IMAGE THROUGH TYPE
LOCALE | ST. JOHN’S ISLAND
ZINE | MY 5 SENSES
5 Min Trailer Video:
Makeup Artist: JJ
Makeup Artist: Naomi
Makeup Artist: Joey
Nok Wan, Naomi, JJ, Joey
Hall Room in Pioneer Hall
Instalive + InstaPoll
Our project “Fans do my makeup!” is a VLOG project conducted via Instalive. The story is about how two (girls?) people get ready for their individual appointments but need help in preparing their makeup! They hence seek help through Instalive in hopes to obtain good advice and opinions about how to put on the best makeup.
After their time limit is over (their uber came), their photos are taken and put up on a Instapoll to determine who has the best makeup done by the live audience.
However, here’s the catch; there is someone behind the person going on a date, helping them to apply the makeup blindly while pretending that their own hands belong to the Dating person.
The location that we picked is my room in Pioneer Hall despite previously considering places such as Clarke Quay (our first idea that never happened) and School (Our second idea which happened but failed). This is because we felt that a personal room is where people usually do their own private things a.k.a studying, sleeping, etc. which are rather intimate things. To allow people to intrude onto this personal privacy through a Third Space like Instagram, however, is quite normal for many people, which is weird because the Third Space consists more strangers than the people you interact with in real life. Hence, to us, this is a sort of Glitch in terms of social norms, and would also like to relate this concept to one of the requirements of our project; to show the contrast between real life and the Third Space.
How does it relate to DIWO + 3rd Space + Glitch:
Our project is a project that would only be possible, and was possible, with the help of online contributants through Instagram, which is a 3rd Space. With everyone contributing their ideas through their comments and us following the instructions given in putting the makeup, we could create a DIWO project made from the face as a canvas and makeup as its paint. However, there is also a second layer of DIWO, which arises from how there is a secondary person helping the first person put on the makeup. This is DIWO because the makeup is not done by the ‘protagonist’ of the video; rather, it is done by someone who is also a contributant. This makeup artist has the liberty and freedom to draw however he or she wants, in his or her own method of perceiving things. He or she can choose not to follow the instructions or not, and essentially becomes their own artist as well (can be seen from how some absurd instructions in the Instalive is not followed because it is too extreme such as shaving the person bald). It is clearly a 3rd Space project, because other than the makeup artist and their human canvas, all instructions are done via Instalive where not everyone knows each other and are not communicating with each other physically in real life.
Glitch comes in through the makeup and the comments given. Some of the instructions given are clashing, which creates a distortion in the final outcome. Each artist may have a certain appearance in mind when they give instructions on how to do the makeup, but their own plans are disrupted when another person, based on their own imagination, gives an instruction which clashes with their own. If we chose to do both makeup, it essentially creates a glitch two ways; firstly, because what was previously imagined by the audience is being interrupted by another’s ideas and secondly, because the makeup itself clashes with each other. Glitch in our project has a second layer too, which comes in through the human error; when we are not able to translate the ideas that are prompted onto our human canvas properly. This imperfection is essentially a disruption caused by our inability to replicate ideas and things end up not turning out like how we want it to be.
Then comes the polling at the end of the project; this polling is done through Third Space (Instapoll), and is meant to serve as a representation that even though different people come together and put their ideas together, there will still be preferences which shows that the concept of DIWO and the Third Space is essentially a glitch; because it is not perfect, yet successful at the same time because it is acceptable by all (shown by neutral results of the polling).
Hence, our project reconciles all 3 ideas.
Research and References:
We took our inspirations from very everyday things; YouTube VLOGS about makeup tutorials, dress-up and makeup games in childhood gaming websites, buzzfeed videos where hosts ask twitter followers for responses to decide their next actions, and even Q&A sessions hosted by YouTubers a.k.a creating content based on what viewers want and suggest.
In a sense, we were trying to replicate being an influencer (even their personalities) hosting their own video channel. From our own experiences, it is these kinds of videos that attract a lot of online traffic because it is 1) Relatable 2) Engaging and 3) Interactive. The audience feels that they are part of the project regardless from where they are, hence feeling more involved because their opinions matter.
The above listed are other examples we took inspiration from.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Human Canvas: Nok Wan (Rehearsal), JJ, Naomi
Secondary Makeup Artist: Joey (Rehearsal), Naomi, JJ
Video Trailer: Joey
Instagram Live: JJ
Instagram Poll: Naomi
Room and Makeup: Joey
Cameras (Video): JJ, Nok Wan
Cameras (Photos): Everyone
It was one wreck of a roller coaster ride. Our first idea revolved around getting someone to act like they were drunk at Clarke Quay and for the actor to latch onto a random stranger and their actions would be determined via Facebook live stream. This idea was very agreeable until we ran into hefty logistical problems. Then, we switched our idea to that of having a Collaborative Concert with people suggesting how to play a cover of a song through FB Live, instructing the players in another room. However, that failed badly too because of the time lag and lack of volume in the social media platforms we invested in.
