4D II Project3- Time, space & body #Artistic research#

My research mainly focuses on three artists and one of their representative art pieces. Their works inspire me in a way that they give me a general sense of concept and composition of performance and installation art. This can guide me to explore and express my ideation for my project.

Ho Tzu Nyen

Ho Tzu Nyen was born in Singapore in 1976. He earned a BA in Creative Arts from Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (2001), and an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore (2007). He works primarily in film, video, and performance, and has recently developed environmental multimedia installations. He has also written extensively on art. Ho appropriates the structures of epic myths, invoking their grandeur while revealing them to be not merely stories, but discursive tools. He is particularly concerned with those moments when contemporary figures imagine and invent the past in order to serve the needs of the present. These conditions are especially salient in the context of Singapore, which was established as an independent nation in 1965. A series of occupations and settlements by regional groups constitutes the history of the strategic port archipelago prior to 19th century British colonization. A desire to redress the country’s unaccounted-for history indicates the rise in nationalism that has emerged in parallel with accelerated economic development.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Ho Tzu Nyen’s multichannel video installation The Cloud of Unknowing(2011) explores the expansive subject of the representation of the elusive and amorphous cloud. Inspired by philosopher Hubert Damisch’s thesis on the form’s aesthetics and symbolism, A Theory of /Cloud/: Toward a History of Painting, first published in French in 1972, Ho’s work incorporates a set of eight compartmentalized vignettes, each centered on a character that stands for the cloud’s representation in historically significant Western European artworks by artists including Caravaggio, Francisco de Zurbarán, Antonio da Correggio, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Andrea Mantegna, and René Magritte, as well as the Eastern landscapes of Mi Fu and Wen Zhengming. This incorporation and blending of cultural, historical, and philosophical references, both Eastern and Western, is prevalent in Ho’s practice, which references painting (EARTH, 2009), pop music (The Bohemian Rhapsody Project, 2006), literature (The King Lear Project, 2008) and philosophy (Zarathustra: A Film for Everyone and No One, 2009).

Ho’s practice speaks to the predicament of representing and interpreting contemporary art from South and Southeast Asia, and specifically from Singapore. In 1963, Singapore gained independence as part of the nation of Malaysia during the immediate postcolonial and postwar period; however in 1965, due to mutual differences, Singapore separated to become a country of its own. For this reason, and given the physical and cultural migration from South and East Asia into Malaya (the pre-independent region of Singapore and Malaysia), the sources of Singapore’s historical and art-historical narratives are entwined with that of its neighbors, and are often represented in terms of cultural and traditional assimilation and transformation. Ho’s art confronts foundational myths and historical geopolitics, and deconstructs the idea of modernization via Western influence or beneficence, by presenting viewers with a paradox. In it, Eastern and Western forms appear at once disjointed and seamless, coexisting in a fluid aesthetic interpretation that allows for the complexities of influence and adaptation to drift through each other, akin to the eponymous cloud.

Contrasted with the substantial figures of the work’s eight characters, each of which struggles against the burden of physical and material existence and the trappings of obsession and clutter, decay and disrepair, are their unexpected confrontations with the ethereal cloud. Ho’s installation is titled after a mystical treatise from the 14th century, written in the tradition of the Christian Neoplatonists, whose authorship is little-known, and which was intended as a primer for aspiring monastics on the art of contemplative prayer. In Ho’s work, the metaphorical limits of human knowledge that the medieval spiritual text anticipates as inevitable in the search for the divine are represented in the form of terrifying, surreal, or sometimes illuminative encounters with a corporeal “cloud of unknowing.” But these encounters with doubt and uncertainty, as guided by the gnostic text, are transitory, and the spiritual traveler is exhorted to keep the faith and trust that understanding will arrive. In Ho’s work, the binary division of Eastern and Western thought, belief, history, and representation, would appear to have collapsed, suggesting the possibility of new insight.

