[Project 1] Image Through Type


For our very first project, we were tasked to create typographic portraits of occupations we wished to have in future. These portraits had to comprise mainly of letters found in our names. 

Final Product

Final works Top: I’m a waitress / five-star chef (Left), I’m an art student / graffiti artist (Right), Bottom: I’m a manic fan / music legend (Left), I’m an artist liaison officer/ award-winning actress (Right)

In this project, I wanted to experiment with the idea of contrast, both in concept and medium. Drawing inspiration and personal experiences from past jobs, I wanted to create portraits that consist of these jobs I’ve had and their ‘dream’ counterparts. The four I decided to go with are Server VS. Five-Star Chef, Art Student VS. Graffiti Artist, Manic Fan VS. Music Legend, and Artist Liaison Officer VS. Award-Winning Actress. To further emphasise the contrast, the medium used was a combination of photomontage and illustrations. 

Portrait 1
Job 1: Waitress / Five-star chef

The first portrait is my job as a waitress contrasted with my dream of being a five-star chef, focusing on the contrast between a chef having more control and creating more dazzling meals, and a waitress having much less authority and whose job mainly revolves around serving food. The composition consists of a pair of chef hands at the top garnishing a lobster dish. The dishes, from top to bottom, show a lobster dish, hamburger, and cup noodles. At the bottom is a waiter holding a tray about to serve the dishes. To reinforce the idea of the difference in control between the two jobs, the dishes pictured decrease in quality as it reaches the waiter (a lobster dish, typically considered a high-end dish, followed by fast food, then ready-made food). They also become increasingly disorganised. 

Letters used in portrait: V, E, W

Since the contrast is conveyed through the dishes, the letters, V, E, and W, are spelled out using the food items. Taking into consideration the special qualities of each letter, I adjusted the presentation of the food items accordingly:

V: Has straight, rigid lines
Shown through the composition of the chef’s hands and lobster dish; the dish being connected through flakes from the garnish. As the letter is much neater and rigid, it seems fitting to have it at the top, with the chef’s hands. 

E: Three extensions
Shown through the presentation of the hamburger, where the ingredients are separated to better depict the letter’s extension, and the sauce showing the vertical line; the letter having three separate extensions seem fitting for a hamburger, as the layering of ingredients could emulate the shape.

W: Zig-zag pattern 
Shown through the presentation of the noodles; the zig-zag pattern was simple to depict with the curvy nature of noodles. By extending the noodles across the pair of chopsticks, it helped in keeping the composition balanced, and makes the ‘W’ shape less jarring. 

The entire composition, on the other hand, is also coincidentally in the shape of a ‘V’, allowing it to better to convey the intended message. 

Portrait 2
Job 2: Art student / Graffiti Artist

The second portrait is my job as an art student contrasted with my dream of being a graffiti artist. The main contrast between the two jobs I wanted the portrait to focus on was how graffiti artists and art students had different canvases to work on; graffiti artists had walls and buildings but art students had to confine to the limits of a canvas. The composition, therefore, consists of a student studying at a desk, and across the road, as shown through a window, is a group of painters adding streaks of pink paint onto the row of houses across. 

Letters used: V, N, Z

V, N, Z: Made up of straight lines, rigid 

The letters, V, N, and Z, in this case, are portrayed through the ropes holding the painters’ platforms. Since the ropes here have a very rigid and geometric nature, I chose letters of my name that had the same characteristics. Furthermore, the letters, as compared to other letters in my name, are the easier ones to form out of straight lines. 

Letters used: i

I: Straight line and dot above

The I in this composition is formed by the pose of the painters. The painters themselves mimicking the straight line while the paintbrush representing the dot. The hair of the paintbrush is coloured black to further emphasise its representation of a dot. 

Portrait 3
Job 3: Manic fan / Music legend

The third portrait is my job as a manic fan contrasted with my dream of being a music legend. The main contrast between the two jobs that struck me the most was the level of impact that famous musicians could make where they were able to leave legacies behind, whereas fans would not be able to do the same. To convey this idea, the composition involves a tour group of visitors marvelling at the artefacts and portraits on display, which are of and belong to famous musicians. The difference in scale (the exhibit being much bigger than the visitors) also helps to further reinforce this idea. 

Letters used: A, W

Since the intended message lies in the interactions between the visitors and exhibition, the letters are formed through the artefacts themselves, as well as in the layout of the exhibition. 

Letters used: g, h, o, E, A

O: Distinctive because of its circular structure
The O was used to form the vinyls as they both share the same circular structure.

A & E: Letters A & E consist of straight lines that are angled in more dynamic ways, mimics the physical structures of more recognisable musical instruments

The letter ‘A’ was used to form the guitar on the right, and the display cases on the left and right. Since the uppercase ‘A’ is made up of two converging straight lines, forming a gap at the top, it could form a display case expanding on the gap. 

The letter ‘E’, on the other hand, was used to form the keyboard on the left. The three extensions was emphasised by the black keys, while the top of the keyboard formed the straight vertical line.

