1 // Is this my future? is a series of 4 mixed medium pieces that bring you through jobs I’ve dreamt of pursuing as a child from young to old. The concept of time and age is brought through the evolution of carelessness in craftsmanship.
2 // Haji is a digital abstract driven eight-page zine created to portray Haji Lane as a creative space in Singapore; a filled canvas that comprises of interesting boutiques, beautiful cafes, and the lively nightlife.
More information about both projects here!
The background colours on the front and back cover ties in with the first and last spread while the colours included in general are all present throughout the zine. The entry and exit of a journey through my zine is represented with the entry and exit of a gachapon machine since I spotted them along Haji Lane. Some textured scans of the machine itself are included in the front cover.
The first spread is dedicated to the cafes along Haji Lane. With the pie scans being the main subject of this spread, it’s clustered arrangement resembles the sounds of chitter chatter and cutleries on plates in the cafes. The overlapping and rectangular framing of the pie scans also conveys the placing of plates. Incorporating the calm and beautiful exterior of this cafe, the plain yellow border represents that. Textures from napkins are also overlayed in this spread and the warm tones help to link to the next spread.
Targeted to express the boutiques along Haji Lane, this spread contains various forms of hand-made packagings from the shops. Replacing barcodes and commercial packaging, there is a presence of organic forms such as stamps, brown paper bags and handwritten price tags. This organicness is contrasted with the typed text “handmade, handpainted”. Compositionally, this spread holds a neater arrangement to mimic the calmness in the shops. The overlay of the scanned bag also conveys the crinkling of plastic sounds.
Lastly, to end off the night, this spread expresses the nightlife at bars. The visual soundscape of the street at night overlaps with the double yellow lines. Amongst the soundscape is abstract block colours that have been extracted from raw images taken during the night which also represent the murals there. The 2 overlapping areas between the lines and the double yellow line represent two main parts of the street where bar seatings spill out onto the road. On the right is an abstract layout of barstools in the arrangement of the bar menu.
Main concepts: day vs night, creative space, a large canvas
Pinterest research ~~
During my consult with Joy, we discussed that Haji Lane can still be looked at as a creative space, but narrowing it down to a specific population. e.g. for business owners. using the 3 spread in the zine, it could be grouped to target 3 different groups/types of business owners.
Aside from these points, some data that I wanted to work with visually was :
The following images were what I shared during the first group consult. As an art direction, I was trying to work towards line illustrations with minimal text as well as some images. Considering that I was still rather new to illustrator, I was playing around with the image trace function to obtain various visual outcomes.
Layering of visual qualities that I noticed inside and outside of the boutique shops. Plants, gate, shophouse, etc…
Image of live gig, illustration of quirky mannequins outside the bars, stools, mic
Manipulated image of windowsill pies, ‘coffee and cakes for you?’, exploration with visual soundscapes
For these spreads, I definitely interpreted the abstract part of our zine in the arrangement of visuals rather than an actual abstract representation of Haji Lane. The sharing of other’s work definitely helped me to understand the abstract direction that I should be working towards. Hence, I decided to start anew and reorganize my zine.
one main quality for each business + respective soundscape
Listing of new ideas aka revisiting Haji lane:
Sourced packaging materials and scanned them it for digital manipulations
Bought a pie from windowsill pies and scanned it. I also recorded sounds from the boutiques, bars and cafes. These sounds were later reflected in the composition fo each spread. Following the scanning of these resources, I experimented with them to create new spreads.
Although I brought in more abstract qualities this time, there were definitely things that I could further focus on for each spread.
soundscape + double yellow line resembles street, solid colours abstracted from images of the nightlife at Haji lane with the eyedropper tool
Abstract icons of barstools along the street, arranged in menu format, overlapping of soundscapes similar to the boutique spread where there is also overlapping
Re-arrangement with a frame since the other spreads also had some sort of framing going on. I lot of rearranging went into the process of this zine and it was definitely a challenge for me in terms of deciding which would be best not only to fit the concept but also aesthetically. The final spreads of my zine will be explained in another post 🙂
For the final project of this semester + the first year, my group consisting of Ying Hui, Si Hui, Niki, May Thu and myself came up with an interactive experience based on the term “sonder”.
the realisation that every stranger has a life as complex and vivid as yours, connected to thousands of others whom you will never know either, and will only exist as a blur in the backdrop of your own life
The final description of our concept:
Held in the setting of 2 different trains, the idea was that both trains were site-specific to itself as a location in Singapore. This referenced the idea of strangers that co-exist within the same space during their journey from one point to another but never getting to know each other as another human being like yourself. Inviting 2 strangers to participant in the project; each will start off at different stations on different lines, making their way to a point of intersection, which was Bugis in our case.
