4D Serendipity: A Grandfather Story

For the past couple of days, I have been struggling with the seemingly impossible task of presenting qualia. I’ve sent an email to a company to get a quote on the prints but have not gotten back from them. I doubt that it will be affordable. Still, I was committed to the idea of using lenticular printing for project 1 to present qualia. At the back of my head though, I was thinking of coming up with a back up.

Cut to 27 August 2016, where I went to a hobby shop in Chinatown to get Balsa wood for Foundation 3D. The interior was filled with handcrafted helicopters hanging from the ceiling in this nook of a shop in the old and grey Fook Hai Building.

I approached the well-spoken old man running the shop for Balsa wood and got what I asked for before he went off to talk to another customer. The man’s wife approached me so I thought to ask how long they have been doing this. She told me that they have been running the shop since the 1960s and that her husband has always loved making crafts. That’s when all the dots were connected for me. The old man reminded me my grandfather and seeing how happy he was to be doing what he loved made me realise that I have been approaching this project completely wrong. Art does not have to be a struggle. It can be enjoyable and damn it all if I don’t enjoy doing this.

My grandfather loved making things. He’s been doing so since the 1970s. I want to showcase the things that he has done with him telling a story about why he made them during those times. I’m hoping to gain a deeper insight into the person that he was and the person he has become. In a way, this would be a follow up to his memoirs which I edited with friends last year for his birthday.


Grandfather-Grandson bonding. <3

On Consciousness and impossible tasks

The abstract concept of consciousness has been puzzling me for the past couple of years ever since I watched the movie Waking Life. In it, a man slips in and out of lucid dreaming and experiences bizarre dreams filled with philosophical elements.

The movie title itself comes from a quote by George Santayana, ‘Sanity is madness put to good uses, waking life is a dream controlled.’

I wanted to be able to show that feeling of experiencing life as a dream. Upon further assessment, however, I realised that there was not much to that for me other than being able to express that. I wanted to go deeper.


While reading up on Consciousness, I chanced upon the word ‘Qualia‘. In Quining Qualia by Daniel Dennett, Qualia is defined as “the way things seems to us”. As an exaggerated example, how I am seeing the blue of the sky is different from how you are seeing the blue of the sky. I like to entertain the idea that Qualia is a defining aspect of consciousness; that without qualia, we are no different from robots.

While the existence of qualia is hotly debated in philosophy circles, I am not attempting to give my opinion on the matter. What I am truly interested in is the idea that everyone is experiencing entirely different things while physically going through the same thing; as per the example given. The problem that I have is that qualia is just what it is. We all experience something when we eat a fruit. we can label these experiences the same way; i.e. lemons taste ‘sour’. But we could be having different qualia; i.e. the sourness tastes different to us.

I thought about photoshopping an object to several different colours in different photos but that would be an oversimplification of qualia and completely uninspired.

Oh god, what have I gotten myself into.

With that in mind, I came up with potential ideas for Project 1:

  1. Since it is impossible to show that we have different qualia based on the same ‘label’ (e.g. the colour ‘blue’), I want to present it in the complete opposite manner (although slightly simplified). Different fruits with the same taste (lemons, limes, grapefruits) – sour. The taste is the same but the medium of experiencing the taste is different. Conversely, for qualia, the medium is the same but the ‘taste’ is different, i.e. the medium is a lemon but what it is like to taste the lemon is different for each individual.
  2. A series of colour-focused photographs that have the effect of changing in colour depending on the angle you see the photo – Lenticular printing. For example, a picture of the colour blue from straight on that turns to turquoise or teal when viewed from the side.

    Oooo, fancy

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Scavenger Photo Hunt

Class Activity 1: In which we walk around NTU to take photos that we feel express or communicate certain thoughts we have regarding the given titles.

  1. Something that is not “NTU” at all
    Having interacted with the people of NTU so far, as well as the facilities, I’ve concluded that NTU is not “waste” at all.
  2. Someone not studying in NTU
    This is a straight forward image of a person not studying in NTU for the simple fact that he is not with us. RIP. However, I find it interesting how his words are immortalised to inspire those who are studying here.
  3. Someone studying in NTU
    Not in the commonly used sense of the word, though still very literal, this woman is studying the nuts and taking stock.
  4. Useless image you see
    This image features a sign that says “Do not walk along the road” as well as my subject’s clear disregard for the sign; myself included. I find this humorous and ironic.
  5. Useful image you see
    Deals, being a huge part of Singapore Culture, makes this image all the more relevant its usefulness.
  6. Nature
    The communication and interaction between two people is a intrinsic aspect of human.
  7. Urban Nature
    Making use of nature as inspiration, the design of this building is made to look like the canopy of a forest.
  8. Urban
    It is ironic that the phones are used for communication but as a result, ruins live interaction and communication. This is a stark contrast from nature.
  9. Singapore
    National Service and Singapore (to me) are synonymous. Everything we did, we did for the country. Through the pains and struggle, we form bonds and become family.
  10. A place where art is shown
    Quite literally, this is a stage where art is performed in various mediums.
  11. A place where art is made
    My attempt at being clever by saying that art is made in my mind.
  12. A photograph with a faculty
    Taken from just opposite Faculty Avenue, this avenue of its own runs along a row of houses where several faculty of NTU stay.
  13. What the Earth Observatory of Singapore may be about
    EOS is about the researching of climate change, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis – represented by the ongoing construction, colours and strong shadows caused by sunlight.