Creative Industry Report: René Laloux

René Laloux is an animator and director from France, who is most well-known for his bizarro animated films from the 1960s to the 1980s. Laloux’s animations were considered ahead of their time and unmistakably characteristic even today. His most representative film, Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage, 1973), is still frequently screened and widely recognised as one of the hallmarks of the bizarro genre. Laloux’s films remain relevant with its unconventional approach with commentary on societal issues arising from money and power.

Fantastic Planet is one of my most referenced work, mainly because of my fondness towards the bizarro genre. The format is closely related to my interest in designing characters of human likeness but parahuman form (humanoid). It can be noticed that Laloux’s characters, while of a different species, bear heavy semblance to our familiar lifestyles. Laloux works with the notion of dissociation to allow the audience to consume the behaviours in his films from a fresh perspective. Beyond their parahuman forms, these creatures align with the behaviour of human beings, providing a depth to the understanding of the character through familiar cues.

Laloux is consistently meticulous with the art style of his animations, particularly using a distinctly intricate frame by frame pencil shading technique that gives his work a humanistic flair. Hence, the bizarro world that he creates through direction can come off less distant than the usual fantasy backdrop. He is also thoughtful with the narrative cues, often using unusual colour schemes to match the allegory in each film. Laloux writes a narrative that is unafraid to stray from traditional linear narrative models. Despite being criticised for the lack of a linear plot, I appreciate his “slice of life” approach that allows us to explore the seemingly humanoid universe and draw parallels with our own lives taken into a different context.

Full Circle Positioning Slides — Updated

A New Soundtrack Experiment:

S/O Citation Machine — If you subscribe, it will also do plagiarism checks for you and suggest sources that could match. I find the way they archive your sources and organise them by alphabet most useful to compile for the final thesis (much more effective than archiving them in an excel sheet without proper formatting and italicisation). But make sure you manually fill in the boxes that they are unable to detect by automation.

Updated Abstract

as of 25 September 2020

Full Circle is an animated series exploring ways of presenting scientific information through the multifaceted realms of narrativity. The project is targeted at scientific concepts that are consequentially distant to the layman. While science serves as the cogs of this narrative, the series yields the context and familiarity of experiences in life as poetic devices, actively treading the line between scientific information and visual narrativity. The format seeks to encourage further discourse into the way we understand scientific information, bridging the gap between hard-shelled facts and humanistic tendencies.

This animated series explores the extent to which the Moon is entangled with life on Earth. It follows a narrative paved by a combination of empirical and experiential information about the Moon, gathered through interviews with astronomical societies in Singapore. This narrative is guided by scientific research. The empirical study of the Moon is accompanied by analogies of its influence on human life, bringing the planetary scale of the Moon down to eye level. It is exemplary of the familiar, empathetic realm that creative formats can bring to scientific information, while still retaining its credibility and furthering discourse in studies.

Full Circle (Pre-Interview Decisions): Introducing Diagram Art as Part of Art Direction, Narrativising Techniques, and Episode Planning

7 AUG 2020
NOTE: incomplete citations, will update.

i. Diagram Art

Mark Lombardi: George W. Bush, Harken Energy, and Jackson Stephens, ca. 1979-90

The term “Diagram Art” is not definitively a coined genre of art. Rather, it was a thought that I had conceived upon conceptualising for the art direction of Full Circle. One may colloquialism it as the genre of Infographics, but my understanding of contemporary infographics are much more graphic and abstract than I may find suitable for this project. It is of priority to ground this project in its manifesto, to chase a genre of science fiction that maximises the potential of fiction in retaining its truth value. Scientific diagrams, especially traditional ones, would be a good starting point for developing a style for this format. The intention of a scientific diagram is never to abstract the information it presents, but rather demonstrate as clearly as possible research-based concepts through a visual medium. However, while it is presented in such a manner (Fig. 1- 4), there is a clearly poetic form present within the generative amalgamation of shapes and forms used to make the readers understanding clearer. This generated visual can allow us to reach a softer, more humanistic, more poetic dimension of reading research.

