Our website is the ‘auction’ page that also reflects more history and details about the items on auction and the press release for the pre-auction exhibition preview. The Print Documentation was the Exhibition Highlights Booklet that was provided for interested clients during the pre-auction preview, and have also been sent to registered VIP clients.
NOTE TO PROF: As we are using squarespace for the online documentation, it is a trial website and you just need to click “Visitor Access” and enter the CAPTCHA code to access the website! Sorry for the trouble! We promise it’s worth it.
We hope you enjoy! Thank you for the wonderful semester.
As part of the Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF), Nguan was a speaker as part of the Artist Talks that was held on 29 September at the National Design Centre.
From the website: “In his decade-spanning series Singapore, Nguan turns his camera on his native city and reimagines the adolescent nation as an iconic dream landscape. The work examines themes of longing, discombobulation and regret, evoking the narrative complexity of daily Singaporean life while adhering to a meticulous palette of delicate hues. The resultant photographs are meant to seem disquieting yet naive and mythical but true.”
This field trip was organised by Ng Yixian Jo-Ann (A0142014B) and Ho Koon Yee Kaitlyn (A0143645E) and attended by 13 other classmates of ours.
Nguan structured the talk by first listing various elements that he personally adapted for his photographs and how they helped create the dreamlike shooting style he is known for. Behind every shot, there were interesting anecdotes – such as stories behind certain shots and people recognizing themselves in his pictures. He also mentioned various ‘pain points’ of shooting public subjects and waiting for the right lighting. In addition, he also provided more insight into his books, such as how “How Loneliness Goes” was somewhat of a prelude to his most recently published “Singapore” and the various struggles he had to deal with. At the end of the talk, there was a Q&A session where he answered questions that touched on things like the importance of social media in boosting his existence as a photographer, personal inspirations, and his intentional lack of presence within his photos.
After leaving the venue, Jo-Ann managed to have a one on one conversation with Nguan to ask exactly how he moved around photographing. He clarified that he only brought his camera, 2 pockets worth of film (around 10 rolls) and as of late, his tripod. No bag. When asked why, he mentioned that he felt it was cumbersome to have a bag on him which might get in the way since he is always moving about.
His choice of camera has remained the same for many years now – a medium format Fuji 6×9. However, for no special reason. He’s grown accustomed to the tool and simply sees it as ‘sufficient’. Other interesting points he mentioned during the chat was when he clarified that this form of photography is merely his hobby and he does not depend on this for his livelihood.
All in all, it was an inspiring talk littered with humorous moments from Nguan himself, providing a closer look into the mind of a local photographer so popular, his name has become an adjective.
One small design decision I noticed was the operating system (OS1) designed for the near future (think 2050), one seemingly familiar to us but has capabilities way beyond our time (2018). Like modern day operating systems, OS1 offers user customisation but its exquisite intuitiveness and responsiveness – far beyond what Apple’s iOS or Siri can do today – is seen from the creation of a highly personalised artificial intelligence called Samantha, merely based on a casual conversation with Theodore (guy in red). As viewers might have guessed it, Samantha is just as smart as OS1. Subtle hints as such thus frame viewers’ concept of time successfully by bringing them into the near future through future but predictable technology, whose abilities can potentially be extrapolated and anticipated.
Within a cybernetic world where fabricated human hybrids with immensely long life spans are the norm, a small nomadic commune of elderly avant-garde art therapists exists on the fringes of society. Members of the commune have long refused to modify their internal biologies on ideological grounds. Instead, these elderly rebels rely on external, wearable technology to hide their actual age while assimilate into the mainstream.
The commune practices artmaking and remains closely bonded together, moving from place to place as a group. Together they cope with ageing, their pasts, and the realities of a cybernetic world that deems them outmoded through art therapy, using tools and equipment integrated into specialised jumpsuits. These specialised jumpsuits act as their wearable, portable studios.
The art therapists utilise the wearable studios that facilitate the commune’s artistic production in secrecy and on-the-go, and regulate the art therapist’s own emotional health — the commune is bonded through these continual acts of facilitated artmaking even with the inevitability of ageing.