H & G: The lowercase ‘h’ and ‘g’ letters have more curves when compared to their uppercase counterparts

The lowercase ‘h’ was used to structure the pose of the musician in the painting. Gaining inspiration from a series of photographs of David Bowie, the letter ‘h’ could be seen in some of the poses he used, so I tried to emulate it but it a more obvious fashion. 

The lowercase ‘g’ was used to form the pose of the bust. Following the same idea as the lowercase ‘h’, I took inspiration from the Thinker sculpture. As its pose mimics the curves of a lowercase ‘g’, I changed the pose of the bust to form a more obvious ‘g’.

W: Has a zig-zag pattern, allowing for interesting compositions

As ‘W’ has a zig-zag pattern made out of straight lines converging, it seemed fitting to structure the layout of the exhibition in a similar manner. 

Portrait 4
Job 4: Artist liaison officer / Award-winning actress

The fourth portrait shows my job as an artist liaison officer contrasted with my dream of being an award-winning actress. In this composition, I wanted to focus on the main contrast of stress levels and activity between the two jobs; artist liaison officers, when managing their clients, face stress in ensuring that their clients stick promptly to the assigned schedule as well as turning up for events and press junkets. Therefore, I wanted to emphasise on the contrast by having the portrait set at a red carpet event, where the artist liaison officer (while carrying a bag of camera equipment and makeup), is pushing a trolley with the actress standing on top of it. The actress is waving to a crowd of reporters.  

Letters used: Z, i, W, Y, F

The message, in this case, is conveyed through the interactions between the artist liaison officer and the actress. Therefore, the letters can be found mainly in the layout of the two. 

Y: Lines converging to form another straight, vertical line

The ‘Y’ here is formed through the pose of the artist liaison officer on the right. Positioning her body to lean towards the left, while having the bag of camera equipment and makeup leaning towards the right, forms the ‘Y’ shape. The pose also helps to reinforce the heaviness of the trolley.

F: Two extensions

‘F’, on the other hand, is formed through the handle of the trolley and placement of the artist liaison officer’s hands. The hands, in contrast to the image of the trolley, help to make the extensions of the ‘F’ a bit more distinctive as well.

Z & I: Zig-zag pattern, and straight vertical line with a dot above

‘Z’ is formed through the placement of the actress’ shawl. Since the fabric, when tied across the shoulders and arms of the actress had a zig-zag like pattern, it seemed fitting to have it in the shape of a ‘z’. 

‘I’ is formed through the pose of the actress. Similar to the idea of the painter in the second portrait, I wanted to adjust the pose so that it would recreate the shape of the letter I (the vertical line with a dot above).

W: Up and down pattern

‘W’ is formed through the structure of the rope barriers. The pattern of lines that form the letter could be recreated through the ‘u’ shape of the rope barriers. By duplicating the rope barriers twice, it formed a ‘w’, but in a curved way.


Research & Conceptualising
I. Research

For a more detailed post on research, please refer to: https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/vwong005/research-project-1-image-through-type/

After finding more about incorporating texts and letters into artwork in the Dadaist and Constructivist movements, I was inspired to experiment different ways in adjusting objects to mimic the unique traits of different letters, as well as creating compositions and layouts based on contrasts and unconventional elements that are still able to bring forth the intended message.

II. Artist References
Hannah Hoch
Works of Hannah Hoch

For a more extensive background on Hannah Hoch, please refer to: https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/vwong005/research-project-1-image-through-type/

Reference for:

  • Idea of photomontage
  • Layouts of visuals to convey a narrative
Moon Patrol

Moon Patrol is a collage artist whose works are heavily influenced by 80s cartoons, Atari 2600, horror movies, folklore, and western and detective pulps, while drawing from his love of comic books from the late 80s and early 90s.

Works of Moon Patrol

Reference for:

  • Style of photomontage 
  • Blend of different graphics
  • Method of colouring
Hattie Stewart

Hattie Stewart is a London-based artist and illustrator. Most known for ‘doodlebombing’ over influential magazines, she also creates ‘tongue-in-cheek’ artwork that ‘moves fluidly between many creative fields including Fashion, Music, and Contemporary Art’. 

Works of Hattie Stewart

Reference for:

  • Blend of illustration and photomontage
  • Colour palette
III. Conceptualising

The process started with conceptualising. 

Mindmap: Brainstorming overall concept and art direction
Mindmap: Brainstorming techniques to use to emphasise on contrast

I initially wanted to work more on expanding the contrasts between different jobs, so I planned out the different ways I could explore this idea and the techniques I could try. I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try new methods of creating visuals, instead of sticking to just illustrations!

After coming to a decision on the overall concept and approach, I narrowed down the four jobs and their counterparts I wanted to portray, then started to think of different layouts to use, while incorporating the letters into them. 

IV. Planning & Drafts

Keeping in mind the contrasts and messages I wanted to focus on for each portrait, I planned out, with the help of artist references, different compositions and layouts I could use to make it more interesting. 

