Whilst trying to create a sound for what resembled the experience of Omnipresence Sans Omnipotence, the artist realised that he was not achieving anything close. It would always feel like something was missing; something that could not be expressed. As a result, what came out was a sonic portrait of attempting to perceive something that was unperceivable, i.e. Omnipresence Sans Omnipotence.
The ordinary world makes sense to us. It may not always be explainable, but it makes sense. Some questions beget more questions, ad infinitum. That was the case with Omnipresence Sans Omnipotence.
This sonic portrait is about the descent down the rabbit hole, getting some idea, but mostly getting more questions and eventually, being overwhelmed by the experience.
I wanted to create a sound for something that could not be seen. Somehow, my mind wandered into Omnipresence, specifically, Omnipresence Sans Omnipotence.
I researched on all the given sound designers and decided to reference Chong Li-Chuan who made The Bowing Plant’s Dream. I thought about Bani Haykal’s work as it seemed like a relevant style, but for the life of me, I just could not understand his art.
I recorded all the sounds used in the submitted work. I knew that I wanted to use musical instruments to create a variety of sounds of different quality so that I could experiment on them in Audition. Apart from that, I seized the opportunity with the H4 zoom to record what I could from my surroundings before I had to return it.
Up to this point, I only had a vague idea of what Omnipresence was to me. I was hoping that through listening to the different sound qualities that I had recorded, I would form a better understanding of what I wanted. However, I still formed no impression of the idea. I then told myself, “Just make a rough cut. Maybe then it’ll make sense.”
It didn’t. Perhaps it might convey the idea of Omnipresence to someone, but I could not convince myself.
After taking a break and returning, I listened to it again and it dawned on me that it sounded like someone attempting to perceive something unperceivable. From there, I aligned the sonic portrait to fit the new idea.
What is a sonic portrait even?
After thinking about it for a bit while feeling sick over the Recess Week…in Phuket. I came up with a simple idea about happiness. Sure, I didn’t feel as much for this, but time was tight and there was a part of me that wanted to take a completely different approach and idea as compared to Project 1. I thought about the last time I was happy and was immediately pointed to the zoo trip for Foundation Drawing on the Monday of Recess Week. Sometime after lunch, while I was 80% done with my submissions, I felt a rumble in my tummy, a churning of the belly; a desperate need for release.
I thought about the last time I was happy and was immediately pointed to the zoo trip for Foundation Drawing on the Monday of Recess Week. Sometime after lunch, while I was 80% done with my submissions, I felt a rumble in my tummy, a churning of the belly; a desperate need for release. 😐
Knowing that it was just about after lunchtime, the restrooms near the food court would be crowded. Thinking I was the very smartboi, I went in the other direction, to where more animal enclosures were, believing that I would find another toilet.
Then another rumble, and another churning, and this time: a sharp pain. Quick as a bunny with nothing on it (no clothes, no fur or anything) I sped back to the food court, passing by tranquil sun bears and the lazing Orang Utans – and my classmates, painting.
(This story has gone on for quite awhile, hasn’t it?)
So there I was, rushing to the restroom, knowing that I might break at any moment- knowing that I would face the most dreaded Singaporean thing: a queue.
Upon entering the restroom, I saw kids and adults walking about or doing their business. Let’s not go into detail about that. The point is: all the cubicles were occupied – except for one. “Don’t get your hopes up,” I told myself. “It’s going to be clogged or…have ‘murals’.”
Hesitantly okay no that’s not true, I barged in. AND IT WAS CLEAN! And there was toilet paper.
That is true happiness.
TL;DR I needed to poop and there so happened to be one empty cubicle that was both clean and had toilet paper, in the zoo, just after lunch.
So that was how I came up with the initial idea– and also my fallback idea.
Now, after vomiting out this idea/concept, I thought of a new idea, albeit just the idea. I want to explore the sounds of omnipresence sans omnipotence. I expect that it will be near impossible to depict the sounds experienced, literally. As such, I might attempt to take a metaphorical approach.
For now, I imagine immense pain, which makes me think of the ringing in the ear (tinnitus or something like that). Just a place to start for now.
