ABSTRACT | Mother of Time

My final

For this assignment, i had no idea what was the deliverables and i was confused most of the time. The only thing we were told to do was to bring an item that had no significance to us, and an item that has a significance to us, and that we have kept for a long time.

At first, i brought a lightsaber memorabilia that my dad gave me, but after learning about the project brief and it’s deliverables, i decided to change my object to a watch that my mother gave me. This is because i felt that there was more significant meaning in this watch.


My mother’s watch

To start, i did a word association with the watch to try and generate keywords for that would help me kickstart my project. Some of the words generated were:

Mother | Branded | Time | Rectangular | Heavy | Metal | Jewellery | Femme | Life | Generation | Scary

From here, i decided that the material i wanted to use for this project was plastic. This was because i wanted to use the non-decomposing quality of plastic to show infinity of time. From here i also decided to explore in the different kinds of plastic.

Being visual, i image searched some of the keywords to find inspiration:

  1. forever rose: I found this suiting because it had the element of infinity and femme, which was in line with my project
  2. rivers: “time is like a river”. i used this idiom and search on plastic rivers for scale models.
  3. pink carnations: as i wanted to use flowers, pink carnations were suitable because the flower symbolised mothers
  4. Acrylic Spheres: i liked the idea of having a structure that suspended, and a spherical shape for it. This is because it had no corners, and also showed the idea of infinity.
  5. Dolls: i wanted to be literal with the “hands on the clock” so i thought that maybe i could use doll arms for this. I wanted my end product to look pretty but also similar to how i find the concept of time: off-putting.


I then looked at the 3 dimensional variables in relation to the intention derived from my abstraction:

  • mass/weight: has to look lightweight
  • Repetition: maybe can show fractals
  • direction/horizontal/vertical: no direction because I want to show infinity
  • visible/concealed: it could have both parts
  • Scale: doesn’t matter
  • Expressiveness: yep these materials express time and female figures a lot (esp eternal rose)
  • Colour/Value: earth tone, pinkish
  • Texture & Transparency: will look smooth and ethereal
  • Unity/cohesiveness: the colour, the round and curved shapes

I focused on making a character for my work, instead of it being completely abstract. This led to the creation of the concept of “Mother Of Time.”  I started sketching some concepts:

Concept 1

For concept 1, i drew an actual human figure to symbolise the mother aspect of my abstraction. However, i did not want to proceed with this because i was also thinking of the logistics and operations needed to execute this. Also, it was not that abstract. This then led me to concept 2.

Concept 2

This time i took out the element of the human figure and tried to see how i could possibly show the meaning of mother and time in the abstraction. i kind of made a ghost, but i still did not like this because i felt that it was too simple, and my materials would not have gone through any sort of transformation. So i drew more:

Concept 3

Okay things were becoming to get weird. I took a surreal approach to this, and decided to make the acrylic sphere the “body” of my character. I then proposed to use doll arms to show the arms on the clock. The flower inside would be a plastic carnation. I had different types of plastics in my head at this point. After feedback, I decided to develop this concept even more:

Concept 4

For this i decided to explore another kind of plastic, plastic fabric. In order to make something look ethereal and floaty, i decided to use nylon to cover the acrylic ball. i found this to give my abstraction an implied human form because it looked like ahead with a veil on it. I also explored the possibility of adding another acrylic ball, but i felt that it was too much already.


Since all my elements were made out of plastic, i had initially wanted to buy them from the shop. However, i felt that this would compromise the sincerity of my work, so i decided to make everything from scratch.



For this, i made a study model of the flower using a pink plastic bag that i had. After watching youtube videos, i made this:

Pink Carnation study model

From here i measured the size of the flower and how big i wanted it to be in relation to my acrylic ball. To make the actual carnation, i bought pink wrapping paper to make it. However, as i was cutting the pieces of my flower, the plastic curled up:

my wrapping paper curled up

So then, i had to use a heat gun to straighten my wrapping paper. i had to use it carefully and gently though, because the wrapping paper was this and would warp into shapes that i didn’t want it to LOL:

using da heat gun
the plastic now does not curl
making the pieces of my carnation

Doll arms

This was where majority of my problems came in. Initially, i wanted to use doll arms because they were plastic, and very fitting with my structure. However, i had issues getting them, because i wanted them to be of different sizes, but dolls were expensive. Like, even though they’re quite cheap individually, i was not going to spend on buying a bunch of them only to rip their arms apart.

