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[Seoul, South Korea] I’m happy to be back here in Seoul for a bit for some exhibitions and talks. One of those talks is in the interestingly named Emotion Engineering Department at Sangmyung University. Professor Jieun Kwon, my dear friend and fellow SVA graduate, warmly invited me to give a talk in her class and to observe the lab.

In the beginning of my afternoon in the program, I was impressed by a class assignment—the students had to draw diagrams about the definition of Service Design, and it was interesting to hear a design class in another language. Professor Kwon will be asking them to do another one at the end of the term so they can observe the difference and witness the breadth of what they have learned.

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They gave me a tour of the Emotion Engineering lab. We played with a Star Wars game that uses brain waves. Here we had to make the ball rise to the top.

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I took a few minutes to successfully do so—I thought my brain died—and Professor Kwon was a lot faster than me.

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Afterwards, I gave an artist talk about my background and how I came to do my projects on art and science.

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I’m really happy to be back in Korea; I have, as you know, a lot of great memories from this place and it’s great to be meeting new people. I think it’s fantastic how art, science, and technology are explored in different countries around the world, and how collaborations bring about the coolest projects.

Sangmyung University's Emotion Engineering program with Professor Jieun Kwon

Sangmyung University’s Emotion Engineering program with Professor Jieun Kwon

Warm thanks to Dr. Kwon and her class at the Sangmyung University’s Emotion Engineering program for hosting me!

 

[Manila, Philippines]—Hey everyone! The third edition of The Hug Vest is now in The Mind Museum in Manila. This changes from black to seaglass green when touched. Check it out (in both adult and kid sizes) and give a willing volunteer a big hug!

The Hug Vest 3.0

The Hug Vest 3.0

The Hug Vest 3.0

The Hug Vest 3.0

Open City / Art City Festival. Image from the Institute for the Future

Open City / Art City Festival. Image from the Institute for the Future

I’m excited to be one of the featured artists for Open City / Art City Festival, a creative and generative event that looks at how we transform a city. The piece I’m featuring is The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, a futuristic perfume line of things that could disappear from the natural world due to climate change. Come smell the perfumes and talk about your memories, and let’s raise climate change awareness!

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store (2014, Manila) a collaboration between The Apocalypse Project and GIvaudan

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store (2014, Manila) a collaboration between The Apocalypse Project and GIvaudan

Check out the other featured projects here, and the festival site here.

CsyFiShop

I just launched CSYFI, my first online store, where you can buy all my project-related goods. If you’d like to support The Apocalypse Project, Rorsketch, and others, I would be grateful if you consider buying something. I’m making hand drawn surprises for the first five customers. Check it out here.

The past year or so has seen me venturing into the mysterious field of “speculative design.” In The Apocalypse Project, I’m trying to see possible futures under climate change, which are generally not pretty visions of tomorrow.

There are lessons I’ve learned as well as experiences whose lessons I’m still trying to find. Here they are:

1. Stories rule.

When it comes to something as dry and political as climate change, the best way to get people to care is to let them find a personal story. Climate change is humanity’s story, not just a few individuals’. It is also complex and multilayered; a photo of a melting glacier might trigger the emotions of people living near them, but it might not be as effective to a person who has never experienced a winter. Here in Southeast Asia, I notice that people paid more attention to stories about rising sea levels, extreme heat or supertyphoons, because those are the things that they have personally experienced and have something to say about.

However, this isn’t to say that people in the tropics will never care about polar bears. I think that another property about the climate story is that so many things are connected—a melting glacier may further alarm people who are experiencing drought, for example—and there are opportunities to connect these dots that people never realized existed.

2.  The power belongs to the people.

When people want to buy these hypothetical products, I’m taken aback and get a conscience attack of sorts. My goal was to show people how bad it could get, but instead people’s consumerist tendencies prevailed.

But then, why wouldn’t they want to buy these? I had made them so real that they only thing that was missing was a PayPal button.

I realized the power of people as consumers; the exchange of money for product allows for the existence of these objects. These transactions keep these products—and the ideas behind them—alive. If people refuse to buy the product, then it marks the end of it.

What does this mean for futures? For me, it gives me a barometer to see what types of people are out there. I’ve realized that the point of speculative design is to ignite debate. By making these projects, people have the opportunity to talk about these issues. There are so many opinions out there that

Should I sell these? This is something I keep thinking about. Perhaps letting people buy them allows for even greater awareness, as long as they know the intentions behind it. Let me get back to you.