After weeks of gruelling assignment after assignment after assignment after assignment, I was forced to leave the Technological University of the Nanyang in search of something majestical to capture within the vicinity of the Land of the First Men – Pioneer.
It took awhile for my eyes to adjust to the new surroundings. I saw, lying on the patch of green, a crimson orb that has been keeping the secrets of an old tree.
I saw many more wonderful things.
I saw many different portals to new worlds. I saw the moon.
There were people who had been around the Land of the First Men, but all that was left was their chairs to tell their stories.
I looked up the concrete towers of fabric and saw paradise. The wind would blow and I would hear what each line of fabric had to say to me. They were reaching out to me and I was thoroughly entranced.
10/10 would definitely come back.
or how I’m a slow thinker and require some time before I can properly reply.
After all my submissions were done and I had some time to think, I managed to answer the question of what aspect of the film I made was anti-kitsch.
I think that it was the face that I was trying to use visuals that were nothing fancy to tell the story. I made no use of bokeh shots, no use of camera movement, no use of actors. There was no use music and no use of video transitions. I did, however, make use of the fast colour corrector to desaturate my visuals. It was a conscious decision to desaturate by quite a bit as opposed to completely grey-scaling the footage. I think that in this case, it made sense and doesn’t compromise on my anti-kitsch approach. To make use of colours would be to send a strong visual message and by dulling the colours, there is new beauty to experience. That, to me, is the heart of anti-kitsch.
Whatever will be, will be.
The main elements of being a taxi driver that I wanted to highlight were the cab signs of Singapore, the car itself, and the beaded seats that all cab drivers seem to use.
For this design, my name is placed on the side of a taxi car. It is meant to feel flatter than the other designs; as though it was floating in space. This gave me room to deliver a clearer message.
I combined the cab sign and the beaded seats to form the typeface, imagining what it would be like if I were to create a whole font series. I made sure to keep the element to a minimum to ensure that the communication would be clear and not possibly confuse.
I made the background to look like the side of a car, specifically a yellow car. We can tell that it is a car with the hint of a wheel on the bottom left. There is also a metallic shine/sheen on the yellow area to enhance the believability that it is a car.
I used the colour yellow for the car because taxi cabs in Singapore are easily identified as being yellow or blue- which is why the cab sign is in the ComfortDelgro blue.
The main elements of being a professional wrestler that I wanted to highlight were the ring, the championship belt, the tights, the referee, and the fans.
One thing that I had to be aware of is that I did not want people to mistake this composition as actual wrestling like in the olympics or like UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Because of that, I made the setting less gritty. I even made the tights, yellow.
The typeface looks like actual characters in a scene: J, the wrestling champion, and O, the referee. I distinctly wanted to give this a 3D effect to give it an almost cartoon vibe. This also gives the font some literal weight, enhanced by the shadows. I chose my setting/background to be off centre to create more dynamism in my composition. This also allowed the typography to have more space. As a result, I have a more balanced composition.
I added diamond shaped camera flashes from the adoring fans to have small accents in the composition to create visual interest. I repeated the heads of the fans to create an in-situ. Just the heads was enough.
I made minimal use of colours. I used mostly greys so that when I did use colour, it would stand out all the more – the funny yellow tights, the red in the ring ropes evoke that sort of fiery passion of both myself, for the job, and of the fans as well.
The main elements of being a filmmaker that I wanted to highlight were the clapper board, the camera lens, and the film reel.
I used the elements of the clapper board and camera lens to create the typeface of my name. The camera lens, accompanied by the clapper board make it clear that I am a filmmaker as opposed to a photographer.
I wanted to go against my instincts in this composition. I wanted to really get out of my comfort zone. Even though it was already clear what my future job was, I needed another element to the design, so I used film reel to give a sense of depth, texture, and patterns.
I used the colour brown as a background because I wanted to give a nostalgic/sepia/homely feel to the design. Filmmaking is, after all, where I feel most at home.
The main elements of being a gangster graphic designer that I wanted to highlight were the O$P$ graffiti, and the spray paint.
Though this one had the fewest elements, I felt that the job was specific enough and that I could express this job in ways other than just the elements.
