Final Presentation for FYP Pitch
Kim’s writing is highly specific to design targeted at digital products/services, but there are certain aspects which I think I beg to differ.
But before I go into that, I would like to highlight one point that I strongly agree on: Design is a craft because it is neither science nor art, but somewhere in between. Case in point, design can be found everywhere, just that it is called different things in different fields. In Science/engineering it could be called methodology, in language semantics etc. Thus design is both science and art and probably everything else all at once.
That said, my preferred approach to design tend to lean towards exploratory and mastery. Through exploration, new ideas and approaches can be derived, systematically or haphazardly. Mastery, can truly ground a practitioner and rediscover new truths about existing approaches. That is my belief, and is the principle I hope to cultivate towards the kind of design I embark on.
Although the article is targeted at designing for the digital age, I think the proposed systematic approach can be both an aid and a crutch at the same time. Citing an overly simplified and inconsequential example, Facebook was originally created with the goal for young boys to check out girls on campus. Now a multi-billion dollar corporation, it has far exceeded its original humble intentions. My point is that digital or otherwise, some amount of serendipity in design could be desirable.
Having a framework as highlighted in the article is necessary, but hardly the whole equation. In practice, such frameworks are hard to realise due to many factors that are not easily controllable. For instance, towards the end of the chapter, “the engineers are not very skilled, or decision-making is dysfunctional in some way…”, isn’t that pretty much 90% of the companies out there that are trying to compete for a slice of the pie. The framework is presented as an idealised version of what can and should be practiced, but in reality most studios really operate in a much more adaptive manner, just to ensure deadlines are met and clients are satisfied.
I think there is some merit to what is being proposed about personas and the benefits of using this as a tool to design a product. But my counter argument would be this is for perhaps a rather narrow set of problems; what personas can one use for designing a fraud detection system for an online auction site, or design control software for an autonomous robot that can used in offworld applications(to do that comprehensively would perhaps entail knowing all the different things it would be used for, hypothetically).
I do feel that the lean (or equally great Toyota’s kaizen) approach, is probably the more suitable approach for a wider set of problems we are trying to solve, and realistically too. To me, it sounds more logically to prototype fast, test, iterate/pivot. The Kaizen approach of continuous improvement is commendable as well; today’s world of fast-food style consumerism is not healthy for creating services/products with long lasting value.
As artists we are constantly looking for meaning to be attributed to our work, be it for commercial, social or personal causes. In the commercial space, I think the relationship between practice and product is clear and direct; work is created for a pre-agreed amount. Personal works are similar; it is done for one’s personal benefit and enjoyment, any additional benefits that come with it are complementary and mostly welcomed. Yet, in the social causes category, I think there is much more room for ambiguity and interpretation, manipulation and perhaps even (unfortunately) deception.
In an ideal society, problems are identified and solved progressively by people in power, with money and organisation. Therefore, in the un-ideal real world, many problems have to be solved in other, innovative and convoluted ways. And artists, being creative as we are, have discovered the potential of tapping on this attractive source of funding. It is the perfect marriage between ‘helping’ well-endowed individuals/organisations spend their money meaningfully and achieving a higher purpose in individual self-actualisation. In essence, it is similar to many other mechanisms in seemingly disparate fields; exploratory scientific research, nature conservation or humanitarian work etc.
All is well, but there is sometime uneasy about artists being engaged in social issues. Are we, as artists, privileged in our own way, have a sufficient level of understanding of such multifaceted complex issues to be able to address and propose appropriate solutions? Inherently, there is also a conflict of interest whenever there is monetary exchange involved; how much of the resources are actually spent on the social cause being addressed.
I would also argue that tackling social issues through artistic points of view could prove to be detrimental in some cases. Many social issues are exactly what they are; social in nature. As such, solutions can be simple and direct; sometimes people just need help, right there and then, till they get back on their feet, some never do. Introducing another element into the process could perhaps over-complicate/obfuscate the real issue, unnecessary diversion of funds notwithstanding. I do recognise the need for people to be compensated for their efforts in organising such efforts, but the real question is perhaps what constitutes a fair amount, and what qualifications/experiences are prerequisites, if any.
Having to lower one’s rhetoric in order to please donors, mopping up the symptoms of social problems instead of going after the disease itself, and, ultimately, reducing the vital work of political organizing to a symbolic gesture
I think this excerpt sums up quite nicely my thoughts on the issue. My gripe with artists trying too hard to ‘organise’ social causes is that the effort could easily be consumed eventually by something else altogether. With that said, I think this approach is a complex and possibly viable option going forward, but is easily subjected to abuse. Unfortunately I do not have a sound proposal for what could work, but I do believe that in today’s increasingly interconnected societies, misinformation, misdirection and misrepresentation are some of our civilisation’s most pressing problems. Competition, scarcity and consumerism have placed us on a relentless pursuit of intangible heights. Therefore, I feel social causes should remain as ‘pure’ as it possibly can in logistical and philosophical terms. Art can be employed in a complementary way, but not as a way to ‘sell’ the idea to attract funding.
Singapore Ceramics Now 2021
As an interdisciplinary artist, I have many different passions; woodworking, computer graphics, electronics, sculpture, gardening and handicrafts.
I aim to create simple, direct and thought-provoking work by melding handcrafted physical spaces seamlessly with technology.
As an artist I look forward to constant growth, and a sense of satisfaction when my labor of love gets enjoyed and appreciated.
In-Sync seeks to reconnect people through the act of pure simple play. The pandemic has necessitated the need for physical distancing, but we are still able to have fun while staying safe. The installation provides 2 seats for strangers to share a brief moment together, through the simple act of seating and interacting with the living soundscape. The interaction is designed to be pure, simple and free of complexities, much like a children’s playground.
Curiosity vs Tradition
I made a highly experimental sandbox game while trying to learn more about how the Unity engine works. This is based on the idea of curiosity and tradition and how it influences the rise and fall of modern societies. This is made as a simple playground for generating content on the superb platform, Unity.
The Petri Dish
Information has become commonplace and democratised. But as we head further into the next few decades, how will information continue shaping our daily lives and influence how we carry out our daily tasks?
The project, affectionately named “The Petri Dish”, is a social commentary on how we have come to embrace information that is fed to us in an unquestioning manner. Will we use our intuition to understand and make wise choices, or will we lose our ability to perceive, succumb to our ‘technological overlords’ and follow their instructions blindly?