Culture is an ever-changing phenomenon, morphing at every major event in human history. Singapore being an amalgamation of multiple races is a epitome of diaspora; a hot-spot for culture integration. 50+ years down the road, Chinese culture in Singapore seems to have become ‘endangered’ as a distinct gap in ethnic identity between the younger and older generation is formed due to heavy western influences.
E.g. Speak Good English Campaign, Simplified general Culture education for multi-racial community etc
(So I only just saw the email and found out that this was an assignment was due on 28th Feb and am almost two weeks overdue…Oops)
Project management as I perceived, after the reading is requires an overwhelming lot of work and considerations. What a painstaking role! Almost every minute detail needs the attention of the PM, even things like the tone of authority or the feelings of the workers and their well being. That is not bad it is just impressive effort. The job entails more than completing the project but also establishes good work ethic which blows the assumption that being a designer is an exhausting-never-resting occupation.
The reading proposals some structures that help with planning such as the 6 goals and responsibilities. It is a simple list to keep track of the several tasks and check on whether the plan will be successful. I think this may be helpful when being a solo one-man show where the designer handles the entire project on their own. The reading made a point to remind us that, despite juggling multiple roles, the primary goals of the project management should not be dismissed. I was listening to a podcast interview of one of my favourite artist and she mentioned that being a freelancer is 50% art 50% business. Project managing is part of that latter percentage and plays a significant role in sustaining the business. As a creative, we must not get too caught up with the artwork but instead seek a balance for commercial work. If its your own personal work, it is fine to keep going back and refining every little thing. But if the work is for a client and money is involve, the artwork is only part of which they are paying you for.
The Six goals:
1. To reach the end of the project
2. To reach the end on budget
3. To reach the end on time
4. To reach the end safely
5. To reach the end error-free
6. To reach the end meeting everyone’s expectations
Alan Lakein’s quote “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” is pretty assertive but I agree. Throughout the years, I have found that I am a bad planner. My plans are more often than not messy and disorganized, or rather I planned them but am unable to produce as planned. The reading introduces iterative diagrams such as the fishbone which may help in more systematic approaches. The advise of being a generalist and understanding the work well enoguh to plan properly. Then again I am still at the experimenting everything stage and every new project is a new experience.
The financial side of project management is the most stressful, anything, as long as money is involve is stressful. I got into disagreement and trouble for it a couple of times and it was not fun. Lastly, I think the part about making sure the assignments are specific in terms of objective, duration and level of effort is really useful for self-motivation in not only commercial work but personal projects as well.
Bukit Brown Index #132: Triptych of the Unseen was exhibited at Gillman as part of Singapore Biennale 2019. It is a large scale installation consisting of a stage, a three part video performance and an archival collection covering the uproar around the redevelopment and destruction of Bukit Brown Cemetery back in 2011 to 2014.
The set up was a familiar sight, adopted from traditional Chinese Street opera often performed during the Hungry Ghost Festival. The significance of it is that it is a common space where the dead and living meet to enjoy, in this case, as the writing on the red banner connotes, the nostalgic or tragic saga of Bukit Brown. It is a place of tribute and offering to the visiting dead; perfect choice in setting.
I think Post Museum, the creators of this artwork, has achieved their aim “to encourage and support a thinking and pro-active community in this piece.” In an interview from OnCurating, they were asked about where they think they stand between the centre(state) and the periphery(independent). Their answer spoke about who public space belongs to? Saying that Singapore adopted a place management strategy to inject ‘heart and soul’ into the city. The strategy had been used by other cities such as New York and Paris and is referred to as “placemaking”. It is directed to developing participatory communal places and improving quality of life for its residents. It is after this point that their response really raised questions for me. Post Museum raised a point that placemaking should not be exclusive to urban planners and the government, it should be a shared decision. Because we are all enagaged with said space, thus are always participating in the placemaking process. Post museum may be referring to their artistic practice but I find it prevalent in this project.
I picked to write about this work because it is closely related to my idea for FYP; revolving around culture, heritage and identity. Why heritage should be preserve and how it ties to belonging? Bukit Brown cemetery may house many graves of pioneers such as Tan Lark Sye (1897-1975), entrepreneur and co-founder of Nanyang University and Chew Joo Chiat (Joo Chiat estate) but why is it important to conserved them? What reasons is there to be upset other than the fact that digging graves is disrespectful? Triptych of the Unseen first featured at Substation in 2018 and the artistic director then spoke of heritage as a form of control. He said “heritage really largely is not just about the past, but the way you define the past also determines your present and future.” It is a deceivingly harmless topic for one so political. (at least in Singapore) I wish to go into more detail in my next post about my FYP ideas so the discussion shall end here.
The meat of the story is literally in the content of the work. The three part video performance, taking on the perspectives of the ‘Ghost,’ ‘Activist’ and ‘Bureaucrat’. It depicts the struggle of space in Singapore through moral contradictions of the three characters and their relationship with each other. The choice for implementing the virtual reality setting was to “trap the spectators and performers within this ‘unseen’ tragicomedy where they ‘are condemned’ to watch and perform this act endlessly.” When you enter the virtual space, you are sat in within an ‘ghost’ audience as everyone is wearing a opera mask. “Unknowingly we all become victims to the priorities embedded in the grammar of the city.”