Notable Diagrams

สาระคดี ประวัติศาสตร์ ความเป็นมา เรื่องราวต่างๆ: Figure of the ...

Fig. 1 The Ptolemaic System (Claudius Ptolemy, c. AD 140-150)

Bartolomeu Velbo, a cartographer and cosmographer from Portugal created this diagram to illustrate the Ptolemaic Geocentric System — ‘Figura dos Corpos Celestes’ (Four Heavenly Bodies).

Islamic Science's India Connection - AramcoWorld

Fig. 2 Lunar Eclipse (Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, 1019)

This diagram illustrates the phases of the moon. It was a concept featured in the manuscript of his Kitab al-Tafhim (Book of Instruction on the Principles of the Art of Astrology) by al-Biruni.

Vitruvian Man - Stock Image - C038/5853 - Science Photo Library

Fig. 3 Vitruvian Man (Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1487)

Da Vinci’s diagram of his understanding of a human’s proportions.

File:Copernican heliocentrism theory diagram.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Fig. 4 Heliocentric Universe (Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543)

A simple diagram that demonstrates Copernicus’ theory of the Universe.

Mark Lombardi — Diagrams as Political Art

Mark Lombardi is a conceptual artist that demonstrates diagram in the form of political artworks. He uses information from public documents to create “narrative structures” that form networks in a diagrammatic form (MONEY KILLS). Unlike traditionally informational diagrams, Lombardi’s intention is political and artistic, yet it serves the purpose of informing and provoking. His conceptualist ideas are in line with the founding ideas of Sol Lewitt who believes “The idea itself, even if it is not made visual, is as much of a work of art as any finished product.”. Lombardi was also more interested in the “idea behind the creation”, rather than “the idea itself”.

His artworks are composed of lines drawn in pencil in a precise spirographic manner (Networks of Corruption: The Aesthetics of Mark Lombardi’s Relational Diagrams). They are representative of Lombardi’s research findings on the interactions between political and financial institutions, and their head figures. The political intention behind his art is to “expose” financial corruption through demonstrating “networks of transactions, spheres of influence”. Robert Hobbs’ also mentions that Lombardi’s artwork demonstrate the importance of gathering information, following the intricate research that goes into his diagrams.

Mark Lombardi, World Finance Corporation and Associates, ca. 1970-84 : Miami, Ajman, and Bogota-Caracas (Brigada 2506 : Cuban Anti-Castro Bay of Pigs Veteran) (7th version), 1999. Graphite and coloured pencil on paper, 175.58 x 213.36 cm. Courtesy of Donald Lombardi and Pierogi Gallery (Photo: John Berens).

Useful link:

ii. Narrativising Techniques of Fictionality

The following concepts have been derived from the article “Hybrid Fictionality and Vicarious Narrative Experience” by Mari Hatavara and Jarmila Mildorf. This article focuses on narrativity in fiction and non-fiction, highlighting the signposts of fiction. It is indicated in the following headers where Hatavara and Mildorf had derived these theories.

“Fiction” and “narrative” themselves are asymmetrical in their inclusiveness: while fiction always entails narrative, narrative does not necessarily entail fiction. The process of fictionalization not only involves features of narrativization, such as the inclusion of experientiality, but it is also accompanied by a more or less gradual loss of (perceived) truthfulness. We are of course aware of the fact that in the context of postmodern theorizing it may no longer be safe to talk about, let alone assume, something like “truth” or “truthfulness.” However, while such notions may have been problematized in postmodern cultural theory, they still hold validity in other philosophical pursuits and arguably in many (most?) people’s everyday lives.

Paratextual Signals

Grishakova, Marina. “Literariness, Fictionality, and the Theory of Possible Worlds.” In Narrative, Fictionality, and Literariness: The Narrative Turn and the Study of Literary Fiction, edited by Lars-Åke Skalin, 57–76. Örebro Univ., 2008.

