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(22 March 2014, Manila)—Yesterday, I had a booth at The Mind Museum’s Media Day, where the museum celebrated their second birthday. In the second photo, you can see Maribel Garcia, curator of the museum, and Manny Blas, managing director of Bonifacio Foundation, Inc., speaking about their activities for the year, as well as talk about the museum’s accomplishments in the past two years, including winning the 2014 Thea Award in the Museum Exhibits category by the Themed Entertainment Association. Solar News presenter Mitzi Borromeo hosted the show. (Fun fact: She and I used to go to the same boxing class and just formally met yesterday.)

In the middle of other booths, where the museum’s Mind Movers (resident scientists and all-around awesome people) presented their own projects, I gave people a preview of the show that will open next month (NEXT MONTH! Ayayay.) I wore my Apocalypse suit, now upgraded with a Commander’s patch, and remixed some Climate Change Couture. When taking a break, I helped myself to some salted butter ice cream by Sebastian’s, and a tiramisu cup made to look like a plant by Kyle Imao of Kyle’s Lab.

The show is getting really close and I am freaking out. Only because I care.

Some updates from this end of the apocalypse: I am currently working on at least five more projects under this platform. Questions I am asking are: What are disappearing because of climate change? How do we adapt? How can we train ourselves to think deeper about the future of the planet?

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I am working on these while doing a self-directed art/science residency at The Mind Museum, a science museum in Manila. This location seems to be a perfect fit for me for the following reasons:

1. The Philippines is one of the top countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. Unlike Singapore, where this project began and where natural disasters are relatively rare, the Philippines often experiences extreme climate events. I think there will be a lot of opportunities for discussion and learning around this topic, and I am sure these projects will give birth to new projects.

2. The Mind Museum is one my favorite places. I never thought Manila would have anything like this—I started knocking on their doors before they were even built. I had to be based in different countries in the past several years, so I think it’s a wonderful opportunity that I have right now. I really believe that science museums are an important bastion of knowledge and inspiration for a city. The curator and the staff have also been really amazing in terms of supporting my work and giving me constructive critique.

3. A science museum will allow me to reach a lot of children, which I’ve always believed are a crucial part of my audience as an artist/designer. I think the most heartstopping questions and feedback I’ve had in the past have come from five year olds.

4. This is my home city. After living in different countries for the past decade, this is an interesting homecoming of a sort.

I hope to exhibit by late April, which isn’t too far away. At this stage, I am already excited and overworked. It’s always great to have a personal project that consumes you. Check back here for updates!

Last November 16th, I spoke on the panel, Negotiating Cities of the Future, part of the ArtScience Conversations hosted by ArtScience Museum, together with fellow artist-in-residence Michael Doherty, Shannon Lim, William Hooi, and Luther Goh. The museum was kind enough to send me photos from my part of the panel.

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My talk was entitled, “The Apocalypse Playbook: Strategies for the End of the World.” I spoke about my previous work that led me to do The Apocalypse Project.

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For example, I talked about the Seoul43 project. Even talking about it made me recall the exhaustion of climbing more than 43 mountains. Ha.

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I also spoke about my previous sensory projects, such as The Hug Vest.

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I also talked about how I came to value interactivity and experience-based design through my previous jobs and lives. As a youth correspondent at The Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of my favorite series of articles was something I called Temporarily Yours, where I took on a job for a day and wrote about it. My favorite one was about being a mascot for Jollibee, a Filipino fast-food chain. This is an 11-year newspaper clipping. In the job, I wore both suits, but for that particular photo, I was the blonde girl on the left.

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Oh hi again, my Art, Science, and Design slide.

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Dr. Margaret Tan, Fellow at Tembusu College and Director of Programmes, introduced us.

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Denisa Kera, professor at the National University of Singapore, moderated the event.

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Yep, I was wearing the Apocalypse Suit. I should wear that at all times. It’s comfy with a lot of pockets. It’s probably one of the few outfits I wouldn’t mind wearing everyday, other than a dobok.

