Cool Visual Projects (By Others) That I Dig

  1. Vivid Verse by Emma Zhang

2. The Stories Behind a Line by Federica Fragapane & Alex Piacentini

3. Complaints Department operated by Guerrilla Girls

LIVE FROM TATE EXCHANGE: Join the Guerrilla Girls talking to Tate curator Madeleine Keep about the importance of complaining ???

Posted by Tate on Friday, 7 October 2016

Keyword Development + More of Research Done

Finding the positives in negative psychology

1. The Atlantic – Complaining for Your Health

While there is an abundance of google results that lean towards complaining as a big no-no, I was pleasantly surprised to come across this Atlantic magazine article that highlights the benefits of airing grievances. It was a great stepping stone in my research as the writer had cited and referenced scholars and studies that were relevant to my topic of interest.

One of them was Robin Kowalski, one of the (very) few psychology professors and researchers, who had done a number of studies that were related to the act of complaining, such as: her pet peeves study suggested that “happier, more mindful individuals may be better at modulating their complaints, preferring to complain only when it serves a purpose” // another study showed that “people with high self-esteem complain more frequently, possibly because those with more confidence are more likely to believe that speaking up will turn things in their favour”.

2. The School of Life – How to Complain

3. The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis by Aaron Schuster

Another interesting read was this philosophy book and its enclosed chapter “Critique of Pure Complaint”. Schuster makes a point of how some people complain simply for the pleasure of it (jouissance); “the act thrives in its own dissatisfaction” and that “nothing proves that pleasure is a happy affair”. He also cites Nancy Ries in how complaining creates communities; it is not merely a private affair, it is ideological.

This led me to think of complaining in the Singapore context. If America has its culture of optimism, Japan practices a culture of restraint and perhaps East European countries and their culture of pro-kvetching, what about our Singapore culture?

As such, a potential area of research moving forward would be to investigate:

  • What is the extent to which Singaporeans express their level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with life in the city?
  • Is there a correlation between levels of dissatisfaction and inclination to complain among Singaporeans?



Topic Considerations: Happiness, immigration, & complaining as Singapore’s favourite pastime

Beginning the academic year riddled with uncertainty on what to tackle for my FYP, I turned to the World Happiness Report of 2018 for some insight on how Singapore has fared on the global stage:

Singapore ranked 34th in World Happiness Report 2018, Finland takes top position.

Besides the common metrics of well-being, income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity, this year’s report included the well-being of immigrant population in each country.

“The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said co-editor Professor John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia, Canada in a statement.

“Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries. Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose,” though the adjustment of happiness is not complete, as migrants still reflect in part the happiness of their birth country.” – The Peak Magazine

Unsurprisingly, Singapore’s ranking fell 4 notches from its previous position of 26th in 2017. While the results are somewhat discouraging, the meaty topic of immigration in Singapore has always been once of high relevance, mainly as economic, social and cultural concerns. As the government continues to push its pro-immigration stance since 2013 (The White Paper), native Singaporeans outpour of complaints (and tone) has also not changed.

Keyword Map

Lily, A Water-saving Project

Research Outline
  • Singapore’s water supply is well governed
  • Despite the sound reasons for water price hikes, there is discontentment
  • Singaporeans generally do not track their water consumption closely

To view research: CLICK HERE

Point of View (Persona)

John is an average Singaporean. Leads a hectic and fast-paced lifestyle; does not allow for him to keep track of how much water he uses for domestic purposes. Hence, his efforts to control water consumption is minimal, leans towards convenience. He needs to be aware of how much water he consumes at home so that he truly understands the intrinsic value of water as a limited resource.

How Might We?
  • How might we inspire him to make water efficiency a lifestyle choice?
  • How might we make water conservation appealing/progressive?
  • How can we turn water conservation into a communal endeavour?

{ Value Proposition }

A campaign to inspire water conscious behaviour in a manner that is fun and easy, without seemingly interfering on people’s way of life.


  • Integrate music as a campaign component
  • Provide a simple way for audience to monitor consumption
  • Encourage the sharing and engagement of user-generated content

Target Audience

  • Age group 20 – 30
  • Millennials; tech savvy

Brand Identity

|ˈlɪli| :  Based on the flower, the water lily. To differentiate this water conservation project from other campaigns (whether local or global). A human name gives it a human appeal in which audience might resonate with more (much like a mascot) and also functions as a project hook.

Deliverable 01: App

Goal setting – Motivate and enable people to be self-directed when managing water footprint.

