Experience 2 Proposal

Mavis, Viena and I were unable to complete Experience 2 in time because our materials didn’t arrive in time so we will submit the final next week, but in the meantime this is our concept!

Our concept is based on the idea of truth. We decided to use fake apples as our object since the apple is a symbol of truth in the Bible (Adam and Eve seeing the truth about the world after eating the apple). We purchased 50 foam apples in bulk from the internet and are currently waiting for them to arrive!

The fake apple that we ordered haha

We have decided that we will be doing this in the form of an installation that engages the public. In each apple, we will be rolling up a small piece of paper which contains a “truth” about the world and placing it in a hole at the bottom of the apple. The apples will be hung from trees with fishing line in a public place, and a sticker will be placed on the apple saying “PICK ME” so that people know that they can pick and keep the apple and read the “truth” inside it.

That is it for now! Will update again next week when we have completed the project!


Minimalism Exhibition

Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko & Abstract Expressionism

Barnett Newman, Queen of the Night I, 1961, Oil on canvas

Mark Rothko, No. 5, 1964, Oil, acrylic and mixed media on canvas

I decided to research on Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko and Abstract Expressionism, after seeing the artworks above near the entrance of the exhibition. To me, Newman and Rothko are artists whom I consider synonymous to minimalism, hence I thought it was fitting that theirs was the first few works to be seen in the exhibition. I always assumed that artworks by artists like Newman or Mark Rothko were considered minimalist due to the simple compositions and lack of fine detail, but upon researching I found out that they actually fall under the category of abstract expressionism. For this review, I decided to do research to find out how abstract expressionism differs from minimalism, and how they are alike or influenced by each other.

Willem de Kooning, Untitled XXV

Abstract expressionism is a form of abstract art which was developed in the 1940s-50s, mainly in New York City. There are many prominent names associated with abstract expressionism that we will find familiar, such as Jackson Pollock and the aforementioned Rothko and Newman. Abstract expressionism stems from the surrealist movement with its aim being to create artworks that were abstract yet also conveying a great deal of expression and emotion. With this description, I find it fitting that one’s mind would conjure images of Pollock’s canvases of chaos or de Kooning’s vibrant, haphazard brush strokes. These are artists whose works convey strong emotion, not only through the painting itself but also through the artists’ process of painting the canvas. Looking at a Pollock piece it is easy to imagine the artist putting in dynamic and emotive movements into these brush strokes, literally painting his emotions into the canvas.

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1968

Hence, it seems baffling to me that the works of artists like Newman and Rothko could even fall under this same category. Unlike the previous works mentioned, the works of Newman and Rothko consist of clean, straight lines and a minimal number of colours, hence it is hard see the similarities. So it seems like even under the umbrella of abstract expressionism, This is because abstract expressionism as a movement does not merely encompass one type of art. Under it, it encompasses two broad groupings:

1. Action Painters

This group consists of artists like Pollock and de Kooning, whose painting process consisted of gestural brush strokes, and dripping or splashing paint rather than carefully applying it onto the canvas. The artists painted in a state of spontaneity and improvisation, such as Pollock who was famous for placing his canvases on the ground and dripping paint on it from a can or stick.

2. Colour Field Painters

Consisting of artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, colour field painters’ works are characterised by simple compositions with large areas of colour. The artists were deeply interested in religion and myth and created simple compositions with large areas of colour intended to produce a contemplative or meditational response in the viewer.

Despite these blatant differences, I believe that at their core, both groups of painters had similar visions and intentions in their artistic practice. In Newman’s essay “The Sublime is Now” he suggested that art should be stripped down to only the essentials but that it still deal with “absolute emotion”. Colour field painters took this idea to a new level by concentrating fully on colour as their medium rather than the physical brush stroke itself. Both groups of painters do not attempt to represent physical reality, instead using shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect (abstract) and seeks to articulate the inner feelings of the artist rather than the object of the art (expressionism).

Which then begs the question: what are these works by Rothko and Newman doing in a Minimalism exhibit? Upon doing the above research, I was quite sceptical about this because I do think there is a tendency for people to label something as “minimalist” merely because it looks simple and lacks embellishment. While colour field paintings are undoubtedly simple in their composition, that does not define them as minimalist art pieces. Minimalism means more than just simplicity. As artist Frank Stella states, “What you see is what you see”, meaning that minimalist art is about representing the art for what it is and not being an imitation of something else. Minimalism is not about black and white, empty rooms or straight lines. It is about representing art in its truest, raw form and nothing else.

