Category Archives: History of Design – G1

Manifesto: Let’s get this bread.

‘Let’s Get This Bread’ is a slang expression for earning money, or to hustle. Its a saying that has recently surfaced on a meme level and it basically gets me going everyday.

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Let’s get this bread.

Submissions are piling? Let’s get this bread.

House on fire? Let’s get this bread.

The term ‘shut up and design’ was initially my first manifesto plan, but it didn’t feel strong enough for me. And then the saying came about and getting bread is all I have ever wanted since.

Bleed out the borders, hide the margins, throw those text boxes anywhere you feel like. You decide your own movement. Step up, step out. Use Comic Sans!!!!

Your comfort zone is only good for what it is— comfort. Toss it aside just this once. Try it. Ask for advice only when you need it.

The future of design is here. No more restrictions, no more definitions. How do you put a feeling into words? Move, create.

Let’s get this bread.

let's get this bread

A phrase originally used to mean "let's get money" as bread=dough and dough is a common slang term for money. Nowadays, the term"let's get this bread" is more loosely defined as a sort of battlecry in a sense, calling upon the will of the person(s) to succeed, not necessarily in just gaining monetary funds. It may also be taken more literally as well, as the loaf of bread (or any bread in general) can be a very powerful symbol and source of hype for a crowd.

*About to get your paycheck* "Awe yeah, let's get this bread!"

*At a crowded Key Club event at Six Flags, and you pull two loaves of bread out from under your sweatshirt* "AWE YEAH, LET'S GET THIS BREAD!!" *crowds of other Key clubbers notice and start chanting along with you* "BREAD, BREAD, BREAD..."

Synonyms: Let's yeet this wheat, let us attain/obtain the grain, let's feast on this yeast, let's empower this flour, let's go with the dough, let's entrust this crust


by Breadman Chris October 22, 2018
-Urban Dictionary

HyperEssay: Pull by MONA HATOUM

Of Palestinian origin, Hatoum experienced a shifting polycultural identity as an adult and this shows in her works. Her works revolve around a common theme of displacement, alienation and longing. ‘Pull’ requires the engagement of viewers to be activated. Hatoum uses materials that resonate or are personal to her, which explains why in Pull she uses her own collected hair over the course of 6 years. In this work, Hatoum lies in a separate room, and viewers can only see her upper frame through a screen. A long braided ponytail is attached to Hatoum’s head and exposed to the viewers, encouraging them to pull and receive a reaction from Hatoum. This essay will discuss how technology is an important key interaction in this work; how it affects Hatoum, the audience and both of them collectively.

To Hatoum, technology, or in this case the screen separating her physical body from the viewers, interestingly has a dual nature. First, the screen can be argued that it protects Hatoum, shielding her from other potential physical harm from viewers. The screen protects her from the real world, and instead only shows a projection or ‘virtual self’ to the outside world. On the other side, she is safe in a private room. She is also projected to be wearing nothing and slightly exposing her bare shoulders and neck. In this case, the screen acts as a censor, covering the rest of her bare(?) body. Viewers would not know whether she is truly naked or not. All viewers can do is pull her braided ponytail. The screen acts as a barrier and withholds information, preventing any form of intimate or humanly connection between Hatoum and viewers. However, ironically technology is also exposing her, projecting her vulnerability though the screen. The screen, positioned in such a way that projects Hatoum to be ‘hanging'(Fig1) The dangling braid, hanging just below the screen seems to be Hatoum’s. The way the screen projects her as a vulnerable person, maybe even dead, actually encourages viewers to pull to receive a reaction from her. Technology in this case is a tool that both helps and harms Hatoum at the same time.

Fig 1

As mentioned above, the screen actually encourages viewers to pull Hatoum’s hair. This might also be because technology in this case only works one sided. Viewers can see Hatoum, but not vice versa. There is a sense of anonymousity on the viewer’s part. This might even encourage viewers to pull more aggressively, since they know Hatoum cannot see them. The screen also projects the illusion that Hatoum is not a real person, but merely a projection of a person. The viewers have no way of coming into contact with Hatoum physically, the only way of getting a reaction from her is by pulling the braid.  Subconsciously, viewers think they are simply pulling a ‘hanging braid’ rather than ‘a person’s braid’. A lot of questions emerge from this work— an interesting concept of the human condition ad technology coming together. Is she a real person, or merely a projection of someone on screen? Would viewers still pull her hair if there was no screen to separate them and Hatoum? Viewers would probably pull even harder with the existence of the screen than if Hatoum were to be in person. The existence of technology in this case affects how viewers would interact and react to the work.

