Spotted! Kyle Ngo

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Kyle Ngo is an independent graphic designer and photographer who graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Visual Communication Media Design. He is currently at the Glasgow School of Art, pursuing a degree in Communication Design.

Kyle about design: “Conventional design’s success is measured against how well it sells and how elegantly conflicts among aesthetics, production, usability and costs are resolved. Today’s designers need to be able to do more than solve known problems; they must be comfortable with uncertain opportunities and capable of inventing the unexpected by giving form to the ingenious. Design as critique can do many things – post questions, encourage thought, expose assumptions, provoke action, spark debate, raise awareness, offer new perspectives, and inspire. And even to entertain in an intellectual sort of way. Thus, my projects approach design as a form of critique rather than a method for problem-solving.

“My works explore, experiment and discover imaginary possibilities in the form of speculative design, new modernism and emerging technologies with relations to the cultural, social, technological, ethical and political implications,” he continues. “Crafting the coexistence of design in the here-and-now and yet-to-exist with physical presence that can locate in our present-day world, while their meaning, embodied values, beliefs, ethics, dreams, hopes and fears belong somewhere in the possible future.”

Every year, Kyle works on a personal project that reveals an unseen part of our society. Last year he teamed up with The Project X, a non-profit organization working with a small team of dedicated volunteers who walk the streets of Geylang to reach out to sex workers. “The project also aims to end the stigma and discrimination that results in physical, verbal, emotional and financial violence against sex workers in Singapore,” Kyle explains. “I conducted interviews and documented a series of photographs based on the lives of transgendered sex workers. Titled Sisters, my documentary photography project discovers this unseen part of Singapore. Being a sister in a conservative society like Singapore is a hard route to take. One of the many challenges that transgender women face is job discrimination. And for this very reason, many transgender women in Singapore become sex workers as sex work tends to be the only way they can earn a living.”

Kyle who describes himself as a postmodernist thinker, believes that design is not solely functional and usable, but can be a form of critique. “I am currently completing five projects that showcase these forms of discourses. One of my projects titled the WILD magazine, is a cultural and political gossip magazine that collects, analyses and presents fictitious stories about the current world. Bridging postmodernist thinking and aesthetics with present-day information, WILD blurs the confines of the real and imaginative news, breaks up conventional design phenomenon and seeks to redefine the aesthetics of cultural and political gossips with witty visual detritus within he society.”

 

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