In fact, minimalist art came about in the 1960s (at the peak of abstract expressionism), as a form of rejection of the ideas behind abstract expressionism, seeing it as superfluous due to the artworks’ reflection of the artists’ emotions. In this sense, I suppose, we could say that minimalist art is in fact influenced by abstract expressionism as its emergence was in response to the rising popularity of the latter. I doubt minimalist artists from the 1960s would have been very happy to see abstract expressionist works in a minimalism exhibition today, though the wall label at the National Gallery states that none of the prominent early minimalist artists accepted the label so perhaps they wouldn’t care.

To sum off, I am in no way implying that the minimalism exhibition was a flop! In fact I was delighted to see such an exhibit in Singapore that was so widely publicised because I do feel that artworks like what we have seen in the exhibition are something that Singaporeans sorely need to be exposed to. The artworks I have critiqued merely make up a small fraction of the exhibition and there are many impressive works in there that are worth making the trip down to see. I just think that as artist, curators and art viewers, we do have a need to do extensive research into artworks that we are looking at, in order to present or view them in a way that respects the artist and does the artwork justice as to what the artist intended.


William Johnson, Comparing and Contrasting Expressionism, Abstract, and Pop Art

Tate Museum: Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field PaintingMinimalism

The Art Story Foundation: Color Field Painting

Minimalissimo Magazine, Introduction to Minimal Art


Light to Night Festival Review

I visited the festival with Mavis, Jinyee, Felix and Clarita after our field trip to the National Gallery!

The Resident
National Gallery Singapore (Supreme Court Wing, facing The Arts House)

This was the first exhibit in Night to Light that I came across and I almost missed it because it was in such an inconspicuous location! I didn’t see the signboard for this projection hence I didn’t know it was a tribute to William Farquhar (it would have made more sense if I had known because Farquhar was known for his botanical drawings that he often commissioned). But I quite enjoyed it anyway, the symmetrical composition was very pleasing to watch and the plants were very beautiful.


Through Her Eyes
National Gallery Singapore(Supreme Court Wing)


This piece started off as a black-and-white projection with text and the later part of the video was very colourful and vibrant. The 2 parts were extremely contrasting and I was a bit confused at first because I thought they were 2 separate artworks. However, since it’s about the history of the Supreme Court building, perhaps this contrast was intentional to show the contrast between then and now. Personally I liked the later half more because it was more vibrant and more easily visible!

I think due to the light pollution from external sources, the black and white projection wasn’t really visible so I could only see the text and I didn’t know there were supposed to be images until afterwards when I went home and saw the website. A lot of the details of the projection was lost due to interfering light from the sports field opposite.


Secrets of the Sand, Written in the Stars, Snapshots in Time
National Gallery Singapore (City Hall Wing)

This was situated right next to the previous exhibition (Through her Eyes) and as such, at first I thought the 2 of them were a single artwork and was confused as I tried to view them at once as a singular art piece which didn’t work! Again, this was barely visible due to the interfering light but I managed to gather that it was a story about the history of Singapore from the images that I did manage to see. Some of the details of the video were very intricate and such such very hard to see because they didn’t show up well on the building facade, and also because the projection was so huge and we couldn’t stand far back enough to view the entire thing because there were activities going on in the field behind us. Because of this I felt like I preferred only the front part of the video which was more of a particle-like animation because it was simpler hence much easier on the eyes.

There was also a white structure at the front of the building facade which had colour changing lights that were choreographed to match the sound of the video. To me it was a bit unnecessary as it didn’t really look cohesive to the projection, so it looked like it was more of an afterthought or a separate art piece on its own. I felt the exhibition could have done without it, or it could have been matched with a different projection instead.


Stronghearts: The People of the Singapore River
The Arts House

I really liked this piece because it was well mapped as well as the resolution was good and it was easy to view due to it being in a more intimate quiet location which was darker as well. This was about the history of the Singapore River and the kind of people we would have found along the river in the past, and it was very simple to understand and straightforward.


Open Books
The Arts House

This wasn’t a projection mapping piece but it was nice to see! It consists of illustrated cardboard cut outs by local artist collective Tell Your Children. It added to the vibrancy of the festival and it’s nice to see support for local illustrators!


Portraits of Performers from the Past
Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall

Coming from The Arts House, we very nearly missed this exhibit because it was blocked from our view by some trees. The animation and illustration style reminded me of the hidden object games that I used to play when I was younger!

Hidden object game haha


Asian Civilisations Museum

This was one of the only light installations that I saw in this festival, and I initially thought it was part of iLight. The concept behind this is quite interesting, the artist was inspired by pick-up sticks so I thought it was interesting how the lights flash different colours at night as the more modern versions of pick up sticks are made of plastic and comes in different colours whereas the traditional ones are made of plain wood with less colour like the installation. Hence I thought it was quite a fitting contrast to how one would view the artwork in the day and night, in the day without the colourful lights it would more resemble the traditional pick up sticks whereas at night it represents the modern version! But that is my own interpretation and I don’t know if the artist intended that!