Hatavara and Mildorf describe “paratextual signals or context signals of fictionality” as a mind-representation technique that is used to narrate the story of a nonfictional subject. They may not be classified strictly as a “fictional” narrative, since they are based on nonfictional experiences.

“Their referential framework is still the real world and real people in it, and this is how they will be understood by listeners and readers.”

Representation of thought and consciousness

Zetterberg Gjerlevsen, Simona, and Henrik Skov Nielsen. “Distinguishing Fictionality.” In Factuality and Fictionality: Blurred Borders in Narrations of Identity, edited by Cindie Maagaard, Marianne Wolff Lundholt, and D. Schäbler. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

Two situations relating a narrative to a personal thought or consciousness were highlight in the article by Hatavara and Mildorf. They are third-person narratives that involve “internalised focalisation” or “verbs of consciousness”, and “forms which mix two discursive subjects” (Herman, David. Basic Concepts of Narrative. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.).

Dissociation of the author and the narrator

Nielsen, Henrik Skov, James Phelan, and Richard Walsh. “Ten Theses about Fictionality.” Narrative 23.1 (2015): 61–73.

Monika Fludernik’s, followed by Neal Norrick’s, described the use of third-person narration in nonfiction as “narratives of vicarious experience.” Traditionally, it had been the standard to use first-person narratives in nonfiction, as facts that have been experienced by the narrator himself, rather than descriptive of another person’s experience.

iii. Full Circle // Episodes

These episodes will be focused on building a narrative for the Moon, using only theories of scientific/research nature. Their goal is to paint a factually guided picture of the Moon, but paratextually demonstrating the philosophy and poetics behind this body of scientific study. The three episodes — “Gravity”, “Rhythm”, “Light and Darkness” — are some of the main characteristics of the Moon in relation to its relationship with Earth. These characteristics are also some of the founding principles of existence and human life. In another sense, this amalgamation of topics will personify the Moon in a ‘character’ role and vicariously communicate the narrative consciousness through this third-person ‘voice’.

(Side note: ‘Philosophy of Science’ — Science is not necessarily truth. The nature of reality may be metaphysical, and we may want to take into account the ‘actuality’ of things we observe since science cannot prove what is unobservable.)

Focus: How the Moon Keeps Us Alive

This focus has been chosen because of its familiarity and harsh factuality. It will serve as a good base to demonstrate the new narrative structure.

Expected duration of each episode: 8-12min each

Episode 1: Gravity

— Stabilising Effect

— Protection Role

— Time (Segue into next theme)

Episode 2: Rhythm

— Tides

— Seasons

— Phases (Segue into next theme)

Episode  3: Light and Darkness

— Daytime, Nighttime

— Creation and Destruction

— Lunar Eclipse

Narrative Structure

I will use Waltz with Bashir as a starting point for the narrative structure for this format. The reason for this is the debatable genre of Waltz with Bashir as it actively dabbles between the consciousness of the director and protagonist Ari Folman, interviews with nonfiction subjects recounting their war experiences, while sometimes suggesting a world of fiction and fantasy. However, there will be elements of such a narrative structure that will not fit in with the interests of Full Circle, since Waltz with Bashir has much more paratext and consciousness than scientific studies such as the Moon. Waltz with Bashir involves much more psycho-socio influences, such as trauma and amnesia, all while told through the first-person perspective of a perpetrator.

Waltz with Bashir’s story arc less steep than would a traditional story arc (Exposition – Rising Action — Climax — Falling Action — Conclusion). Rather, it takes a slow boiling approach of a steadily increasing rising action, and cathartic release at the end. The docu-animation unravels with interviews with the perpetrators as the collectively recover from traumatic amnesia, and the protagonist, Ari Folman, gains an obscured piece of information each time he talks to someone new. The big picture can only be made sense of towards the end of the film, where the audience finally understands the source of Folman’s trauma as they vicariously piece together snippets of his war memories.

