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Workshops

Indonesia—Last April 7th, I was in Lewoleba, a city in the whaling island of Lembata, Indonesia to hold an art workshop with youth courtesy of Plan International, with whom I am currently a residency artist. We did Smell Walks, drawing workshops, a competition to build a resilient country, etc. An exhibition will be held in June after I do this in two more countries, so stay tuned!

Artist intro with my awesome translator, Evvy!

 

 

Explaining their resilient country

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It’s almost the end of 2016, so here’s a final wrap up of the talks I did by the end of the year:

1. Climate-Resilient International Development Exchange in USAID Asia

The Sewer Soaperie! Climate change! Cybernetics! More here.

Speaking at USAID's Climate-Resilient International Development Exchange

Speaking at USAID’s Climate-Resilient International Development Exchange

 

The Sewer Soaperie at USAID Asia

The Sewer Soaperie at USAID Asia

 

Climate-Resilient International Development Exchange

Climate-Resilient International Development Exchange


2. Bio-Art Seoul 2016 at Gwacheon National Science Museum in Seoul

Perfumes! Design! Cute kids! Climate change! More here.

Speaking at Bio-Art Seoul 2016

Speaking at Bio-Art Seoul 2016

 

Kids and parents at Bio-Art Seoul 2016

Kids and parents at Bio-Art Seoul 2016

3. New project

And finally,

I launched another project. Future Rx will house all my workshops, sustainability experiments, and other practical things I have picked up over the years. Check out the website here.

Future Rx: Make better choices for the planet

Future Rx: Make better choices for the planet

This November I find myself in Seoul for the Bio-Art Seoul 2015 Conference. It’s great to be back here in Korea, which is turning into a yearly homecoming of a sort. Annyunghaseyo!

For my bit in the show, I presented the second volume of The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store. There were eight new scents I debuted here. The line was called “A Walk Home” and it was based on the scents of my childhood in the Philippines. These olfactory memories were especially potent when I moved to Manila last year after ten years of being away.

 

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store Volume 2: A Walk Home

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store Volume 2: A Walk Home

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store: A Walk Home has these eight scents: Recess, A Chinese Apothecary, Time with My Mom, Swimming Lessons, Wild Grass, Manila Sunsets, Carnival, and Moments of Solitude.

Oh you kids. <3

Oh you kids. ❤

During the exhibition, it was fun to see families smell the perfumes. My favorite part was when I saw the little kids trying them on, especially the really small ones who had to tiptoe to reach the bottles. It was so cute when one group of little boys gathered around, each taking a bottle, and sprayed it on himself. (I pity the ones who got the perfumes marked “Recess” and “A Chinese Apothecary”.)

kids

Some of my favorite target audience.

 

Sometimes, reactions to my work are polarized. LIke so. (I hope the kid on the right is ok.)

Sometimes, reactions to my work are polarized. LIke so. (I hope the kid on the right is ok.)

And now, a cathartic release by writing about an embarrassing moment. It was the exhibition opening, and man, I was so excited to do my first Korean ribbon cutting—complete with the white gloves and golden scissors, yo! I was nervous to cut it in advance like I’ve seen people do when what I should have been worried about was not catching the darn things after you snip them.

My first Korean ribbon cutting ceremony! How exciting!

My first Korean ribbon cutting ceremony! How exciting!

I’m the sad chick second from left with the pile of ribbons on the floor. Sigh. No one ever tells me these things. Hmph.

Epic fail.

“Oh sh*t” was the first thought that entered my head. Epic fail.

For the record, I still think it’s a lot cooler to let everything dramatically fall to the floor. Hello. It’s a grand opening. Just kidding.

Artist Talk: Wet Media Conference

In Sogang University’s Department Art and Technology, artists (including yours truly) gave talks on their work. My talk, entitled “Living SciFi: Bio-Art and our Futures” drew on my journey through science, art, and design, ending with the show at the Institute for the Future and what I’ve learned here so far.

