Monthly Archives: February 2018

Semester Project proposals

I was initially thinking about doing a giant cockroach suit and moving around in public to film their reactions, but I guess someone else had done it already, so there goes that idea… However, in my defense I was just thinking of getting a giant suit rather than filling up a suit filled with actual cockroaches. The niche field of cockroach reactions have already been filled.

I was less certain that my second idea would be free for the taking afterwards, and sure enough, there were numerous art exhibitions where there was nothing being presented . I was initially thinking about doing this as a joke, and although there was an instance where Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring put such an exhibition to prank gallery visitors, (Link) this idea had been taken seriously by Andy Warhol in his artwork titled: Invisible sculpture, and John Cage’s noiseless 4’33, where he just sits in front a piano and does nothing. It was at this point where I was beginning to simultaneously lose faith in humanity and increase my motivation to try something more worthwhile.


IDEA #1:

To approach the third idea, I had three rules that I wanted to stick to. I don’t think that everyone needs to follow this method, but I feel that it helps me to focus on what I want. The first was to ask how much the project cost, and the second was to ask if this installation is going to be practical and easy to make. The third was to see if audiences are more than willing to participate or interact with it.

Hence, I came up with a third idea of making a string sculpture that everyone can contribute to. Since this isn’t entirely a novel concept in an of itself, I decided that this idea should have some form of twist, or include an additional element like papers, plastic bags or pieces of different colored fabrics. Another idea would be to soak each one of them in different brands of soaps and act as a sort of aromatic trail for the viewers. Not all of them are going to be scented, so they’ll have to figure out where they would like to go. Another idea would be to demarcate the region with tape and create an “empty” space that is also filled with annotations.


Another idea I had was to basically freeze as many ice cubes as possible before placing them on a metal framework, which would in turn be affixed to the person. The idea would be to create a small pocket of cold air around the person. I had the other idea of fusing multiple ice cubes together with a little bit of water before placing them back into the freezer. The only problem with this idea is the collection of ice cubes, and the construction of the framework itself.

Constructing a seamless dome shaped helmet by fusing the ice cubes together might work, although I feel that this would most likely be a one-off project that can only be shown as a recording, and not something that can be demonstrated in-class afterwards.

Update 20/2/2018 I’ve added a framework for the ice rack. My approach was to weave together a helmet mesh using only steel cables. Instead of welding them together, i decided to loop every section of the wire onto each other, creating a mesh that resembled more like a barbed wire fence. I made sure to avoid cutting myself, while keeping the cables in tension, while checking to make sure that there weren’t any sharp edges facing inwards. Once the framework was complete, I decided to go for a more freestyle approach, weaving in any direction and seeing where it would take me. Although this particular project was meant more for the next assignment, I thought it would still be noted as part of my research as I could carry over aspects of spacial navigation.


The frame could also be looked at as a miniature for something much larger. It could be a space where cold air is blown in a small dome through the use of fans and ice cubes (like a reverse sauna), or it could be the framework for hanging together coloured strings. The idea would be to create a space where people can cool off after a hard day at work.

Cinerama Review: AK47 vs M16 and Zsa Zsa Zsu

Zsa Zsa Zsu is a music video that was done by a Bandung-based music band called Rock N’ Roll Mafia(RNRM). For the music video, the members of RNRM uses buttons and beads to create a stop motion animation to pair with the music. The lyrics of the song depicts the experiences when a new love interest appear, explaining from both the male and female perspective. The phrase “Zsa Zsa Zsu” first appear in Sex in the City and were used to describe the “lovely, butterflies feeling” when you are with the love interest.

a bloody gorgeous man pours bloody mary into my glass
he asked me a couple questions of courtesy
and for god’s sake he stunned me
his voice so sweet like the mellow sound of saxophone
I bet he’s good at sex on the phone

she’s a happy maiden liberty, she got no wrong in her life
twist your head to change your point of view,
I give you my deepest condolences
and who the hell is she? real thing in front of me,
oh I just only see, but my heart is agree
and who the hell is she? real thing in front of me,
oh I just only see, perhaps you’ll find your zsa zsa zsu

we are a perfect match, cause we will become a featured cast
I suppose, I suppose, we supposed

The use of buttons and beads were no coincidences as well. It were meant to be a tribute to Bandung, the centre for garment manufacturing and Rock N’ Roll Mafia’s hometown. The blend of electronic music and stop motion animation with buttons and beads created a rather strange yet fitting video

Zsa Zsa Zsu is a stop-motion music video by the band RNRM (Rock-and-Roll Mafia). The director of the video goes by the alias of Tromarama; which is actually an art collective consisting of Ebie Babyrose, Herbert Hans, and Ruddy Hatumena. All of whom (Both the band and the collective) hail from Bandung, Indonesia.

