, we see it from TV shows and movies. Seeing these challenges everywhere in our daily lives somehow made me feel that these problems seem normal. However, through role-playing, it helped me to experience the pain and challenges which I have never thought would be so difficult and frustrating. Furthermore, we only had to experience one limitation at the time. Some elderly have to experience most of it at the same time!
Drawing on your experience, can you think and list some of the benefits inherent in the design research technique of role-playing? (150 words)
Participants are able to put themselves in the person’s shoes through role-playing, which in my opinion, gets the message across clearer and more effective than just reading about it or watching a video. The interactive element of it helps the participant to experience it which can invoke emotions or thoughts that they will remember instead of watching a video and forgetting about it days later.
Can you think of some contexts where role-playing can be useful to help discover and define design challenges or contribute to the development of design solutions? (150 words)
I think role-playing can be useful in uncovering insights to improve the user’s understanding as well as to sieve out some problems which were not uncovered when going through it on theory. One example is during the development of new products or services during the prototyping stage.
What are some of the current issues confronting our world today? Amongst them, what is of interest and a cause of concern to you? (250 words)
The inconvenient consequences of a culture of convenience
Humans have always centered convenience as the motivation of most of their ideas since the industrial revolution, for example, the typewriter which has improved the efficiency and convenience of writing, the invention of “convenience foods” such as canned food or instant cake mix. The role of “convenience” in shaping the culture and economy of the last century, is both crucial and under-explored. With convenience in mind, I found out there are 3 issues that came from it.
1. Environmental issues:
I believe we are all guilty of choosing something convenient without thinking of the consequences that come after it. Single-use plastics, although it is beneficial for us momentarily, are here to stay on earth for a longer time than its useful lifespan. Some of the consequences are that the microplastics, which are from our contact lenses, may end up in our drinking water as they are too tiny to be filtered out. Another is that it endangers biodiversity. For example, turtles could mistaken plastic bags as jellyfish which are their main source of food which can cause intestinal blockage. This calls for concern as it may affect our health and affect our biodiversity (and more!) which results from our choice to be convenient at the moment.
“Most of the powerful and important technologies created over the past few decades deliver convenience in the service of personalization and individuality. Think of the VCR, the playlist, the Facebook page, the Instagram account. This kind of convenience is no longer about saving physical labor…It is about minimizing the mental resources, the mental exertion, required to choose among the options that express ourselves.”
According to the article by Tim Wu, he mentioned that although convenience has brought upon many life improvements for us, it has also taken away our individuality and character.
Due to our hectic schedules, we often turn to frozen food or canned food for a quick meal to satisfy our hunger. However, we often forget that convenient meals do not contain as many nutrients as freshly cooked meals. Processed food is loaded with preservatives (MSG for example), unnatural coloring, and other added flavoring. If consumed regularly over time, such foods can quickly begin to harm a person’s health, which can contribute to serious health issues, for example – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and strokes (Cardiff, 2013).
4. To preserve old buildings or develop new ones? (Social)
As Singapore has limited land, the old buildings of the past have to make way for the development of other architecture that may be more economical in order for it to progress. Many landmarks of the past like the Old National Theatre or the Old National Library are demolished to make way for city developments like the construction of expressways or tunnels. Recently, the “Papa Merlion” in Sentosa was also announced to be demolished for redevelopment works to introduce more attractions.
Will we forget these places of cultural significance as we progress towards the future? Where will we find a visual representation of our culture if physical buildings like these are being demolished to develop something that has more economical value? Will we become too focused on developing the land that we forget our roots?
Of the many issues, I will be focusing on environmental issues that are caused by our need for convenience.
Why is the issue important? Who does it affect and how? (200 words)
The issue is important as it affects all of us! It affects our health (microplastics are found in our drinking water), it affects the land we live in (degradation of land), it affects the biodiversity that is needed to keep our ecosystem in balance (endangerment of wildlife on land or in water – oceans/lakes/rivers), and this is the only planet we can inhabit in! (We have no planet B!) Without taking care of our home, we won’t have a future, or even worse for some people, when we won’t have a future for us to earn more money. We have no reset button and the change we need to make is now as the UN urges that we only have 11 years to avoid potentially irreversible climate disruption.