I Like America and America Likes Me

Joseph Beuys, 1974

German artist Joseph Beuys first attracted attention with his groundbreaking Explaining Pictures to a Dead Hare (wherein he quite literally did that) but it was I Like America and America Likes Me that exposed him to an international audience. For his first show in the U.S., Beuys flew to Kennedy airport in New York City, where he was met by a stretcher and covered in felt, presaging his preoccupation with the material. He was then loaded into an ambulance and taken to his exhibition space at René Block Gallery. For three days, Beuys shared the space with a wild coyote, performing actions both necessary to preventing harm to himself and carrying a symbolic weight for the viewer. At the end of the three days, by which time Beuys and the coyote had essentially become friends, the artist was once again loaded onto a stretcher, taken back to the airport by ambulance, and flown back to Germany. He never set foot on the ground in America and saw nothing of the country but the gallery.


For Native Americans, the coyote had been a powerful god, with the power to move between the physical and the spiritual world. After the coming of European settlers, it was seen merely as a pest, to be exterminated. Beuys saw the debasement of the coyote as a symbol of the damage done by white men to the American continent and its native cultures. His action was an attempt to heal some of those wounds. ‘You could say that a reckoning has to be made with the coyote, and only then can this trauma be lifted’, he said. Beuys believed that performance art could evoke a spiritual response in the audience, ultimately providing a healing process. He sometimes compared his role to that of a shaman. His performances or ‘Actions’ were ritualistic, incorporating powerful symbols of birth, death, and transformation. The objects that he used were often exhibited later as works in their own right.  


As a child, Beuys was fascinated by nature, obsessively cataloging all the plants and wildlife in his area. At the same time, he was enthralled by northern myths and folklore, in which creatures are endowed with mystical power. This reverence for the natural world persisted throughout his life and his art. He identified closely with certain animals, seeing them as guardian spirits: ‘The figures of the horse, the stag, the swan and the hare constantly come and go: figures which pass freely from one level of existence to another, which represent the incarnation of the soul…’ In the 1970s, Beuys became involved with environmental politics and was one of the founders of the Green Party.

Yard by Allan Kaprow, 1961

Allan Kaprow, an abstract-expressionist turned installation artist, coined the term “happenings” in the late ’50s, alongside contemporaries (and friends) John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg. His first happenings engaged the audience in overwhelming, often playful ways. Yard is perhaps the most significant of these early works, consisting of rooms full of rubber tires over which audience members jumped and forms covered in tarpaper audience members had to crawl through. For Kaprow, a former action painter, the action was as important as the paint. “Life is much more interesting than art. The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible,” he once wrote.


Allan Kaprow was a pivotal figure in the shifting art world of the 1960s; his “happenings,” a form of spontaneous, non-linear action, revolutionized the practice of performance art. While Kaprow began as a painter, by the mid-1950s his interest turned to the theoretical, based primarily on the shifting concepts of space as subjectively experienced by the viewer. Kaprow emerged from the group of artists known as the Rutgers Group, based out of Rutgers University where Kaprow taught art history and studio art. Kaprow was among the many artists and critics who focused on an intellectual and theorized view of art, rejecting the monumental nature of Abstract Expressionist works and instead focusing on the act of their production. In particular, his influential essay, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock,” (1956), called for an end to craftsmanship and permanence in art and instead demanded that artists shift their attention to “non-concrete,” or ephemeral, modes of production.

Key Ideas
Kaprow’s happenings changed the definition of the art object. “Art” was no longer an object to be viewed hanging on a wall or set on a pedestal; rather, it could now be anything at all, including movement, sound, and even scent. Kaprow stated, “The everyday world is the most astonishing inspiration conceivable. A walk down 14th Street is more amazing than any masterpiece of art.”
Kaprow was very clear that his works were connected with art and not theater. He stressed that his happenings were in the same category as the action painting of Abstract Expressionists and not with scripted scenes involving actors playing parts. Kaprow’s pieces involved spaces he physically altered, with sights and sounds as deliberately composed as any canvas by Pollock or Rothko.
Kaprow rebelled against the prescriptions of Clement Greenberg, both in his art and in his writings: formal aesthetics, Kaprow believed, were no longer relevant when the art left the canvas. Kaprow’s work was based on an “aesthetic of regular experience,” a transient and momentary experience felt by the viewer being as significant as a painting on canvas.

Project 2 Zine: Layout Research


My aim of making this zine is to trigger the sense of nostalgia and belonging from the bottom of viewers’ hearts.

Concept and Ideation

A series of heavily photo-based pages will be created along with illustrations created upon the understanding of these photos.

Layout Reference

For combination between typography and photography, I will choose those which can be used for photography zine. Typos can serve as both information and decoration purposes.

