Monthly Archives: August 2010

(Accidental) Tiltshift! and the London Eye

Title: Accidental Tiltshift

Taken on the plane landing at London. What’s cool is that it was accidental. I was so happy when I got home and found out about it. Haha.

Title: London Eye

This was accidental too. We were incredibly lucky when our bus passed by the London Eye, and the clouds were hanging over in the most amazing manner. The next thing you knew, everyone was leaning towards the window to snap a shot of the scene. ūüôā

Birthday notebooks

Jing Wen’s birthday notebook

Medium: Colour pencils, black ink

Size: A5

Jingyi’s birthday notebook, same medium and size as Jing Wen’s.

Jingyi and Jingwen’s belated birthday presents. Done early August. ¬†Both inspired by their respective CCAs.

Mmm, I have a thing for dinosaurs/monsters.

Inspiration

So basically my coursework is about communication between grandparent and grandchild (or rather the lack there of). Here,¬†“communication” does not refer to the everyday talking and conversing with another. It is the understanding between two parties through the exchange of¬†information¬†and ideas.

My coursework was triggered by an event that happened at home. Well, not exactly an event but something I saw. My grandfather is an outgoing man, and now that he is retired, he often likes to go on frequent cruises with his friends, or trips to Malaysia. When I say frequent, it means as frequent as once a week for a couple of days each time! ¬†Meanwhile, my grandmother is the exact opposite. She is an introverted person, and does not like to go out as much, so she doesn’t go with my grandpa on his frequent cruise trips. During his trips, she would often spend the night at our house.

There was one day when grandma was here, and I was going down the stairs when I saw her watching TV. The thing was, her¬†favourite¬†show (one of those long million-episode Taiwanese dramas) was on, yet she was sitting on the sofa, staring into space. Yeah, just stoning. There wasn’t anyone else in the living room either. At that moment I felt really… stunned. It made me feel sad and pity for her. There are other people in the house and yet no one is talking to her and I felt really guilty. She looked so very lonely. I do not think that I spend enough quality time with my grandmother (or grandparents for that matter). Sure yes I do talk to her sometimes, help her with the cooking, but I never do TALK and understand her. After that incident, I also realised that when I talked to her, I felt bored and lost interest easily. She kept repeating things that she had said previously.¬†Replies would come in various forms of nodding, “Uh”s and “Mm”s,¬†accompanied by too-bright grins that falter.

It wasn’t because that I felt really uninterested in conversing with her that saddened me. It was that I could no longer talk to her.¬†In the past when I was younger I never did feel this way. But now I feel reeaaaallly bored talking to her. Always the same topics, always the same things. I panic, cause I am reminded of my mom’s own story with her own grandpa. Great Grandfather passed away before my mom could see him for the last time when she was studying abroad. I don’t want to regret not spending enough time or doing enough things for them when they pass on. We have to be realistic:¬†our grandparents are old. They will pass on one day.

I decided that for my coursework, I wanted to do something more personal, more close to my heart. I believe that in this way, the work would hold much more meaning to me, and in turn, it would be easier to convey and translate to the message to the audience. I also think that familial ties are important, cause whether you like it or not, they’re always gonna be there. And when that particular incident struck a chord in my heart, I decided on this.

An artist that inspired me to use the ideas of head busts is Janine Antoni, a contemporary artist whose works focus on process. The particular work that I saw was Lick and Lather, 1993.

Lick and Lather, 1993

An interview with her about the work can be read here.

It is really interesting to use a replica of a self, and forming a kind of “love-hate” relationship with it (the physical appearance). And how through the “loving” way to licking (the chocolate busts) or gently washing (the soap busts), the details of heads are slowly being erased. It’s a symbolic way of removing, or perhaps even destroying oneself. I think that it’s a beautiful process, in the sense of getting to know the replica of herself, the representation of her physical self.