So after thinking for so long, i felt that i should make the arms instead. i found that since i wanted to use plastic to show the infinity of time because it does not decompose, i was going to have to meld plastic together. i made a study model of using leftover hard plastic:

okay, so i did make a plastic hand, but it was flat and 2d. i tried different methods but it still did not look like the arms that i wanted. After thinking about it again, i realised that styrofoam also had the non-decomposing qualities like plastic. So i decided to make the arms out of the styrofoam by carving.

using the scrap styrofoam in the 3d room…
becoming Michelangelo
making the arm smooth with wood carving tools
i found a new skill in carving 3d organic shapes

since i wanted to make something off-putting, i painted it flesh toned and organised them in a spider-esque way in m,y acrylic ball.

painting commences


Putting them together

In order to put them together, i had to hot glue it all. I also still wanted to incorporate the “time is like a river”. To do this, i folded the nylon fabric into pleats before gluing them onto the acrylic ball.

folded pleats with the nylon fabric


Men talk about killing time, whilst time kills them slowly

ta daaaaaa this is my final. it is quite weird, but it is the weirdness that defines my work. i think the project was fun and i learnt a lot about plastic and carving.

thank you for reading!




You can quote me on that | Forrest Gump


Finally I could use non-abstract images to convey my message! For this project, I decided that to take quotes from chick flicks because I grew up watching them, but never truly understood the meaning behind these stories. As I grew older, I realised the deep meaning behind the movies, and felt that it was clever in trying to showcase important issues through the use of humour and making light of it. As such, I wanted to try and extract the deep meaning of the quotes.


quote 1

Even though the line was delivered for comedic purposes, this quote hit me because I had a history with Bulimia. The context of this quote was that the person was already skinny, but wanted to become skinnier by using bulimia. I decided to take a visual approach to generating my piece:


I decided to pick out the elements of this movie and use literal images to show the context of the movie. To say the least, i really did not like this composition because it was too cliche, and did not show any element of the word weight or stomach flu.


Yes so I really hated this composition. For this I decided to focus on the word weight, and so I used the weighing scale. However, it did not show any elements of devil wears Prada or stomach flu, so I moved on.


I think it is pretty clear that i also hated this composition because whilst i was doing the work halfway, i stopped and moved on. I was still not able to get inspiration.


There was more thought put into this one but i still did not like it. For this, I was able to show the elements of stomach flue, the burger and the flies, and the devil wears prada through the skeleton with the luscious locks. I wanted to try and use negative space for this composition because I was bored of a white background.

I wanted to try and create depth by playing with proportions of the skeleton and the flies. In this composition, i was still not able to show the three elements of stomach flu, skinny, and devil wears prada into one. I also felt that the negative space added no benefit to the overall composition, so i decided to stick to a white background.

DRAFT 5 (Final Draft)

I was running low on ideas before I took a step back and decided to use my word association method to generate keywords to search:

weight | fashion | sick | insane | skinny | yucks | food

When i searched the word Insane in tate.org.uk, i was introduced to an artist called Damien Hirst. I was intrigued because I felt that there was something in his work i could use to kickstart my composition. I liked his series of spirals because i felt that it looked like vomit after someone had spun around for so much. With this, I decided to use “Oh my God…and for those really stubborn stains!!!!!??”.

“Oh my God…and for those really stubborn stains!!!!!??” by Damien Hirst

As such, I used this particular work to become the “vomit” and background of my composition, showing the element of Stomach flu. As the characters were walking up the steps as the quote was being said, i felt that the circles helped show an element of “migrane” when it is near the skeleton’s head, and when it was near the feet it looked like steps. It also was in line with the Gestalt theory of line of enclosure, in which i heightened the contrast of the circles so that the circles were implied in some areas. This was because i wanted it to imply subtlety (because you cant see a migraine), and wanted to make the splotch very obvious.