Mindmap: Brainstorming for Job 1
Some layout drafts for Job 1
Draft 1 for Job 1
Mindmap: Brainstorming for Job 2
Some drafts for Job 2
Mindmap: Brainstorming for Job 3
Drafts for Job 4
Drafts for Job 4


Some of the challenges I faced during this project were:

  • As typography wasn’t something I was confident in, finding new and interesting ways to incorporate letters into the composition wasn’t very easy. 
  • Putting the visuals together in a layout that had to be organised but at the same time, vibrant and interesting enough (to make the contrast between the two mediums, photomontage and illustrations), was challenging.
  • Trying to alter the illustrations of real-life objects to mimic the shapes of letters was challenging as they came out either quite boring or undistinguishable as letters.

Feedback & Improvement

Final product with pos-its
  • Working with the two different mediums was more successful than I thought in conveying the contrast between the two portrayed jobs
  • Having a dream counterpart allowed the series to have a continuous flow, making it more interesting
  • The blend between the two visuals was not too jarring and complemented each other well
  • The typeface was not distinguishable in some portraits, where the objects intending to be the typeface looked more like the actual object instead of a letter. To make it more distinguishable, I could have took a step further and altered the physical structure of the objects (even beyond recognition) to make it recognisable as a letter.
  • Some of the compositions came out relatively boring, especially for the last portrait. To make for a more interesting composition, I could have added in more visuals or make the interaction between the two jobs more exaggerated. 
  • In incorporating typefaces, I don’t think I did much experimenting and exploring, and resulted in sticking to two main approaches (adjusting objects to mimic the letters’ shapes, and creating a layout based on the letter). Maybe it would have been more interesting to create textures out of the letters themselves. 

[Research] | Project 1: Image Through Type


Image result for dada artist

Dadaism is defined as a ‘nihilistic and anti-aesthetic’ arts movement that flourished primarily in Zurich (Switzerland), New York City, Berlin, Cologne, and Hannover (Germany), and Paris in the early 20th century.

It came about amidst the brutality of World War I, where the ‘unprecedented loss of human life was a result of trench warfare and technological advances in weaponry, communications, and transportation systems’. The ‘disillusioned’ Dada artists, on the other hand, saw the war as a confirmation of the ‘degradation of social structures that led to such violence’, namely, ‘corrupt and nationalist politics’, ‘repressive social values’, and an ‘unquestioning conformity of culture and thought’. As a result, from the years 1916 to the mid-1920s, artists ‘declared an all-outassault’ against the ‘conventional definitions of art’, as well as on ‘rational thought’ itself. It is said that the Dadaist movement  ‘were not the beginnings of art, but of disgust’. 

The Dadaists ‘rejected the modern moral order, the violence of war, and the political constructs that had brought about the war’. They aimed to ‘subvert all convention, including conventional modes of art making’. Photomontage – which relied on mass-produced materials and required no formal art training – was ‘a deliberate repudiation of the prevailing German Expressionist aesthetic’. The Dada movement was however, quickly ‘absorbed into the art world and found appreciation among connoisseurs of fine art in the 1920s’. 

Dada Artists

Image result for hannah hoch

Hannah Hoch

Hannah Hoch was a ‘vital and regular’ part of the Berlin Dadaist circle, and is well-known for her ‘pioneering collage and photomontage (collages consisting of fragments of imagery found in newspapers and magazines) artworks’, as well as ‘consciously and successfully promoting the idea of women working much more creatively in the modern society’. Her works involve ‘appropriating and rearranging images and text’ from the mass media, intended to ‘mock and critique the Weimar German Government’. It is said that she prefers ‘metaphoric imagery to the violent and direct techniques’ commonly found in her contemporary colleagues (e.g. John Heartfield). 

Hoch was also considered the ‘lone woman among the Berlin Dada group, stranded within what everyone wanted to describe as a male creative world’. She is ‘responsible for pioneering some of the most important Dada and avant-garde art’, providing us with ‘interesting and evocative reflections on the industrial development and the very concepts of beauty’, making her ‘one of the most important female artists of the 20th century’. 

Hoch’s early works consisted of experimenting with ‘nonobjective art – nonrepresentational works that make no reference to the natural world’, using mediums of painting, collage, and photomontage. Although renowned artists such as Picasso and Georges Braque have been credited with employing and elevating collage to a fine art level, Hoch and the Dadaists were the first to ’embrace and develop the photograph as the dominant medium of the montage’, where they ‘cut, overlapped, and juxtaposed (usually) photographic fragments in disorienting but meaningful ways’ ‘to reflect the confusion and chaos of the postwar era’. Her works often represented and embodied the ‘New Woman’, ‘generally ridding herself of the shackles of society’s traditional female roles’. She was also interested in representing women as ‘dolls, mannequins, and puppets and as products for mass consumption’. 