In the end, we decided to go with this Makeup Vlog idea. Makeup came to mind because most of us do not have prior experience with putting on proper makeup. In fact, I was the only one who had a sort of idea (note: a sort of) in how to put makeup and its steps. Even I was not that sure about how to do it. Then we thought, hey, why don’t we ask other people to help? There came the birth of this idea.
However, we decided to increase the difficulty by including an obstacle, which is by letting a blind secondary makeup artist put on the makeup for us. This added another layer of DIWO for us as well, as mentioned above. It also made our project more socially inclusive because there is not only one individual involved in the process of the makeover and it requires collaborative effort to create a whole, realistic performance.
When we did the Rehearsal with Nok Wan, we did it with her as herself but decided that it may be more fun to make the actual run seem like YouTube personalities doing their own makeup tutorials, showcasing the products used and explaining the steps a.k.a being very talkative. This blended the whole performance and its random additions more convincingly because it would seem that the “Influencers” were in more control of their actions and they know what they are doing. Also, this meant that everyone essentially became a performer.
Unexpected Elements + Failures:
There were so many unexpected errors popping out here and there. Other than the failure of our ideas from our past two ideas (which I mentioned in front), our current one also had problems such as how to make the secondary artist’s hands look convincing, personal space issue (the space between the secondary artist and the ‘Influencer’ had to be… pretty close. Yep. Pretty close.) and the inability to see which makeup we were supposed to pick up and put on. However, these errors eventually became happy accidents where they strengthened our concept of Glitch and DIWO. There was also a social media time lag, where the comments on the host’s phone was always on time but on everybody else’s phone, it was slower by a few seconds, which made it hard to reconcile. Also, the barrage of comments was quite overwhelming and we had to constantly scan through all the comments to make sure we did not leave out anything unintentionally. In this particular idea, some of our errors and unexpected elements ended up being Happy accidents, which made us pretty happy (maybe satisfied is a better word) about it.
This Zine Project has been a huge roller coaster for myself. I went through so much pain and torture because I chose a difficult location as my subject; St. John’s Island. Do not get me wrong, I adore the place to the moon and back, but it was just too special. I could identify a lot of things with St. John’s Island and it was just so magical the two times I went there, but to pinpoint something and make it into an abstract was considerable hard work for me. I spent weeks thinking and pondering about what I wanted to focus on, running different ideas through my brain.
AT THE BEGINNING:
When the Zine Locale brief was given, I couldn’t really think of a striking place in Singapore that interested me. I decided to explore my options off the coast of the Mainland and my options quickly arrived on the Southern Islands. I chose St. John’s Island because I knew it was just that unique. It was so different from all the other places I have been to in Singapore, and despite the high ferry cost, it was an island gem few visited. It was for adventurers, and for people who wanted to get away from the bustling city life.
The few things I identified at first were:
There were too many things. Seriously.
At first, the direction of my project was at a totally different from my final one. I was dead stubborn about focusing my project on its history simply because it was so rich, and there was no place in Singapore with so many events occurring so crazily. However, I was rejected (crai) and decided to focus on its scenic instead. I made surveys with people I knew to ask them about what they thought about the island (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11iX6LJYCWFe6jqpMG6GyMtnZMCnnFx2b5dPf1AFxwg8/edit), and recorded interviews with strangers on the island (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sISCwhbE54k). I took many photos, without an actual idea about the direction I was going into.
Soon, I decided that I should stop being so narrow-minded just because I adored history, and instead go for something more light-hearted.
Below is my ZINE I presentation:
AND THEN I BEGAN THE TOUGHER PART:
Now, I had to determine what was the one quality of the place I wanted to focus on. It had to be special and found in no other part of Singapore. The construction of ZINE II had to be abstract as well. I was stuck stiff for sure.
I ran through different inspirations and decided hey, why not let us go with the idea of how different St. John’s Island is from Mainland Singapore. I determined earlier that SJI was just like a Jack (or John?) of all trades; it had a little of everything special and was so good at its job. I read through the comments given by my friends and then chose to work on a storyline of two children who lived on Mainland Singapore and SJI respectively, who exchanged letters and scrapbooks and photos about their way of life in the two different places.
However, I hit a wall; I could not reconcile the two ideas properly because it may dangerously fall into the territory of talking about SJI in just about half of the Zine. Hence, I decided to make it like a scrapbook combining both children’s experiences together, utilizing photos from the island (a requirement).