Although many countries have made concrete plans to reduce plastic usage like China that plans to cut plastic use by 2025 and Thailand banning plastic bags this year (2020), more has yet to be done for Singapore. In 2018, only a small portion of plastic (4%) was being recycled due to the plastic having high levels of contamination, making it unsuitable for recycling. In 2018, 467 million PET bottles were used, (which is equivalent to 15 bottles per second!) and 820 million plastic bags were used from supermarkets (an average of about 145 bags per person!). Although Singapore has come up with initiatives to reduce plastic usage, they also recognise that Singaporeans have the culture of reusing the plastic bags as trash bags and a carrier for wet items. I would like to explore what more can be done to help reduce plastic usage in Singapore.
Who do you need to communicate to, and why? (150 words)
I will want to communicate with adults (aged 21 and above) to be more environmentally conscious of the decisions they make when they decide to prioritise a momentary convenience over their future. The reason why I decided to focus on adults is that they are the ones who can make a real change in shaping our future RIGHT NOW. (There is no time to lose!) As the UN said, we only have 11 years to avoid irreversible climate disruption. If the adults can make a change in their habits or lifestyle, the younger generation which is taught by them will naturally follow. Although it’s hard to expect one to change their lifestyles overnight, I believe that baby steps are better than no steps at all. Although ambitious, I also hope to bring across this reminder to leaders of organisations who can make a real (BIG!) difference in reducing the usage of single-use plastics and to consider other alternatives.
How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?
1. Doughnut Economics Diagram
The doughnut economics was created by Kate Raworth. It visualises what it takes to be in the 21st-century economy where we focus less on GDP growth but also on the Earth’s systems and its societies. It is a simple diagram that communicates the idea of assessing environmental sustainability and social performance across. If we use this to compare Singapore’s environmental sustainability and social performance to another country’s, we can easily see if Singapore is doing enough, or not.
A Companion to Digital Art is one of the many Companions to Art History reference volumes. Edited by Christine Paul, it is the view of the histories, aesthetics, politics and the issues that come with the presentation, collection, and preservation of digital art.
Enabling the Future, or How to Survive FOREVER
This essay was written by Annet Dekker, who highlights flexible models and interdisciplinary collaboration is needed to tackle digital conservation as traditional art conservation practices preserve the medium and end product while digital art can be time-based or having technology becoming obsolete the moment it is being created, making it hard or impossible to preserve the medium used.
Before reading this essay, my prior notion of the preservation of digital artworks is preserving the physical aspects, whether it is to document the artwork by capturing videos and pictures digitally of the participant’s interaction, the process, the final artwork, or to store any medium, e.g. hardware and software, used for the artwork. This essay reminded me of how fast technology can evolve, and how fast it can become obsolete, which requires new ways to preserve the medium of digital artworks or even to preserve the digital culture we have today.
Today, most interactive media artists use and incorporate technology into their art. As mentioned in the video by Google Arts and Culture, digital art cannot be preserved in the same way traditional art is preserved. Many of the readers that used to read the software by the artists will become obsolete which means that the artwork will no longer be accessible.
There is a need to find a way to preserve digital art for future generations just like how traditional art was preserved for ours. As humans, we can learn from our past so as to create a better future. Thus, preserving our cultural heritage is as important as creating art just like how preserving science and math formulas from the past is as important as exploring science now.
Jet Set Willy Forever
The essay begins with the example of Jet Set Willy Forever, which includes the previous artworks of “Jet Set Willy” by the dutch internet artists duo JODI. It is based on the 1984 game, Jet Set Willy, which was one of the earliest non‐linear games programmed in BASIC, one of the first computer languages designed to empower users of one of the initial personal home computers, the now obsolete ZX Spectrum.
Jet Set Willy Forever displays the documentation of the different ways in which Jet Set Willy was exhibited by JODI, including a 1980s television (CRT) monitor with a ZX Spectrum with the actual Jet Set Willy created by an emulator; a flat-screen computer monitor showing screenshots of the modified game; an iPad which may show where this game is going to be in the future; a DVD containing multiple videos of modifications of the game (Jet Set Willy Variations, 2002); video documentation of the artists demonstrating how the game can be played during a previous presentation of the work; a set of written instructions on how to play the game, and sixty prints showing the interior of the game—a crosssection of the house.