As with the taxi driver design, I imagined what it would be like to create a whole font series with the spray paint. I felt that I made sure that it looks like a spray can/bottle because it is modelled after iconic spray paint brand, Anchor.
With the design of the background, I filled it with the O$P$ sign (with a twist). Instead of having the O$P$ sign be random or clumsily done, it is neatly done in repetition, giving off the idea that it is a graphic designer’s handiwork. The background is tilted at an angle to create dynamism in the composition while not looking messy, another trait of graphic designers.
Choosing the colour red was an obvious choice, but I had to make it look a little more on the bloody side to accentuate the violence that is often associated with gangs.
Signs, symbols, interpretation; pattern; texture; colour
My main goal for this project is to experiment more with design/composition as well as colours. I also plan on either drawing/painting or illustrating my final compositions because money is tight – plain and simple.
I started off this project by sketching out a couple of jobs that I wanted to work on. I did not think about what aesthetics I could make use of first because I did not want to create what has already been created. People will argue with me about this but this process is more organic to me and it is how I have to do things.
These were based off my own ideas of trying to create typography and blend it with the future job. After the consultation, however, I was told that I should imagine if the letter was the job. That meant that we were to characterise our letters; in my case, J and O.
With that, I came up with a couple of new thumbnails (some of which can be seen with the sketches above)
I then worked on turning the thumbnails into illustrations.
I was looking out for inspiration and it so happened that I was having MacDonald’s, one day, near Chinese New Year. They were giving out Angpaos that had really nice illustrations. I decided to try adapting this style to create my compositions.
I looked for points of reference for my elements, then implemented them in my designs.
After working sufficiently on the rough versions of the illustrations, I brought them for consultation again. This time though, I was told that I should create a single font style for each job. I was a little perplexed now. Was there a wrong way of doing typography? Were things right one week and wrong the next? Perhaps this was just a means of creating variety in the work. Nevertheless, the client gets what the client wants – those are the rules of the game.
To be fair though, I believe that the taxi driver one was difficult to decipher.
In the end, I had a mixture of typography (typographies?) that were either characters or that could be a full set.
In hindsight, variety is probably good.
I experimented with colours, spacing and trying the O as the stencil for the $. All of these were steps in the right direction.
This was the right direction I wanted to be heading in. It was getting better. I liked that even though they were all illustrations, they had styles that made them diverse.
I need to add a metallic sheen on the taxi. It was hard to find a way to do that. I also needed to straighten the clapper board in the filmmaking composition because there were enough angled film reels. This would give variety to the design. A couple more tweaks and I should have my designs.
- This is an epilogue of the story of friendship between Scrawny Boy and Overweight Boy told by a narrator, though it is more about Scrawny Boy now. It is a sort of down-to-earth “ever after” for Scrawny Boy who realises that since the first best friend he had made, he has never kept his friends for long. The scrawny boy is the narrator and he contemplates his decisions and accepts that this is how it is for him and even though it will ultimately make him irrelevant, unknown and lonely, he would choose this over taking up the weight of other people. What we see in the visuals as the story is being told is not Scrawny Boy’s face, he does not wish for lasting impression on himself. Instead, he films the locations where he had memories with friends as he contemplates. Are they just locations now? Do they even have meaning to other people?
- I started out coming up what character in Sabina that I wanted to focus on. Since this project is not about identifying who the alter ego is, for me, I made this a challenge to make something more serious.It is debatable whether process is art. Maybe not to others, but to the artist, myself specifically, it is just as important as the outcome. I filmed at locations where I had spent time with friends who are now mostly strangers to me. I had some prior references of artists including Werner Herzog, Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Win Wenders’ Paris, Texas. I wanted to create an effective monologue like in Paris, Texas while having the visuals of Linklater’s Before Sunrise where there are wide shots of locations, significant to the characters, in the epilogue. I have also been trying to condition myself to work without a storyboard, just like Herzog, especially for individual work to train myself to find beauty and opportunity in the process.
Naturally, there are challenges in trying to achieve these things but we have to be creative or make compromises and that is the fun in filmmaking. While filming, it rained. Some locations had changed over time. I had no tripod, so I filmed without one. I wanted it to look like Scrawny Boy was going filming it anyway. I just tried to use all of these things to my advantage and if I couldn’t, I made do. I had many shots to work with as a result. Because of that, I had a lot of shots to go through. I don’t enjoy having to hear my voice and if I had a choice I wouldn’t do it, but it made sense for me to do it, so I did it.