The commune is outlawed and continually chased down by authorities, seen as a threat to public health with their unmodified, vulnerable, biological bodies.
Microfiction 1: Bartender
An alchemical bubbling of polyseuteroxane with saccharified synthetic starches… the bartender plays an important role in the morale of the cybernetic society. In a seedy dive bar within designated nightlife district, the bartender serves all sorts of citizens, from gleaming officiated bodies with smooth 3D modeled torsoes to the outlawed biopolitical bodies that skulk about softly.
Microfiction 2: Commune caught
The art commune is continually on the run – their external technologies and unmodified bodies are considered a health threat to the general population… but the commune knows that these updates, modifications, syntheses are unnecessary; all they need are their bodies, their tools, and their art. Yet, the city and its citizens, and citizen-police keep a look-out, obediently report whenever the ‘dangerous’ art commune is sighted.
Microfiction 3: Lovers
At the top of Monsoon Towers a cybernetic yuppie couple gaze down at the city from their air-purified, chrome-surfaced apartment… They receive personalised messages of recent sightings of the illegal art commune. Safe in Monsoon Towers, with its security systems, privacy updates, cashless payments, the couple pays no heed and switches on their personal holographic entertainment systems.
Revised Microfiction (Based on Microfiction 2): Citizen-Police
The modified mind is clear and precise, no room for error, synapses blinking, autoanalysis complete to the one-hundredth of a second, all under 0.70082699341 units of time (standard measurement as adjusted for seismic geoshifts and post-neolunar patterns). Looping about the vaporous pools of data gathered as skeins within cloud storage systems above, below, and within, Citizen-Police 000000023918_3481.874PZT’s embedded transducing chip hidden within flesh picks up audio waveforms lapping against the cochlear. Tides come in, tides go out, brackish flows intermingle and the hertz make themselves legible as electronic signals blinking across the spine, tingling across modified membranes and polyethylene endoskeletons.
A song that has no reason to exist in present analogue soundsystem forms, no reason to echo out in the alleyways of Street 184.558202A (intersecting Avenue 99238.61U). Citizen-Police 000000023918_3481.874PZT is keenly aware of what this could mean – their logic card does the necessary calculations, re-orientations, telepresence siting, and séances, they gaze from beyond the dense overgrowth of satellite TV antennae to see the outlawed commune, with their clumsy technologies sitting over their aged, withering bodies, the cables and protrusions, the machinery so unlike his smooth, synthetic, spa-treated & regularly moisturised polysiloxane flesh (toner removes sebum produced during the night and balances your skin’s pH.). They are making, making those artefacts long ago rejected as outmoded art, how trite, confusing, utterly repugnant – no sight of systems, of computation, no conceptual basis, no theoretical grounding.
Without even 0.70082699341 units’ of hesitation, Citizen-Police 000000023918_3481.874PZT sends out the electromagnetic signal for reinforcements.
Cover Art 世纪秘辛： ＳＥＣＲＥＴ HOLLYWOOD HAUNTINGS： CYBWAR
My group decided to create cultural probes based on art therapy for the elderly.
Goal: To investigate attitudes towards art therapy for the elderly as a creative practice and ageing from the perspectives of an art therapist and general populace
We came up with three main activities that required participants to visualise their practices, think about ageing and imagine themselves as the aged.
One of the participants is Clifford, a silkscreen printer. It would be intriguing to see how another practitioner other than an art therapist visualises ageing and the elderly, an unusual perspective that might be useful when creating a wearable studio suited for our story world (to be told).
Activity 1: Visualise Your Practice
Interestingly, Clifford’s take on silkscreen printing seems to be similar to an underlying aim of art therapy when he mentioned “translating … an intangible emotion to a physical entity”. The focus in both practices seems to be the process rather than the final product and one that would bring about an emotional response such as happiness. This highlights the importance of art therapists to provide ample means to enhance the therapy process; and of designers to take such into consideration, i.e. to augment their wearables’ holding capacity for a variety of art mediums.
Activity 2: Ageing
To help create a rich story world, we sought to understand how general populace in Singapore understand the elderly and ageing.
Activity 3: Imagine that you are an elderly person.