The documentation in Jet Set Willy Forever has two purposes. It serves as an informational document and is also an integral element of the work itself. The audience will be able to see the art history and how the artwork has evolved and changed over time as new technologies are introduced into the world. Jet Set Willy Forever itself is an artwork that presents its documentation as part of the whole experience. By displaying the process and the previous software and hardware used, the audience is given the context of the artwork, enabling them to understand the artist’s intent, process, and approach to technology and philosophy.
I do agree that by showing the context it would deepen the audience’s understanding of the artwork, therefore bringing the message across. However, it makes me question if this artwork can still be maintained in the long run. How can the conservator maintain the ZX Spectrum or BASIC software 100 years later? How do we show the future generations the digital works of our time with context when the medium has become obsolete, or even extinct?
In the essay, Dekker mentioned that “The focus of conservation must move away from the purely material to include the original experience and contextual meaning of the artwork,” and “The value of a digital artwork does not necessarily reside strictly in the materiality of the medium itself but in a number of contributing elements that, together, establish the work’s aesthetic qualities.” Jet Set Willy preserves the essence and concept of the artwork, which is to pay homage to the Jet Set Willy game that was created in 1984.
Dekker argues for a practice that encourages thinking about “authentic instances,” leaving intact the notion of authenticity but allowing for change and variability. This way of working rejects the freeze-frame associated with traditional conservation. David Lowenthal stresses that “authenticity will always be variable,” thus Dekker argues for something more speculative and process-driven: the notion of “authentic alliances.”
Dekker states that she wanted “to connect the concept of alliances to authenticity in order to stress the importance of seeing seemingly different parts as a whole,” and “to emphasize the inherent intertwined structures through which digital art is created.” This approach sees different elements of artwork influencing the other, and not as singular entities.
My interpretation of “authentic alliances” is the preservation of digital artworks through a collective community that preserves the concept and process of the entire artwork. Dissimilar to traditional artworks, I do agree that the process and experiences by the participants of digital artworks should be placed more emphasis instead of the “final product” as digital art can always evolve. So when certain materials go obsolete, how do we understand the context of the artwork?
One interesting example or approach to preserving digital art is oldweb.today by Rhizome, known for its digital preservation methods of digital art and the internet. oldweb.today allows users to surf the web the old-fashioned way to explore web archives through emulated legacy browsers. It puts us into the world of slow connectivity and responsiveness and raw aesthetics. This provides us with context but also preserving and simulating old technology.
This essay is a fresh perspective for me of how we can look into new preservation methods for digital art. My current creative process now only takes into account documenting what we are creating at the moment digitally and ends when my assignment is “completed.” I have never thought of the preservation of digital art that comes after that as I’ve always assumed that we can revisit the same software and hardware years down the road, never taking into account that technology is ever-changing and can become obsolete despite me knowing and experiencing it. I think integrating the process and experiences into the digital artwork places more importance on the whole creative process from start to end, which should be taken into account when the concept is important in digital art. Even when technology becomes obsolete, emulators are a great way to revive the tool, and most importantly, to show context for the digital artwork.
“A visual identity is the visual aspect of branding that businesses create in order to evoke certain feelings and experiences with the brand.”
A company’s visual identity includes anything visual that their brand produces such as logo design, fonts, photos, and any other visuals that were used to communicate with the brand. A company’s visual identity is part of the branding that communicates the overall message, values, and promise of the brand through anything that is visual.
Throughout the history of graphic design, graphic design was used as a way to communicate a message, or evoke a certain feeling, whether it is for political, or commercial purposes (e.g. advertisements). Building a visual identity for a company helps to differentiate itself from its competitors and easier for its customers to identify them.
Paul Rand was an eminent twentieth-century American graphic designer and art director. He was the pioneer of iconic corporate logo designs for major firms, including IBM, ABC, Morningstar, Inc., NeXT Computer, Yale University, and Enron.