- There is no storyboard, but I did have a list of locations I wanted to go to.
Playground/basketball court near the primary schoolOld House Blk 222
The basketball court near Ojas’ house
The LAN shop at Elias mall
The bus ride to Yishun (?) KIV
The benches in Singapore Poly
The ADM basement
Swing at the park
Bridge near the canal
Path from VivoCity to Sentosa
Marina Bay Sands/ArtScience Museum area
Something with my family/ah kong
Because there is a proper way of submitting the assignment, I will just stream of consciousness this process of sorts over here instead.
I had the joy of not having a friend to perform the role Sabina for me so I decided that I should be my own alter ego. The result was a blend between two of us. Coincidentally, this made the story I wrote from week one of class, relevant. Below is the entire story I had to read out in all its unedited glory.
“Once upon a time there was a short and scrawny boy studying in primary school. He had no friends, was not particularly good in his studies and was, overall, a forgettable person. One day, he received a letter from the school; an invitation to join the school choir. Now, while he was quiet and introverted, he also had very little going on in his life. He thought to himself, “why not?”
The choir practice room was filled with a sea of girls and one loud, overweight boy. Overweight Boy was comfortably talking to the other choir members when he saw Scrawny Boy sitting down in a corner of the music room. His eyes lit up in surprise, realising that the quiet kid from his class would consider joining the school choir, a form of performance art no less. Overweight Boy made his way across the room and with a smile, said, “Hi,” Caught off-guard by Overweight Boy’s approach, Scrawny Boy was at a loss for words. Scrawny Boy thought of many things. He thought of ways to escape this confrontation. He thought he might cry. He thought of how silly he looked to everyone else in the room. With great effort, he managed to mouth the words, “Hi.”
This might seem like an insignificant incident to most, but this is precisely how Scrawny Boy and Overweight Boy became best friends.”
(through the rest of primary school)
The starting point of my film sort of carries on from the end of this story; a sort of down-to-earth “ever after”.
The film is titled, “Epilogue” and will be in the official post.
I had wide shots, medium shots, close-ups, flat shots, and angled shots.
I had the words. Now I needed the sentence. I made two rough cuts, all of which I dislike at this point.
In the first cut, it was intended to be done with a monologue by “Sabina” talking about choosing lightness and the loneliness and other things that come with it.
In the “frontal cut”, it would be more from the perspective of “Sabina” just coming to the realisation and understanding that this is, fundamentally, her. She will never change, but maybe she wonders what it would be like if she had chosen otherwise.
Some shots were not great. I like the first one better because the emotions come out better. I am hesitant to desaturate the colours to manipulate the emotions, making it more dramatic than it ought to be, which is actually meant to be more contemplative. Still, I will do it because aren’t we all here to try. Anyway, having colours could be distracting and conflicting to the story.
I wrote the lines while looking at the edit so that I could fit the words to compliment the visuals. I used Paris, Texas as a point of reference in terms of delivery of the lines. I did not want to give off the exact same emotions as the movie. This is, after all, an entirely different story.
What came out was a deeply boring video that will put you off within the first few seconds. Still, this piece of work is for me, mostly.
I felt that the delivery of the lines were too lifeless, but I didn’t want to go too much in the opposite direction. What I needed was to go up by about 20%, or change the lines.
I gave in eventually and watched the film adaptation of book – 3 hours of my time. It did not really help me in coming up with lines but it did give me a small understanding of the feelings of Sabina.
Ultimately, I made it more of a mesh between the two of us. I felt that there were enough parallels in character that infusing her thoughts with mine would make sense.
Geez. I’m embarrassed to post these up. Most people have nice process visuals and all I have is failure. I must have re-recorded the lines at least 10 times. More tweaking to audio and lines needs to be done, but I think I am set on the visuals. I chose not to completely desaturate the footage because I think that black and white is almost stylistic already. What I want to achieve is the footage being dull but having interesting composition. Likewise, there is good and bad in choosing lightness or weight.