Project Management: Assignment 4

Compared to the previous readings where we learnt about thoughtful interaction or Social practice art, Minimalism, a movement that kickstarted in the late 1950s is an extension from the abstract idea that art should have its own reality and not be an imitation of some other thing. Tate states that we tend to think of art as representing an aspect of the real world (a landscape, flower, person, etc), or even to reflect an experience such as an emotion or feeling. However according to Frank Stella in the context of minimalism, ‘What you see is what you see’.

With minimalism, no attempt is made to represent an outside reality, the artist wants the viewer to respond only to what is in front of them. The medium, (or material) from which it is made, and the form of the work, is the reality.

  • Tate

One aspect which I enjoyed from the exhibition is the inclusion of artists/artworks that utilises the many interesting mediums that can be used in this movement.

Image result for Milkstone (1980) by Wolfgang Laib on display at the National Gallery of Singapore.

An example of such artworks that enjoyed was Milkstone (1980) by Wolfgang Laib

But the artwork that really appeals to me is Blank Paper by Liu Jianhua.

‘Blank Paper’ by Liu Jianhua at Tate

‘Blank Paper’ by Liu Jianhua at National Gallery –  the folds at the tip of the “paper” is made intentional. To me, it shows a more paper-like and fragile quality of the work itself.


‘Blank Paper’ by Liu Jianhua at National Gallery. One is also able to see the thinness of the porcelain up close

Exhibited at the National Gallery, Liu Jiahua’s ‘Blank Paper’ consists of 3 large porcelain sheets that is thinly crafted to resemble blank pieces of paper, similar to the title of the art piece.

Where do their ideas come from?

Jianhua first learned his craft at the age of 14. He learnt traditional ceramics by his uncle, a ceramicist, in the city, Jingdezhen, the centre of China’s porcelain industry. He then went to the Jingdezhen Ceramic Arts Institute, studying fine art and learning contemporary art styles.

Most of his works involves the usage of porcelain, ceramics, gold, and fiberglass.

I have also read up about galleries explaining that his work has often been interpreted as a comment on China’s rapid economic development and industrialisation and its role in the globalised economy, which to me, is along the same theme that Ai Weiwei explores.

Hence, it can be suggested that his ideas mainly comes from his upbringing and culture. Based on his main choice of materials such as ceramics.

What was their process and methodology for creating their works?

Silke Schmickl, the curator of the gallery roughly explained on the curation and the process of displaying this piece. She said that Jianhua himself created the sheets by rolling it out into thin pieces. I believe that he needed time to experiment with it, as it is quite difficult to find the correct combination of water, clay, heat and etc. Just like baking.

She also explained the difficulty of putting up the artwork due to its fragility. Something along the lines of having to put it onto something, akin to a platform(?) and placing screws onto it so it does not directly stick onto the piece. On other pieces of work, she also explained the steps they took to care and display it. Making the museum come to life, and it is something I appreciate from the experience very much!

Which artworks do you think work well and why?

I believe that this piece, and his artworks in general is inline with the minimalism theme. The following quote by Heini Lehtinen explains how this piece falls into the minimalism category:

“In his work (Liu Jianhua), the Shanghai-based artist places strong emphasis on form and material to the point of standing away from prevailing tendencies in contemporary art, such as social commentary and narrative approaches. With a “no meaning, no content” approach to art, Liu focuses on form and methods of industrial production in making artwork, in which he transforms paper, leaves, bones and ink drops into fragile and at times surreal porcelain sculptures.”


Personally, I this piece appeals to me mainly because of the juxtaposition and play of the material itself, porcelain. I think it is a very smart way to reinvent the usage/concept of materials that we are taught to presume in our society. The blank canvas also makes me think about what I would actually write on this “paper” (probably something very important), as it is extremely fragile and “expensive” due to the craftsmanship that involves into making it. Personally, it is a reminder to be more careful of the words we convey to people.

MAN: Research progress 02

After presenting my previous idea in class and receiving some feedback, I decided to improve on my video concept by adding more focus onto quantum theories instead. The research done then yielded a few concepts really spoke to me, and had potential to be developed into an interesting storyline:

Double slit theory: A demonstration that light and matter can display characteristics of both classically defined waves and particles; moreover, physicists have found that even passive observation of the double slit experiment (by changing the test apparatus and passively ‘ruling out’ all but one possibility), can actually change the measured result. This is called Observer effect.

Simulation hypothesis: Hence, some interpreters have taken these theories to the macro level to say that there are a set of probabilities where there are alternate realities. Another speculation scientists had is one in which we exist both in the present and in the future. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it. Things do not really exist as we tend to imagine them to exist; they only seem to appear to exist—and they appear to exist only in the presence of an observer. Which brings us to the Simulation hypothesis, which proposes that all of reality, including the Earth and the universe, is in fact an artificial simulation, most likely a computer simulation created by a super computer (e.g: Matrioshka brain)

Image result for matrioshka brain

A matrioshka brain is a hypothetical megastructure proposed by Robert Bradbury, based on the Dyson sphere, of immense computational capacity. It is an example of a Class B stellar engine, employing the entire energy output of a star to drive computer systems.