Paul Rand believed in good design to be the way of life that he changed his name from Peretz Rosenbaum to Paul Rand. One reason is to do away with his prominent Jewish identity to sound more American, the other to simplify his first and last name to four letters each.
He was dedicated to treating design as a function of businesses. By the 1950s, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) had established itself as one of the leading data processing companies in the world. Its president, Thomas Watson Jr, believed that Good Design is Good Business, and hired Paul Rand to do a complete overhaul of IBM’s graphic communications system. Over the next decade, Rand created what was perhaps the first design system for a corporate identity. From the company’s logo to letterheads, to product packaging, he made sure that every corporate asset had the company’s visual identity incorporated into it.
This then paved the way for businesses to see the importance of corporate visual identity as a function of their businesses, which continues even today.
Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, a graphic design firm specialising in the development of trademarks and identity programs. Following Paul Rand’s approach to corporate identity, they designed the visual identity of the companies that aligned to its values and products they are selling.
I think corporate identity is often overlooked or taken for granted nowadays as it is so common. Even small businesses like neighbourhood bubble tea shops (e.g. Sweet Talk – logo, colour, etc.) have their own branding and visual identity. Nowadays, it just comes naturally to us that a business should have its own corporate identity. I think that by knowing its history and the reason why it was created helps designers to understand the importance of their jobs and that it is not easy to do the job that they do.
I think it has been a fulfilling 4 weeks, and I have definitely learned a lot about the history of graphic design. I have also grown an appreciation for the design practices and not take our learnings for granted as what we learn today is a result of what the people of the past have explored for many years! I think it is also hard to condense so many years of graphic design history (since the cave paintings) into a 1-hour lecture every week so I would like to thank Desmond for that. I also appreciate the weekly reflections as I get to understand deeper on topics that I am more interested in.
One thing that I think can enhance the learning of students is to not conduct the quizzes of the same lecture content on the same day. I think it will be better and fairer if we have more time (instead of a few minutes) to study for something that is graded.
Future World is a highly immersive and interactive digital installation (or playground) that is situated at ArtScience Museum permanently. It is a collaboration with teamLab, which consists of 4 key narratives – City in A Garden, Sanctuary, Park, and Space.
If I were to put myself in a child’s shoes, I think I would have enjoyed Sketch Aquarium and Sketch Town the most. I definitely enjoyed all of the installations but the one which appealed visually the most to me would be the last installation, Crystal Universe.
Sketch Aquarium – This installation features a digitally rendered, aquatic world of underwater animals. Participants of all ages use their imaginations to create fantastic and colourful sea creatures on paper. They are then digitally scanned and brought to life to swim freely in the aquarium where they live.
Sketch Town – This installation is a depiction of a fictitious town, based on Singapore that includes recognisable landmarks, such as, ArtScience Museum, the Merlion and the Singapore Flyer. Participants can use crayons and paper to draw a building, a car, or a plane for Sketch Town.
The flow of interaction:
1. The participant (P) views the Aquarium/Town when they first enter the space
2. P proceeds to the activity table to create their own sea creatures/vehicles by colouring within the outlines of different templates
3. P proceeds to scan their creations to populate the town/aquarium
4. P views the projected Aquarium/Town on the wall with their creations!
5. P can interact with the objects of the Aquarium/Town, i.e. touch the car and it will go faster/change direction, and touch the fishes it will swim away. (In the aquarium if the P touches the food bag the fishes will swim towards it.
Crystal Universe – This stunning artwork is created with teamLab’s Interactive 4D Vision technology and over 170,000 LED lights, giving the illusion of stars moving in space. Participants can change the fabric of the universe by ‘swiping’ astrological phenomenon from smart devices within the installation/their phones and watch it become part of the dazzling environment around them. They can encounter astrophysical phenomena such as planets, galaxies, and even gravitational waves.
In most museum exhibits, viewers are not allowed to be in close proximity to the artwork, let alone touch it. In Future World, participants are instead encouraged and expected to touch and interact with the installations, completing the cycle of the artwork.