  • Had constructed and exhibited stuffed dolls that had exaggerated and abstract features, but were clearly identifiable as female 
  • Used advertisement images of popular children’s dolls in somewhat disturbing photomontages (e.g. The Master (1925) and Love (1926))

Her later works, in addition to the increased use of colour images, became more abstract, where she ‘[rotated] or [inverted] her cut fragments so that they were readable no longer as images from the real world but instead as shapes and colour’, ‘open to many interpretations’. She also reintroduced ‘figural elements’ into her photomontages. 

Max Ernst

Related image

Max Ernst was another key member of the Dada arts movement as well, where he used a variety of mediums – painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, and other unconventional drawing methods, ‘to give visual form to both personal memory and collective myth’. He was most known for ‘combining illusionistic technique with a cut-and-paste logic’, making ‘the incredible believable’, and ‘expressing disjunctions of the mind and shocks of societal upheavals with unsettling clarity’. Ernst was considered ‘one of the leading advocates of irrationality in art’ and an ‘originator of the Automatism movement of Surrealism’. 

A notable work of his is Here Everything is Still Floating, which reflects ‘a world of rubble of shards’. It followed a traumatised Ernst after serving for four years in World War I, and alongside fellow Dadaists Jean (Hans) Arp and Johannes Baargeld, used ‘mechanically-reproduced fragments’ such as the ‘image of a chemical bomb being released from a military plane’ in the background. Ernst’s paintings often contain the ‘fragmented logic of collage’ (referred to as ‘the culture of systematic displacement’ by him), whose subjects are ‘disjointed even if their surfaces are smooth’. ‘In these foreboding dreamscapes, headless bodies and body-less hands appear incongruously amid lush forests or on deserted beaches’. 

In addition to collage, Ernst used techniques such as frottage (‘pencil rubbings of such things as wood grain, fabric, or leaves’) and decalcomania (‘the technique of transferring paint from one surface to another by pressing the two surfaces together’). The ‘accidental patterns and textures’ resulting from these techniques   can be seen in drawings such as The Great Forest (1927) and The Temptation of St. Anthony (1945). His activities subsequently increased on sculpture, using improvised techniques. For example in Oedipus (1934), Ernst used ‘a stack of precariously balanced wooden pails to form a belligerent-looking phallic image’. 

Man Ray 

Image result for man ray

Man Ray is a photographer, painter, and filmmaker, as well as ‘the only American to play a major role in both the Dada and Surrealist movements’. Upon meeting Marcel Duchamp, they collaborated on many inventions and eventually formed the ‘New York group of Dada artists’, and Ray began to produce ‘ready-mades’, ‘commercially manufactured objects that he designated as works of art’. Although trained as an abstract painter, Ray ‘eventually disregarded the traditional superiority painting held over photography and happily moved between different forms’. He held on to the idea that ‘motivating a work of art was more important than the work of art itself’. 

Concerning photography, Ray experimented with different methods such as ‘rediscovering how to make ‘cameraless’ pictures’ (photograms or ‘rayographs’) – he did so by ‘placing objects directly on light-sensitive paper, which he exposed to light and developed’. He also experimented with solarisation, ‘which renders part of a photographic image negative and part positive by exposing a print or negative to a flash of light during development’. Ray then experimented with portraiture; some of his works involved giving one sitter ‘three pairs of eyes’, photographically superimposing ‘sound holes’ onto the photograph of the back of a female nude, resembling that of a violin. 

Ray also made films. One such example, Le Retour a la raison (1923), is an indication of the ‘rayograph technique’, where he made patterns with salt, pepper, tacks, and pins. 

Dada-Inspired Artists
I. Lola Dupre

Image result for lola dupre

Lola Dupre is a multicultural collage artist and illustrator, creating ‘surreal and fragmented portraits’ with ‘multiple prints of the same image in different sizes’ combined in one piece, portraying ‘beautiful distortions of the human form’. Using paper, scissors, and glue, Dupre’s portraits twists ‘conventional fashion imagery to speak to our fragmented ideas of self’, questions body image issues, and ‘affirms our desire to break free from limiting perceptions around culture and gender’. 

'Dada was about juxtapositions of the world... Dada is the background noise, the unavoidable memories that influence many works' - Lola Dupre

Learning Points

  • Dadaism: A nihilistic and anti-aesthetic arts movement that flourished in the early 20th century
  • Hoch’s use of metaphoric and ambiguous imagery, allowing viewers to form their own interpretations 
  • Hoch’s use of figural elements, and later focus on shapes and colours 
  • Ernst’s blending of personal memory and collective myth
  • Methods of frottage and decalcomania in creating patterns and textures
  • Making patterns using objects – Ray’s use of salt, pepper, tacks, and pins

Russian Constructivism 

Image result for russian constructivism

Russian Constructivism ‘was a particularly austere branch of abstract art founded by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodcehnko’ in Russia around 1915. Although it was suppressed in Russia in the 1920s, it was brought to the West (by Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner) and has been ‘a major influence on modern sculpture’. Constructivism was also deemed as ‘the last and most influential modern art movement to flourish in Russia in the 20th century’. 