Old vs New!


Intersections: The Story of Belonging
Asian Civilisations Museum

I think this was my favourite projection that I saw in this festival, because of the use of symmetry and vibrant colours. It tells a historical tale of Singapore’s origin story of Sang Nila Utama, in a fun and interesting way! It reminded me a bit of the projection which I saw at Wisma Geylang Serai. In front of it there was a canopy structure with scale-like pieces covered over it, not sure if it was part of this artwork or not but it seemed to be the best place to view the projection from so I assumed it was haha.


Overall Reflection

Overall for me the exhibition design and layout was a bit confusing for a few reasons. Firstly, it was spanning over several locations and some of the artworks were very hard to find as there was no comprehensive map of the whole area that we could access online. Because of this reason, we ended up forgoing all the exhibits at the Esplanade Park area as we couldn’t find them despite walking around the entire park!

Secondly, this festival was held in conjunction with iLight festival, and some of the areas were shared between both festivals hence we couldn’t tell if it was part of iLight or part of Light to Night festival. However Mavis pointed out that to a regular person who just wants to view some art at the civic district, it wouldn’t really matter to them to check which festival it is from as to them they are just viewing another artwork. It does make wayfinding quite hard though if someone is trying to view artworks in both festivals at once!

Thirdly, the placement of the signboards in this festival kind of bothered me. Because this festival was heavily based on projection mapping, I felt like they had to take into account that projection mapping is best viewed from a distance. Hence I felt that the signboards should have been placed at a fair distance from the building facade instead of directly in front of it, because the sign board acts as a placemarker to people that they should stand there to view the artwork. Furthermore some of the artworks like the ones on the National Gallery facade were not very friendly to be viewed from a distance due to events or structures that were in front of it hence maybe they could have done a smaller scale projection or chosen a different facade to project the video on.

I feel that when it comes to projection mapping, it is important to take into account the facade that it is being projected on and treat it was part of the artwork instead of just using it as a surface for projection for the sake of it. For some of the art works especially the ones at the National Gallery I feel there was a lack of consideration for the surrounding factors, such as the amount of detail in the building which disturbed the coherency of the video as well as interfering lights.

Nevertheless I did enjoy the festival overall and felt that some of the pieces were really good! It made me really happy to see that with Light to Night and iLight going on consecutively, the Singaporean art scene is really invigorated and exciting. I mentioned to my friend that if a tourist were to happen to visit Singapore at this very moment in time, they would be very lucky as they would have come at a period where there was a lot to see and do. I’m proud to be a Singaporean artist and can’t wait to start creating my own art to contribute to this vibrant scene (:

Thoughtful Interaction Design: Reflection

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology by Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman was for me an invigorating read which affirmed many of my personal beliefs regarding my role as an artist/designer, while also bringing in new perspectives on how we can approach design in a responsible way.

Something I notice among my peers in arts & design is that many of us tend to fall into an erroneous mindset that anything we design should just look visually beautiful, be fun to interact with or display our technological prowess. These are things which a viewer, whether they are from a design background or not, can easily judge upon first looking at or interacting with the product. Hence any project meeting these conditions will be met with much praise and fanfare, which may lead the designer to consider it a “successful” design. If that is all it takes for a design to be successful, however, then I believe it would actually be preferable to aim to become a designer who is unsuccessful but rather is thoughtful instead.

Being thoughtful is about caring for your own design ability, the designs you produce, and how the world will be changed by your design ideas and de­cisions. A thoughtful designer is someone who takes on design as a serious and impor­tant task and who tries to become a designer with the ability to create fascinating, authentic, and useful digital artifacts.

The designer who is lauded merely for creating beautiful/fun/technologically apt projects will find that as fads come and go, by repeatedly doing the same kinds of things their designs will eventually become old and lose the attention and praise it once garnered. The thoughtful designer, on the other hand, understands that their worth goes beyond “creating pretty things” and that they possess a vital skill that makes them responsible for the lives and wellbeing of all who encounter their design. They will strive to constantly educate and improve themselves to ensure that their designs will always contribute to the improvement of society.

The thoughtful designer sees her own ability as something that has to be designed. The thoughtful designer understands that theories, concepts, and ideas about design are practical intellectual tools. The thought­ful designer dares to challenge her own thinking and assumptions as a way to develop her competence and design ability.

This notion of design as a responsibility is reinforced later on in the design theory and process sections of the chapter. As designers we are direct agents in shaping and creating the tangible world that we live in, be it in a digital or physical landscape, hence it has a direct effect on all aspects of society. Only by understanding this can we understand why we have an immense responsibility under our belt to put thoughtfulness into our designs, allowing them to create positive changes in society.