As for the character, i still wanted to use the skeleton because it was skinny, like the character, but i needed it to be hunched over. A simple search in google of “skeleton hunched over” brought me to the perfect picture. However, i was still struggling with showing the element of weight, when a friend suggested that i could try and use a measuring tape. As such, i decided to make the measuring tape also a fashion accessory to the skeleton, together with the skirt and heels, which also showed the element of devil wears prada.

With this, i was finally satisfied with this composition as i felt that it was complete and conveyed the quote well. With this, i decided to make this my print on my tote bag.


Quote 2

This quote is one iconic quotes from Mean Girls that is just very funny to me. I decided to use this to set the tone of my work. In order to start, I played a word association game. Some of the words generated were:

Big Hair | Secrets | Tea (spill the tea hunty!)Boxers | Lips whispering | Tape

I also decided to take a visual approach to generating my piece:


For the first draft, I started out very literal. The quote was said when the main characters were having a picnic in the school yard, and the protagonist was having a gym class at the other end.

Making the antagonist the main point of the composition, the I used the combination of an athlete’s body, a drag queen’s wig, and a snake head to make the character. I tried to create depth for our protagonists by making them small and using a tree to show that they are in the distance.

I did not like this composition because I felt that at this stage I had not unpacked the meaning of the quote, as well as the elements not being in sync with each other. However, the aspect that I liked about it was using a snake to represent the antagonist, because it was subtle in showing the negative quality about the character, as the snake is the modern slang for backstabber.


For my second draft, I decided to look into the gestalt theory and elements of design.

Elements of Design
Gestalt Theory
Gibson Girl

For this I was inspired to use the illustration of the Gibson Girl to portray the antagonist. This was because the antagonist was the “most beautiful girl” in school, and the Gibson girl was an old beauty standard. In order to make her hair big, I wanted to create patterns with the lines in her hair so that it looked like a seamless organic pattern that was able to become the form for the main point of the composition. I did this by layering enlarging the Gibson Girl slightly bigger and layering her at the back.

In order to show the secrecy, I was inspired to make my work look surreal, so I had chains and a door lock on top of her hair. Lastly, I incorporated the snake symbolism through the eyes to make it more subtle. However, i still did not like this composition because i felt that it was too simple, and that there was something else missing but did not know what. So i presented this to my friends and Ms Mimi for feedback.


After receiving feedback, Ms Mimi suggested that I could play around with the idea of the element of secret by showing the secrets. As such, i decided to add some fun elements into her hair by adding some possible secrets she could keep, such as alcoholism, sex, murder, satanism, witchcraft etc etc. For the lock and chains, i wanted to make them fit the vintage aesthetic more, so i made the chains white and used a drop shadow to imply them, and used a drawing of an old lock. The elements of the snake eyes remained.

I tried to apply the gestalt theory of similarity in the choosing of my elements, such as the broomstick, alcohol bottle, dildo and knife, being objects that were long and slender. However, this isolated them with the other secrets being the skull, satan book, couple and satan because they were not similar in shape or colour. I liked this composition better than my first one, however I felt that there was something wrong with the placement of the elements in her hair, like it did not balance well and the contrast with the background was not there for some of the elements.  As such, I decided to seek feedback from my friends.

DRAFT 4 (Final Draft)

After receiving feedback, my friend suggested that I could look into the golden ratio to decide how to place my secret elements.

I found this to be very helpful because I could now decide on what elements I did not want to include into the composition. For this, i decided to make the couple the main focus of the secrets, and the other secrets start to slowly reveal themselves as your eyes read the work from right to left. After feedback from friends, they also mentioned that the couple i used in draft 3 added to much white to my composition. Therefore I decided to use a less contrasting image of the couple in the hair. As for the chain and lock, i placed it at the other side of the golden spiral to offset the spiral made by the secret elements, in order to create contrast. this was experimental but i liked the outcome of it.

With this, i finally felt that this work was finished and i was satisfied with the outcome of this composition.


Quote 3

I liked the ring of this quote and the message behind it: to be positive. However, i felt that for this quote i wanted to contextualise it more. For this i also had to generate my composition visually.