It was also great to meet some bio-artists. Personally, I identify more with the terms “conceptual artist” and “sci-art” since I currently work with so many different fields of sciences and haven’t stuck to just one, so it was great to learn from these guys, especially those whose work I’ve heard so much about. Mad props to Anna Dumitriu, Vicky Isley and Paul Smith of boredomresearch, Sonja Baeumel, Roberta Trentin, etc. It was cool to meet you guys!

Workshop: Making Smells of Perfumes

You know I'm in Korea when I'm doing a lecture in my hiking clothes.

You know I’m in Korea when I’m doing a lecture in my hiking clothes.

A week after the opening, I also did a perfumery workshop with some high school and university students in Korea. There was a group of biology students that were accompanied by their teacher. In the beginning, the students participated in my olfactory memory experiment where they were given mystery smells and then were asked to recall the memory that came to mind.

The students did my smell memory experiment where I gave them mystery smells to sniff and asked them to recall the memory that came to mind.

The students did my smell memory experiment where I gave them mystery smells to sniff and asked them to recall the memory that came to mind.

Later, I asked them to do a Smell Walk and gather objects from nature that they want to make a perfume of. We distilled essential oils and also used some from my own collection of essential oils. It was exciting as one distillation flask caught fire (the kids put it out in time and no one was hurt).

The students took a Smell Walk and gathered fragrant objects from nature.

The students took a Smell Walk and gathered fragrant objects from nature.

 

The haul from the Smell Walk

The haul from the Smell Walk

 

Gathering fragrant things in nature

Gathering fragrant things in nature

 

Mashing things up for distillation

Mashing things up for distillation

 

A simple DIY distillation set-up

A simple DIY distillation set-up

 

Whattup, Korea!

Whattup, Korea!

I loved that one of the museum staff participated and insisted on making a banana-flavored perfume. He was a fun student. For the record, I insisted that he tuck his tie so it wouldn’t catch fire.

This museum staff member joined our workshop and he made a banana perfume.

This museum staff member joined our workshop and he made a banana perfume.

After the distillation, I also got them to create perfumes using the commercial essential oils I have in my personal collection.

Day 2: I was back in my apocalypse suit. Ole!

Day 2: I was back in my apocalypse suit. Ole!

SAMSUNG CSC

Making perfumes

 

Another experience of making a perfume using commercial essential oils

Another experience of making a perfume using commercial essential oils

I gave them Apocalypse Project Commander badges as a reward for all their hard work. Thanks, guys!

Apocalypse Project Commander badges for everyone! Whee!

Apocalypse Project Commander badges for everyone! Whee!

Aaaannnd that’s officially it for me for 2015. No more exhibitions, talks, workshops, interviews, etc. for the rest of the year. I’ll be in Seoul until November 29th reflecting on the year that was and what to do next. You know I’m not a big fan of this part. A bit of Korean hiking should knock me to my senses. Are you in town? Come join me!

Many thanks to Bio-Art Seoul 2015, Biocon, Seoulin Bioscience Co., and Digital Art Weeks International. Thank you especially to Dr. Sunghoon Kim and Helen Kwak!

 

 

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:

DSC09611

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

For the final part of The Apocalypse Workshop, I asked the participants, “What would you wear to the apocalypse?” and to define each wearable they design. I gave them fashion design templates. Here is the Tembusu version of an Apocalypse Lookbook:

AdelineChang

by Adeline Chang

AmandaTan

by Amanda Tan

ArjunSaha

by Arjun Saha

AuYongShiYa

by Au Yong Shi Ya

CarminaCastro

by Carmina Castro

CassandraTeo

by Cassandra Teo

ChanSzeHow

by Chan Sze How

CherlynTan

by Cherlyn Tan

GeorgiaTam

by Georgia Tam

GermaineGoh

by Germaine Goh

JaredKoh

by Jared Koh

JonathanT

by Jonathan T

LamYuenKei

by Lam Yuen Kei

LeeYingLin

by Lee Ying Lin

LyciaHo

by Lycia Ho

NaomiNeoh

by Naomi Neoh

RachelLee

by Rachel Lee

SarahLim

by Sarah Lim

SonjaChua

by Sonja Chua

TayYingYing

by Tay Ying Ying

VictoriaEr

by Victoria Er

ZoeBezpalko

by Zoe Bezpalko

ZoeBezpalko2

by Zoe Bezpalko

For the second part of The Apocalypse Workshop, I asked students to imagine their superpowers to navigate through the apocalypse they described in the beginning.