One way in which we can practice thoughtful design which improves society is by using design as a tool for critique. Critical design (http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/bydandr/13/0) is a design “movement” I was recently introduced to which I feel encompasses most if not all aspects of Löwgren and Stolterman’s writings on thoughtful design and design theory. Coined by design professors Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Critical design takes a critical theory based approach to design, using design fiction and speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role products play in everyday life. From my understanding of the assigned reading, the aims of thoughtful design is quite similar to that of critical design in that it addresses the role of the designer as a person who uses their design ability to induce change in social issues.

There are many good critical design projects which share the views stated in the reading, but one which many of us may recognise is Foragers by Dunne & Raby, which was exhibited at the Artscience Museum’s Human+ exhibit several years ago. It is a design project that is based off the food shortage problem that experts envision we will face as a planet in future years, based on current global trade and environmental trends. As such, the designers have designed these devices which they envision humans might design in the future, which will help them forage food and extract nutritional value from non-human foods using a combination of synthetic biology and new digestive devices inspired by digestive systems of other mammals, birds, fish and insects.

Augmented Digestive System

Algae Digester

Grass Processor

To me, this project is one that is truly shaping the world we live in. While future humans will probably not use such devices to forage food in their day to day life, it is a design project which will bring up questions of morals and ethics in viewers. It is challenging existing conceptions and restrictions that are based on common false assumptions that food shortage is a problem only faced by those living in poverty. The reading mentions client-based design and the fact that the designer is responsible for the result they produce and hand over to the client. In my view, seeing that it also states that designers have a responsibility to society due to our skills to change the world, then we should also see society and the world at large as a “client” and design to better their lives to the best of our ability.

Self Portrait Process & Final

Concept & Ideation

For this project, we were tasked to develop our idea based on some keywords about ourselves. Out of my list, the words I chose to develop on were:

Kardashian (because I am a huge fan of Keeping Up with the Kardashians)
Frogs (I have 6 pet frogs and they are my favourite animal along with other reptiles)
Taugay (bean sprouts, because I hate them and my friends keep tormenting me about it and trying to throw them into my food)

I wanted to include these things in my composition and I wanted the composition to tell a story and convey a mood to the viewer. I wanted my illustration to feel intriguing and yet also strange and unsettling, hence I knew that it was going to look a little disturbing but also spark interest. I feel this style represents me as a person, as I might seem like a normal or outgoing person on the surface but I am actually quite strange LOL. So im a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets ((((: just kidding but basically that is what I wanted to convey, a slight sense of wrongness in the composition.

References & Inspirations

For this project I wanted to illustrate in the style of Japanese woodblock prints:

In particular I was inspired by the works of Toshio Saeki. While not all of his works are woodblock prints, his kind of unsettling illustration is the kind of emotion I am going for in my own portrait, and I like how he manages to use the illustration not to directly tell a story to the viewer but just to suggest what has happened in the image.


This is the incomplete drawing which I submitted for critique on Week 3. I wanted to try out this colour scheme because I thought it would give the composition this horror-like fantasy feel but the green bushes at the foreground were a little too dull! I placed the bushes there to give the viewer the feeling that they were peeking in on a scene that they were not supposed to witness. I also drew one of my friends and put his head behind the taugays at the side to show him kind of peeking out of them in a playful manner. I scaled down the size of the head on purpose and made it look like it was sticking out of the soil to give it a more cheeky, impish look.

Finally, after the critique on week 3, this is the final piece which I decided to go with. I was not feeling the previous colour scheme so I changed to this palette instead with muted primary colours, which I feel is more fitting of the Japanese woodblock print style and also more symbolic of my personality. I also redrew the taugays and used more of them to crowd out that area of the composition to give it a more unruly and forest-like look. I added another friend of mine into the taugay forest because I have 2 best friends and I need to add both of them into the drawing to be fair HAHA. I also made the bushes bigger so they are covering my foot in the illustration slightly to give more off the voyeuristic effect, as well as making the eyes of the frogs bigger so the gaze is more apparent.

While the face part of this self portrait may seem quite small in scale compared to the rest of the portrait, which I was initially worried about, after consulting with Lisa I decided it was ok because since all the other subjects in the illustration are looking at the face, the viewer’s eye will be led there hence it is still the main focus of the composition.

Overall I am quite happy with my final product of this project! If I could change one thing about it I would have tried more colour combinations as I tend to rely a lot on primary colours as an illustrator, however since this is a self portrait assignment I guess the primary colours is also an important part of my self expression. Looking forward to presenting this to the class in the next lesson!