Don’t mind me just being weird. Okay so my initial idea was when i remembered Steve Harvey announcing the wrong winner for Miss Universe which caused a big hooha. I felt that in that moment, he was the real winner of Miss Universe, because he was the one who became viral after that. So I wanted to make Steve Harvey the queen that won. However this idea was very shallow because it did not show the frown aspect of the quote. Initially i had wanted to put Miss Colombia at the background, sobbing, but i felt that was too silly and very cliche.


Self-Hybridisation by Orlan. Light Box Photography, 1994

For this composition i was inspired by the concept being this work i saw in the Art Science Museum. The work talked about beauty standards across the timelines, set by the paintings by old masters. For me, i saw a correlation of this and beauty pageants, and decided to have fun and use women in famous paintings by old masters.

For this composition, i felt that it was able to answer the first part of the quote very well, being mona lisa’s smile has been topic of debate. For me, she was the “real winner” due to the virality. As for the paintings in the background i tried to show the message of “losers wear a frown” by lining them up such that it resembled a line up in a pageant contest. However, i also felt that this composition was still weak in trying to show the last part of the quote.


After consultation, I was encouraged by Ms Mimi to understand what is the context of the quote. I decided to speed watch Miss Congeniality again to remember exactly what was the context of the quote. After that, i decided to be very literal with the composition, but use a vintage aesthetic.

In the movie, the protagonist’s manager is trying to motivate her to be happy and practice for her pageant. However, she was very tired and was eating a donut. The manager took it away from her, but her being a very pissed of FBI agent, pulled a gun out and pointed it at the manager.

As such, i created this literal composition to get warmed up to make the final one. I did not particularly like this composition because there was a lack of balance, and no clear focus. It also was not able to show the smilers wearing a crown, as the girl in the picture is frowning, however did shoe the last part of the quote being losers wear a frown, because the guy is lying down on the floor.


I tried to focus on the elements of design next. For this composition, i wanted to play with the element of shape and optical illusions. Some of the words i generated during my word association were:

motivation | man | angry | trying to get into her head | gun | loser

Through this, i liked the fact that the manager was trying to get into her head and motivate her, which sparked an idea to make a smiling face appear near the head of the pageant queen. After considering this, i suddenly remembered the optical illusion of the old woman and young woman.

Old woman, Young Woman

From here, i decided to make a composition using gestalt’s theory of figure & ground. With this, i created a smiling face in the hair of the frowning pageant queen using lines and subtlety. This was to show that the Hair (the man) was the real one wearing the crown. I felt that this was my super genius moment. For the second half of the quote, i decided to use a hand showing the gun sign to show the context of the movie of the protagonist holding out the gun.

This was because the hand gun also looked like the loser sign. As such, i made sure that the “gun” was very near to the face of the girl, who was smiling. I added found images of a sash and flowers to show that the girl is a pageant queen. With this, i really liked this composition, but i did not know if it met the requirement of being vintage. However, i liked this composition and wanted to refine it a little bit more when-


my computer breaks down and i only have the first two compositions in my thumb drive.

this meant that i had to redo which ate my time up :’)


Picture of Labrador

After going through the seven stages of grief, I decided to re-make the composition but use vintage elements to it. For this, i still applied the gestalt theory of figure and ground, and was inspired by the picture of the Labrador that my friends had presented about. For this, i wanted to imply the hands and the flowers. However, i did not do such a good job because it turned out to be messy and unstructured.


Quote 4

For this composition i needed to show “valued customer” and “hate”. I was inspired by MS Escher’s concept of tessellations because the concept of having the background also becoming a foreground was good to show the meaning of this quote. As such, i tried to make my own tessellations.


MC Escher Angels and Demons

Okay so i had made my own tessellations, however this could only work in a horizontal setting. For this, the black parts showed the valued customer element, whilst the white parts are supposed to be the hate mail element. The black part showcased 2 shopping bags (at an angle) and white hands holding a gift. The white parts were two ionic pillars (to show banks) and envelopes being sprawled around black hands. However, i felt that the black and white were not arranged properly so i tried again.


For this, i had switched the hand colours. It looked much better here, but i still felt incomplete because i still felt that the message was not being shows strongly.