Full Circle will take also be making use of interviews with ‘non-fiction’ third-person narrators’ (experts on subject), and adopt a slow-boiling unraveling narrative that ends with a ‘big picture’ conclusion. The said “episodes” and topics have already been arranged in a manner that will facilitate this narrative structure.

The Moon will take the role of what resembles a protagonist in this docu-animation, while the experts act as third-person narrators on behalf of this character. It should seem as though they are directing the narrative of the Moon. The world in which this moon will be based in should consist largely of diagrammatic elements that amalgamate to form a fantastical universe to accompany these experts’ information (but not negate its ‘truth’).


Make poster of project explainer to send to interviewees


I bought a synthesizer to create the sounds reminiscent of the examples in the previous update (Fantastic Planet, Apollo 13, etc.). The following is a test I did with my new synthesizer. The animation was done in after effects, live looped in GarageBand.

FYP Proposal



Full Circle is a series of docu-animations that serves as an exemplary pilot to an experimental format of presenting facts, exploring the multifaceted realms of fictionality. While facts serve as the cogs of this narrative, the series yields context and familiarity as poetic devices, actively treading the line between truth and fiction. The format seeks to encourage further discourse into the way we understand research, creating a bridge between hard-shelled facts and humanistic tendencies.

This particular series explores the extent to which the Moon is entangled with life on Earth. It follows a narrative paved by a combination of facts and analytical speculation with experts, creating a narrative that is generated by research. In this narrative, science is accompanied by the rhythm of life, bringing the planetary scale of the Moon down to eye level. It is exemplary of the empathetic and imaginative realm that creative formats can bring to research, while still retaining its value of truth and effecting towards fact-based discourse.


Speculative Fiction
Site-specificity (Tentative) or Time-specificity
The Moon
Gravity/Quantum Entanglement

Working Title

Full Circle — a Docu-Animation series about the Moon in an experimental format

Research Objective

Research Questions

1. How can facts and research be explored through new formats such as Speculative Fiction and Documentary?

2. To what extent can we push the agenda of scientific exploration such that it retains its truth value (via exploration of the topic of the Moon, but also through other prospective themes)?

3. To what extent is the Moon entangled with the Earth and those that dwell on it? (Exemplary topic)

Specifically, Full Circle aims to:

  1. Expand the boundaries of research-based art such that facts may retain their truth value 
  2. Reinterpret research on exemplary subject of the Moon and its entanglement with the earth to be presented through Speculative Fiction and Docu-animation formats
  3. Assess the extent to which these methods align with the agenda of science and other practical causes
  4. Discover new methods of integrating fictional or speculative worlds into real-world settings/spaces.


  • There is an important place for Speculative Fiction and Documentary in the realms of education and social reform. Rather than conventional means of understanding facts, these formats are able to invoke an added sense of empathy and critical thinking.
  • Hence, many genres such as Science Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Docu-films and Docu-animations are now studied in a practical context, and often used to perpetuate discourse for real-life problems.


  • There is concern surrounding representation of facts in creative formats such that there can be implications that arise from the stylised representation of said facts.
  • This is commonly concerning in fact-to-fiction interpretation of violence, criminals, gender issues and abuse, such that there is sensationalist or misconstrued framing of said issues.
  • There is also concern surrounding the psycho-socio manifestations of more factual formats, such as documentary, concerning traumatic events such as war
  • The practical outcome of project focuses on the representation of science in creative formats, a field built on facts and truths. While science fiction, speculative fiction and some experimental documentaries tread the grey area of fact and fiction, it is not commonly recognised to have substantial educational or truth value.


  • Identify truth value of various research-based artworks
  • Develop a new format of presenting fact and fiction that can hold up in truth and educational value

Anticipated Contributions and Benefits of project

  • This new format of research-based art has the potential to push facts into effect, encouraging discourse and invoking a more empathetic connection with the audience
  • Such effect is a motivation for action, social reform and the improved knowledge and consciousness of the audience
  • Benefits of this particular exemplary topic of the Moon’s entanglement of the Earth:
    Both scientifically and philosophically connect us to an out of reach body that is familiar to the audience. Meld themes of fact (Time/Gravity/Size/Distance), speculation (Gravity/Quantum Entanglement), and philosophy (Existentialism/Scale/Relationships/Cultures). A topic that exemplifies how such a format could apply to other realms of research.

