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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

When one wakes up in another world, the previous one seems like a dream. Korea, magical as it is for me, seems like it ended a year ago instead of just last month. I’m now in Singapore for the 2013 Art Science Residency Programme in partnership with ArtScience Museum™ at Marina Bay Sands, Tembusu College National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Laboratory.

It is such a wonderful opportunity, and a very timely one as well. I am very grateful. Because of the Seoul43 project, I realized that one potential application of my work is the environment. The things I saw while I was in the mountains made me care about what humans are doing to nature in a more visceral way. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always cared about recycling, global warming, and polar bears, but having my hikes directly affected by what humans were doing to the environment (and ultimately affecting the direction of the project) was very unnerving. That project wasn’t too long ago, and I still have more questions than answers. (Visit the project site here.)

Climate Change and Environmental Futures

I am working on the theme, Climate Change and Environmental Futures. My project is about a potential “apocalypse” that may ensue in the future because of climate change. I aim to design objects that examine our perceptual lifestyles when that occurs. So. How will we see, hear, smell, touch, taste, etc. when we need to adapt to a less habitable earth? And on the other side of the spectrum, what can be designed along the lines of perception when we are able to mitigate climate change? These are questions that intrigue me and will keep me happily preoccupied in the next four months of this residency.

This project is also an experiment for myself and the direction of my work. I suppose this is why despite my excitement, I want to proceed with caution. This is definitely my science background talking. There are enough people misleading others about climate change; I don’t want to be one of those. I’m happy to have scientists and humanists in the college to give me their perspectives and share their research, thus informing my work.

Cousteau

I never thought I would work along the lines of climate change. And yet, I did kind of foresee this last year. Because of my passion for nature and exploration (and flying up in an ultralight), I came across the works of Jacques Cousteau, marine explorer and conservationist. In his book, The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus (Bloomsbury, 2007, co-authored with Susan Schiefelbein), he said that “Had I known where I was going, I would not have gone.” This resonated with me, along with him quoting Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s distinction between Apollonians and Dionysians. I fear applied research sometimes, because when one drops a product into the real world in the hopes of solving something, oftentimes there are consequences you did not account for. That, plus I think my best ideas and projects are those when I was just in states of play.

The Anthropocene 

In the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot of research on recent findings and ideas in our Anthropocene. I am encountering a lot of very interesting work by artists, scientists, journalists, etc. I will be updating this site frequently, so check it out for my progress. 

Goals

There are specifics of this project I will be working out within the next few weeks. But now that I am here and have seen the labs and met with the staff, I have a better idea of what I can and cannot do. But just like my previous projects, I aim for these qualities:

1. Inclusivity—I hope to engage not just people from within the field of climate change, architecture, sustainability, and urban design, but also the people outside of it. I want to reach out to those who have no professional stake in my project, because I believe that climate change is a human issue that affects all of us.

2. Interactivity—I intend to create pieces that people can have an experience with and engage their senses, instead of just making something people will look at.

3. Empathy—I aim to collaborate with both the sciences and the humanities. The former is to ground my work in facts, and the latter is to allow for profound human connection. I hope for the audience to move from mere awareness of environmental issues to mindfulness where they are spurred to act and maintain positive environmental habits for the long-term.

The Weekend with the Eameses

This past Saturday, as part of my research, I visited the wonderful ArtScience Museum, where we artists-in-residence are supposed to give a talk and be part of their Sunday Showcase sometime in November. I loved the Mummy exhibition and the National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photographs, but it was the Eames exhibition that made me rejoice and gave me some level of encouragement as I begin this admittedly crazy project.

I loved seeing the Mobius Band from their Mathematica exhibition:

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And thanks, Charles, for this:

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Oh well, as always, here goes nothing.