The video itself is made entirely of buttons and beads depicting the members of RNRM performing the song. Stylistically the video harks to Tomorama’s style of low-fi and use of the everyday. However the resulting visuals speaks to the collective’s ability to create a polished product no matter the medium; creating a work that invokes a sense of nostalgia and of days past. The buttons and beads also pay tribute to their hometown of Bundung; renowned for being a locus for garment manufacturing.

The second work that we chose to talk about was the AK47 vs M16 installation by the propeller group, a collaborative work between art collectives from Ho chi Minh and Los Angeles. The founders are Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Matt Lucero and Phunam Thuc Ha. In this ultimate video edit, we see footage of assault rifle use from movies such as The american sniper, the lone survivor, jarhead, black hawk down, lord of war, children of men, apocalypse now, full metal jacket, platoon, we were soldiers and many others.

In each movie, there is a different telling of the frontlines, and the nature of war itself. In the movie, we were soldiers, we see the Battle of La Drang unfold, and watch as the weight of the Marine corps’ hubris collapse like a deck of cards. Interestingly, the vast military superiority of the united states was undone due to its outdated “search and destroy” doctrine, which was a new variant of attrition warfare. Instead of strategically capturing positions and routing the enemy, the soldiers would go on search and destroy missions in the aim of fulfilling a kill quota. Anyone well versed in the art of war by Sun Tzu would immediately see the flaw of such a strategy. Firstly, numbers alone don’t confer victory, secondly, the VC would often use the tunnel networks and the cover of the forest to redefine the front, evening the playing field.

Technologically, the newly issued M16 weapon initially suffered from what was referred to a type II malfunction. This meant that the shell casings would remain lodged in the chamber. The cause of this was eventually determined to be an inferior grade of gunpowder which was not tested properly. This crucial second would be the difference life and death, as shown in a sequence in the movie “full metal jacket“, where joker gets the drop on a female Vietcong sniper but lost the element of surprise as his weapon jams. (These problems would eventually be addressed in later iterations) Inversely, production of the AK47 still persist to this day due to its low production costs and reliability.  It can be dropped in mud, sand, snow and water, and even fire reliably (However, it should also be noted that there was also a high rejection rate in the production of the receiver). The 7.62 mm caliber round also outperforms the 5.56 mm round in terms of penetrating power, although its slightly shorter barrel means that overall accuracy is affected in distances longer than 400 meters. This “impediment” wasn’t seen to be an issue as the Russians deemed through experience that the range of 100-400 meters is where most combat usually occurs.

The cheap price, interchangeability, simple production doctrine and universality of the weapon was what stood as the antithesis to the symbol of the american dominance, with the AK47 being sold in over 100 countries. Recently, Anti-Assad forces fighting in the region of northern Aleppo and Idlib have had the support from the US in the form of armaments shipments. (according to documents released by the US’s Federal Businesses Opportunities)

Proxy wars or state sponsored terrorism isn’t new, however, as there has been a long history of the United states sponsoring militant/rebel groups in an effort to destabilize governments loyal to the Soviet government, which is also understandable given the dark history of failed marxist policies and Dekulakization. What I find interesting is that the weapon of choice in which to supplant them was still the AK47, further associating the image of the weapon with tyrannical governments, revolutionaries and power vacuums.

Another technological advancement was the use of helicopters in the field of combat. Although the Bell UH-1 was able to quickly deploy marines in thick jungle and redefine the front uncontested for the most part, the loud noises of the single turboshaft engine rendered the charge useless as they had lost the element of surprise. (as seen in Apocalypse now, Full metal jacket, and we were soldiers) Vietnamese soldiers hearing these sounds would flee in time before the ensuing conflagration, hiding in the forests or retreating to the safety of the underground tunnels. Although there were tunnel rat divisions in charge of flushing these people out, they would often run into punji stick traps and anti-infantry mines, some of which were disarmed and recycled from american mines.

At around 1947, the army had done some study on kills on the battlefield and found that only 2% of the army were intentionally shooting to kill. Interestingly, the analogy used in the movie The american sniper summarizes the army succinctly using religious allegory, stating that in war, there are three types of people: The wolf, the sheep and the sheepdog. The wolf represents the psychopath that cannot process human empathy in others and thus has no compunction in killing. The sheepdog represents the minority of people who kills out of love of his comrades, and possess natural leadership skills. However, the “shooting to kill” percentages of remaining troops had also recently increased to 95% in the gulf war. The reason for this is just as interesting.

B.F.Skinner, who was well known for the introduction of behavioral reflexes, was later referenced, with his ideas serving as a template for training new recruits. Instead of using circular targets, as had been done in previous wars, the army had decided to use human shaped targets. The idea was to condition recruits to reflexively shoot targets bearing the silhouetted profile. This idea worked. Unfortunately, no training was given to help veterans deal with the post traumatic stress of killing someone.