Research Milestones
(Deadline: Action)

  • 25th July: Observe format of precedent work (Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Documentary and permutations of it)
  • 30th July: Breakdown methodology and assess truth value of precedents, hence formulating some tentative ideals to maximise potential of both fact and fiction.
  • 10th August: Plan content of series and organise narrative (questions to ask) based on primary research. Subsequently, experiment with graphic and animation styles, and sound design.
  • End of September: Gather interviews with experts (Science Centre, A*STAR, Centre for Quantum Technology, etc.) based on planned narrative. (Start to create animation framework)
  • 1st Week of October: Organise gathered information and assess whether planned narrative is appropriate for new information gathered. Otherwise, narrative can be restructured.
  • 2nd Week of October: Finalise graphic and animation style, tone of sound design and documentary, the factual information should be the basis of every part in the creative process.
  • End of January: Execute practical outcome of project.
  • Mid–February: Review by experts and common audience.
  • End of March: Revision and compilation of final practical outcome.

Literature review

Conspicuous fabrications: Speculative fiction as a tool for confronting the post-truth discourse

By Kraatila, Elise. Narrative Inquiry. 2019, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p418-433. 16p

An academic article by Social Sciences Professor in Tampere University. This article highlights the issues surrounding the ‘post-truth’ world that we live in, citing storytelling as a cause for compromise with empirical facts and our ‘shared social reality’. The gist of her argument aligns with the project aims of Full Circle, such that she believes challenges faced by speculative fiction, fantasy genres and said storytelling in the ‘post-truth’ world to be ‘meaningful communication’.

Speculative Fiction in Russia and the Alchemy of Renewal

By Vladimirskii, Vasilii. Russian Studies in Literature. 2016, Vol. 52 Issue 3/4, p274-281. 8p

A discourse by Vasilii Vladimirskii, who takes Russia as testament for the power of Science Fiction and the political conflicts it entails. This discourse was published in the journal Russian Studies in Literature, which publishes “criticism and scholarship on contemporary works and popular cultural topics as well as the classics.” The article makes note of the bureaucratic red tapes that prevent Science Fiction from flourishing in Russia, and the concerns by the Russian government that it may propagate ideas that compromise their political rhetoric.

Speculative Fiction and the Philosophy of Perception.

By Keeley, Brian L. Midwest Studies In Philosophy. Sep2015, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p169-181. 12p

An academic article by Philosophy Professor in Pitzer College, Brian L. Keeley, that provides an unconventional focus on perceptive senses. He discusses how Speculative Fiction is a translation of a “scientific image” into the “language of the manifest image” as described in American Philosopher Wilfrid Sellars’ Philosophy of Perception. The article also categorises Speculative Fiction under “humanities, fiction, and imaginative arts as a whole”. It is also understood from this article that Speculative Fiction is able bridge science and ‘commonsense self understanding’.

Accuracy and Ethics, Feelings and Failures: Youth Experimenting with Documentary Practices of Performing Reality

By Gallagher, Kathleen, Mealey, Scott, Jacobson, Kelsey, Theatre Research in Canada. Spring 2018, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p58-76. 19p.

This academic article is in line with the direction of my thesis, such that it seeks a realistic way to practice documentary. The article predominantly looks at documentary through the scope of performance and theatre, yet it identifies the same dilemma of unethical and undervalued strains of documentary among creative expression. It cites that the “uncynical praxis of failure” such that ‘provisional human truths’ are discovered through documentary practice can serve as ethical means of representing reality.

War Fantasies: Memory, Trauma and Ethics in Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir

By Yosef, Raz. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. Nov2010, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p311-326. 16p.