Last November 10th, The Apocalypse Project was exhibited at the Sunday Showcase at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Here are some photos of my part of the show at the Inspiration gallery:

There were five mannequins dressed Climate Change Couture, four standing projectors that introduced the parts of the project and the Mission Apocalypse game, and screen at the back that showed all the drawings made during The Apocalypse Workshops.

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The Apocalypse Project – Sunday Showcase at ArtScience Museum

On the left is an interactive station where people can do The Apocalypse Workshop.

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Climate Change Couture: The Trash Suit and The Bubble

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The Apocalypse Project – Sunday Showcase at ArtScience Museum

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It was great to see  friends and strangers alike. Here’s Vinod, a Tembusu student and part of the Earth vs Humans: The Court Trial trying on the Smell Mask:

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Dr. Stamatina Rassia of the Future Cities Laboratory dropped by.

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And here’s Dr. Ingmar Lippert from Tembusu College.

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Here’s squad member Yuen Kei Lam manning The Apocalypse Workshop. I’m so happy to see this photo—she started out being a participant in the first workshop I held, and now she’s facilitating one. Dr. Connor Graham of Tembusu College is also at the table.

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I also had a photo booth where people can try on some of the Climate Change Couture clothes. On the right is squad member (and taekwondo classmate) Yerim Ku, an exchange student at the National University of Singapore.

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I turned the Inspiration Gallery into a game of a sort, called Mission Apocalypse. The audience had a piece of paper with tasks on it.

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The paper had 25 clues in a 5×5 grid that made them explore the gallery.

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Each clue led to a question about climate change.  If you get five correct answers vertically, horizontally, or diagonally (like in Bingo), you get an Apocalypse Project sticker. Or you can answer everything and get a poster.

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Oh hey, here’s Professor Gregory Clancey, Master of Tembusu College (and also my neighbor):

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This is one of my favorite photos. This kid was so great. He’s seven years old and working on climate change questions in Mission Apocalypse.

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He also drew this superpower for The Apocalypse Workshop:

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This is the happiest I’ve been in a show. You can tell—I’m grinning like a Cheshire Cat on the left and in mid-frolic. 
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Lastly, but most importantly, thank you, Apocalypse Squad, Batch 1. The more complex my projects get, the more I’ve learned to delegate. Thank you, all.

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I’ll be putting everything about the project online here. It’s crunch time again for me (a chronic problem for chronic travelers), but it’ll all get done. The other day, I finished posting all the workshop submissions, which led to me reaching Tumblr’s posting limit for the day. I think I broke the Internet that day. Do follow that site for more updates!

Photos in this post by artist and Apocalypse Squad member Sandra Goh. Now this is exhibition photography, people. I’m taking down notes. 

This weekend was the first time I exhibited The Apocalypse Project in our group showcase in ArtScience Museum. This was a stressful installation, but not quite as much as climbing more than 43 mountains, or mowing a mountain in a monsoon with a sickle. But everything went alright in the end, and I was quite happy with how it looked:

The Apocalypse Project at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, 10 November 2013

The Apocalypse Project at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, 10 November 2013

The Apocalypse Squad

I have learned so much from all the shows I’ve done in the past, but this is hands down my favorite one, mainly because of the team of students who made up the Apocalypse Squad. Without them, everything would have fallen apart. They worked on everything— helping to assemble the actual pieces,  making each interactive station work well, and helping the audience win the Mission Apocalypse game. It was quite a production for a one-day show. I was so proud of how they worked that day—a clear indication of me getting old. Here we are, after takedown:

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The Apocalypse Squad. (L-R) Sandra Goh, photographer. Yuen Kei Lam, Elaine Sam, me, Yerim Ku, Jethro Leong, Yuqi Liew, and Ingmar Salim.

Kudos as well to Tembusu students and faculty who helped me set up the installation.

More detailed photos about what went on in future posts by this week, but for now, I think I need to rest for a couple of days and get my sleeping patterns back to normal.

