Let’s All Do A Little Bit More by Khor Serene

“As a designer and craftsperson, I am curious about the relevance of craft in our fast-paced society,” says Khor Serene, our next GSA graduate. “Being a scholar from Singapore Polytechnic and Singapore Institute of Technology makes me particularly inquisitive of the status quo and my role as a creative in Singapore. As the notion of craft seems to go against the very grain of how our society functions, I ponder on the values of craft and how it may remain relevant in modern times.”

Serene’s project titled “Let’s All Do A Little Bit More” is an exploration of productivity in Singapore. “Productivity has long been a challenge for us since independence and “Let’s All Do A Little Bit More” is one of the slogans from the Productivity Campaign in the 1980s. As a result of the campaigns, apathetic attitudes towards work and life in Singapore were ingrained and our drive to increase productivity plateaued in recent years. The series plays with all too familiar slogans to offer alternative perspectives on productivity, highlighting quotes from art critic John Ruskin on how we may work and live differently. Embroidery is a less than productive mode of presenting these ideas and subverts the definitions of productivity and efficiency in Singapore. Perhaps it is through less than obvious approaches that we find a solution to increase Singapore’s productivity during this dry spell.”

The GSA Degree show opens on July 9 and runs until July 15 at DECK.

Our Roots by Jonas Liang

If the name Jonas Liang sounds familiar, it’s because his Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital project had press coverage in the national Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao. Jonas is our next GSA graduate, this time from the Interior Design program.

“Our Roots alfresco dining area in Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre invites the community to enjoy and connect with the vast greenery from the central garden and the mangrove forest canopy, which shades and cools users from the local tropical climate. These forms develop collective intersection of spaces, which was inspired by the mangrove forest ecosystem. Our Roots exemplifies the centrality of food in the Singaporean context; it explores the potential of a food scene as an intersection to connect the younger and older generations. Like how food drives an ecosystem, a vibrant food scene with multi-racial roots is the driving force behind this project. I have drawn inspiration from regionalist architect Muzharul Islam who uses intersections to weave basic geometric structures into a holistic space. I used basic lines to form webs of intersection and these symbolise areas of congregation.”

Jonas will be showing his work at the GSA Degree show at DECK. The show opens on July 9 and runs until July 15.

Thumbsforlego by Chiang Ming Yang

I confess. I love all things LEGO. So when I spotted these thumb drives on Etsy, I just had to share them with you. They are hand-made by Chiang Ming Yang, a Communications student at the University at Buffalo, SIM.

Speaking of his project, Ming Yang says: “I used to make gundam model kits, replica guns, leather crafts and spray painting everything including my handphone. The idea for thumbsforlego is the result of me constantly losing my thumb drive. I do quite a bit of photography, video recordings and editing, so I am always carrying a large capacity thumb drive. I have always loved LEGO and hung a bunch of their keychains off my bags, so I thought to myself, “why not find a way to make the keychain into a thumb drive? I embarked on the idea as LEGO is known to be extremely sturdy and their quality, top notch. To complement the high quality of LEGO products, I am using a SanDisk thumbdrive which maintains compatibility across Mac and Windows platforms. The thumbdrive and LEGO keychain have to be meticulously cut to size with an exacto blade as the LEGO plastic is very hard to cut through. After shaving down the size of the thumb drive, it is a near perfect fit inside the tiny LEGO minifigure body. In order to provide durability and reliability of the LEGO keychain thumb drive, I seal the thumbdrive into the body using epoxy resin.”

If you want to purchase one of these babies, you can order them from Etsy.

N.ZIQQ’s Haptic Vest

Taking inspiration from the works of Scott Novice and David Eagleman on sensory substitution, Design Says Hello founder Ziqq designed a vest that investigates how technology and the sense of touch can work together to experience music.

Take it away Ziqq: “My initial research was exploring how one could make sound visible, which led to the study of cymatics. I was intrigued with the way the different level of frequencies produced different visuals through vibrations. There were many other projects that looked into using the four elements to visualise sound. What stood out me was exploring beyond just vibrating the four elements. Instead of vibrating water or sand, what would it look like to vibrate the human body? So the idea of sensory substitution is described as a non-invasive technique for circumventing the loss of one sense by feeding its information through another channel. That basically means, for someone with hearing impairments; they can learn a new language through recognising patterns of vibrations. Using ‘feeling’ the sense of touch instead of hearing. The Haptic Vest has four points of vibrations, two on the shoulder blades and two on the lower back of the torso. Each point corresponds to the four joints. The two upper points links to the arms while the two lower points links to the legs. The vibration disc is then hooked up to the Arduino and linked to a musical keyboard via Bluetooth. Drawing inspiration from Notations 21 by Theresa Sauer I wanted to recreate a new way to notate sound. I notated the lower keys of the keyboards to the lower points on the vest while the higher keys were linked to the upper points.

I invited friends to test out the vest and they were encouraged to move purely based on the vibrations they felt on their torso. What was interesting was to see how it created many different levels of dialogue. It was like a game of ‘Chinese Whispers’ where the conversation started between the pianist and the keyboard, the keyboard to the vest, the vest to the torso of the performer, and the performer’s interpretation of the vibration through movements which is then experienced and visualised by the audience without even hearing any kind of sound.”

CUBETALES by Hillary Hoe

CUBETALES is a constructive play system created to help develop preschoolers’ literacy skills at home. Designed by Hillary Hoe, CUBETALES grew out of a desire to increase the reading confidence in children through the use of sight word cards, bingo cards and erasable boards.

Hillary explains: “With the increasing emphasis on school readiness (the level of preparation for a preschooler’s transition into primary school), parents are increasingly concerned with their preschoolers’ literacy development. This is because they understand that literacy is key to excelling in various subjects – take Math for example, to tackle the question you have to first understand the question. What is literacy? It is the ability to make meaning, so as to build coherent stories whether when reading, writing or speaking. I’ve chosen to focus on the speaking part and studies have shown that children learn how to read and write when they practice expressing their thoughts orally while playing. Parents are trying to nurture their children’s literacy skills at home through various methods like reading with them, or even labelling objects around the house. What I would like to do here is to use play as a medium to set the conditions of literacy learning to enhance the learning experience.”

How do we play CUBETALES? “There are 2 suggested ways of playing, the first way is to draw 5 word cards, think of a story and build the landscape for the story simultaneously, and then demonstrate the story. The second way is more competitive, with children building up a landscape together, then filling up their bingo boards with things they see on the built landscape, then taking turns to use words on their boards to tell a story while striking them off and winning with 3 bingos. The cubes have 3 main features – some click or repel, some open up to store physical objects, and some have drawable surfaces. These are all to encourage children to bring in their own tangible/intangible elements and spark more stories. To add a more whimsical feel to the cubes, watercolour swatches have been scanned and digitally inserted into the graphics, giving the ocean a wavy look or the fishes a scale texture.”

Hillary’s final year project will be showcased at the NUS DID Grad Show 2016 which runs from 21 through 24 May at the National Design Centre.

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