 Typography in photography.

Typo on the edge of photo.

Typo scatter in and out of photo.

Negative space of typo with photo



For the layout of the photography itself:

B&W photo against a W&B background.


Photography split with illustration

Illustration in photography


For typography itself:

Color contrast



Text repetition


Also, I could insert layers of paper strips to add more visual design elements into my final zine.

Foundation 4D II Project 2: Soundscape


A journey on a train towards nowhere.

Nowhere better where I am.


To explore my desirable state of mind in contrast to the current one.

To portrait pictures of my various mental space and the transitions among them in this sound narrative.



Self-personality evaluation

Impetuous, Extreme, Cynical, rebellious, pessimistic

The world in my eyes

Full of artifacts, noise, and fakeness.

The beauty of the world, on the other side, magnifies all those hideousness and hypocrisy which are intolerable for me.

Personal emotions against these flaws

Panic, fear, perplexity, willing to escape.


Start                                                 Transition

Wake up                 In the lift(Spatial transference into mental space)

Climax                                                      End

Helplessness from the world          Towards Nature and Authenticity


Symbolism and Sound Transformation

All sounds are self-recording except the final train sound – Symbolise the world around me and my imaginary world

Characteristic of the sound pieces

Sound symbolized my daily life: Get up from bed – drinking water – walk into the lift.

Transition sound:Lift going down.

Abstract sound:Knocking, scratching, rubbing, fan rotating-Mix with-

Noise of people talking——Symbolize the imperfect world.

Sound of nature—-Symbolize inner peace and self-forgiveness I yearn for.

Also, the soundscape follows chronologic order in a sense that everything will eventually go into peace at night. Ironically, that’s when I am sober.


  1. It is an extraordinary challenge to find sounds in accordance with minds.
  2. The technical problems to produce original sound effects for real to surreal transition.
  3. Difficulty pushing the soundscape to the climax.



Project 2 Zine Research: A nostalgic glance at old Woodlands Town Centre in its final days


Interview with an employee from Yanji. She said she was from Malaysia and she has already worked here for 15 years. Nothing much has changed around the Old Woodlands Town Centre for these years.

Clips with different colors and numbers on it representing different dishes and table numbers for easier service.

Another interview with the cleaning auntie from Malaysia who’ve worked here for 8 years. She said most customers are residents nearby, and workers between Singapore and Malaysia.

Madam Fadzlun, 56, a shop owner selling Tupperware goods lamented that rental cost is “too expensive elsewhere”.

“We’ve gone to talk to our Member of Parliament for help on this, but nothing has been done yet. The number of walk-in customers has dropped over the years, but we can’t do anything,” she shared.

Similarly, Joanne Nyang, 50, who owns a stall selling dried goods said she has yet to find a suitable shopfront.

“When the time comes to move out, then we’ll see how it goes. I’ve stopped ordering more stocks already, just in case,” said Mdm Nyang, who’s been working here for over 30 years.

At a sprawling clothes shop just down the road, shop owner Ho Chee Kiong, 54, shared that he’ll take things as they come.

“If we’re able to bid for [a suitable] location, then we’ll bid for it. [If not], then we’ll see how [it goes],” he shrugged, adding that he has no preference for the location as long as the rent is cheap.

At the very same shop, Mr Ho, 53, who declined to give his full name, said, “It’ll be a pity to see this place go. I’ve been here for so long, from nothing, to when I eventually got married and had kids. It’s been 26 years.”


History of WTC

In the early seventies, kampong in Woodlands were cleared as plans to develop into an industrial and residential area. By 1972, Woodlands welcomed the completion of its first 1,300 housing units. The establishment of Woodlands Town Centre followed and became the focal point for the residents and workers.

During its heydays, the Old Woodlands Town Centre was bustling with activities both for locals and the visitors from Malaysia. Retail shops selling textiles and electronic goods were popular. The hawker centre, kopitiam and prata houses were filled with people, and more

choices in food were offered with the arrivals of fast food restaurants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and MacDonald’s.

One of the highlights of the Old Woodlands Town Centre was the intense competition among its money changers, who offered one of the best exchange rates between Singapore Dollar and Malaysia Ringgit.