For this i inverted the colours to make the white the valued customer element and the black the hate mail element. I tried to create a circular shape with the tessellations to show the infinity of the problem presented by the quote, but it did not work because the tessellation only worked from top to bottom. I also felt that the first three drafts i made looked drastically different from the the other three.

DRAFT 4 (Final Draft)

Okay, i know this might look like a random work created after experimenting with tessellations. However, i was still inspired by the concept of tessellations as the general shape of the row of people are still the same. For this, i wanted to add more vintage and obvious elements in the work.

Personally, i don’t like this work because it did not do justice to the quote enough. From feedback during the presentation, i also have to agree with Ms Mimi that this composition was not the best as it did not push the quote out well enough. However, in my defence, i still had to try and come up with something even though i had to redo one more composition and generate a whole new one from scratch within a short period of time. In hindsight, i think the concept of my first few drafts of tessellations was interesting, and if i were to have more time, i could have developed it further.

Some takeaways:

  • BACK UP YOUR FILLLLEESSSSSSSS or do save your work in the cloud or something. Murphy’s law is alive and well.
  • tessellations were difficult but fun to make, i think i might explore in that because i’ve always been mesmerised by MC Escher.
  • Silk Screening was a fun experience, 10/10 would try that again.
  • i learnt a lot about the elements of design and gestalt theory which i will now proceed to try and apply it in everything that i do. I think it makes for interesting visuals that prove that the work has been well thought through. they also give me the spark of motivation when i start to consider how i want my message to be presented, be it in patterns, forms, etc etc.

Overall, i had fun doing this project! Thank you for reading!

The Letter





Song translation:

Please don’t leave me, oh my darling, oh sweetheart. 

I am missing you, my the most sweet, the most beautiful




Song translation:

You are the only star I worship 

The place of love, and hope for the future
















Conversation Translation:

Woman 1: I heard that keeping chickens were banned!

Woman 2 : That day, I tried the lift, and it shook so much!

Woman 3: I’ve stayed here for 30 years, there’s just too many memories here!










Idea behind work

For this assignment, I wanted to tell an often untold story about Singapore. Based on a true story, my work was inspired by my Uncle’s experience with the gentrification of Kampong Glam when he was a little boy.


Who’s memory?

For this, I wanted to share the emotions and feelings that the people of kampong glam must have felt when they received the letter that they had to move out of their homes to make way for conservation and tourism. In this work, this showcases a memory of a young woman who had lived in Kampong Glam all her life. Through this, I wanted to show how gentrification affected the people who had lived in the area originally by juxtaposing a character to bring people through the experience.


Process of creating

Firstly, I tried to focus on building the story. However, I felt that this wasn’t good for me because I was limiting myself with what pictures I could take, and it was dangerous because stories could diverge into other stories as well.

Secondly, I tried to focus on using sound, but I what I ended up coming up with was a horror film. After feedback from friends, I didn’t really like the idea of a horror theme because I felt that my work would be too cliche.

Lastly, I decided to shift my focus to taking pictures. With this, I started to think about the nice spots in Singapore. When I came to the decision to go to Kampong Glam, I was only equipped with the theme of gentrification in my head. With this, I went around kampong glam to take a lot of interesting photos and sounds associated with the place.

As for the audio, I was largely inspired by the radio dramas that my grandmother would listen to, so I opted to go for that style. Also, because I liked drama. As such, whilst I did some narrating, I also did some acting and made “fake” sounds, such as applying audio filters and hitting a suitcase to simulate hitting a radio.

For this assignment, I also had to randomly keep taking pictures and record audio because I was still thinking about how I wanted to present the theme of gentrification when I went to Kampong Glam. I was taking a risk by not having a specific plan, and letting the story and creativity go wherever it wanted to go.



As I did not have a story in mind, or any specific sounds to record, I had to go all out to document everything and anything in Kampong Glam. For me, this gave me autonomy to look back and piece a story together with the pictures and sounds that I had. However, with this much freedom, my stories often diverged into many other stories, and I would have to rearrange or rerecord my voice over. However, through the feedback of friends and family, I managed to overcome this challenge and came up with a simple story that I feel still speaks about the theme of gentrification. 