In Sketch Aquarium and Town, participants create and contribute to the installations. As an adult, I think it is fun as I get to see my creations on the big projection, contributing to the virtual aquarium. If I were a child, I would expect myself to be excited as I see my creations come to life. A child can imagine a rainbow shark and the most they can do to see it in real life is to draw it on a piece of paper and colour it. The Sketch Aquarium is an upgrade from their normal sketches as it makes the self-created sea creatures move in the virtual aquarium. By utilising art materials and augmented reality technology, it helps to develop the child’s creative thinking and encourages active participation of the child which enhances the learning experience.
The crystal universe is a really beautiful and immersive installation. To me, it is more than being an Instagram worthy photo or video to capture, it is a performance. By walking through the pathway, the participant can see the individual lights up close and see how each light changes colour. When they stand at a distance away, they are able to view the artwork in a bigger picture and appreciate the performance.
Even though the exhibition is more catered to kids, I still enjoyed myself as I interacted with the artworks and seeing a visual response almost immediately. I believe that the installations were a two-way artwork that engages the audience to participate/contribute to the artwork itself. This exhibition is a good example of utilising technology to show art in an interactive way that is worth visiting again.
A calligram is a word or piece of text or poetry in which the design and layout of the letters create a visual image related to the meaning of the words themselves. The typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged to visually express the meaning or theme of the text. A calligram is thus a combination of poetry and visual art.
One of the more well-known artists known for producing poetry using the calligram is Guillaume Apollinaire. He created a volume of calligrams which was titled “calligrammes”.
Some examples that appeared in his collection.
Calligrams are still being produced until this today, but instead of using poetry for the words component, creators use different themes to make calligrams, for e.g. using pop culture – the iron man calligram, as shown above, is made of words that describe the character’s personality and the lines he said in the movie to form his iconic iron man mask.
I think that using words to create images brings more meaning and depth to the visual itself, as illustrations and visuals often have to convey the meaning of a certain word or phrase visually (without showing the words). By using words as a medium to create the visuals, viewers will be able to understand two things – the object in focus and the message of words that tells the story behind the visuals. I think it’s a combination of liberal and visual arts that conveys the message beautifully.
Fat Face typefaces were first invented in the 1800s during the period of invention and discovery when more enterprising new trades started to flourish. Businesses turn to print advertising to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Its bold and extreme contrast of thick and thin were used in advertisements to grab the attention of the viewers.
Then in the 20th century when people were starting to rebel against mass culture and industrialisation, many other sans serif typefaces like Gill sans and Futura were founded to move towards modernism. Despite that, fat face typefaces like Sphinx and Ultra Bodoni is still as popular to become body copies or small, readable design elements instead of being attention-grabbing headlines.
Digital fat face typefaces like Abril Fat Face are still used today on websites and posters. It is offered on Google Fonts and is featured in more than 780,000 websites, and served 166 million times last week according to Google API. This shows that it is still popular as a typeface even today due to its versatility to be a headline or a body copy.
I like the fat face typeface a lot as it conveys the feeling of both friendly and jovial and it also has a lot of variations when it comes to the contrasts of thick and thin, and also the rounded serifs which look really cute! It also pairs well with non-serif fonts like Aktiv Grotesk (as shown above). According to Jennifer Kennard on Fonts In Use, which I think sums up my thoughts about the fat face typeface, “By their very nature, they could be loud, flamboyant and conspicuous, or speak softly with restrained elegance. Like the addition of spice to a bland dish, the fat face added character and flavour to an otherwise simple design.”
Of the many methods of writing and printing that were introduced in class, I was most interested in Gutenberg’s movable type which used the punch and matrix method that revolutionized the way of printing. Previously, printers had to carve letter by letter into woodblocks and then using a press to create printings for books which were tedious and very time-consuming. By using the movable metal type, the printing time was significantly cut and took less effort, which meant that more books can be published to educate the public as information is more accessible to all compared to the past when only the higher class were able to have books.
The type used in the Gutenberg Bible was modeled after handwritten letters, which then led to printers creating their own type for printing (as explained in the video).
