The overall theme of my Zine is the serenity and remnants of human isolation I observed in Yishun.
The cover is a simplification and close-up of the Yishun map. The overall monochromatic colour scheme gives a quiet effect.
Page 1 and 2
Water bodies are a prominent aspect of Yishun, such as the ORTO and Yishun Dam. The large open area evokes loneliness from how spaced apart the fishing people were. This composition thus expresses the isolation through space by using lines of different line weight to divide the figures in the page. The human figures are abstracted to minimal details to give a sense of loneliness.
Page 3 & 4
The overlapping line detail and colours of the groceries and products found in mama shops portray the cramped, clustered and overwhelming aspect of the shops. The sheer amount of items separate the owner of the shops and their customers, which showed how items can result in human isolation as well.
Page 5 & 6
The bright and almost complementary colours captures the eccentric spirit of the people of Yishun, evident from the incidents that occur in the neighbourhood. Such cases include cat murder, robbery, and bringing a cow for a walk, and are include as texts embedded within the curly lines. The words are camouflaged in a way as I feel a person’s thoughts and mind is complex and does not reveal itself easily to others.
I drew inspiration from Japanese matchboxes. The flat style and unique compositions that utilise empty spaces beautifully give a sense of peace.
Process of Zine
Yishun has a lonesome, isolated, and quiet atmosphere. It was rare to see people chatting, and most people would mind their own business without caring much for their surroundings. Yet, there is something soothing about the rustic place with its abundance of nature.
I started of by deciding on 3 main topics for the zine. They are the waterbodies, mama shop, and the hidden mindset of people which I could not fully know just from my trips to Yishun. From the trips to Yishun, there was a sense of human isolation, thus the zine is a reflection of different aspects of it.
1 Human Isolation by Space
I made some digital sketches from images of people fishing at ORTO. Yishun is home to water bodies like ORTO and the Yishun dam, therefore depicting them would capture the natural and serenity aspect of Yishun.
Scenes of people fishing are calming and reflects a slow paced life. I also felt human isolation due to the wide space and water body.
Experimenting with different line weight to depict the fishing line.
2 – Human Isolation by objects/ items
The number of ‘mama shops’ peaked at 3,000 in the 80s, according to the Singapore Provision Shop Friendly Association. Today, fewer than 200 of such shops remain. these kiosks sell a wide range of items including canned foods, stationery, tobacco products and newspapers.
These are initial drawings that I explored for possible compositions and colour combinations of the Mama shop. I liked the disorganized, cluttered and unkempt effect of Mama shops rarely seen today, and aimed to depict that in this composition.
After trying out different ways of representing items from mama shops, I felt line drawings when overlapped best portrays the messiness and overflowing amount of items displayed in mama shops. I also thought it would be interesting to contrast the overflowing amount of items purely by lines instead of opaque drawings.
3 Human Isolation through the mind
After spending time in Yishun, I observed that I rarely see people holding conversations with one another, and as a result it felt like the people were isolated and did not rarely bother about each other. You could not really tell what the people were thinking , or their state of mind either.
Exploration with abstract representation of the human face.
I compared different compositions and colours, and decided upon a combination that expresses isolated minds and eccentricity. This was to reflect the strange incidents and crimes in Yishun.
Incorporation of words of the eccentric behaviour like walking a cow, and crimes. (cases pictured above)
Surveillance and sousveillance has always been a pressing issue especially when it deals with the right for privacy. The need for the policy to ensure safety and low crime rates is undeniable and lives can be saved with the use of it, some believe it to be intrusive and invasive especially when they are not aware of when they are being captured or surveilled. With Snowden’s whistleblowing towards the government’s policies of mass surveillance, the public’s debate about information privacy, national security and mass surveillance has definitely heightened. Yet, most people forget that cameras and surveillance exists in so many softwares and application that they use daily that it is almost impossible to do without. Even games that detect the movement of body like Nintendo’s Wii uses surveillance technology.
