Spotted! Koo Chia Meng

Empty Heart (2007), Too Far North (2009), Similar Winters (2011).
Click images to watch the videos.

Koo Chia Meng received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking at Nanyang Technological University. Trained as a filmmaker, his short films have been seen by audiences locally and abroad at festivals such as the 6th Singapore Short Film Festival, Singapore Short Film Awards 2011, Vancouver Singapore Film Festival 2009 and 2011 AAS-ICAS Joint Conference in Hawaii.

“The featured short films involve travelling,” Chia Meng explains. “The travelling of your body, the travelling of your senses as well as the travelling of your memories. Travelling through spaces, through speeches and through time. At times we need to forget someone, but no matter where we go, we remember. Sometimes when we backtrack on the roads once travelled, we realize that we actually don’t want to forget. In fact, many beautiful moments are getting increasingly hard to remember.”

Chia Meng is an associate Multimedia Designer with Theatrestrays. Previously, he has collaborated with theatre companies like A Group Of People, The Finger Players, Drama Box, Toy Factory, Frontier Danceland and W!ld Rice. His work on ‘SITA’ had the opportunity to be presented during the Festival Internacional Cervantino 2011 in Mexico City.

With experiences in various disciplines, Chia Meng has made music videos, publicity videos and had previously provided content for NDP 2010, Man Singapore Theatre Festival and Casual Days magazine. He is currently working on W!ld Rice’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Resort World Sentosa’s ‘Voyage de La Vie’. He will also be directing a new narrative short film entitled ‘Soul On A Wire’ in 2012.

Spotted! Jacky Lee

Click to watch the video.

26-year-old filmmaker Jacky Lee graduated from Swinburne School of Technology, Melbourne in 2010 with a Bachelor degree in Film & Television.

Over the past four years, he has been actively involved in the local film scene, working in the art department on films like Royston Tanʼs “12 Lotus”, Kelvin Tongʼs “Kidnapper” and “Itʼs A Great Great World”. He is currently a part-time lecturer at the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design, which also happens to be his alma mater.

“To be honest, I got into Temasek Polytechnic without any clues of what filmmaking was all about. I only really fell in love with film after I saw Wong Kar Waiʼs “Chungking Express” for the first time. It has this raw energy and charm which I never thought film was capable of capturing. It remains my favourite film to date and it also serves as a constant source of inspiration. I also like films by Gus Van Sant and Michel Gondry. I was working in the local film industry for a while before deciding to leave for Melbourne. I felt that there was a need to get myself out of this comfort zone and at the same time to learn more about film. I came back to Singapore during my semester breaks to continue working on local productions and then head back to resume my studies. It was really tiring but looking back at it, it was probably the most fruitful phase of my life.”

“Wild Fire” is Jacky’s latest work which made it to the finals at this yearʼs Creative Video Awards jointly organised by Singapore Media Academy and Mediacorp Channel 5. “The given theme for the competition was ʻCreating Storiesʼ and the first thing that came to my mind was the broken telephone game I used to play when I was younger. Information is never a hundred percent accurate when passed on via word of mouth. I hear all these rumours and gossips everyday within my neighbourhood and thus it was really easy to pen down the script. It was the first time that I am working with so many actors and actresses because I usually work on music videos or films that are quieter. I had a great time on set because all of them are really good and it made my job a whole lot easier.”

Jacky is currently working on a script for a coming-of-age romantic comedy which he hopes to complete by June 2012. “The script is slowing coming together and it feels like a really fun script. I also hope to release a soundtrack for the film featuring music from local bands.”

Spotted! Jayden Tan

Jayden Tan completed his diploma in Communication Design at LASALLE back in 2008, and pursued a degree at NAFA after a two-year NS stint. Now a fresh grad with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Communication, Jayden is keen to work as a designer that is not bound by any specific practice. “I have too many interest in design that led me to a myriad of design work, interestingly enough to label myself with the fancy term – multidisciplinary designer. I believe different design disciplines can always be mixed and matched to produce fresh, yet solid work.”