After using the movable type for three centuries, the Linotype Machine was invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler between 1883 to 1885 to further improve the printing methods. Instead of placing the matrixes by hand, the machine automated the process and made printing much faster by producing and composing complete lines of type, or slugs. Linotype was first used in newspaper print production, where speed in producing frequent daily editions was required.
Printing methods today
Today, there are many different printing methods catered to different purposes or different aesthetics. For example, letterpress printing, digital printing like laser printing, inkjet or toner printing, and also 3D printing!
The invention of different printing methods has enabled typographers and graphic designers to focus on their craft as printing time has significantly been reduced since the invention of printmaking. It has also helped society as a whole as books and prints have since been more accessible to the public which helps in their education. New types are also invented because of better printing methods. As we have moved into a digital age, I do hope that the printing methods we have today do not become obsolete as we rely more on our screens than prints to obtain information.
Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery with INTER—MISSION is a collaborative audiovisual performance of the collective INTER—MISSION’s “Life Circuit: I/O” that inhabits Lee Kang-So’s “Disappearance” or “Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery” (1973). According to the event page, Life Circuit is an ongoing project that is experimental and explores intersections between video art, music and performance. This performance also features dancers on both on-site and online presence, in collaborations with Norhaizad Adam and Syimah Sabtu from P7:1SMA in Singapore and Chiharu Kuronuma who live-streamed from Tokyo.
Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery is a restage of Lee Kang-So’s work in 1973, where he bought the entire tables and chairs of his favourite pub at that time and moved them all into the exhibition hall at Myeongdong Gallery Solo Exhibition. He transformed it into a gathering place where participants can have a glass of Makgeolli (Rice Wine) and chat freely at a time where South Korea was under an authoritarian regime.
In an interview conducted with Lee, he stated that the goal of the work was to provide the audience with an opportunity to re-experience and reflect on our own situation that we had been mindlessly experiencing by separating an aspect of our everyday life into the gallery. Lee only provided the tables and chairs. The audience will be free to participate in the work, the content comprising the visitor’s engagement and experiences, and have time for one’s own experience that others will never know.
Artist Statement – Life Circuit is conceived as a series of video demonstrations with wearable gadgets reconstructed from industrial safety equipment — welding goggles, a gas mask and earmuffs, which the I nicknamed as “Video Goggles” for video channeling, “Sound Mask” and “Amp Muffs” for audio and amplification. The modified gadgets become the extensions of my being and body that is now unable to see, speak or hear, but able to stream out video and audio feeds to the audience. The images and sounds link to other devices and displays captured from the immediate audience and space. Altering human functionality and interactivity, a “circuit” is formed between the audiences, the various media, moving images and sounds that replace human perceptions and expressions. Erasing my identity to the audience by donning the full mask, the work plays on the illusion of an invisible dialogue in an era of post-digital connectivity.
During the ending of the performance, the “Video Goggles” were projecting a live stream of the audience, the stream from Japan, and Teow Yue Han’s face as seen below.
Reflection and Thoughts
To be honest, I had no idea what was going on during the performance. Despite that, after researching and knowing more about the context and reasoning for both artworks, I think I have my own interpretation. The tables and chairs by Lee Kang-So serve as a medium for people to sit down and have their own experiences, or to be “in the moment”. Urich mentioned in his artist statement that the gadgets were just an extension of himself (which replaced his perceptions and expressions), and the projection of the audience on his “Video Goggles” and the sounds (noise he created in the background) formed a “circuit” between the audiences (noise from conversations) and the various media. Combining both artworks together may form a different meaning altogether.
My own experience of INTER-MISSION’s work is only unique to myself, and me participating as an audience looking at Urich’s gadgets is completing the circuit with the media/gadgets “looking” and “hearing” sounds from us. Similarly, everyone’s experience during the performance is only unique to them, and their perspective and interpretations are different from mine. While Urich was performing the last segment when he wore his “Video Goggles”, many of the audience took out their phones to take a picture or a video of him, while looking through their phone screens. I guess the “circuit” of technology is also completed when technology meets technology. As for those who watched without looking through their phone screens, the “circuit” is completed with their participation as an audience. Although I still don’t entirely get what was going on, I do think that the technology and equipment that INTER-MISSION used were interesting and intriguing.