Both exhibitions, An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season and Time Passes, were extremely interesting and eye-opening for me. There a variety of mediums, as well as a large range of ideas brought up in the entire exhibition through many works. It was a good experience seeing how certain materials were used and manipulated into works of art, and how many of them mixed traditional and digital into a cohesive project. It was interesting to hear how the curators chose the works, and the problems they faced in the exhibition set up process.

All the works were well-thought out and gave food for thought. It opened my horizons to the art scene in Singapore, and made me realise the amount of unique and brilliant artists there are in Singapore. It was fun to see some works bring in the Singapore context, with works relating back to places we live or things we use. At the same time, many works also touch on issues on a global level, as well as personal level.



Among all the works presented, one work that really caught my attention was Blue Trapezium by Chong Lii and Christian Kingo in Time Passes. It is a 30 minute HD video, projected onto the wall. Opposite the projection are 3 seats, with speakers on each side. The area is dark, and is found hidden behind the exhibition’s description wall, unlike the other works that are openly displayed. The work being separated from other works allows the viewers to be fully immersed in the film, as they sit in the dimly lit screening area.


The reason why I chose this work was because of how I was so absorbed into the work when I watched it. More often than not, while I was amazed by works, I often still felt more like a person watching from the outside, in a sense that it was me realising how I was supposed to feel from watching it rather than feeling that emotion itself. Yet, for this work, it truly tapped into my mind, and made me feel things I never expected to.


Blue Trapezium is a film that, based on the Singapore Art Museum’s audio tour, :

“…explores the peculiar location and role of the brain in every human body. Knowledge is often referred to as the “light” that dispels darkness. Yet, this knowledge, or ability to understand, is located in the “dark” crevices of the brain, which itself resides in the enclosed space of the skull. It is from this location that physical actions and mental processes are initiated for all humans. However, each individual has their own unique perception, memories, and interpretations. Blue Trapeziumis set in a nowhere place. We follow the characters in the film as they move through hallways, doorways, television screens, indoor and outdoor spaces. The characters flow in and out without a link to each other and with no clear story line. There is a fragmented, endlessly shifting context, while the sounds, colour, pauses and pace of the narratives add to the elastic space created in the artwork.”


True enough, as I watch the scenes in the film, they do not make any narrative sense, and feels as though they are cuts of different videos pieced together. Some scenes feel as though I am watching a film or movie, while others feel like a memory, or a vision. Some scenes in particular really moved my heart and mind as I sat there for about 10 minutes just watching the film.


One was of a person next to a window being lit by passing neon lights as loud classical music played in the background. The scene was ethereal and brought memories back of when I sat in trains or buses for long periods of time, listening to music from an earpiece, blocking out any other sounds. The feeling of being detached from the world, watching it pass by, was quickly brought out from the depths of my mind as I saw the scene.  The fact that the video could touch memories and feelings so specific within us was extremely incredible and I felt the film managed to achieve what they aimed for.

Another scene was of a lady walking through a corridor with flickering lights. This paired with the dim lit projection area was a unique combination that aided in the effect it had been trying to give. As the lady walked “towards us” in the film, the lights suddenly went fully out. Sitting alone in the area watching the film, the sudden darkness caught me off guard and I loved the idea of the film feeling so alive and how I felt I could connect with a video that displayed on a flat wall.

The film continues to show different scenes that trigger memories and feelings from within the mind, making it an extremely captivating and engaging video.


Likewise, in the works that I make, I hope to achieve the effect that the film was able to do. Using interactive elements, combined with my product design, I hope to make works that can reach deep into the minds of people. I do hope to continue learning more about the human mind and brain, and study how we think and act.


About the Artists

Chong Lii is a Singapore artist who studied in the Gerrit Rietveld Academie of Amsterdam, New Zealand.

Chong Lii’s work aims to explore the possibility of merging or levelling disparate spaces, objects, people, and images. Permeable frames of history and ontology are set against the spectacle of fiction, re-articulating the sociopolitical tensions from which these elements arise.

Singaporean millennial fantasies, accidental occult tributes in digital media and imagined historical subcultures are among the subjects filtered through an idiosyncratic gaze that supports and undermines them in equal measure. Operating alongside strategies of complicity and dissent, his installations and films simultaneously counter and revel within the apparatus of the moving image.


Christian Kingo (b. 1993) is a Danish filmmaker born and currently based in Copenhagen. Contemplating notions of belonging, his work investigates subjects of cosmopolitism, nostalgia and the domestic. These concerns are reshaped by elements from science fiction and horror, rendering narratives within disorienting environments. Grounded by traditions of cinema whilst pushing to defy its genres and formats, Christian works primarily in video & sound installation, live sound performance and film.

Exhibit Chosen: Shifting Between

Location: Gillman Barracks


Our Softest Hour presents Shifting Between – a group exhibition that plays on the seams of the digital and physical as the works weave together an online and offline experience. Through these two realms, participating artists Clarice Ng, Divaagar, MACHINEOFTHE, nor, Softslabs. and Planeswalker invite audiences to explore the shifts in how they engage with and experience intimacy and vulnerability.