This academic article was written by Raz Yosef, an Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel. He poses an argument about the intention of Waltz with Bashir (dir. Ari Folman, 2008) towards exploring a collective trauma and augmented memory, rather than documenting the events that happened during the First Lebanon War. The article covers a heavily discussed topic of the ethics behind representing perpetrators and victims of a war in a documentary, and the truth value behind a production of such nature.

Precedent Studies
(Working on it)

FANTASTIC PLANETdir. Rene Laloux (1973)

WALTZ WITH BASHIRdir. Ari Folman (2008)

APOLLO 13dir. Ron Howard (1995)

THE BLACK CLOUDFred Hoyle (1957)

The Black Cloud (Penguin Modern Classics): Hoyle ...

Also in process of reading

2001: Space Oddity — Arthur C. Clark
Dune — Frank Herbert
Stories Vol. 2 — Ray Bradbury
The Little Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Distance of the Moon — Italo Calnino
LONTAR The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction #9
The Order of Time — Carlo Rovelli
Reality Is Not What It Seems —The Journal to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli

Next Action

Focus topic and formulate specific questions for interview with experts

Mono-ha & Wolfgang Laib’s Milkstone

Simplicity and nought are frequent talking points when it comes to Minimalism and its related movements, they are a longstanding preoccupation of radical art forms. Yet, on this particular guided visit to the Minimalism exhibition at National Gallery (my third one and pre-eminently with the head curator Silke Shmickl), what gripped me was the unrelenting means of an artist to contain great amount of effort and narrative in an unassuming item. They were not much of an image, but nevertheless striking and probed us to think. This notion is exemplified in the works representing Mono-ha and Wolfgang Laib’s Milkstone of a similar nature.


The Mono-ha movement originated from Japan as a response to technology and forces that take away from the nature of things. The works from this movement generally harness and manipulate the given properties of natural materials. Most significantly, Mono-ha was a brave rejection of Western ideas and notions towards art. I will be writing about two works from this movement.

Oneness of Concrete & Oneness of Wood,
Jiro Takamatsu (1971)

I am enthusiastic to write about this piece because it is my favourite in the Minimalism exhibition. Oneness, a series of rectangular blocks of material that is broken down and returned to its original piece to form a whole. The nature of the work is strangely captivating and plucks an unusual string in my sense of empathy towards inanimate objects. Wholeness, or more suitably oneness, is very fulfilling to see and can come off beautifully like in this piece, extremely sophisticated. There is an elegance to the difference in scale and form between the block of material and it’s smithereens. In smaller terms, the blocks are larger and rectilinear and the latter is a smaller and a more organic permutation of that. Takamatsu’s intention for this piece was to explore the the material’s transformative potential and singular identity (q. National Gallery).

Infinite Situation I (Window),
Kishio Suga (1970/2018)

During my first two visits to the Gallery, I had barely noticed this piece. Suga’s not so simple concept of placing a plank diagonally across the window is a piece that works not just with the object but the space around it. Once again, there is an immense transformational ability with an unassuming block of wood. It acts almost as a light sculpture, transforming the familiar mood of a space to have its own characteristic and flair. The scale of this piece is relatively large, though it may still come across as part of the space, rather than a standalone item.

Wolfgang Laib (1980)

Laib’s milkstone – an offset marble stone with a thin layer of fresh milk upon it – is elegant and minimal to the point that one could easily look past the amount effort that goes into creating the piece. There is a phenomenal fusing of the solid stone and liquid milk, the stone being a material of longevity and milk, a perishable. The basis of this work is the ability for both materials to identify as a singular object, and quite successfully so. Tension and harmony co-exist in this piece as the milk blends in seamlessly with the indent and edge of the stone. It is almost hard to believe that it is in fact a layer of milk on top of the stone, let alone discern where the milk ends and stone begins.