The “PlayStation” generation had also raised a new age of people who get into the front lines knowing exactly what to expect. They are no longer the naive dough boys who’ve only heard secondhand anecdotes of trench warfare, but are already well versed on the nuances of urban combat through combat simulators and realistic virtual reality games.

As someone who was once trained with an assault weapon, I can understand the appeal of the AK47 and the M16. I don’t see this sadistic romanticism ending anytime soon, and it’s not like I’d want to anyway.

▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ 100 Pages █ ▇ ▆ ▅ ▄ ▂ ▁


For our project, we’ve decided to choose a hundred pages of journal entry, all of which would be taped together vertically to form a kind of modern tapestry. The idea would be to place it against the wall or have it dangling, and have people who are curious to walk past it and analyse it. Since it has been some time since that journal was completed, I have almost no idea what I have written. Most of them are mere descriptions of my location and some others are more esoteric in nature. Nonetheless, among the receipt descriptions, license plates and technical jargon, there exists posts where I might’ve written my darkest inner thoughts.

I had the pages photocopied and cut to size as the scanned images aren’t in A4, after that was done, we fastened them from end to end with clear tape. Makoto was then in charge of securing the space in which to hang the artwork. However, as the schedule was tight, we were unable to get a slot to book the area, so we setup the assembled pieces near the atrium area and take a couple of shots of us unraveling the tapestry.

Review about the trip to the State of motion exhibition: Win Zaw

Review about the trip to the State of motion exhibition

By: Maung Phyo Win Zaw


 I was unable to head to the exhibition as I had only gotten the admission. Nonetheless, I was able to watch an excerpt from the film Seniman Bujang Lapok, which was screen in the State of motion exhibition. The movie, which is directed by P.Ramlee is a comedy film starring three characters. Ramli, Aziz and Sudin and chronicles their journey into the film industry as movie actors. However, the movie does turn away from that a little to show us life in the suburbs.

Though not as overt in their presentation of slapstick humor as The three stooges and Charlie chaplin, this movie is nonetheless an entertaining watch as I was thoroughly fascinated in the inner workings of the movie industry pre-independence, and although I can’t state to an absolute certainty, I am confident enough that the backdrop in which this movie is set in feels authentic. There is something in this movie that i feel is lacking in today’s contemporary comedy film, and that may either be the lack of authenticity, or the insistence to stick to the old slapstick aesthetic of the sixties. That is not to say that slapstick cannot work. Movies like “The three idiots” have proven that. I feel that there has to be more of a voice or deeper meaning, on top of nostalgia and formula.

The humor here also feels zany to a degree, which is something I don’t see often in comedy. Usually one would establish a joke and play it in threes or utilize it as a tool for social commentary. Rarely would I be caught off with slightly off-kilter, and non-sequitur joke but here it is.

There was even a musical number where the mock old bachelors drinking too much and screaming as a result of becoming bloated. They even mock them for cycling on bicycles which I assume must be punctured as they described their tires as ringworms. Thus I conclude that the people speak in a manner which only seem fitting to their culture, and out of place for someone in a different time. I honestly don’t know if the “swine flee” joke would play well in today’s time, given how politically correct this generation is.

I did get  a chance to read the brochure from the event, and this is just my personal opinion, but I feel that this section should do away with flowery language as it’s doing no one any good. As someone with experience in the digital media industry and someone in charge of online business transactions and correspondence, I’m tasked with sifting out a huge amount of fluff from client emails.

I also can’t help but make a simplified and reductive analysis just to make out what some of these people really do. First, we have Mintion, a lens-based artist invested in the condensation of space of time through the process of layering images. That just means she can process films to have double exposure, or use multiply in Photoshop. Her recent series “Concrete Euphoria”, though touted as a dance of chasas and emotional impulse, is really just a set of apartments overlaid over another.

Next we have Boedi Widjaja, who connects a diverse set of conceptual references to generate a series of conceptually-charged multi-medium drawings and installations based on his experiences of migration, culture and aesthetics. Which to me just sounds like someone who takes “vacation” photos, and sure enough, it is. his work, path 9 is described as investigating notions of place, origin and identity in the context of a porous Asian global city. How this artwork was supposed to accurately describe and address the immigration remains to be seen.

 Which really brings me to why I’m not really big on these kinds of art exhibitions. We tend to use Buzzwords like “Dialogue” and “Awareness”, and feel obligated to derive a higher meaning to something that most ordinary people wouldn’t even associate or resonate with. I also find that without annotations or exhibition guides, the artworks wouldn’t be as self-explanatory.

As for the issue of immigration, I would recommend the article by the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation ( to have a more thorough and nuanced understanding of the differences between Ethnocentric civilizations and Humanitarian civilizations.

But then again, I wasn’t there so I really wouldn’t know.