'The material formation of the object is to be substituted for its aesthetic combination. The object is to be treated as a whole and thus will be of no discernible 'style' but simply a product of an industrial order... Constructivism is a purely technical mastery and organisation of materials.' - Russian artists in Lef

The Constructivists believed that ‘art should directly reflect the modern industrial world’. It borrowed ideas from Cubism, Suprematism and Futurism, but ‘was an entirely new approach to making objects, one which sought to abolish the traditional artistic concern with composition, and replace it with ‘construction”. It comprised of ‘careful technical [analyses] of modern materials,’ hoping ‘it would eventually yield ideas that could be put to use in mass production, serving the ends of a modern, Communist society’ – objects were ‘to be created not in order to express beauty, or the artist’s outlook, or to represent the world, but to carry out a fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art’. 

Constructivism ‘firmly embraced the new social and cultural developments that grew out of World War I and the October Revolution of 1917’. ‘Concerned with the use of ‘real materials in real space’,’, it ‘sought to use art as a tool for the common good’. Many of these works involve projects in architecture, interior and fashion design, ceramics, typography, and graphics. 

'Focused on the careful technical analysis of modern materials, and the refusal of the idea that art should be produced for the art's sake but as a practice for social purposes...'

In addition to ‘demonstrating how materials behaved’, Constructivism was also ‘a desire to express the experience of modern life – its dynamism’, ‘new and disorienting qualities of space and time’, as well as the desire to develop a form of art ‘more appropriate to the democratic and modernising goals of the Russian Revolution’. Therefore, Constructivists were considered ‘constructors of a new society’, ‘on par with scientists in their search for solutions to modern problems’. 

Constructivist Artists

Gustav Klutsis

Image result for gustav klutsis

Gustav Klutsis (or Gustavs Klucis), one of the pioneers of ‘Soviet agitprop graphic design’, was most notable for his ‘revolutionary use of the medium of photomontage’ to create ‘political posters, book designs, newspaper and magazine illustrations’. He also advocated the ‘rejection of painting’ and was actively involved in making production art such as ‘multimedia agitprop kiosks’ installed on Moscow streets, ‘integrating radio-orators, film screens, and newsprint displays’. It was through these constructions that Klutsis developed his own method of ‘combining slogans and functional structures built around simple geometrical figures’. 

In 1926, Klutsis started to work specifically on political posters promoting ‘socialist reconstruction’, in accordance with the ideological discourse of the Party at that time. After joining Oktiabr (‘an association that united leftist artists, whose aim was to promote the class-proletarian tendencies in the sphere of three-dimensional art’), his art developed, where his works, during this period, ‘combine[d] methods of posed photography, reportage and double-exposure images’. 

By 1931, Klutsis new posters began including huge portraits in photomontages: ‘photographs of marchers, shock workers, and, most commonly, Stalin’. ‘Stylistically these works signalled a move away from Constructivism towards a monumental propaganda approach in glorification of Stalin’. 

Vladimir Tatlin

Image result for vladimir tatlin

Tatlin is often acknowledged as ‘the father of Constructivism’. With his ‘traditional training’ ‘supplemented towards a revolutionary way of thinking’ with Pablo Picasso, Tatlin entered the ‘Moscow avant-garde’. His admiration for ‘unconventional modulation’ in Cubism collages and the three-dimensional constructions and series of Picasso’s still lives (made of scrap materials), ‘challenged him to explore the new approach in his own production’. He then created art and design that ‘furiously emphasised materials, volume, revolution, and construction’. ‘Embracing the industrial materials, such as wood, glass and metal, Russian Constructivism shifted towards industrial design’, and its artists became ‘engineers of the everyday form’. 

'The arc of his career has come to define the spirit of avant-gardism in the twentieth century, the attempt to bring art to the service of everyday life'

Tatlin’s approach was ‘shaped by his desire to bring lessons learned in the artist’s studio to the service of the real world’, explaining why his works ‘seem to shift from a preoccupation with the texture and character of materials, to a focus on technology and the machine’. Tatlin’s most famous work, the Monument to the Third International, was ‘one of the first buildings conceived entirely in abstract terms’, signalling ‘an important early stage in the transformation of Russian art, from modernist experiment to practical design’. 

Despite its obscurity, Tatlin still remains one of the ‘leading artists of the Russian avant-garde and the creator of the most visionary and influential architectural design to arise from Constructivist ideology’.   Tatlin’s constructions seek to ‘revolutionise society by introducing new forms of art’, where he employed ‘craft methods and incorporated everyday objects and materials into their work to expand the boundaries of what could be considered art’, as well as ‘to challenge the notions of ‘high’ and ‘low’ forms of art and culture’. 

Alexander Rodchenko

Image result for alexander rodchenko

Alexander Rodchenko is said to be perhaps ‘the most important avant-garde artist to have put his art in the service of political revolution’, it is a ‘model of the clash between modern art and radical politics’. His life’s work was an ‘extraordinary array of media’ from painting and sculpture to graphic design and photography. 