Taking on the persona of the line they are on, East-west line (aka EW line) and downtown line, both participants who are anonymous to each other will converse over chat, with the use fo telegram, to get to know each other. They have the option to be whoever they want to be online, whether it be themselves or an altered character. During this journey to the ‘final station’, players will learn more about each other, and through their conversations were told to draw a portrait of what they thought the other person may look like. In the case of any awkwardness in the conversation whereby they are stuck in the conversation, the breadbot (existing in the same chat as the participants) will pose questions to keep the conversation going.
Nearing the end station, both participants will be asked if they would like to meet the person they have been chatting with. With their replies texted to the breadbot in private chat, the outcome of their answers will be revealed to them in the common chat. If both parties agreed to meet one another, they will then find their way to each other upon alighting at Bugis station. From then, they will exchange portraits and get to meet the online personality that had been talking to, a stranger, that they would’ve never met 😀 (or maybe, a friend coincidentally) You never know who the person you were talking to may end up being.
Pre-official run preparation:
Regarding the players in our game, we initially wanted to invite complete strangers at the moment in time on different trains. But upon consideration, we realized that it would be a challenge to look for strangers that are willing to be filmed, are alighting at Bugis and is willing to be interviewed after (aka spend extra time with us). So instead of spending time on the actual day sourcing for participants, we decided that one of the players would be someone within our team, while the other player would be one of our friends. With this arrangement, not only will there be some level of control, both players are still considered strangers to one another.
As for the breadbot, we prepared a bot script; including an introduction, stating the purpose of the breadbot, simple instructions to the game as well as a list of guiding questions to prompt the players whenever necessary.
Our individual roles on the day itself were to facilitate and film the game on two separate trains. We split ourselves up into two teams for filming and lending of our phones to the players (where our contacts were changed for anonymity). On both days, I took on the role of the breadbot whereby I would facilitate the conversation from the start (introduction) to end (portrait drawing and meeting up). We ended up doing two runs of the game in order to stronger portray our concept of sonder. I am glad that we did it twice because the difference between both outcomes really allowed for a comparison between the interaction of various personalities online and offline. Both runs and meeting experiences are captured and included in our video 😀
Diving slightly deeper into my own experience as the breadbot, it was a really interesting experience considering the conversation from both days were so different.
Day 1: Didn’t prompt any questions mid-conversation
Both players on day 1 could hold their conversation as they both asked questions to each other and found similar topics of discussion. Over chat, they were equally as involved in the conversation.
Day 2: Prompted multiple questions mid-conversation
One of the main differences that I noticed from day 1 was that Niki’s friend, Cheng, started off the conversation by asking the breadbot to help break the ice. Since their conversation started with a breadbot question, I felt that it affected the rest of it. After they answered each question, I felt that I needed to prompt another one because they weren’t sure where to divert it to. One of the reasons may be that the subjects of the questions did not allow for further expansion.
Arriving at our final concept was actually what I felt like was our main struggle throughout this project. Our initial “runner+chaser” game that was located within Bugis street turned out to be too complicated and didn’t seem to have a final goal/accomplishment. I was glad that we did a test run, whereby we realized that it didn’t carry a strong concept. However here is a compilation by Niki of some footage from the test run:
Moving on from this initial plan, we went back to some of the ideas that we started off this project with and decided to stick with an interactive game that revolved around the intimacy between two individuals. From there, we arrived at using two trains as our site-specific location.
Some challenges that we faced during our actual runs was that the limitations of time, screen recordings and possibly the presence of the breadbot may have influenced the online relationship between both participants. It could have affected the level of connection/deepness of their conversation. It was also a challenge filming in the MRT due to the crowds but our camera women did a great job :))
An unexpected element was noticed after watching the screen recordings. We realized that the players would delete what they initially wanted to say, which I guess is the perk of conversing online hehe. Another surprising element was the meeting of the players afterwards. We didn’t expect the dynamics between the players to be so different in real life compared to over chat but I guess that comes with meeting someone new for the first time. Despite the challenges that we faced throughout the project, I am pleased with our final outcome and the efforts that we put it to make it as relevant to the concepts that we touched on throughout the semester 🙂
Here is the pdf file of our presentation slides S O N D E R!
Broadcasted over the span of three different days, I managed to attend the first and last day of the online symposium. While the performances on both days were rather different, both portrayed the theme of “Social broadcasting: an unfinished communications revolution”. On the first day, we started the symposium of with a lecture by keynote speaker Maria Chatzichristodoulou. Her discussion about how technology has been used extensively for interaction, supported with some examples that we have discussed in class, demonstrated qualities of D.I.W.O and social networking. Emphasis on how present technology is in our daily life reinforces the point of defining physical spaces and boundaries to bring people together.
Maria mentioned that “live performances carry ideology”, which I thought was very fitting with the performances that took place throughout the symposium. Unlike pre-recorded videos of performances, the live aspect of current performances allows the story/purpose to flow in its own way. If something does not go the way it was planned to, it becomes part of the experience, hence carrying and developing ideology. Movements within live performances also produce actions which challenge the definition of physical art making it an interactive experience.