In this case, technology serves as a conveyor of Hatoum’s reactions. Hatoum represents data, technology the conveyor, audience the receiver. In this case, viewers determine the outcome of the work. The work cannot be activated without audience interaction. Tugging at her hair will result in a more drastic reaction from her, and not tugging at all will not trigger anything. The outcome of this work is therefore quite limited; Hatoum either reacts or not. We can, however, also see the viewer as a collaborator. If we take into account the viewers’ reactions, whether they will gasp or keep a straight face, stop tugging or mercilessly continue tugging; this further pushes the work into a collaborative-like nature. Such a collaboration is not one that is planned, but expected and anticipated. Hatoum expects viewers to pull her braid, and nothing more. What the viewers do or how they react after is what gives the work further depth and perspective.

The medium and material in which Hatoum chose to use is very interesting by itself. She states that there are erotic associations with hair, and in her culture, is considered a gendered taboo. Incorporating such a intimate and natural material within her work, and then incorporating cold, modern technology. Both are very different in nature but come together beautifully to create a layered piece. The possibilities are endless. Each party, Hatoum, viewers and technology, cannot work individually and require each other in order for the work to be activated. Interactivity from everyone is key in this work.

Referenced readings:

Hyperessay Key Work selection: Pull

Mona Hatoum Pull, 1995                                                                                                                                            live video performance and installation

My hyperessay will revolve around one of Mona Hatoum’s works, Pull(1995). Viewers are required to interact with her(in this case, a braided ponytail attached to her own hair) in order to get a live reaction on screen. The ponytail is made from Hatoum’s own hair, collected over 6 years. It is interesting how technology is used as a ‘screen’ between her and the viewer, a platform or information conveyor. It can interestingly be argued that without the role of technology, the piece is incomplete, even if both viewer and Hatoum are present.

This work also explores how technology can affect the human condition: Is she a real person, or merely a projection of someone on screen? Would viewers still pull her hair if there was no screen to separate them and Hatoum? The existence of technology in this case affects how viewers would think and react to the art.

In this case, viewers determine the outcome of the work. Tugging at her hair will result in a more drastic reaction from her, and not tugging at all will not trigger anything. The outcome of this work is therefore quite limited; Hatoum either reacts or not. However, if we take into account the viewers’ reactions, whether they will gasp or keep a straight face, stop tugging or mercilessly continue tugging; this further pushes the work into a collaborative-like nature.

Below are some related readings:


Artist Selection: Mona Hatoum

Mona Hatoum incorporates technology and often engages the viewers to participate in her work. Hatoum uses materials that resonate with her, but also makes sure the materials or how she portrays the materials also resonate similarly to the audience.

I choose to revolve my hyperessay around her as her works often explores how technology can affect the human condition. As per discussed in class on interactivity, her works require the involvement of viewers and technology (as a medium to convey her message).

Hatoum believes that ‘nothing is a finished project’, since ideas are pushed and evolve into something new. Of Palestinian origin, Hatoum experienced a shifting polycultural identity as an adult and often incorporates a sense of displacement, alienation and longing in her works.

Design Reform Movements

Design reform movements are basically what it is— to reform, restructure, and revise design at that period of time. The different movements simultaneously overlap and happen between the 1880s-1930s. These movements came about in reaction to the consequences from the French and Industrial revolution.

From the French revolution(1789-1799), “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” was born out of it. The phrase directly translates to “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”.  During this period, there was a large income gap between the rich and poor, given that France was governed by absolute monarchy. Due to the unrestricted political power and social classification, most of the people were in dire poverty. On the other hand, Industrial revolution was also known as the ‘Age of Enlightenment’, as there was increasing economic & ethical social-consciousness. However, despite the spread of this seemingly positive concept, there were detrimental social consequences; such as excessive child and women labour, poor working conditions, and uncontrolled widespread diseases. And thus, design reform movements came about in an effort to counter these negative impacts.