Here are some sketches:

AdelineChang

“Fly. Heal. Escape.” —Adeline Chang

AmandaTan

“Ability to move the sun” —Amanda Tan Ying Shyuan

ArjunSaha“Spaceship out to sun to cool it. Suicidal ice core cooler.”—Arjun Saha

AuYongShiYa

“I wish I will have the power to breathe life into the world again.” —Au Yong Shi Ya

CarminaCastro

“In the case of singularity, no one really knows what’s gonna happen, but it’s likely that people will be even more interconnected than before. e.g. chips planted inside head / linked to the brain. In this case, a helm of mind-control protector might help in preventing subliminal advances to your head space / just outright mind-jacking.

CassandraTeo

“I would teleport to the mountains, the wilderness, the forests, something of the like. The place can simply transform with a snap.” —Cassandra Teo

ChanSzeHow

“This drawing shows a Superman shooting down CO2 gas molecules to reduce greenhouse warming. He is flying and protecting the atmosphere of the Earth.” —Chan Sze How

CherlynTan

“Nose with CO2 to O2 converting nose-hair / cells. Whatever by-product will be used to “recharge” the converting mechanism. Eyes that can see temperature differences in color, that can function like binoculars to see danger from afar. Mouth that has glands that secrete substances to purify contaminated water and food.” —Cherlyn Tan

GeorgiaTam

“The Day After Tomorrow Apocalypse: 1. Engulfed by water 2. World freezes over. 3. We wait for Jake Gyllenhaal to save us all.” —Georgia TamGermaineGoh

“I will have the power to be invisible when I go out so that the heat / temperature will not be a problem! I will have the healing power to “heal” anything that comes my way, to have the strength to carry animals, people to safety. Magic wand: I will have the magic power to make plants and trees grow beautifully by having a protective shield to prevent excessive sun rays. Plants will flourish.” —Germaine Goh

JaredKo

“Neo-Atlantis human.” —Jared Koh

JonathanT

“Our skin will be able to dissipate heat and moisture so that we can cope with the increased heat and humidity. To combat bad swampy smells out skin will naturally emit happy smells.” —Jonathan T

LamYuenKei

“As humans attack humans out of desperation from the apocalypse scenario of climate change, out of need for survival, food and shelter, it is time for the power of isolation to set in.” —Lam Yuen KeiLeeYingLin

“An invisible sphere that can be activated with the click of a button. Being invisible, it will not block out the scenery but at the same time it can create a micro-climate in which people can control the temperature. It is like a force field that don’t need to be carried when you move.” —Lee Ying Lin

LyciaHo

“This device can suck in an infinite amount of carbon dioxide / greenhouse gases.”—Lycia HoNaomiNebh RachelLee

“…I think having the power to control the weather from now until the future might be of use. Perhaps I will be able to alleviate the harmful effects of global warming and reduce its negative impact on the Earth’s physical (natural?) atmosphere. Alternatively, with my ability to control the weather, I suppose I could put a stop to global warming entirely? Send thunderbolts to blast factories emitting carbon into oblivion, showers of rain to rejuvenate the plants and the rainforests, more rain to ease droughts and nourish infertile lands … bring the sun out to make the plants grow… Perhaps weather control is not necessarily the ultimate solution to preventing a future like the one I have imagined, but it can be a start. Bring on the superpower abilities!” —Rachel Lee

SarahLim

Sarah Lim

SonjaChua

Sonja Chua

TayYingYing

“A Rain Man. A Nature Recovery Wand.” —Tay Ying Ying
VictoriaEr

“Protective Impenetrable Bubble.”—Victoria Er

ZoeBezpalko

“Dots-connection deviece. It’s all about changing mindsets of development.” —Zoe Bezpalko