3. The true test is converting a denier.

The bulk of the people who have emailed me or tweeted about how the like the project are usually futurists, artists, or other people who are already aware of climate change to begin with. While I’m extremely grateful for this, especially for the future collaborations that it could ensue, to put it bluntly these people are already smarties. The next cohort of people that I’ve impacted are the “laymen”—those whose work has nothing to do with design or sustainability, but are folks who can see their personal stories in these projects. I think this is wonderful because I’ve always wanted my designs to exist beyond, well, design. Children have always been among my primary—and usually the sharpest—audience and I usually prototype my ideas on them to see if I’m being too unnecessarily confusing.

Perhaps the pinnacle of “success” in doing projects like this is when I am able to convert a climate change denier. This is the final cohort of people who are going to be the hardest to convert but are those who will give me the greatest pleasure to impact. When the initial wave of press for my projects hit, I get trolling tweets from climate change deniers literally seconds later. It’s usually how I know that my projects are being written about. I would often joke to my friends about how they’re usually just a bunch of old white guys, usually in the US, who’ve never experienced the scale of a tropical typhoon and probably don’t get out much anyhow so who cares. I never engage in them, but the more I think about it, these are the ones that, if converted, means that I was extremely effective in conveying ideas.

But I just think they’re so gross. What to do, hmm. Any ideas?

4. Everyone can contribute to this.

In Future Feast, I got a bit floored towards the end because I truly felt that it was transformative for a lot of people. Having multiple talents together—musicians, artists, designers, scientists, etc.—can feel like high school because they have very different personalities, and I as the one behind this was a bit anxious that the dots wouldn’t connect because everyone had their own vested interest in the project. However, I realized that it was in this multilayered experience that gave people a meaningful experience. In the end, it was great to feel that it wasn’t just my project anymore—it was everyone’s, which was the point.

I’m still evaluating the impact of the work I’ve done in the past few months. Stay tuned here for updates on what’s next, and thanks so much for keeping up with the projects!

 

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screen grab from Radio Republic

Happy and proud of everyone at Future Feast / GoExperience Redesign! This proved to me that it was possible to get a lot of people of different talents together in the name of raising climate change awareness. It was one big amazing group hug for all humanity.

Check out Radio Republic’s photos here.

Also watch their video below:

 

This officially marks the end of my residency and exhibition at The Mind Museum. You all know I hate this part. I’ll be taking some time to decompress and think about next steps. In the meantime, The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store has been getting some traction online, so I’m fielding interviews on that end. Updates soon, and thanks for keeping up with the projects!

For Future Feast happening this Saturday, July 26 at The Mind Museum, I am honored to collaborate with these accomplished chefs. Meet them now:

1. Erik Capaque and Claudette Dy
“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by taking care of our environment so our food sources will not be endangered.  Practice a sustainable lifestyle.”

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Erik enjoys exploring ingredients, cooking techniques and procedures and makes his own creation inspired by them. He is known for putting his signature touches to the dishes that he creates, and for his modern approach in traditional dishes. He was exposed to food and cooking at a very young age. Raised under great influences of traditional Ilongo and Bulacan cooking, as a kid he cooked his recreations. During his elementary school days he was able to create several interesting dishes like gumamela (hibiscus) chips, Candied Calamansi Peel, Tomato Jam, Homemade Cured Ham and Bacon to name a few. He pursued his interest in cooking and took up Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management and trained under a Belgian chef at The Old Manila in The Peninsula Hotel. He headed the School of International Hospitality Management of one university in Antipolo, Rizal for 4 years. He is accredited trainer of Commercial Cooking and Baking of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). He finished his Masters in Business Administration and pursued his culinary education at Centre International Culinaire and Culinary Institute of Asia. He is now the Chef and the Manager of Eat. at V Hotel in Malate, Manila.

Claudette Dy

True passion is never extinguished. JV Claudette Dy had always been fond of creating food—cooking, baking, as well as being a resident food critic. After graduating with a degree in management from De La Salle University and having kids, she realized this so she pursued the knowledge at Enderun. Balancing raising kids, a day job, and a full course load at a prestigious culinary school was definitely a challenge which she surpassed and used well. She now channels this passion and love for food in her cafe at a boutique hotel in Malate, Manila.

Eat. At V Hotel Manila

(63 2) 328-5553

2. Ian Carandang

“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by doing what can be done NOW instead of regretting what we should have done in the future.”