Comparing the performances from both days, I would say that the difference between one-to-many and many-to-many form was rather evident as an audience. Although the Online En-semble – Entanglement Training (first performance) involved multiple performers, the experience itself felt like a one-to-many form since the performing platform was the third space. We were watching different aspects of the performance coming together from various screens, in which they actually used broadcasting as a method to perform. In comparison to the Igaies aka glitch performance on the third day, they used the third space as more of a streaming platform rather than a performance ‘stage’. This meant that there were times when I felt a little more disconnected to the performance as an audience due to the restriction of camera angles, etc…
Diving deeper into the content of these performances itself, the Online En-semble incorporated qualities of breaking boundaries of physical space. It was a performance that linked auditory as well as visual senses together strongly with the counting down of latencies, humming, and the close-up filming of objects. It was a rather immersive experience which I really enjoyed; especially upon understanding that the performers were all in different countries, some of which were new collaborators with Annie Abrahams. They also mentioned that there was a professional music performer within them who helped to guide them with the flow of sounds. Abrahams also asked her collaborators to choose political statements to say because it is a time when politics is preoccupying her mind which is very suiting to current society. The spontaneity within the performance creates a sort of harmony within itself.
The Igaies performance on the third day held a lot more of a dystopian theme in comparison to day one’s performance. The hashtag performance involving XXXTRAPRINCESS’ was one that I wish I understood more of, especially the purpose and reasoning behind the setting up of them sitting back to back. However, I thought that their use of filters was very fitting for an audience of our generation. The performances were held in a more traditional performance space which demonstrated an abjection of the space. Along with the leech and sexual puppy performance, the idea of having an online identity (aka acting) was prompted. All the performers were immersed in their own characters and as a whole, they created a sci-fi quality to the this ‘procedure’/experiment.
Throughout both days, there was definitely a presence of glitches produced by various technological difficulty. The fact that we were watching from various time zones adds to a glitch in the experience of all audiences and performers. The online symposium was definitely a good way to end of the sem as it holds a lot of resemblance to our topics of discussion and micro-projects.
The alter ego that I have chosen to be for this microproject is an artist who is also a traveller, one who travels to gain inspiration.
Through the depicted journey in this video, I develop a deeper relationship with the location I am in as time progress. This is shown through the intervals of me removing my shoes, socks and lastly walking barefooted. I also decided to add a black and white filter to anonymise the location, allowing it to be anywhere imagined.
How can the video selfie be used to alter identity?
When something is being filmed, chances are that people normally put up a front for the camera in order to be perceived in a different light. When given the freedom to decide what goes into the video, we have the opportunity to curate our identity in a way that is more difficult to do in person.
How might video be used to conceal identity?
When it comes to watching a video of a person, I’ve always thought that it was almost impossible to figure out / conclude one’s true identity. Physically, the editing and framing of the video could conceal a person’s voice, face or body part and hence not allow audiences to understand the full truth.
How do the objects that surround you contribute to your sense of identity?
Aside from the spontaneous route that I took throughout the video, one of the things that I thought of including was a location with a wider variety of textures on the ground. It contributes to the sense of identity that I am open to exploring a range of places not specifically cities or rural areas.
the art of styrofoam destruction
For our micro-project, the art of destruction, Jia Ying, Frederick, Melo and I ‘destroyed’ the original state/shape of these styrofoam pieces that we found in the 3D room. We reused random pieces which previous users had considered as ‘trash’ and transformed it into a new form of creation.
It didn’t matter to us what the original shape was, nor how it would turn out to be. This was our way of embracing inconsistencies and accidents; just by going with the flow of how the heat gun wanted to corrode the styrofoam which turned out it disintegrated slowly into nothing. Through the destruction, the solid state of our styrofoam structure transformed into toxic within the air which we then inhaled 🙂
Through this project, I started to look at the term ‘destruction’ in a different light. With the negative connotation that it tends to hold, this project conveyed examples that demonstrated destruction as another form of construction; something we can choose to look at positively instead of negatively. With reference to the glitch studies manifesto article, Rosa Menkman said, ” I emphasize the positive consequences of these imperfections by showing the new opportunities they facilitate. ”
Relating this project back to our glitch exercise, the intentional ‘bugging’ of something acts as a form of artistic expression by being a “poetic embrace of noise and error”, as quoted by Jon Cates. The glitched images that we created reminded me of abstract art. It pushes us to break the standard rules and boundaries of art that it normally conforms to. “Pushing different aspects o the machine world to see their thresholds, and experiment and play.” Not only were our glitched outcome a form of experimental artistic expression, the process of how it came about to be from person to person allows for every individual’s input.