Week 6: Knitting

Honestly for knitting it was a technique I really wanted to like, however it was very difficult for me to get the hang of it! I grew up watching my mum knitting and was always very fascinated by it, however upon trying it myself I realised that it’s actually not that easy haha

I tried a basic knitting and purling to create a piece of “fabric” but it was very confusing as I kept losing track of my progress, hence had to restart many times and wasn’t able to make a lot of progress by the end of the class. I also think it’s due to the thickness of the yarn as I was using one that was quite thin.

I don’t think I will be using this technique for my final!

Week 8: Vacuum Forming and Thermochromic Printing

For this week we tried our hand at vacuum forming as well as thermochromic printing!

For vaccum forming, I decided to try with some materials which are more unconventional, so I went hunting for some interesting things I could try.

 

The most unexpected one was the brush, I was expecting the plastic to vacuum form over the individual bristles but instead the entire brush turned into a mohawk kind of thing in the middle HAHA!

The bell was a little hard to remove due to the designs on it which were protruding, so I had to turn it inside out to take it out of the PVC

Week 5: Manipulating fabric

For this lesson we learnt about fabric manipulation, namely shirring and sewing with elastic thread, to create patterned creases in the fabric! I decided to try using a thicker material to see what effect it would create hence I went with felt and the result it quite interesting!

Although this was time consuming as it’s my first time ever sewing something with needle and thread, I was pleasantly surprised at the result! It took a lot of tries but I’m glad that I was able to create something with a consistent pattern.

Week 4: Felting

This was another fun and enjoyable week! It is my first time learning about felting so I didn’t really know what to expect but ended up having a lot of fun! I started off with a beige coloured ball of felt and decided to make a head, then the body of a doll…

Materials for felting

Dry felting a head

The head somewhat completed

Since the body is bulky, it will take too long to do through dry felting hence I am using wet felting method

After wet felting, can still use a needle to further enhance the shape

Head attached onto body through felting, have also changed the eyes to make it look less demonic

Week 3: Plastic fusing

This was the most fun week for me! In this lesson we use cut outs from plastic bags and iron them together to fuse the plastic pieces creating a single surface. I decided to have a little fun this week and use plastic to create some funny faces.

The 3rd face I created, for this I used black trash bag for the background and as it is quite thin it caused some shrinkage hence it was not very successful

The bags which I brought

I think this is definitely one of the more fun methods for me! As I love how the faces turn out, it is really different from when you lay it out as plastic pieces. The only thing is that when the bits of plastic are small it is hard to manipulate them and thinner plastics may melt and warp.

Week 1 & 2: Transfer Printing

For my 1st lesson which was on week 2, we were trying out transfer printing!

I was introduced to 2 different methods in class by Ms Galina. The first is dry transfer using crayon drawings which can be iron onto the fabric.

Paper Drawings with Crayon

Result after ironing onto fabric

I really enjoy this method, however the crayon does not really transfer evenly onto the fabric so it is patchy at some parts, perhaps due to the amount of crayon I coloured or the texture of the fabric. However I still enjoyed this method as it allows me to use more graphic elements as I am the only controlling the drawing and I can control the crayon more easily.

The next method we did was the wet transfer method. This involved using a wet transfer ink and painting it onto the paper, and then similar to the dry transfer crayon method, iron it onto fabric.

Wet transfer ink on paper

Result on fabric

The good thing about this method is that the texture does come out more even, however as we are limited to the colours that are available in class, I prefer the dry transfer method!

I was sadly unable to do more exploration this week as I had to rush both transfer methods during 1 class!

100 Lights/Pavillion

1 Light

Suspended in mid-air

10 Lights

Placed in the 8 corners of the room as well as on the floor and ceiling

100 Light

Placed covering 1 adjacent floor and ceiling, to create an extremely bright illuminating corner of the room

Pavillion

Since Singaporeans are infamous for their love of queueing for things, for the pavillion it could be a performance art of sorts with regular everyday Singaporeans placed in a long queue which would continue for a comically long distance!

Study of Spaces

Elastic Heart (Screen)

In this music video by Sia which features Shia Lebeouf and dancer Maddie Ziegler, the entire video takes place in a single space which is a large cage pictured above.

While it might seem simple, a space like this can hold a lot of power. For me when I first saw the music video years ago I was blown away by how the dancers had made use of this minimal bare space and turned it into so much more than just a song and dance.

