“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

Project planning including tasks such as scheduling, budget, and quality-control strategies; project objectives; and project management goals. It is essential to set the goals at the beginning of the project as they are the purpose of the project management. Reaching the end of the project is not the only goal of project management, because it must ends safely, error-free, on budget, on time, and last but not least meet everyone’s expectations. Based on my experience, managing expectations is the most challenging part of project planning. It is not easy to set the client’s expectations as many might not know how the design process is like. It is important for project managers to speak to clients with empathy. Often, we think that the design agency’s one and only goal is to satisfy the client’s needs. However, teams that feel to satisfy team members’ personal expectations often end up losing their talents. Designers are the main recourses for the design agency to running smoothly. Therefore, having good project planning is not only beneficial to the project itself but also bonding the team. 

Further, I agree that the term effectiveness might be better than efficiency. Effectiveness emphasis on knowing what to do orderly, while efficiency means getting the job done quickly. In order to have a clear picture of what to do in the right order, the author divided a typical design project into the five basic phases: start, planning, design, production, closeout, and defined the six fundamental activities that happen during the phases such as defining, planning, directing, coordinating, monitoring, as well as learning. Coordinating comes in handy especially in the interdisciplinary team. Team members might have very different working styles and different ways of communication. Hence, putting in effort in coordinating could improve the effectiveness of the team, and create a better team mood. Also, I strongly agree that learning at the end of the project is valuable for the team to improve. It is normal to go through rough patches along the way as long as it will not happen repeatedly in the future project. 

Moreover, knowing the two territories, project management, and design tasks is vital as design agencies often face clients across the industries. Doing things without the appropriate knowledge and fail to seek help will lead to waste time, resources and eventually damage the team’s reputation. additionally, I always think the whole project should be an iterative process, however, according to Ramroth (2006) planning and designing the project are iterative activities, while project production, the making of the deliverables is linear. I think by saying that everything is iterative then management anymore will lose its value. All in all, these two chapters provided good guidelines for the novice, yet it will take time and effort to integrate those principles into our own practices. 


In addition to the reading, for the YouTube learners. The video below shows how the interdisciplinary designers worked together under the tight deadline, from research at the site, wild brainstorming. to the prototype production and the process was called ‘Focused Chaos’.

Subtle Activism?

The artwork that caught my attention is The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) by the Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakul. Huntrakul was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1978. He received his BA and MFA in Fine Art from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, USA respectively. Huntrakul is currently having his practice around the Phrakanong area in Bangkok. Further, Huntrakul works around various mediums such as sculpture, ceramics, drawing, and painting, etc. Most of his artworks reflect the visual language and essence of ancient Greek, Japanese and Thai history. His works had been exhibited at Oakland Museum of California, USA, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan, and Singapore Biennale 2013.

Portrait of Dusadee Huntrakul. Image courtesy the artist and 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok. artradarjournal.com

His work The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) is currently showing at the Singapore Biennale Every Step In The Right Direction 2019. Huntrakul was first interested in pottery in 1998 when his late brother brought back the funky ceramic pots from the school in the USA. Then, Huntrakul started to experiment with clay by himself. Years later after going through formal art education, he still prefers fired clay to create artworks that are recognizable yet unknown.

The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) Singapore Biennale Every Step In The Right Direction 2019.
BAN CHIANG UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE, Middle period. Pots were fired and then red designs were applied. dimensionalhearttraveler.com

The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) consists of 16 pieces of ceramic pots reproduced recently based on the red pottery discovered in 1966 at Ban Chiang Archaeological Site in the Udon Thani province of Thailand. The 16 pots paired with 16 concerning quotes regarding the current affairs such as Universal Healthcare, Universal Labor Rights, and climate change. The history of the Archaeological Site traces back to the early Bronze Age civilizations around 2,000 BCE. The original red pottery has distinctive red decorations, however, Huntrakul left his reproduction unpainted and quietly sitting on the wooden shelves. It seems like it requires the viewers to have certain bits of knowledge of the history to interpretate his work at first glance, yet those issues are well known. I think this work is probably using the past and present to question the future of humanity. As the title suggests that our soul is properly lost in the chase of progression that caused various social, political and environmental issues, and history might be able to remind us of our roots and lead our way back to the right track. 

Unlike other socially engaged arts outside of the art studio and gallery space, his works seem to be more subtle. The viewers’ are probably participating as they actively contemplate the work. As Pablo Helguera mentioned in his book, Education for Socially Engaged Art that:

“The visitor or viewer contemplates the work in a reflective manner, in a passive detachment that is nonetheless a form of participation. The artist Muntadas posted this warning for one of his exhibitions: ‘Attention: Perception Requires Participation.’”

Although there is a certain level of participation, I will not see this as a socially engaged art. It is because I believe in Alexis Frasz & Holly Sidford’s theory that “socially engaged art is the sum of the aesthetic product and an intentional social impact, and the process of developing the work – often in concert with community members — may even be the ‘product.’” Nevertheless, it is a well thought and crafted studio art that conveys clear social messages.

Lastly, in terms of the exhibition space, I would suggest replacing the wood selves with white shelves or stands. The colour of the pot and the shelves are very similar. I think having a white background will isolate the artwork more to create better contrast. If the set up is the artist’s intention, I would like to find out the reasons behind it.






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“There are More Monsoon Songs Elsewhere”: Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakul on subtle activism at 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok

Dusadee Huntrakul



I would like to bring something fresh to the table to spark conversations and stretch our minds.