The issue of surveillance brings into mind an artwork by Nam June Paik. Entitled “TV Buddha”, the interactive piece constitutes a miniature statue of Buddha sitting in front of a tiny television with a surveillance camera. THe image of Buddha is transmitted in real time to the television and projected onto the screen. The viewer may also appear on the screen if they stood behind the Buddha, thus making this an interactive piece of work. The piece also highlights the fusion of traditional and modern. What relates this work with the topic of surveillance and sousveillance is in the blurring of the subject and object. Is the Buddha watching the television, or is the television capturing the image of the Buddha? The dual nature of the subject and object thus is similar to surveillance and sousveillance.
DIWO – Do It With Others extends the ethos of net art towards a more collaborative approach, combining the Internet, experimental artistic mediums and creativity to, expanding the possibilities of art and the role of the artist and the audience.
In an age where people of a wide range of age, culture and creed have access to digital platforms through their devices, the issue of overwhelming virtual interaction is pertinent and seems to be in a sense substituting and overtaking real life interaction between people. Yet, DIWO encourages both virtual and real life interaction between people.
The fact that DIWO platforms do not discriminate in who can engage with it, expands the outreach of materials on the platform, thus strengthening the voice of the artist or designer who has created the work. As mentioned in the essay, traditional methods of exhibiting works such as that by Saatchi and Saatchi constraints the outreach of the work in and limits the type of people who can be exposed to the works. With increased outreach comes more exposure to the opinions of other people engaged in the platform which knows no boundaries. Thus the ability to receive feedback and exchange of information boosts the experience and the works of the artist.
The existence of a collaborative platform also blurs the boundaries and the roles between artist and audience. Allowing active participation from the audience turns the work into a large collaborative effort between creator and participant, constantly allowing the work to evolve in real time, resulting in a maker culture that is unprecedented and unique to contemporary times.
With platforms such as VisitorsStudios bringing about great changes in how artist and audience interact with each other, the boundaries of art is stretched much further as compared to traditional forms of art. With real time art, software art, net art and participatory art all readily available, the art world has transformed into a more inclusive one as compared to before. This is because the increase in the types of works considered art means more people can be called artists and the interest scope of the general public towards art may increase. Art no longer exists just for elites, as it was originally, but for the public.
Open Source is a open software that facilitates the sharing of creative material online for any identity to use or engage in. It is a concept that contrasts the nature of copyright issue, which exists to protect the copyright holder’s material, be it books, media, music, film etc. However, Open Source materials can be used by anyone, and anyone can share his or her materials with everyone else. In a way, this has been the way creative content has always been shared, before the emergence of Copyright. The article explains that art is a social act, that it is naturally a two way mode of communication where artist and audience exchange ideas, yet proprietarianism has changed this nature of art.
Open Source challenges the traditional proprietary modes of artistic creation and production by providing a platform for people from all walks of life to engage in creative content exchange, just like the way creation and production used to be. The creator may share his content with everyone, and in exchange receive feedbacks and revision. Creative content is therefore as much of a product of society as it is of the creator or any individual that engages in the content.
I decided upon small bags used for short trips out of the house for convenience, where only essentials like phones and money is needed.
The following design was inspired by the waist pouch carried by hairdressers to store their hairdressing tools.
THis design was inspired by the simplicity and form of lunch bags.
This bag focuses on form and shape.
Sketch for final design
The final design is an improvement on the design inspired by hairdressers’ tools pouch, due to its simple yet functional design. It is modified to better suit the context of a small carrier for quick trips. The slots used for tools like scissors are removed and replaced with 2 pockets to fit the bare essentials. Instead of having an open pocket, zips attached as well to ensure security of the items inside.
Some trials for hemming the edges for a clean finish.
I quickly decided on canvas material for the bag due to its versatility and simple colour.
The overall design is simple and monotonous in colour as it is meant for convenience and short trips out of the house, and can fit a wide range outfits.