The Third Ward is a predominantly African American community that persevered through many difficult times to sustain their home. For example, the area is known to be poor as after world war II, they received a large group of migrants and were unable to get non-menial jobs. Then in the 1970s, their population dropped when America implemented racial integration. In addition to the fact that many of the children from the third ward graduated from Universities and have moved out for better jobs, the Third Ward was neglected and lost economic traffic.
The project TréPhonos pays tribute to the history of the Third Ward with three payphones, reprogrammed to become audio time capsules. The project was inspired by a series of hangouts in the neighbourhood and one of the collaborating Artist – Jeanette Degollado says “We have managed to create a feedback loop, where community self-determination, artist, activist, and Third Ward residents are both the input and output, informing each other, creating synergy.”
She describes the payphone to be a “symbol of public and private space”; an intersection between the two. It was a place that held people’s “connections, distance, emotions, infrastructure?, and socialization.” Therefore, people exists where payphones are.
The three booths…
Features musicians from the neighborhood, including various genres and generations of local music.
can also be play externally when the coin release lever is held down, for multiple people to listen together.
ambient noise of the neighborhood
voices and stories of Third Ward residents.
Is this Social Practice Art?
To be considered Social Practice Art, the project has to tick two boxes – human interaction and social discourse. I do have to take that definition with a pinch of salt as it was from Wikipedia. But it does gives more meaning and reason to the project without it being created for the sake of art.
Its goal is primarily in strengthening the community as a whole, uniting the Third Ward to engage with the stories with one another. While TréPhonos level of human engagement is high, the discourse here is a little fuzzy.
This reading is all about the business and management side of a designer’s job; mostly a guide to project planning, when and what to convey to the other collaborators e.g. engineers and stakeholders. In the design process, the protagonist is not the designer but the client and there are many supporting roles that participate in the process. Therefore it is important to have project planning, to provide an estimate overview of the procedure and expected result for the other collaborators. Communication is important in these multi-participation because people of different fields have separate priorities and that may risk the project veering off the wrong direction if not under the supervision of the designer.
The reading starts off with the basic definition of design and its different types. The writer made an interesting point about experience design, that human-centered design is not experience design and it was presumptuous that we could experience like others would.
We can design every aspect of the environment to encourage an optimal experience, but since each person brings their own attitudes, behaviours and perceptions to any situation, no designer can determine exactly what experience someone has.
He also discussed how beneficial data can be in design under Goal-Directed design, where software inventor Alan Cooper and designer Wayne Greenwood created multiple personas as references for implementing design guidelines; “making conversations about product design and functionality much easier than before”. One of the good advices in the reading is Principles, which I understood as something similar to rules or parameters. It is one of the factors of Goal-directed design and it helps to steer ones process to good solutions. It is important to ask two questions when settling upon the principles of the project.
Does it help your users accomplish their goal? Will it help users minimize their work?
This is a personal throwback for me as I have done less design projects as compared to my polytechnics days. Which makes me wonder, during the time while I strive to make my work more substantial, have I lost sight of its purpose to visualize concrete solutions? I do suppose I stand on the border between design and art as I gear towards function and yet rejects restrictions by exploring creative expression.
This article was my introduction to Social Practice art and I confess, the notion of activism as an art form is rather difficult to grasp. It is like the article describes “indistinguishable from simple museum outreach, or any other vaguely progressive type of work with some creative connection”; the definition of Social Practice art was never clearly specified and is unlike any other. Originally, I thought it might be something similar to Art Therapy, maybe using art as a catalyst to drive a “social practice”, whichever it may be. However, further research proves that may not the case.
There is little to no integration between the two. Nevertheless, that may be what sets them aside from regular social campaigns, these “Social Practices” led by reputable artists whom bring along their existing supporters and publicity to the problem at hand.
In contrast, Project Row Houses (PRH) have done a better job at welding the two together. Seeing their documentation of TrePhonos was closer to my expectations to Social Practice art.
Though at one point, the article argues that Project Row Houses did nothing to improve the situation that they were building towards, despite building several affordable housing, the statistics of those living in “extremely poor neighborhoods” still doubled over the past decade. Despite this failure, the PRH is still applauded as a success and I think it is because the core of Social Practice art is naturally the social aspect; the social sculpture as Joseph Beuys says. I can see why it works well with activism since their purpose is to rally supporters. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s 1992 artwork helped me that understand it best.
Ying Hui a trained interior designer who seeks to deliver more substance into her spaces. Her passion in textiles, traditional and culture led her to further studies as a Design Art student at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University. At ADM, she experiments with narrative within the interactive field searching for the best method to express connection between the one’s historical origin and identity.
An additional titbit about the artist, she is also musically inclined, with a mediocre Grade 8 certification in Violin.
Ying Hui is a artist who came from a interior design background who likes to express emotions into her art. She left the field of interior design to search for a soul in her art. She is now mainly exploring the field of interactive design, working in sound design, animation and coding. She also likes to explore textiles and embroidery and is passionate about incorporating ethnicity in art. She is inspired by the artists who uses traditional mediums for modern art and is inspired by their own ethnic groups such as Yuko Shimizu. Ying Hui particularly likes traditional Chinese costumes especially hanfu during the Ming dynasty.