Recording audio was also difficult for me because I had no mic, so i had to stay close to the object I wanted to record or make the sounds myself after.


What do I enjoy about my work?

  • I enjoyed taking pictures and trying to use some principles of photography and cropping to make my pictures look nice even though I had little experience in photography.
  • I also enjoyed listening to a lot of P. Ramlee songs which I used as background music in some of my audio. It was fun because I could really feel the connection of the songs and the place that was largely associated with the Malay community in Singapore.
  • It was fun to play around with iMovie to mix the audio together


Further improvement & takeaways

  •  I wish I had a better plan that I could use as a guideline to help me execute my work, instead of trying to rely on my guts to come up with the end product.
  • When it comes to voice acting, I think that I can enunciate my words clearly, so that it won’t fade into the background
  • When mixing the audio, I could have better control of the loudness of the main narration and the supplementary background so that it won’t seem like two audios are fighting for attention.




Day at the Museum

Yay museum trip! It had been a while since I went to a museum ever since school started, and I was excited to see what the Art Science Museum had in store. The Exhibition that we went to was Human+, where from the cover art of the exhibition guide, I could infer was about technology. (Usually, I don’t read exhibition guides because I like to play a game of “guess what the artwork means”.) However, after speed reading through the blurb of the exhibition, I gathered that this exhibition was going to be about how we treat technology, whether we are obsessed with them, use them in everyday lives, or doing inhuman or unethical modifications to nature through them.

Below are two of the works that I was most intrigued with:



Spherical in shape, Tardigotchi was created by Matt Kenyon & Douglass Easterly with Tiago Rorke. This was created to examine the grey area between life and artificial life, as it features two pets: a living organism and an artificial life avatar.

The sphere is divided into two: one half is a brass sphere with an avatar depicted on the screen, and the other is a prepared slide, where tardigrade lives. On first impression, it reminded me of a Tamagotchi from the 90s. It was put on display behind a clear casing, and the object was small enough to fit into a hand.


Preliminary Read

At first, this work did not look like anything too much to me because of its’ small size and basic colors. To me, it looked like a boring Tamagotchi. However, I was intrigued by this because the video it was playing was at a frame of the ‘loner’, looking down at something in his hand and just staring at it. I thought this was peculiar because it did not look as ‘animated’ as the other works, but the person was just staring at it. From there, I decided to take a look at what could be so interesting about this little ball.

I felt that the artist was motivated to do this work as humanity has moved into the technological golden age, where most of us rely on technology as it can do everything we want, even to the extent of caring for digital life. What I thought the artist had wanted to reflect was of a society that wanted to move into the ‘future’ so much that we had started to replace real life pets, with an avatar on the screen, and the obsession of wanting to make everything digital and automated.

I came to this conclusion because when I saw the piece, I only saw the front part of the sphere, with the LED screen, and watched the video next to it. The audio of the video could not be heard, and the words on the screen did not help to explain the artwork at all. The frame also had a cat in it, so from there I also gathered that they were talking about pets. This was when the video was at the frame of “sending emails”, in which I interpreted that “with digital life, you no longer have to email others to get them to take care of your real-life pets when you go on holiday”.

I felt that the use of having the 3D object being displayed was effective as I could associate to the topic that the artist wanted to convey. Other ways that the artist could have chosen to display were the design sketches of the Tardigotchi, or simply put the video up, but I felt that having the object there made it feel real.

Secondary Read

After reading the text, it was then I realized that I was only right about the work being about pets. Firstly, I had not even noticed the other side of the sphere until I read about it, in which I immediately bent down to look at the work from the side.

I was also not aware of the fact that the artwork featured two pets, one live and the other artificial. I did not know that the Tardi in Tardigotchi was the Tardigrade that was living on the other side of the sphere, and I even had to google what it was because I was so ignorant (LOL)


It also changed my initial interpretation of the replacement of real life pets with digital ones, as the text help to communicate that there is a living creature and artificial life avatar being taken care of, simultaneously. From this, I felt that the work was able to communicate the topic of humans and technology coexisting, and that neither is less deserving than the other.