Beginning as an ‘aesthete’, inspired by Art Nouveau artists, Rodchenko then turned to Futurism, then pioneered Constructivism, where he ’embraced a more functional view of art and of the artist’. Upon a collaboration with poet Vladimir Mayakovsky on a series of advertising campaigns, they introduced ‘modern design into Russian advertising’ and attempted to sell the ‘values of the Revolution along with the products being promoted’ – this union of ‘modern design, politics, and commerce’ inspired advertisers in the West. Photography was important to Rodchenko in his attempt to find ‘new media more appropriate to his goal of serving the revolution’. Viewing it first as a source of ‘preexisting imagery, using it in montages of pictures and text’, he then later began to take pictures himself and ‘evolved an aesthetic of unconventional angles, abruptly cropped compositions, and stark contrasts of light and shadow’. 

Rodchenko’s art helped redefine three key visual genres of modernism: painting, photography, and graphic design. In his paintings, he ‘further explored and expanded the essential vocabulary of an abstract composition’. In his photography, he ‘established unprecedented compositional paradigms’, defining the ‘entire notion of modern photographic art’. 

Learning Points

  • Constructivism: A style or movement in which assorted mechanical objects are combined into abstract mobile structural form, featuring technical masteries and organisations of materials
  • In Constructivism, objects are created not in order to express beauty, or the artist’s outlook, or to represent the world, but to carry out a fundamental analysis of materials and forms of art 
  • Klutsis’ integration of different forms of media in production art 
  • Klutsis’ combining of slogans and functional structures built around simple geometric figures 
  • Klutsis’ use of huge portraits to represent glorification 
  • Tatlin’s emphasis on materials, volume, revolution and construction 
  • Rodchenko’s incorporation of everyday objects and materials 
  • Rodchenko’s use of unconventional angles, abruptly cropped compositions, and stark contrasts of light and shadow 




    1. https://www.widewalls.ch/artist/hannah-hoch/
    1. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hannah-Hoch


    1. http://www.hungertv.com/feature/beauty-in-distortion-dada-inspired-collage-art-by-lola-dupre/
  1. https://www.moma.org/artists/1752
  2. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Max-Ernst
  3. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Man-Ray
  4. http://www.theartstory.org/artist-ray-man.htm

Russian Constructivism

1 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/c/constructivism

2 http://www.theartstory.org/movement-constructivism.htm

3 https://www.widewalls.ch/russian-constructivism/

4 https://thecharnelhouse.org/2016/10/12/gustav-klutsis-revolutionary-propagandist-1895-1938/

5 http://www.theartstory.org/artist-rodchenko-alexander.htm

[Research Summary] Sousveillance


I. About Sousveillance

Sousveillance is defined as the ‘recording of an activity by a participant in the activity’. The participant would typically be wearing a ‘small wearable’ or ‘portable personal technologies’, utilising a range of monitoring methods (e.g. visual and audio surveillance). It also involves both ‘hierarchal sousveillance’ as well as ‘personal sousveillance’ (eye-level, human-centred recording of personal experience), and both processes would typically interchange.  using sousveillance for multimedia purposes allows for ‘effortless capture, processing, storage, recall, and transmission of an activity by a participant in that activity’.

Image result for sousveillance
Image of example of wearable recording devices

Sousveillance is also said to usually involve ‘community-based recording from first person perspectives’, ‘without necessarily involving any specific political agenda’. Inverse-surveillance, on the other hand, is a form of sousveillance that is commonly ‘directed at, or used to collect data to analyse or study, surveillance or its proponents’. 

II. Case study

An example of the use of sousveillance involves wearable cameras by police officers.

Image result for police body cam
Image of body camera

Referred to as ‘body cameras’, these tools encompass the use of video streaming and recording in an archive to monitor the interactions of police officers with criminals and civilians. Despite the reduction in complaints against officers and in the use of violence by officers, there is still the issue of breach of privacy. 

As these body cameras are turned on almost every second, there have been doubts raised about special victim cases where if a camera is shone in front of a victim, he/she may not feel comfortable in sharing information they know.

III. reflection

After finding more about sousveillance in our society today, I feel that it can be a step in the right direction in the field of technology. It can serve as an efficient method in monitoring situations, especially in the area of law enforcement. With suitable equipment in capturing video and audio footage, not only does it uphold the behaviours of law-enforces, but it also can serve as evidence should situations go awry.

Image result for periscope
Image of Periscope app, a live video streaming platform

On the other hand, with the establishment and widespread use of video-sharing platforms, the integrity of sousveillance can be compromised. With the already existent issue of the breach of privacy, the action of unfiltered raw footage of a controversial subject reaching different ends of the earth has the ability to amplify this problem. This could then lead to the increase in radicalism, and creating a ‘dangerous dependence on private platforms’.


[Project 2] Bag & Portable Carriers

Final Product 

For our second project, we were tasked to create a paper-based mockup of a bag or portable carrier of our own creation. 