Artist Selection | Blast Theory

My artist choice is Blast Theory whose work is a fusion of interactive media, digital broadcasting and live performance. They describe themselves on their website as “a pioneering artist group creating interactive art to explore social and political questions, placing audience members at the centre of our work”.

I would like to explore the reactions and phenomena that are invoked through their social media and interactive works.

Kidnap is my favourite interactive performance art piece from Blast Theory. It is a piece that is provoked by the insurgence of lottery culture and the obsession of how one’s life could be changed through a singular act. The blurb of this piece according to the Blast Theory is simply that “the winners of a lottery get kidnapped”. And the performance is exactly that — participants who pay £10 to get kidnapped, whereby ten participants were chosen, and two winners were “snatched in broad daylight to a secret location”.

B A Z ______________ G

B A Z ____ G is an urban local bag modelled after the traditional Chinese rice dumpling (better known as Bazhang). The pyramid structure is made of a slightly malleable plastic sheet wrapped in grey speckled cotton. The strings are wrapped strategically around the structure to imitate the defining rattan of an actual Bazhang, which then segues into a strap.

The bag is meant for casual carry, with the holding capacity for daily necessities such as your phone, wallet, a kindle, or some dumplings. The heavily padded interior makes for good protection to your valuables, making the bag thief-proof and shock-proof. The insulated layers can also keep your dumplings warm.

More importantly, there is an apparent aesthetic and sentimental value to having it shaped to a Bazhang. This interpretation is personal and varies greatly from person to person, though my approach is slightly warm and nostalgic.

Not compromising the functionality of the bag, the straps are completely adjustable and customisable. The bag acts as a handbag, sling bag, backpack , or carry, depending on how the straps are arranged and worn. Their lengths can also be easily adjusted to suit the physique of the user.

On one surface, the bag opens up diagonally to a single compartment for simple everyday on-the-go storage.

The strings have been tied in complexly neat knots that give it an urban industrial reference. Textures of the bag are also mostly linear to bring out a sense of geometrical harmony. The colour scheme is grey and blue, which liberates it from the traditional green and pink scheme of an actual Bazhang, and therefore allowing a modern finish.

The Profound Art of Networked Practice

Networked practice is indisputably one of the most revolutionary media in art to date. The engagement of social media has assimilated into the daily, who is to say how far it has burgeoned as a lifestyle, let alone an artistic media. What seems important to me is that we understand the blurred lines between the art, the philosophy, the science, the life in network practice. This contemporary world is highly homogenised, and our biggest development is probably the ability to work around distance and difference, creating a tolerance through our sense of proximity and similarity. That is my personal sentiment.

Dr Maria Chatzichristodoulou (Maria X) spoke about telematic practice at the Art of the Networked Practice Online Symposium on 29 March 2018. She is the Associate Professor in Performance and New Media at London South Bank University (LSBU), and has also worked as a curator, producer, performer, writer and community organiser.

She cites James Baldwin, an American Philosopher, for having put out a favourable definition of telematic practice. He refers to it as “the relation between two or more relatively independent things or systems that hinder, limit or otherwise affect one another”, which Maria X finds interesting for its light on the “interpersonal potential of telematic performances”.

Maria X believes that “telematic performances, like all performances, are about relationships between systems and people”, and “through those interactions they affect others and are affected by others”. I second that, the potential of network practice lies loosely in the interpersonal relationship, but sharply on how the being and the media effect on each other.

“and that is the difference between live performance and recorded performance.”

The prime takeaway form this symposium was, from my personal objective, the difference between live and recorded performance. Maria X mentioned that “unlike other screen practices, telematic performances transform the screen or a projection surface to the place of a live encounter.”

Perhaps, it could also be said that in this metaphysical bandwidth, networked media is a vehicle, transportation for not just distanced communication but also emotional proximity and even physical experience.

“In that sense, the projected image on screen, together with the live performance, become space-time continuum. They connect the audience and performers across geographical boundaries.”