The questions posed also had me thinking; does simple interaction cause emotional attachment? As someone who has failed to keep pets, real and digital, over the years, I felt that I could not relate to the theme of pets because both answers would be no. If I were to tackle this issue, I feel that I could relate to this more through daily human to human interaction.


As the idea of using pets is to show that simple interaction of just feeding, bathing and playing, can cause emotional attachment, I felt like this could also be relevant when using babies as subject matter. In my opinion, this would be effective in another perspective. As babies also require very basic physiological needs, a comparison between an android baby and real-life baby could also portray this. This could also pose another question of whether you would put in the same amount of effort into caring for something that does not grow, and something that does.




This art work stood out like a sore thumb in the middle of the gallery. It is a work that you can view from all angles, and has artefacts of animals on display. It is interactive as you can pick up the telephone and listen to the audio, giving context to the artefact. Created by the Center for PostNatural Histroy, this work is entitled “That was then…this is now”


From what I could see, the design of it being able to walk around and seen from different angles was an interesting concept because when I first walked up to it, there was no text to accompany the specimens as it was at the opposite side of the structure. Because of this, I was not given any clues at all about what this work could be, and had to make my own interpretations. As for materials wise, I do not think that the material this structure was made out was of importance as it was just a place to hold the specimens.


However, having the specimens there, being enclosed in a case, was better than having them be presented in pictures or video formats as it became more realistic for me. The yellow telephones also stood out and contrasted from the brown background, encouraging people to pick it up and listen into it.


Preliminary Read

To me, Art and History come hand in hand. I was attracted to this work because I saw a taxidermy rat put on display. Next to it was a fish in a jar, which was also being preserved. At first, these two animals had nothing in common, but as they are being preserved, I was intrigued about what about their history do they have in common.


What I could gather from looking at these two specimens were the that the artist was trying to convey the message of using animals to test human products. I came to this conclusion because I immediately thought of “lab rat”, and the fish being suspended looked like it was in a sort of test tube. To me, I felt that this idea was still within the theme of the exhibition as testing on animals for human products is related to science and technology.

I thought that the artist wanted to address this issue because of the carelessness or inhumane tendencies of people when testing on animals. This is an issue which is still very prevalent till today, as many companies still test their products on animals. I felt that this was also an interesting way to show how technology has advanced, but the methods of people still have not, as the method of testing on animals were definitely different form the past, but the act of testing on them stays the same. A question that popped in my head was “which is the cruel one; technology or humanity?”

When I picked up the yellow telephones, this brought me back to the previous tutorial where there was discussion of sound art. I wondered if this could be considered sound art, because the digital dictation was not the main part of attraction of the work, but it did help to give context. Why did the artist decide to use digital dictation instead of plastering text onto the wall? These were some of the things I wondered too.


Secondary Read

I considered picking up the telephone to be also part of me reading the text of the work as the digital dictation gave me context into what the work was about. From listening to the audio about the rat, it gave me context of the rat being genetically modified. From here, I knew that my interpretation was not too far from what the artist wanted to convey, as I could interpret that these animals were being tampered with technology one way or the other.


After listening to the audio about the fish, it was then I came to the conclusion that the animals that were being put on display were all genetically modified for the benefit of humans. After which, I finally walked to the wall that had the text explaining what the artwork was. The artist, The Center for Postnatural History, finally made sense to me because the text gave context to the fact that these animals had been deliberately altered, making them not natural or authentic anymore. After reading the text, it made me more curious about what other animals had been tampered with, as now I knew that this was what the specimens had in common.


To me, I felt that the presentation of the work was effective in its way of communicating what the artist wanted to show. As the specimens were put on display, it immediately showed that the animals were subjects of technology. The digital dictation was also a good inclusion into the work, as I feel that I would have just walked past something if I had to read a huge text, or watch something that could not be heard properly.


Some Takeaways:

  • I felt that this exhibition really showed me that art is prevalent in almost any field, and now it is starting to become more science-y, which i love
  • With contemporary art, there is no need for work to be beautiful or require crazy amount of craftsmanship, like of those in the past. As art becomes more abstract, it is more important to represent abstract ideas as the way we live and perceive things are becoming more in depth and advanced.
  • This is the age of self actualisation.

All in all, it was an eye opening trip!