I also liked the idea of using the head bust. The castings represent my granddad. I also thought of the idea of not seeing the bust as a representation, but seeing it as the Cast of my Gong Gong’s (as I call my grandfather) Head itself. Because these casts are not my grandfather. They stand as their own. They are Products of the process of casting my grandfather’s head. Otherwise, these casts be seen as¬†representing¬†of how I spent time with Ah Gong and Ah Ma.

I also¬†liked¬†Antoni’s concept of using the process to understand something.

So.

I guess this coursework is my way of dealing with the problem of the lack of communication with my grandparents. I use the process of the coursework to find out and interact more with them. Especially when I make the head busts. My grandparents live alone in a small flat, so sometimes when I go over to cast Grandpa’s head, it’ll just be the 3 of us- him, her and I. I get a lot more time with them this way, so I try to use this to talk more and understand to them.

This project definitely got me to understand and know my grandparents better. I wont’ say that I know them as well as the back of my hand now-¬†I don’t. But I have learnt a lot more about them and that’s a start.

“The process is what transforms it.” – Janine Antoni

Im thinking if I should start another blog for personal stuff but it never does work because eventually the paranoia of being stalked or even writing something unintentionally offensive will overcome me and after a few months I will have it deleted.

How to overcome my problem and perhaps a change in location

We had another briefing on Viva Voce and turns out that I am supposed to convince my judges/teachers to “get” the artist’s intention. I don’t quite agree with that cause I don’t think that you should force your audience to believe in something. Everyone’s entitled to their own interpretation, right? Although if my intention is not clear, yes, it could be bad. From the audience point of view. If they don’t understand, there’s no meaning to it. But what if they find meaning of their own?! (Again, I could go back into the “What makes a good artwork and a good artist?” debate. Goodness that really makes my head spin sometimes.)

So anyway,

Since I am to convince my teachers, I had better be good talking during Viva Voce, shouldn’t I? So to overcome this problem, I will soon post the Inspiration post for my coursework, and try explaining it to friends first. And maybe my mom. Then even my grandfather (would it be awkward telling him all that? For goodnes sake if I am able to tell him without feeling awkward, this project had really helped me a lot communcation-wise with my grandpa.) The ultimate test should probably be my grandfather cause it concerns him and if I can tell him without feeling awkward, I should be ready to go for Viva Voce. I pray.

And a change in Location.

Remember in an earlier post I mentioned the SAC being a possible venue for the work? Given that I am going to have to convince the teachers, making the work as peaceful as possible would be the optimum choice. So I should check out the place soon.

Ok all set.  Seeya.

-Edit-

Well guess what it works! On Monday (23 Aug 2010) Nicole asked me about my coursework and I was so very tempted to say “Uhh…” but I didn’t! And told her and explained. Jac and Lisa were beside her so it was kinda of a three-man audience. Yay!

If there’s one thing,

I can’t talk to people about my coursework.

I was thinking about it on the bus yesterday and even continuously wrote out the entire could-be script for Viva Voce, but if there’s one thing, I can’t TALK to people about it.

I can let you read it, but I can’t explain to you on the spot (if there are people around).

It’s just so personal I can’t bring myself to explain it to you. But for some odd reason, I would probably be able to explain it to strangers (people who genuinely want to know about it), but I just find it difficult to say it to a group of friends. Yeargh. Which is why every time you ask me “So what are you doing?” I tend to say “Uhhhhh”, mumble (as usual) and end up not saying much about it.

Ahh what a headache.

Class Tees

This is the 304 class tee. Used Photoshop. Spent lots of recesses and before-assembly time on both shirt designs.

The back of tee inspirations came from the streetlights and exit sign near my grandparent’s place.

This is my 404 class tee.