In this case, the connotations behind the cage are that of trapped birds/animals and this is fitting because in the video, the dancers are interacting with one another in a manner that appears to be raw and feral, similar to how wild animals would interact.

Since this is a screen based space, what is important is also the angle of the camera and how the cinematographer chooses to capture the space. In a way, the cameraman is the person who is controlling how we navigate through this space. Hence the use of camera angle is interesting as well in Elastic Heart because at many times, the camera appears to be capturing the image from outside of the cage peering in through the bars. 

The symbolism behind the cage is even more apparent later on in the video as the younger female dancer realises she is able to leave between the bars of the cage and attempts to help the other dancer escape frantically, almost as if the space is symbolic of his inability to escape what confines him despite the efforts of those around him.

This space has really got me thinking about what it means to make a space effective in the context of screen-based performance art. A minimal space like this, with just some metal bars forming the shape of a large cage, can be very effective in communicating to the viewers any subliminal messages behind the performance itself.

Hansel and Gretel (Physical)

The main installation space for Hansel and Gretel by Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron is a huge empty space that is populated by images formed through overhead projection onto the floors. This is striking to me as it is rare that video content is projected on the floor instead of on walls and it really gives an illusion of more depth and more crowdedness in the room.

Since taking Kristy’s projection mapping class this semester, I am really interested in how projection or projection mapping can really change a bare space and turn it into something otherworldly and strange. Hansel and Gretel is a good example of such a space. The room is dark which adds to the ominous and dangerous feel of the installation, and allows for effective projection.

In this installation, something interesting is that drones are used to fly around the space which serves several purposes. The first is to collect footage of participants of the installation, which is then fed back to the projectors and projected onto the participants themselves with red boxes drawn on different body parts to mimic CCTV cameras and facial recognition. In this way, participants are encouraged to interact with the space because of what is projected on it.

Secondly, the drones also serve the purpose of creating a soundscape in the space which I thought was super interesting and authentic way of feeding a soundscape into a space, using the actual items rather than recordings played through speakers. The attention to sound in this space also reminds us that a space is not just about the objects or architecture in it but also the sensorial elements which turn the space from just a mere place into an experience.

Faces Places Review

Before this film, I was unfamiliar with the works of both JR and Agnes. I had known of JR because he had been mentioned a few times before in class, but I had never really taken the time to do research on him, so this film was also my introduction to both the artists. Upon hearing about this film and seeing the poster, I assumed that it would be a typical feel-good story about a friendship between an elderly lady and a younger man, and that the focal point of the narrative would be about how the age gap between them made them different, but I was wrong!

For me, Faces Places was not so much of a documentary and more like listening in to a conversation between two close friends. The film is about Agnes Varda, an 88 year old filmmaker, and street artist/photographer JR, and their travels around France in a bid to document the faces of regular people in regular places by photographing them, printing it and mounting the “faces” onto architecture. Rather than being a documentation of the travels, I suppose Faces Places is a documentary in the sense that it is a documentation of the friendship between JR and Varda, as well as a documentation of the stories of the people whose photos are being mounted in the film.

Watching the film got me thinking about the purpose of large-scale public art, particularly in the case of projection mapping. I had never seen the connection between public architectural art and projection mapping before, because before this I had always associated the former with graffiti and vandalism (yes I’m very Singaporean HAHA). Now, however, I realise that in some ways, painting/mounting a still image onto a large architecture is even more impressive than projecting a video. How do you capture in a single still image, the amount of narrative and emotion that a video could convey?

Another thing that I found interesting while watching the documentary was that I unwittingly started thinking about the differences between French and Singaporean culture. In particular, how people in both countries would react to large scale public arts that involved them. Near the beginning of the film, when JR and Agnes were mounting the first photograph onto the wall at the front of the old lady’s house, when she first came outside and saw the image she was moved to tears. I remember thinking that if this had been in Singapore and someone had printed the face of an elderly lady onto a HDB flat, I think most elderly Singaporeans would be very unhappy about that!

I did find the ending of the film confusing, as I didn’t understand what was going on when JR and Agnes visited the house of her friend and didn’t receive a warm welcome, just a cryptic written message which brought Agnes to tears. It made me curious to find out more about the backstory between their friendship, and I’ll probably go research further into it so I guess the film was successful in piquing my interest HAHAHA

All in all, this film was what I expected and more! It was nice to watch JR and Agnes interacting and their friendship was heartwarming. It also got me thinking a lot about public art and different cultures’ reception to it.