I thought it was apt that Maria X referred to the act of networked practice as a “space-time continuum”. And as we explored the spacial aggregation of networked media, the definitive term of “time continuum” perplexed me. Had time also been aggregated through this practice? Something Maria X said had helped put my thoughts in perspective. She mentioned that live performances were a “perpetual disappearance of their own enactment. On the other hand, their equal dependance on recording technologies mean that those performances intentionally or unintentionally leak traces, which means they self-document.”

The self-documenting and self-augmenting nature of the telematic performances are what makes the performance candid and affecting in live time, a real experience. And to me it is perhaps what makes it a revolutionary media for performance art and philosophy and living.

An example of unconventional telematic performance, as cited by Maria X, was Blast Theory whose work is a fusion of interactive media, digital broadcasting and live performance. She referred to them as an artistic group that does not “develop telematic works in the old sense over a screen”. Lucky for me, Matt Adams of Blast Theory was scheduled to speak the next day.

Matt Adams is a believer of the utopian possibility to create social relationships over the internet. His works provoke and are provoked by the idea of private ownership and profit as the “dominant mean in the landscape” of networked practice. “The idea of connecting people remotely seems rather quaint to me as an idea that it is in and on itself full of possibilities of social forms.”

What really captivated me was Matt Adams ability to see through the selfish utility of networked media and realise the overwhelmingly under-explored potential of the form. His idea of open source is one that can truly be accessed by all, as he described, a “utopia” of some sort where information and research may burgeon through this shared space.

“There is a kind of utopian sense of possibility. The very act of connecting people is itself a radical question and it creates new social relationships. It’s a new form of possibility and I don’t have any answers to this, but my question is where exactly did we make the profound mistake that have brought us to the place that we are today, because those dreams as far as I’m concerned have rarely been delivered on, and when they have been delivered on the commons that have been created have entirely been privatised.”

My stand on this issue is that the idea of privatising a shared intelligence is another intrinsic result of selfish human nature, our want to possess and need to create some sort of hierarchy so that we grow individually and not as a collective species. Perhaps, networked media and its collective nature is what will liberate us from our selfish retardation from the development we would have reached if we would just ‘do it with others’. But the gist of Matt Adams philosophy is that “this is what has happened to our internet”, and his works explore that notion in more ways than one.

Kidnap (1998) by Blast Theory

Kidnap is an interactive performance art piece that is provoked by the insurgence of lottery culture and the obsession of how one’s life could be changed through a singular act. The blurb of this piece according to the Blast Theory is simply that “the winners of a lottery get kidnapped”. And the performance is exactly that — participants who pay £10 to get kidnapped, whereby ten participants were chosen, and two winners were “snatched in broad daylight to a secret location”.

According to Matt Adams, the Spanner Case was a major inspiration for this piece. In this case, a group of gay sadomasochists were apprehended by the police upon finding VHS tapes of them engaging in hardcore sexual activity.

The case escalated to an international concern as a precedent case, which is a major basis of judicial passing in Wales. What actually concerned them was the verdict that by consenting to sadomasochists acts is equivalent to no defence. And therefore, being sentenced to acts of self-mutilation, became a precedent to the legality of body modification, tattoos, piercings. How blood was drawn from your body was now something that you could not consent to, and that the state had the right to interfere.

Matt Adams also highlighted that “the interest in power and power relationships” was another thread at the heart of this piece. The work explored how “power flows between people, between an audience and a set of performers”.

My favourite part of Kidnap is probably its ability to transfer the creative courage and power from the artist to the performer to the audience. It is this salience that creates an unstageable act of artistic research, a candid experience not just for those who participate in it, but also for those who watch it.

“We were fascinated to try and foreground the ways in which we experience power and play with power. Sadomasochism being a prime example in and of itself, since it is fascinating in performative terms.

It is the pretending of something with sufficient fidelity and force to become real in some way. You are acting out some set of power relationship, one person takes a dominant role in general, and one person is taking up a submissive role. Those two people are both pretending, and yet the line between pretence and reality is very hard to untangle. that in itself poses very difficult questions about what power means.”