The other colours:

The inspiration… was sudden. It just hit me. I am also EXTREMELY SORRY that I missed out Julie’s name!! ><

I’m not exactly quite proud of them actually. Since I could only work with 3-4 colours, the product usually turns out to be quite flat with a lack of details, cause I wasn’t sure if the printing company would charge more if there were extra details. And the photoshopping takes forever. I only learnt about Adobe Illustrator after I completed them. And AFTER the printing this year, I learnt that my brother’s friend used this CMYK printing method that only prints the 4 colours once each but the end product can still have many gradients and colours. ):

Movies

From left to right: Nobody Knows, Welcome To Dongmakgol, Castaway to the Moon, The Boy in Striped Pajamas and In The Mood For Love.

Block tests are over! So I decided to watch a couple of movies. That’s averaging to 1 movie per day. Whoo.

1) Nobody Knows

A heartbreaking story about 4 children living in an Tokyo apartment who were abandoned by their mother, who presumably went to live with her boyfriend. Each child had different fathers. On the morning their mother leaves, she leaves a note along with some money to the oldest child, Akira, to take care of his siblings. Towards the end as their funds starts to dwindle, they depend on the kindness of a convenience store assistant that Akira frequents to give them sushi, as well as a high school girl they met. This was based on a real event in 1988.

This movie is not a sad weepy story about the plight of the children, but rather documents how the children spend the long days. Despite the absence of their mother, the children are not¬†portrayed¬†as pitiful children left with nothing. Akira plays Big Brother well, is responsible and tries to get as much nutritious food for his siblings. In one part, Akira comes home to find Shigeru (the 3rd child) eating bits paper. So despite trying to save money for the past few days, he uses the little money they have left to buy instant noodles for him. He also tries to get some money from his mother’s past boyfriends. The director also shows Akira’s yearning to go to school,and to play baseball in a team, with segments of him asking his mother when they would be able to go to school, parts where he plays baseball by himself with a ball he found, and even a part when he gets to play in a baseball team when the coach is short of a player and spots him watching them. ¬†Kyoko, the second oldest girl, also wishes to learn the piano, saving money to buy a piano, and playing wistfully on the toy piano they have. The movie was filmed over a year, such that details like the children’s hair growing longer, the cool weather changing to warmer seasons were shown. I felt that ending wasn’t very definite. It was left hanging in the air while I was wondering what goes on after? Do they continue living like that? Does their mother come home? I didn’t quite feel satisfied with the¬†ambiguous¬†ending.

I decided that attempting to finish all 5 movies will make my head explode. The below is the following 2 movie summaries.

2) Welcome to Dongmakgol Set in 1950 during the Korean War, 5 soldiers and a pilot (2 South Korean, 3 North Korean, 1 American) end up in a village in the mountains unaware of the outside world. I like how that the beginning is rather comical and funny, which engages the audience but becomes more serious towards the end. The ending was rather touching, showing how the 6 enemies who eventually became friends had to die to save the village.

3) Castaway to the Moon An original story that parallels two outcasts. This may remind you of Tom Hanks’s Castaway.¬†However unlike Tom Hanks, the lead man Kim becomes contented with living on the isolated island in the middle of the Han River, even running away from tourists when boats come by to prevent himself from being spotted. The other protagonist, Miss Kim, is a girl who has never left her room in years. Eventually with her Sony camera¬†telescope, she spots Kim in the island. They end up communicating with each other with her throwing message bottles towards the island, and Kim replying with large writings in the sand.¬†As the girl observes Kim, eventually she is drawn out of her shell, even starting talking to her mother to request for corn (previously she communicated by text messages). The movie shows two people, one who is physically “out-casted” while the other is¬†physiologically¬†out-casted. Miss Kim imposes these restrictions to herself while Mr Kim is forced to be stranded on the island after a failed suicide attempt.

As for The Boy in Striped Pajamas and In the Mood For Love, it’s up to you to watch. You could borrow the DVD for The Boy In Striped Pajamas from me if you like. It’s sad :/In the Mood for Love has many reviews around, so you could look them up. It’s slow at some parts.