Final: Front View
Final: Back View
Final: Strap Hooks
FInal: Side View
Closure method: Metal clasp
Final: Interior with snacks
Final: Interior

With regards to my final product, I was inspired to create a bag in response to an issue I’ve always had concerning one of my hobbies. One of my favourite activities to do with my friends and family involve going to the movies, and within that long span of 2-3 hours, we always end up getting quite peckish and thirsty. However, cinemas tend to overcharge for their snacks and drinks! Their selection is also usually quite limited. As a result, my friends or family members (my mum, mostly), and myself included, usually end up sneaking our own snacks and drinks into the movie theatre. 

Therefore, to aid us in this first-world problem, I wanted to create a simple sling bag that is designed to hold a variety of snacks in a subtle and discrete manner.

Research & Process

Coming up with the final product involved conceptualising and ideation, experimenting and creating mockups, and eventually doing up the final model. 


The project first began with us learning and researching more about soft goods, or bags in particular. In addition to being exposed to how the functions of carriers evolved over time, and how designs can be catered to specific functions of bags, we also learned more about how to include different varieties of compartments and closure methods. My group and I presented on the closure methods and compartments of bags. 

For a more detailed post on our findings on closure methods, please refer to: https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/vwong005/bags-closure-methods/

During the ideation stage and inspired by expertly-designed bags I found on Pinterest and other websites, I tried to come up with variations on existing carriers or bags that are catered to some of my hobbies. 


Following that, I looked to Pinterest and other websites again for inspiration and references on interesting designs and compartments I can include in the design of the bag. I was inspired by minimalist, vintage-looking sling bags, expandable bags that could cater to the carrier’s needs when more items needed to be added to it, and the idea of compartments fitted for specific functions (e.g. camera bags). Eventually, I thought it would be interesting to do a take on the ticket pocket and organisational bags, but for food. 

Final Changes

The first mockup involved experimenting with dimensions, determining if it could fulfil its intended function of carrying snacks, and seeing if the general design is visually-appealing. 

Mockup: Front View
Mockup: Back View
Mockup: Interior


  • Creating the hooks to hold the straps in place was quite challenging as I needed to create a hook out of sturdy material that was visually-appealing and able to hold the bag together
  • The expandable pockets were difficult to curve, and ended up not being expandable because of the material used

Processing & Arduinos


A bulk of our classes involve learning more about coding. Serving as a platform to learn the basics of coding, we were recently introduced to Processing, a flexible “software sketchbook”, and “language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts”. With it, users (especially students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists) are able to create prototypes and learn. 

Since we (me, especially) were beginners in coding and programming, we were first taught the basics, and over time, we eventually learned more functions and picked up on more Processing terms. Through lessons in class and online tutorials, in addition to Processing terms, I learned more about the set up and draw function, variables, creating shapes, text, and colours, and making them move at different directions and speeds, as well as the printing functions. 

With this, we were tasked to apply our new knowledge and skills in creating a simple two-player Pong game. Using Processing, our game had to feature two moving rectangles, a moving eclipse that changed direction upon contact with either of the rectangles, a scoreboard, and a ‘game over’ screen. 


As a beginner in programming, I faced difficulty in making the graphics move, mainly because I did not quite understand the math behind the x and y axes. I especially had difficulty in programming the eclipse in such a way that it changed direction when coming into contact with either of the rectangles. 

However, with online tutorials and help from friends (especially Jia Yi), I could better understand the coding terms. 

The Pong Game
Game Over


In addition to Processing, we were also given insight on Arduino. Arduino is an “open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software”. With an Arduino board that reads inputs (such as lights on sensors and fingers on buttons) and turns them into outputs, users can send instructions onto micro controllers on the board, carrying out those instructions. 

With the use of the Arduino programming language and the Arduino Software, based on Processing, we were taught on how to light an LED light bulb. Plugging the USB cable into our laptops and with provided codes, we were able to light the LED bulb by connecting different pins. By adjusting the code, we could adjust the rates at which the bulb lit and its intensity. 


Research Critique | Maker Culture & DIWO

Write a 400-word essay discussing the concept of DIWO as explored in the essay, the Furtherfield Website, and Marc Garrett’s lecture.

The term, Do It With Others (DIWO), is centred on the idea of co-creation, it emphasises ‘co-produced’ and ‘networked’ initiatives as opposed to ‘top-down initiations’. It can also be defined as a ‘collaboration platform’ for like-minded people to ‘collaboratively work on a task, project, or any other service’. It is also a platform that allows for collaboration between a vast range of sources, creating new ‘hybrid’ experiences. DIWO also emphasises on process rather than outcome, ‘forming relationally aware peer enactments’. Ironically, it is also because of its own innovative nature that DIWO is not as widely-accepted; it is perceived as ‘complex’ and ‘too fast’ for some of the industry’s main stakeholders to catch up with. 