Photographs would help us to visualise good or bad designs out there so that we could emulate or avoid.
Based on Clifford’s word tree and photographs, his observations largely are centred around physical mobility, where mobility for the elderly can be improved upon or accommodations can be made. Indeed while designing for an older crowd, including middle-aged art therapists and elder therapy clients, it is important to take their physical abilities into account. It would be useless to create a heavy wearable studio even if it can carry many things, when ultimately they cannot lift it up, rendering the design to be useless.
Art therapy: Anna is an experienced art therapist who works with the elderly. Her sessions focus on encouraging communication and thinking through art activities, during which the elderly’s sense of selves are enhanced.
Tools & equipment used
• Visual references: art books or printed cards • Clipboard as painting or collaging surface • Canvas: any paper • Medium: colour pencils, crayons, oil pastels, paints, magazines and newspaper cut-outs, stickers • Paint brushes • Water bottle and container • Disposable aprons
Worksite / Set-up
For twice a week, Anna would conduct art therapy sessions at an elderly centre. Other times, she would conduct therapy sessions outdoors, such as in parks or nature reserves. As she would usually need to push her clients on their wheelchairs, Anna carries all her tools and equipment in a back pack or 2 for ease of transportation.
She also organises her tools and equipment neatly in foldable cases and in respective zip-lock bags to ensure extra portability.
Finding a quiet and serene area suitable for wheelchairs and a bench for Anna to sit is key for the hour-long sessions. While flat surfaces such as outdoor tables are useful for elderly who are generally mobile, Anna improvised a table for those who are wheelchair-bound using clip-boards.
While participating in actual therapy sessions with the elderly was not possible due to confidentiality, Anna kindly conducted a short session with Jo-Ann, Johann and I at her place in her backyard. I suppose a subtle requirement when selecting the right therapy location is how calming it makes clients feel!
During our short half-hour session, we were given 5-minutes to work on our artwork.
As mentioned, the goal of art therapy was to promote self-awareness and stimulate the mind, which was why Anna asked us individually about our process of creating what ended up with. (For me my stomach was not feeling well that morning; inspired by that, I decided to paint what would be a bleeding wound that was imagined to be on my abdominal area.)
In the past, Anna had tried to use trolley bags in place of her back packs but found the former to be inconvenient when she had to push a wheelchair. Given the nature of her work which involves a lot of bulky materials and travelling, it is important that a wearable studio for her would be able to withstand weight yet be as light as possible. Other considerations would be how it ought to be easy to clean, since the medium that clients and herself would encounter includes a messy one – paint. A convenient source of water would also be needed for painting sessions.
Ke-Ting Chen is a Taiwanese plant pathologist and artist whose residency with Jalan Besar Salon 2018 featured lei weaving artworks that intertwined with selected research documents. Collectively, the series of talks and workshops will showcase his work with the indigenous communities and farm sash where he explored the effects of human intervention on these natural resources.
Tools & equipment used
• Fresh and dried botanicals specimens • Weaving ropes of variable thickness • Cutters or scissors • Mats or trays • A pair of hands!
Worksite / Set-up
Chen picked up lei weaving from aboriginal tribes of Taiwan; they would typically weave head or body wreathes in open spaces surrounded by natural environments, such as in indigenous villages and farms. Here in the city, his weaving workshop was conducted within a retail store, where participants would sit on the floor around tables and the experience turned out to be quite and intimate!
While handy leaves and flowers were prepared on trays for later use, a corner in his 3-week worksite is dedicated to a larger variety of plant and flower specimens, which were also part of his botanical installations.
We were taught one of the simpler forms of lei weaving: using braids.
Before we started to weave flowers into our ropes, Chen advised us to map out how we wanted our final wreathe to look, on the mats/trays given to us.
I really liked the purple leaves and thought I would add yellow and red flowers as a pop of colour.
Time for weaving!
2 hours and a whole lot of patience later…
It was really difficult to braid dried stems into the sash because they’re very brittle and rigid; I had to replace them multiple times whenever they would break away. Chen later mentioned the trick was to soften them before braiding by spraying some water on them; I wished he would have told me that earlier!