Design reform movements are generally well-thought of design processes, resulting in very intricate, unique products and designs. An example would be the Arts and Crafts movement, founded by Augustus Pugin (1812-1852)John Ruskin(1819-1900) and William Morris(1834-1896). For this movement, form follows function. Every detail and deco is used for reasoning and functionality. Design and decoration do not overshadow each other but go hand in hand. 

The idea of pushing and stressing for the importance of detailed and intricate design comes about from the excessive use of industrial machines.

An example of a design concept would be Edward Petrovich Hau’s  Interiors of the Winter Palace.  The whole concept is lavishly designed and stylized. Every pillar is designed down to detail, combining the idea of form and function complementing each other. The interiors are well decorated and personalized, not like the typical and standard industrialised interior design. This is a perfect example of honest craftsmanship— interior design preserving the dignity of decorative arts.

To cater and allow designers to be able to design something from start to finish is made easier with the existence of Lathe machines. The machines were used for metalworking or wood working; being able to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, deformation. For a machine to be able to focus on the details, creating well crafted designs that preserves the artist’s dignity and design input is possible. This upholds Ruskin’s view that artisans can be totally involved in the design process from start to finish.

Japonisme follows a similar fundamental to Arts and Crafts Movement, valuing the decorative arts as well as the creativity of the craftsman. Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, became so common in Japan. Design was so integrated into society to the point that they were seen on everyday items.

Limited Edition Soy Sauce Packaging

They were used as packaging materials, yet to the French it was something new, exciting and inspiring.

Under Art Nouveau, Josef Hoffmann(1870-1956), created an interesting chair(1905) that projects the concept of ‘form follows function’. The chair, made from beech wood and plywood, has a unique form. While the balls in between the 2 divided backings of the chair seem to be mere decoration, they are actually there to hold the 2 pieces together. This is a perfect design example of form complementing function.

Through the rough times of the revolution, brotherhood and coming together was crucial. Wiener Werkstatte was one of the longest-lived design movement founded in 1903 in vienna austria, where it was basically a workshop for all— architects, artists and designers working in ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture and the graphic arts. The range was wide and accepting. They emphasised on complete artistic freedom, which led to the creation of many innovative products which eventually became the standard for Austrian design. However, unlike the above stated movements, the creators did not seek to create accessible or practical art. Instead, they focused on the highest quality craftsmanship and materials for the socioeconomic elite.

The Sitzmachine Chair, designed by Josef Hoffman, was the best-known piece of furniture produced by the Wiener Werkstätte. Function and construction of the chair is present, without sacrificing its aesthetic appeal.

There are slit-like openings at the side of the chair, where none of the lines end in sharp corners, but instead are rounded which suggests the idea of a well oiled and harmonious machine. The chair not being comfortable, reflects the nature of the design movement’s practice, where function was usually sacrificed to aesthetics when it became impossible to accommodate both.

Even today, Design Reform practices can still be observed.  Morris & Co, a UK based company, is inspired by Morris’ ideology. They ‘believed that everybody has the right to a beautiful house’, crafting everything by hand— homeware, wallpapers and fabric. Despite trying to eliminate the terrors of the revolution, we are still able to see it today. Child labour and merciless excessive working hours still exist today, as seen in Foxconn’s case.

Link to presentation:


Singapore in Bauhaus

Singapore is practically known for our ridiculously tall buildings, especially within the CBD area. IN my Bauhaus design, I incorporated long vertical blue bars to represent this. They can also be interpreted as bars in bar charts, demonstrating Singapore’s analytical and competitive spirit.

But despite being all serious and ambitious, Singapore also has a softer and artsy side. This is an artwork I really love on display at Changi Airport terminal 1, Kinetic Rain. I incorporated its fluidity into my Bauhaus design with red circles.

Final Design:

Art Nouveau

The flowers are Bougainvillea, a popular tropical flower that can easily be spotted on the streets of Singapore. I chose it to be in my design as they are often overlooked in Singapore, it being such a common roadside flower.

For the background, I snapped a regular bush I spotted. I chose that bush as I loved the spikey/sharp edges. And they actually reminded me of fireworks!! An annual thing I look forward to seeing during National Day.

The purple ‘butterflies’ are actually leaves. I placed them alongside as Singapore is well known for being a ‘Garden-city’ (or so we’d like to believe).

I edited the hues of the original colours on photoshop as I wanted to make the colours less clashing and contrasting and make it a more harmonious piece as a whole 🙂