However… it was turned down because it was not abstract enough. Sigh.
So I wrecked my brain and did a few mental backflips, staring at the list and rough idea sketch I made previously:
City vs St. John’s Island
Smell, touch, feeling, sight, sound.
NOISE + WORK AND STUDIES: Background: Smoke
Peace: Background: CLEAN CLOUDS
Technology: Background: Road
Kampung Life: Background: Sea
Instant: Background: Marble Counter
Natural and Slow: Background: Wooden Counter
Then, I decided that I talking about how I felt about the island. In other words, my 5 senses. Through my previous consultations, I was also told to explore mark-making. I also then realized that the reason why I had so much difficulty figuring out what I wanted to focus on was because my experience at the island was not one I could justify with both text and images. I decided to reconcile all these points and create a Zine about how a person would feel if they were at the island; how they smelled, touched, heard, saw and tasted the island. What if you lost all your 5 senses? How would you describe these feelings you had at the island?
Here are my inspirations:
Here are my draft 1s:
The feedback that I got was that it was too literal (the text) so I should remove the words and replace it with words that followed the flow of how I wanted the audience to focus on my work. I also got feedback that my panel on “smell” did not really convey my idea. I also needed to put in more technical ideas. Hence, I had to rework my ideas.
Here is my final piece:
The colour palette I have chosen is Black and White, because I decided that if someone had lost his or her senses, colours would not matter anymore. It was the sensations they felt which becomes most sensitive for them. I chose to create images spread into two pages, because I was talking about the environment of St. John’s Island; it would seem inappropriate to limit the space on an island where I could feel free and seemingly void of tension.
For the first and last page, I chose to use the SJI words on the island itself. Then, I inverted the sight of the city I caught from the island, to show that I was going to talk about the island from top to bottom.
Smell and Taste:
For me, SJI smelled and tasted very raw to me because of its untamed nature and freshness. However, it was also very smooth because of its lack of tension and interruptions (like pollution) in the air and combined together, they were very cohesive. Hence, you can see a dark and light tone contrast, which symbolize how the raw and smooth qualities have bonded into the grey tints in the image. I attempted to use the golden ratio to create an image that is comfortable to the eye. The spirals on the right page symbolizes the calming, controlled smell on the island; light yet different altogether. The sharper angles on the left page symbolized more of the musky yet sharp air I tasted on the island. The emphasis is placed on the right page (where the smell is), hence the weight of the image is on the right. This is because the smell of the island is the first thing I experienced upon stepping on shore, and remained one of the most significant throughout my stay. The image I used to create this pattern is that of one of the pathways by the sea, which I felt reconciled the rocks, the sea, the trees and the sky. It was the one place that had all these main elements I favoured from the island. The image I used is as shown below:
Sight and Sound:
For sight and sound, the things you hear and see are usually just a pile of mess; either the vast seas, the abundant trees and grass, many rocks, etc. There is always a lot of everything, and all these elements when combined together gives us one impression of the island. However, when you take all these qualities apart and analyse them one by one, you are able to determine the magic from each one mark. I used layering of many trees to create this effect. On the left page, it seems that everything is layered quite intense and the tree branches help to establish that there is a lot of noise present. Then, slowly proceeding to the right page, the negative space increases and the branches clashes less now. There is more space to breathe. The total image create a sort of gradient from dark to light to establish how the dark sides are the noise and abundance of all the sounds and sights we see but as we take the elements we see and hear apart and focus on one thing, they become clear as day; very defined, and well-received. The texture is also rough, to represent how each sound and each thing we see has its own personality and detail about it.
The feeling of touch I got from St. John’s Island was mixed. It was scrunchy because of the sand and grass and leaves. Rough, yet sort of easy to grab onto. That was main part I experienced on the island since I never went into the water. Hence, it is the focal point of my image on this spread, and it had the greatest opacity and noise. At the sides, the colours are much lighter, like in light grey and white. These textures are smoother as well, which represented the skies and waters; how they are clear and easy-flowing. The opacity is less, because they are lighter, and are sort of floating in the background compared to where I was standing on the grass and concrete path. It is downward sloping serving as a function to help the eyes flow better. In this picture, the gradient is almost non-existent because I wanted to show how the touch between different elements are very different and defined at the same time.
Overall this project was a long, tedious yet life-changing one for me because I was able to break out of my stubborn shell to explore so many different options for one of the first times. I was forced out of my comfort zone to take on new ideas I was not sure would work and could experience myself jumping up in the middle of the night at the thought of new ideas that could potentially work.
Man, it was one long and tiring journey.