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Ian Carandang is the owner and head Chef of Sebastian’s ice Cream, the country’s premiere artisanal ice cream brand in Manila. Opening Sebastian’s in 2006, he pursues the dual ethos of excellence and creativity, believing them to not be mutually exclusive. This self-taught sorbetero is a pioneer in artisanal ice cream and constantly strives to elevate, innovate, and discover what can be done within the realm of ice cream and frozen desserts.  Among the dishes he has been recognized for are the Champorado Kakanin Ice Cream with Candied Dilis, Green Mango Sorbet with warm sweetened Bagoong, and “Once In a Blue Moon”, his Blue Cheese Ice Cream with Palawan honey and walnuts.

Sebastian’s Ice Cream

sebastians.icecream[at]gmail[dot]com

3. Sau del Rosario

“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by giving love and respect to Mother Nature.”

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Chef Rosauro del Rosario is a native of Pampanga, one of the Philippines’ culinary centers. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines. He first worked in several hotels in Manila before moving to Nice, France where he worked with one star Michelin chef Christian Plumail of Restaurant l’univers. He then moved to Paris and worked with three star Michelin Chef Jacque Divellec of Le Divellec Restaurant. Shanghai later lured Sau, where he opened the Mediterranean-themed restaurant Luna. Afterwards, he moved to Singapore to be a chef at Raffles Hotels and Resorts.

Back in Manila, Sau has opened several restaurants: the popular Museum Café, Chelsea Market and Café, and Le Bistro Vert, a sustainable organic restaurant that helps local farmers, with his partners. Le Bistro Vert earned recognition from MBKS Awards as Best New Restaurant and recognized him as among the Best Chefs of the Year. Sau uses his classical yet chic style of cooking by incorporating local ingredients. He is the Executive Chef of F1 Hotel Manila, a consultant for Bluewater Maribago properties and Cauayan Resort in El Nido, and the founder and owner of Food Garage that produces artisanal breads.

 F1 Hotels and Resorts

sau.delrosario[at]f1hotelsandresorts[dot]com

4. Kyle Imao

“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by polluting the environment less. Let’s ride bikes and patronize local produce.”

“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by living a sustainable lifestyle and by just getting enough for our needs and not our greed.”

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Kyle is a young cooking prodigy.  At the tender age of 11, he was the Philippines’ first grand winner of Junior MasterChef Philippine Edition.  Now, 14 years old, his climb to the culinary world just keeps on soaring.  He owns and operates his own café inside The Mind Museum, at the Bonifacio Global City, aptly named Kyle’s Lab –a science themed café created by a kid for kids.  He has also been a contributor for Junior Inquirer and other publications, sharing his recipes and creative cooking creations.  He teaches cooking to kids at The Maya Kitchen and does cooking demos at various events, conventions and TV programs.  Truly an inspiration and a shining example that age is not a limit to what one can strive for and achieve.

Kyle’s Lab  (0916) 310 0704

5. Judy Lao

“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by taking care of our environment now.”

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Judy Lao is a baker and the owner for Ju.D’s Fruitcakes since 1975. She is the maker of the world’s first fruitcake cookie and coffee fruitcake made with Blue Mountain coffee from Australia which she specially selected. She has been a vegetarian since 1998. She is a volunteer / commissioner of Tzu-Chi Foundation, teaches vegetarian cooking on Taiwan DaaiTV and at Tzu-Chi Foundation Manila. She wrote two vegetarian cookbooks, “Western Vegetarian Cooking” in 2002 and “Children’s Vegetarian Feast” in 2005.

Ju.D’s Products Philippines / Ju.Ds Fruitcakes

(02) 633 0260, 633-1188

 6. Nancy Reyes Lumen

“Let’s prevent the apocalypse by committing to a new lifestyle of sustainability in food and beverage, for now and for the future of God’s children. God told us to take care of His Creation, so we should.. Amen.”

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Nancy Reyes Lumen is the self-proclaimed  ”Adobo Queen”  because of her advocacy that Adobo will be the National Dish “because it is the favorite dish of every Filipino.” She wishes for world gastronomy to recognize this as a Filipino dish.  She is the co-author of bestselling books: “The Adobo Book and World Gourmand Winner for the Philippines” and “Make Good Money with Malunggay”. She is a freelance multimedia cooking show host.

Pinoyfoodies

09189135834 / 09178819314

Catch their dishes at Future Feast this Saturday, and check back here at The Apocalypse Project for their dishes and recipes!

Thanks to our collaborator, Radio Republic, for the beautiful photos!

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