Throughout the week, each artist will be joined by founders of alternative art spaces in Singapore for an artist talk.


Exhibition Visit and Review, done with Sylvia Low!

Shifting Between’s website can be accessed here.

Link to slides.

Being a product and interactive design student, I found that this chapter was extremely useful in summing up the process needed to create a well-developed and polished product. It took the years of lessons from my teachers and neatly described what we as product designers strive for and how we pave the road to the goal. It is definitely something all designers should read and aim to follow.


For design to be design and not art, it must serve human needs and goals.


Indeed, design is made with people’s wants and needs in mind, and the end goal is to create something that can meet their demands. This sentence made me think of an interesting mindset I had recently changed to.

More often than not, we may see the people’s wants as something that is more related to numbers and statistics, something that requires improved technology or a groundbreaking invention, but we must open our eyes to also see that sometimes their demands may come in a more emotional, fun way.

Before I had finally understood what it meant to design, my peers and I used to joke about how some of our products had no actual value and were just for users to have fun or for aesthetic value. It took me rather long to realise creating a fun product also had its benefits for the user – to enjoy themselves and have a good time. This was the value for my product, and I should not limit myself to thinking that value only came in the form of tangible outcomes.

I would consider designing a fun product Design and not Art as while it does indeed refer to more non-essential creations, I would say it is made with the idea of solving people’s need for fun and joy, rather than the creator’s personal expression of their thoughts and ideas. In this case, I would call it a fusion of art into design.


Design is the craft of visualising concrete solutions that serve human needs and goals within certain constraints


As the reading says, whether it be industrial design or lifestyle design, the aim is to find the optimal solution into helping the users achieve their goal. As designers, we must aim to create something that targets the problem as best they can, or improve existing products.

While we sometimes feel restricted by our knowledge, as long as we see the potential end goal clearly, we can articulate the things needed to external experts that will aid in achieving that goal. We must always be aware that we are not alone in the entire creation process, and must mainly learn to carry across points to other parties of the project. Sometimes one may be highly skilled in various technical areas, but with no vision, it would be difficult to solve the problem effectively. This can be connected with the next phrase:

Design is a craft because it is neither science nor art, but somewhere in between

This is an interesting sentence, and does resonate deeply.

Consider a product design assignment, where the brief is to create a new design for an existing household item, one may think we simply need to create a new look for the item. Afterall, the technology exists and is already well made. Yet, we may fail to realise that to create a new look, we have to become experts in the creation process of the item quickly, to ensure the final design can not only house all the necessary components, but also be comfortable for the user to use. This includes the technology the item uses, the size of the components, materials, and even the machinery needed to create the item must be put into consideration. All this is paired with thinking of how users would hold the object, keep it, are there room for them to misunderstand the use of a part.

It seems as though we require multiple facets of the entire process to come up with a single best design that looks simple to create yet took immeasurable considerations and information to complete. Design is the compilation of thousands of pieces of information, cleanly sorted and artistically arranged to form a final product that looks effortless and beautiful. The balance of art and science here has to be perfect to create the best outcome and perhaps that is why design is fun yet doubtlessly difficult. Nevertheless, it is the satisfaction when our work meets the demands of people that most probably attracts designers into continuing the pursuit of the perfect solution.


Experience Design – No designer can determine exactly what experience someone has


I agree with this statement strongly. Thus, we are often told to consider the affordance of the product we create in product design. In other words, how might others view the object and what might they mistakenly do or interpret. In other words, we must think of all the possibilities that may occur when someone interacts with the product we create, and ensure it is safe and still serves in function.

Apart from that, we must also think of who the target audiences are. If made for the mass, then one must be sure it is suitable for the young and old to use. Products designed must be inclusive and consider all parties involved. The handicapped, the elderly, children, etc.

In the Origins of Goal-Directed Design segment of the reading, Alan Coopers creation of Aunt Edna is hence ingenious and perhaps is something all designers should adopt.

Often times, we tend to be so absorbed in our idea that we may not realise the idea is clear in our minds but not properly articulated or expressed in the design. While we may think something is obvious in the design we made, other who have never seen it before may be confused or lost. These are things to take note for every project to ensure the usability of the product.




Kim Goodwin goes on to talk about the components of goal-directed design, which are great points that I will definitely aim to apply to all my design works.

The reading was insightful as it helped me to see my main purpose in the creation process. Occasionally I may feel restricted by my knowledge, but it is important for me to realise that with a clear solution and idea in mind, I can get help from external experts to achieve my goal. Hence, I must always ensure that my designs are well articulated and most of all, meet the purpose of creating that product to begin with.

While I do think about these in my product design works, perhaps I should begin to apply it to Interactive Media too, and see how I may improve the works I create.