But in more important news:

Donate to Haiyan victims

As the world knows, Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) tore through my home country, the Philippines, a few days ago. Being here in Singapore, I have been feeling very heartbroken, helpless, and distracted at seeing all the photos of the devastation. I also couldn’t help noticing the irony of exhibiting The Apocalypse Project, which I intended to make people visualize a dystopic future brought about by climate change, and actually have that apocalypse a reality in my motherland. I am not kidding—some of the things people drew for The Apocalypse Workshop became true this weekend. At the last minute, I changed one dress for Climate Change Couture as a reference to this catastrophe. (More on this in a future post.)

Thank you, Lion City, for lending the Philippines a hand.

Find out ways to help Haiyan victims here and here.

Photo by Romeo Ranoco for Reuters

Photo by Romeo Ranoco for Reuters

This Sunday is the day! If you’re in Singapore on November 10th, come to our showcase where I’ll be exhibiting The Apocalypse Project at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. The following Sunday is our panel talk. More details about the events here.

Here is the showcase flyer, courtesy of ArtScience Museum:

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I’m excited, and I hope so is my newly costumed Apocalypse Squad:

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I feel like we’re astronauts. Hope to see you!

(Or maybe re-crew-ting for The Apocalypse Crew. Haha. Ha. Ha. Uhm. Yes. Anyway, back to this post.)

Last week, I was busy recruiting students to be exhibition attendants for our Art/Science Residency Showcase on November 10th. There are too many pieces in my part of the show that I can’t do it alone. I posted this ad in Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore, where I currently live.

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I was expecting to have to beg the students, as it’s midterm crunchtime for most of them. However, I now have six awesome people who have agreed to help! And for two of them, they come with this interesting application letter:

Dear Catherine,

It is with great interest (and perhaps some desperation) that

XXXXX / Chinese Male / Year One Law / Year One Tembusu

and, I,

XXXXX / Chinese Male / Year One Architecture / Year One Tembusu

enlist as exhibition attendants for impending The Apocalypse Project.
After having read your A4 print of a woman wearing a hazmat respirator in our recently-LED-lit elevators of Tembusu (the dimly lit environment did enhance the dystopian intent of your exhibition, though making posters slightly harder to read) , here prize two eager students at your disposal.

We believe that your exhibition would prove valuable, enlightening and practical if we were to face the brink of extinction (have you yet not seen the signs?).
Perhaps we could also offer our insights during the tour, perspective of a Law and Architecture student (if our professional endeavours prove relevant, if not useful).

We will be faithful minions to your cause – to educate people in end of the world preparations, as gaily as possible.
We will be the last two remaining outlasting volunteers, lasting in resolve, even if it were the last few days to the end of the world. Last.

I hope you find our response to your conch call and enthusiasm appealing, if not incredibly weird (both strange and funny).
Hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
XXXXX and XXXXX

I replied back with a ‘yes’ and an attempt to be as clever in language—something about how I didn’t know whether to laugh or to lock the front door—and here was their reply:

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What crazy person wouldn’t hire these two?

On another note, I wonder what kind of emails I’ll get if I design something more complex, such as a dating service or something.

Heejung sent me this photo of our friend Kaya jumping on my hopscotch board at the Asian Students and Young Artists Art Festival (ASYAAF 2013), which ended last week.

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I’m neck-deep in climate change articles and meetings with a lot of brilliant people, so this was such a nice email from the life I just left. I love that beam of light on the right. It looks as though Kaya was beamed there from space.

Thank you, ladies! And I miss you, Korea!

My friend Kate Kirkpatrick, who also serves as producer of my Seoul43 project, has been working making sure that its extension project, Pyeong Chang Mobile Garden, a piece currently in the 2013 Pyeong Chang Biennale, is finished. This weekend, she reported back to me (I’m currently in Manila in transit to my next project), with these photos.

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I smiled when I saw this photo with Pyeong Chang Biennale curators, Mr. Hyunchul Lee (left) and Mr. Yoonkee Kim (right), who helped finish the job. Kamsahamnida!

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View a previous post about the installation and another piece here.

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