The article also discusses using technology as a necessary tool for survival and innovation, especially for artists. Being equipped with knowledge and skills in technology is beneficial especially in the creative industry as it provides artists with an advantage in a field of ‘creative capitalism’; with these skills, they can produce ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ works. Furthermore, in the case of ‘open networks’ brought about by Media Art and technology, it allows for practitioners to have a ‘deeper understanding’ of the medium and how to ‘creatively’ ‘exploit it’. As a result, practitioners across different fields are able to interact and collaborate with peer critique and ‘shared ownership of ideas’, all with a ‘variant of creative expressions’. 


Combining the skillsets of practitioners across different mediums can give rise to innovative works


DIWO is also regarded as a cutting-edge, versatile, and ‘socially informed’ initiative able to loosen up traditional infrastructural ties and frameworks. Not only does it provide a platform for collaborations between different artists and mediums, but it also exists within ‘mainstream culture’ and ‘networked shadows’, catering to the needs of a wide demographic. By practising DIWO, we can therefore, push the boundaries of creation, where we are encouraged to ‘changing the defaults’, thereby ‘changing the rules’ and opening up more possibilities. 

Personally, I feel that DIWO is a beneficial platform for us, especially as art students. With a space dedicated to the idea of ‘openness’, where we are encouraged to share ideas and knowledge across a vast range of mediums with like-minded people, and where there are materials and tools ‘open to all’, available for re-editing and redistribution, not only does it make learning experiences more convenient and easily accessible, but it also serves as an outlet of inspiration. With a wider access to newer technologies, we gain new knowledge as well as adopt new methods and ideas in further developing our projects, making way for more innovative works in future.

[Assignment 1] Foam Modelling


To help us better understand foam modelling, we were tasked to create a model of a phone dock with speakers using foam.

Final product: Phone dock with speakers and charging port

My foam model is based on using organic shapes to form more a unconventional phone dock and speaker structure.  I wanted to experiment with using methods in forming organic shapes as opposed to geometric ones. 

Final product: Front view
Final product: Phone holder
Final product: Speaker
Final product: Top view



Ideation for the phone dock with speakers first began with conceptualising. Recalling the methods of ideation taught in class (ideation by functions or features, ideation by themes and keywords, reference to unrelated objects, and focusing on aesthetic qualities), I first did a mind map to come up with ideas for a phone dock. The ideas were categorised according to the different ways in which we were taught ideation in class. 

Ideation mind map

After a session of brainstorming, I looked to websites such as Pinterest and Design Inspiration for more ideas on different shapes and functionalities I can use for the phone dock. Looking through existing products and mock-ups, there were many phone docks and speakers that emphasised on functionality and aesthetic quality. 

Reference images

Personally, I really liked the aesthetic quality of organically-shaped phone docks with wooden finishes. I thought the dual functionality as a phone dock with a charging port and speakers coupled with holders for containing small objects (such as coins and keys) was also quite interesting and would be extremely beneficial for users. I also quite liked the ‘industrial’ and ‘vintage’ looking products where simple geometric shapes were used with materials such as metal rods and wooden finishes. I also came across products that functioned as organisers, and the fact that they were collapsible and could be rearranged or stacked on top of one another were interesting and unique. 


In preparation of creating our foam models, we were first taught various methods of cutting and carving foam to form different shapes, both geometric and organic. We used methods such as using the wire cutter, where we could angle the wires to cut different shapes (e.g. cones), and pen knives. We also learnt that organic shapes with many edges can be cut out of foam simply by pasting a thick sheet of paper (of the same shape) onto the foam before using the wire cutter. This method especially came in handy when trying to cut perfect circles! 

After conceptualising and looking at reference images online, we were then tasked to do up some orthographic drawings for the foam model. 

These drawings and sketchings helped in identifying the parts needed to form the phone dock, their respective dimensions, and their overall shapes. With this, it was easier to plan the methods and tools needed for cutting the foam, as well as the sizes, to attain the needed shapes. 


At first, with the intention of using wood (paper that resembled wood, in this case) and metal as the materials, I wanted to create a model that was simple and slick, with a rustic finishing. However, due to the nature of my sketch and the foam itself, the model would not be able to hold the weight of a phone. Therefore, I went with a model that focused more on using organic shapes and unconventional aesthetic qualities of designing speakers. 

The process included first cutting out two cones. The cones were cut using the wire cutter with angled wires. The base and ledge were also cut with the wire cutters. Details such as the concave phone holder and opening for charger were carved using a penknife. The speaker area was also carved using a penknife. The foam was later filed using pieces of sandpaper for a smoother finish and better transition between separated segments. 


  • Ideation was a challenge as I wanted to base my phone dock on aesthetic quality and dual-functionality, but it was challenging in creating a model based solely on foam and creating collapsible organisers was especially difficult in carving out openings of appropriate sizes. 
  • Working with foam itself is also a challenge. I had to be especially careful with cutting as the slightest movement could cause a sudden jolt in the overall shapes. Filing the foam would also sometimes cause it to be flakey and uneven, unless it was done gently.