As a graphic design student, Jayden bashed through his fears of being a newbie at film-making, and went ahead and shot a short film for his graduation project. Jayden continues: “The short film, Alien/Citizen, is a lyrical expression in the concept of promoting a paper-loving culture. It is a love story that highlights the relationship between human and paper. I am extremely pleased that Alien/Citizen is currently shortlisted as finalist in four different film categories at the 2011 Crowbar Awards.”

Another entry that made it into the finals of the Crowbar Design Category is Heyday/Mayday,  an illustration/installation piece which Jayden did during his first semester at NAFA. “This work is a comment on society being conditioned to worship fame so much so that it has become an illusion that fame is nothing but money, high society status and the best thing in this world,” says Jayden. “Fame is the optical illusion of society.” Using the technique of ambiguous imagery, the images of three famous figures are hidden in different scenarios of natural disasters. “The heyday of a celebrity, or a dire mayday call for help?” – The ‘Mayday’ metaphor is using natural disasters to represent the torment that these celebrities faced. Viewers are being put to question themselves on whether they perceive the images as positive (the celebrity; the fame) or negative (the disaster). The installation adds an interactive aspect with the fusion of QR code technology and a slightly different optical illusion technique. Viewers can utilize their smartphones to scan the codes at the end of the “reverspective” tunnels to get brief information on the hidden celebrities in the ambiguous images.”

Exhibition: An Abstraction of Waves

An Abstraction Of Waves is a solo exhibition of video projections and surround soundscapes exploring our human psyche, using playful surrealistic imagery and reflective atmosphere. Ruyi Wong‘s work is based on Veristic Surrealism, and the unusual relationships between simple objects.

“Water in my art represents life and abundance. The life-giving context of water is taken from biblical stories that I read and chew upon. Water in the bible is often associated with the act of cleansing and birth, purification and life. Bodies of water invoke a certain sub consciousness and consciousness of my mind. The viewer will be engaged in the fragments of the ideas and images, the colors and sounds that inhabit the imaginary space of the exhibited space. Soundscape is also a very important part of my work: sound creates the atmosphere, adding mood and emphasis to certain visual elements. Audio creates a sonic dimension in the space resulting in the transformation of the physical space.”

An Abstraction of Waves opens on 19 February and runs till 28th February at PEEK! 36 Armenian Street, #02-04. Ruyi will be giving an artist talk on 19 February from 3:30 till 4:30pm. Admission fee:  S$ 20 (S$ 10 for students with valid ID). Refreshments will be provided.

Ghostwalking with Spell#7

This September, spell#7 launches their latest audio-video journey, Ghostwalking.

Taking the form of a free download, which people can listen to and watch on smart phones or media players, the artwork is a completely unique way to experience Singapore, its places and history. As you travel on the MRT and stop off at Dhoby Ghaut, Little India, Outram and Punggol, you will become immersed in stories and characters who appear to haunt these spaces.

There are four ‘audio walks’ (narrated guided tours around Dhoby Ghaut, Little India, Outram and Punggol) and three ‘video journeys’, short films that can be watched while traveling between stations. On the ‘audio walks’ you follow four chapters in the tale of Tony, a man conjures fragments of a life that spans Singapore’s history and even its future. He tells stories, attempts to make sense of his life, or dream a new one up. Tony is haunted, or is he haunting these places? On the ‘video journeys’ that unfold on the train between stops, you’ll hear and see the confessions of various people from contemporary Singapore, all are in some way exiles, metaphorical ‘ghosts’ caught between cultures, countries, identities.

The creative team for Ghostwalking includes Life! Theatre award-winning writer Kaylene Tan, film writer Ben Slater, Evan Tan from The Observatory as sound and music designer, and award winning film-maker and photographer Sherman Ong. Actors playing Tony at different stages of his life on the ‘audio walks’ include Adrian Pang, Lim Kay Siu and Brendon Fernandez.

This Saturday, 18 September at 3pm, there will be a talk at Spell#7 about Ghostwalking. All are welcome. Venue: 65 Kerbau Road, Little India.

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