The Feature of Building

With many low-rise brown mosaic-tiled buildings lined up with retail shops, the concept and design of the Old Woodlands Town Centre is similar to that of the Bukit Merah Town Centre and Bedok Town Centre. Like its cousin in the southern part of Singapore, the Old Woodlands Town Centre started to lose its shine and attraction after the mid-nineties.

Reasons for the gloom

The size of Woodlands expanded rapidly as hundreds of residential flats sprung up. In 1996, Woodlands MRT Station and its underground bus interchange opened at the Woodlands Regional Centre, which replaced the Old Woodlands Town Centre as the central hub of the new town. Three years later, the seven-storey shopping mall Causeway Point was completed.


The original Woodlands Bus Interchange, established in the early eighties to serve the residents in the northern part of Singapore, was thus replaced by the one at the Woodlands Regional Centre. The old one was converted a bus terminal, providing short intra-town services for travelers between Singapore and Malaysia. The services were soon discontinued and space became a temporary parking and pick-up points for Malaysian buses ferrying the workers.

Today, the Old Woodlands Town Centre is considered part of the Marsiling Estate.


During the peak of his business empire in 1980, departmental chain giant Lim Tow Yong opened a branch of Oriental Emporium at the Old Woodlands Town Centre. It became a paradise for many, as thousands would flock here every weekends to enjoy shopping, dining or catching a blockbuster at the Woodlands Cinema.

The Shaw Brothers-owned Woodlands Cinema was a popular choice for the residents in the north from the late eighties to early 2000s. Shaw Organisation was the first to introduce the concept of cineplexes in Singapore, offering movie-goers different types of films under one roof. With the success of Prince and Jade at Shaw Towers in 1988, Shaw Organisation began to convert their neighbourhood cinemas into cineplexes. Republic, Oriental, Changi and Woodlands were part of the conversion plan.

Like the old town centre, the popularity of Woodlands Cinema declined in the late nineties and was later outshone by the newer and more dynamic Causeway Point’s Cathay Cineplex at the Woodlands Region Centre. It finally ceased its operation in the mid-2000s and has been left vacant since then.

Today, even bright pastel paint struggle to hide mold and other signs of age on its worn façade. But it’s a place that will be fondly remembered by its residents and customers for a long time to come.

With little upgrading, the Old Woodlands Town Centre has largely retained its appearance for the past four decades. As a town center, it may have lost its appeal and in certain times, look like a deserted ghost town. But it still serves as an ideal resting point for travelers on both sides of the Causeway, or for anyone who yearns for a quiet meal in an increasingly crowded Singapore.

Food centre

The decades-old Woodlands Town Centre is a border town for people passing through to Malaysia or to Singapore. Though it may have lost its appeal after the relocation of Woodlands Bus Interchange in 1996 but the sleepy Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre is still serving as a pit stop for travelers on both sides of causeway who yearns for a good value meal.


This stall is undoubtedly the most popular and with the longest waiting time in this food centre. I ordered a bowl of seafood soup consists of chunky pieces of hand-shaped meatballs that are made with minced pork, mushroom and dried sole fish, slices of dory fish and prawns In the addition of crayfish for $12. Their strongly flavored broth derived its flavor from the main ingredients, sun-dried Hokkaido scallops, and dried sole fish bones. The down side, they have to control portions and volume by serving only half a bowl of soup with each order and no refill is allowed. And one Braised Pork Trotter for $8.

  • Built in the 1970s, the Old Woodlands Town Centre is located right next to the Woodlands Checkpoint.
  • In 1980, the Woodlands Bus Interchange was established at Woodlands Centre Road
  • With the completion of Blocks 1A to 6A at Woodlands Centre Road
  • Masjid An-Nur, the large mosque built in 1980 which can house up to 2,800 worshippers in one session.
  • The site comprises 186 shops, 6 offices, 5 eating houses and 78 hawker stalls. Eligible shop tenants will be given an exgratia payment of $60,000.
  • Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange and Woodlands MRT Station that opened in 1996.
  • On 25 June 2012, the Housing and Development Board announced that Blocks 1A to 6A Woodlands Centre Road were earmarked for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). Residents from the 147 flats will relocate to the new replacement flats at Woodlands Drive 70 by 2016.



With residents and businesses moving out of the estate, the old Woodlands Town Centre’s days of glory will come to an end.

The Old Woodlands Town Centre has come a long way from its heyday.