Therefore, from these two theories it is possible to expand the narrative to a character into an alternative realm.

New concept: The narrative revolves around an apprehensive girl who ran away from home. Throughout her journey, beautiful sights and mysteries greet the young girl. However, her adventure is not a smooth one. Suspicions of the world and dreams of home follow her every step. She eventually finds herself at the edge of the world where the rules of her reality no longer apply. Perhaps her reality is not what it seems. Draws inspiration from the Double Slit theory were it shows that there are possibilities for alternatives in our reality. Hence, the narrative is also based on the Simulation Hypothesis where the protagonist discovers that everything in her life is just a virtual simulation.

From here, I decided to do more research into executing the final video. Yukai is an artist whom I really admire. She does great animations and illustrations, hence I dug around the internet hoping that she did some tutorials where she explains the process she takes to execute the final product. Thankfully, there actually is!

Hence, I decided take her advice and started to work on a very rough storyboard first. The main focus on this storyboard was to plan out the movements and characters itself, the main environment/visuals required, transitions which is really important to bring the video to the next level, and the visuals of narrative itself.

So here is the very first rough storyboard.

The next thing I plan to do is to bring everything digitally and do another more refined storyboard on illustrator. Following Yukai’s workflow, the next step is to actually colour the storyboard to ensure the colour scheme is balanced. From there, I would like to define the main characters of the video, which is:

  • The protagonist: Suspicious, girl, strong willing, suspicious, dark, carries bagpack (signifies running away from home)
  • The monster that chases her (Crocodile/tentacle like monster)
  • The “brain” (Octopus like with giant brains and tubes coming out from it)

This is the goal for next week and a half.

Afterwards I would start to draw the environments itself.




Project Management: Assignment 3

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology by Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman was an eye opener for me, mainly because it is one of the few design related books/articles that I have actually read so far. Reminding me of the importance of doing so for there is still so much to learn in this field.

One of which is the intriguing aspect that the role of the designer is important. In fact, far more so than I had previously had recognised. Definitely, I was aware that designers have the ability to shape and influence the public with what we create. But this sentence from the opening paragraph elevates and aptly phrases my feelings towards our job scope:


“We live in an artificial world. It is a world made up of environments, systems, processes, and things that are imagined. formed, and produced by humans…Someone has to decide their function, form, and structure…”


Hence, personally the role of a designer is akin of a gatekeeper. For we have the ability to decide the hierarchy of information, the details that is to be highlighted/hidden, the organisation, structuring or categorisation of the final product and so on. Hence a point that I want to apply in my own working process in the future is to always ask myself what and how I want the user to experience from my works.

Because the book highlights that we do not just create for the sake of meeting a clients brief or to create something beautiful, but instead we ought to be thoughtful designers.


“Being thoughtful is abut caring for your own design ability, the designs you produce, and how the world will be changed by your design ideas and decisions. A thoughtful designer is someone who takes design as a serious and important task and who tries to become a designer with the ability to create something fascinating, authentic and useful digital artefacts”


What are we creating for? It is easy to create something interesting and beautiful on the surface. But personally it is always important to remember the message we want to impart to the viewers.

And what I like the most is the fact that it balances the idealistic role of the designer by underlining the fact that designers does face undesirable restrictions and limitations that might affect our final output. For example, having short deadlines or unreasonable requirements. But the authors aptly says that:


“Blaming poor designs on the preconditions ns the situation is not a way to avoid responsibility…Being successful in design means being able to handle the everyday practicalities, and to deal successfully (or at least adequately) with different technical and social contexts”


Which is basically saying, “Suck it up and keep grinding”.

To me, this book empowers my idea of what a good designer should be. And despite my reluctance to read this piece due to the number of words and pages, I am really glad to have embraced this reading and will definitely keep these information in mind for my future work.

One work that showcases the work of thoughtful design is  the Estonian Forest Installation that is created from interior architecture students from the Estonian Academy of Art.

Estonian Academy of Arts

This piece enables users to relax in these megaphone structures that captures and amplifies all the beautiful foresty noise of its surroundings at Võrumaa, near the Latvian border.

Thoughtful design created and executed by students, meaning that we very well have the ability to do so too. It taps on the densely forested areas of Estonia and elevates the people’s experience of the forest. This is not only a spot which locals now enjoy, but one where foreigners flock to as well.

Hence for our very own projects, what are somethings within our environment we can tap on that might be overlooked in our daily lives? What sort of experiences and message can it bring to the people who interact with it? And lastly, this assignment makes me think about the kind of designer I want to be.