Average 5-minute shower breakdown:

5:10  get in              0:03 sec

5:07  get wet           0:09 sec

4:58  shampoo        0:30 sec

4:28  scrub body     0:50 sec

3:38  quick rinse      0:20 sec

3:18  conditioner     0:40 sec

2:38  wash off         0:00 sec

—– Final —–

Interactive link: app prototype on XD

Deliverable 02: Video

Reminder – Serves to publicise campaign and direct audience to website.

Recorded different water sounds from around the house and remixed them into a beat

—– Final —–

Deliverable 03: Microsite

Informational – platform that anchors the campaign. Informs audience about what the campaign is about, water issues and also creates a space for them to encourage each other through self-generated content.

—– Final —–

Interactive link: site prototype on XD

And that’s it!

Motif and Banner Development

Made some new motifs, ditched a few old ones.

Started with three initial colours before deciding to expand my colour palette with gradients! It felt important that the banner would reflect the vibrancy of ghost festivities.

Eliminated some of the old designs from weeks before and narrowed the swatches down to a handful that I’d like to work more with. Am hoping that all scintillation experimentations will be still be effective when printed on something as massive as the banner (fingers crossed).

There was a lot of back and forth, and experimentation when it came to laying out the banner as certain colour combinations just did not work when laid out alongside each other. Many of the initial drafts had too much blue in them that it began to look more like a Japanese-oriented banner. To counter this, reds were used to subdue the blues and many of the elements needed to be reshuffled to maintain some manner of flow throughout the banner.

Latest draft. Probably needs a few more tweaks but its well under way (yay).

Motif Development WIP

From my consult with Gillian, I decided to reconsider and simplify my concept to fit with the visual direction that I want to pursue, while keeping in line with my original intention to execute something a little whacky.

Revised concept

Deconstruct elements and motifs found at hungry ghost festivals and reinterpreting them.

Reference board where all of my sourced images can be found at:

I made a word list of objects/symbols seen at festivals that I’d like to create patterns of (specially entertainment and offerings):

Folded ingots, lotus lanterns, clouds, temples, water, dragons, fire, plastic chairs, oranges, joss papers, food offerings, wayang, getai

With them in mind, I started to sketch some of them on illustrator:

Motifs inspired by a Chinese buddhist temple’s roof and ceiling. Experimentation with the hermann grid; scintillations at intersections.

Scales: played around with various strokes and concentric shapes which gave a rather trippy effect.
Abstract view of folded gold ingots with joss paper.

Am still experimenting with a lot more shapes!

Do dead people watch you shower?

From American Horror Story to Zombieland, storytelling has become a medium for the living to empathise with the dead, whether it’s through a tragic backstory, romantic plotlines or even humour.

Having grown up on Western supernatural lore that played on silver screens, I’ve always enjoyed watching horrific tales for the pure thrill of it (granted, almost always through gaping hands). But at times, they leave me with a curious list of haunting questions to ponder: how human are dead humans? Do they still feel the same way we feel emotions or use our senses? Do ethics and morality still apply to the deceased? Are they watching me right now?

A ghost’s perspective

My approach to this brief is to explore how ghosts view the world in context to the hungry ghost festival (in which the living hosts activities and offerings for the supernatural to partake in) by deconstructing the many motifs, colour and shapes often associated with the festival.



Like bees to honey or moths to flames, perhaps the supernatural are attracted to light, noise, smell; things that are emblematic of life, almost like how mosquitoes use thermal sensory and odor to find humans to feed on.

Using techniques and references from collaging, Memphis design and Japanese textiles, pattern mixing would create wacky visuals that play with the ideas of ‘life of the party’ and surrealism.



Or maybe they see and process everything at once, much like a kaleidoscope, through fractal illusions of grandeur that would leave the human mind spinning in confusion.

While the effect is achievable through digital manipulation, I’m more inclined to print my motifs/patterns and using a handmade mirror prism, photograph the different experimental outcomes. This would allow me to capture texture (that replicate joss papers) and play with light to create eerie vignettes.



Using visual glitches and distortion to emulate sinister self-portraits of hungry ghosts, ready to make mischief on earth.





FD: Pure Imagination Process


  • Short animated clip that revolves around imaginary constellations, seemingly come to life
  • Illustrated through the eyes of a child, it is intended to echoe the Child’s sense of wonder



Landscapes of cities for references (Tokyo, Barcelona)

(By Mash Wakui)


Rough sketches


Colour scheme

colour1 colour2

colour 3




Rendering of clouds



Reference: moon jellyfish


Jellyfish constellation



Alien spaceship constellation


Signboard design #1


Adding texture to vectors

Still of setting

Still of setting




Left: Initial design for constellation Right: Alternative design of city landscape