Clifford owns an art-fashion brand selling prints and apparel with original designs and for over 2 years, he has been using the silk-screen printing method for his tees.
I did similar research on silkscreen printing a few weeks back, but I thought engaging in the practice with an experienced practitioner would offer me a different perspective, and allow me to compare his unique printing process with my previous research. Similar to my research findings, Clifford uses the following tools:
Printable material: shirt and canvas tote bag (any fabric)
Speedball fabric paint: green, white, black (any colour)
There were a few exceptions:
Pre-burned silk-screens – Rather than burning an artwork onto a silk screen at home using Diazophoto emulsion and Artwork positive, Clifford prefers to get it done professionally at a local printing shop. For greater precision and convenience, he finds $60 (for an A3-sized screen) worth every dollar.
Tape – Since Clifford does not own a printing machine, he uses tape for alignment.
Worksite / Set-up
Clifford doesn’t own a studio; rather he works from his living room, which is spacious, well-lit and well-ventilated. According to Clifford, these are ideal qualities of a work space used for silk-screen printing due to constant manoeuvres of screens and prints, and the paint involved. He divides his living room into 2 stations, both far apart from one another:
Flat surfaces are needed for both stations to print designs clearly and to prevent staining.
Another important station is the washing zone, where he washes his screens in between prints.
As for storage, he keeps all tools and paints in his bedroom cabinets, while the screens in the storeroom, just for cleanliness sake.
I was involved in designing an artwork a few weeks prior to prepare for this printing session. The design process was unexpectedly rigorous but necessary; sending multiple drafts back-and-forth between Clifford and I ensured that correct dimensions were used and keeping the printer in the loop ensured that details were apparent enough for printing. The design turned out better than I had expected. All we got left to do is print!
The first try turned out to be a complete fail because the paint had dried up (lumpy instead of viscous); the lime green colour was not bright enough; and the canvas tote was not the best material to print on (it was too textured).
The tote bag was left to dry overnight in the drying area.
Given that his studio is practically his living room, Clifford finds it a pain in the ass to ensure his prints don’t stain the floor, furniture and other prints, especially in the wind. The constant need to walk around also makes the process less efficient that it could have been in a proper screen printing studio.
Trial and error is an inevitable but necessary part of the creative practice – we utilised the insides and outsides of the first bag to figure out what paint and how many coatings are required to achieve our desired print. Resourcefulness is also important especially if one doesn’t not have all the professional equipment typically found in a printing studio. While my previous research and ideation led me to practical and absurd designs, I might need to reconsider their appropriateness in a story world where experimentalists with resourceful mindsets are valued, such as that of Clifford’s scenario.
(Wasn’t sure if we had to post and where – IVLE or here, I posted on IVLE earlier but deleted that – hence a late post!)
Based on Drawing 1 of Week 4 Tools for Creative Practice: Silkscreen Printing,
In the near future, where everything, and everyone is printed, people don specialised, hi-tech screen-printing gowns and conform to a printing constitution written by The Assembly of Silk-Screen printing (ASS): only a specific design of elites and premium technology can be printed. Every individual is marked with unique identification code screen-printed on with permanent ink. Beyond their abilities to communicate verbally, they can communicate across time and space by scribbling on their individual silkscreens with fingers.
Drawing 1: A practical solution for those on-the-go but want to print shirt with their very own design as and when they desire. Wearable studio consists of a set of t-shirt for larger tools (flat surface and silkscreen) and shorts for smaller, lighter equipment (paint etc). Mesh is used in place of fabric to allow users to find their equipment easily.
Further Ideas (After Mini Exhibition):
With inspirations from silkscreen printing machines, perhaps an added feature could be having more than one printing surface and silkscreens. Not only can users speed up the printing and drying process if multiple shirts are involved, users can perhaps use different silkscreens for different designs and colours.
Drawing 2: (Absurd) A “sticky” jumpsuit that literally sticks to anything of any weight using suction technology. Users can “stick” tools for screen-printing onto their body, even food if they happen to be hungry during screen-printing session. Suction technology works by creating vacuum condition between item and the jumpsuit. Users can sit down using removable butt pads.