Tag Archives: 2013 entries


Juxtaposing more than 30 different locations in Singapore in a fantastic, metaphysical and surrealistic subject matter that encompass a kaleidoscopic, fractal and paisley patterns. Creating a visual representation of Singaporeans’ never ending pursuit towards materialism and consumerism. This is like a Singaporean ritual, and it draws similarity from the Buddhist Mandala which brings about the question whether Singaporeans understand that everything we once chased for is all but impermanent.


Tibetan Mandala vs Singapore?

Mandalas are used in the rituals of tantric initiation. They are constructed at the beginning of the initiation, out of grains of colored sand carefully placed on a specially prepared platform.  Similar to the construction of a Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala, this video and the book will feature the visual process whereby it commences with basic grids, shapes, and later with colours and eventually coming to null to represent the destruction of the mandala, pouring it into the river, back to the universe, signifying that every thing we once desire is actually impermanent and it belongs to the universe.



Technical Aspect

On top of the manifesting patterns and reflected symmetrical imagery, highly contrasting colours are used, like what observed in the original Sand Mandalas. Each location displays extreme depth of detail or stylization of detail, emphasising on the morphing of objects and/or themes and sometimes collage.




The usage of phosphenes, spirals, concentric circles, diffraction patterns, and other entoptic motifs somehow symbolise with the original Buddhist Sand Mandala with its usage of repetitive motifs. Innovative use of technologically enhanced editing including warping and transposition of positive and negative spaces created each piece of work. Part of this technical aspect is also referenced from Michael Shainblum “Mirror City”.

“All conditioned things are impermanent” when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. – Dhammapada, verse 277




“inspire” is a project that introduces water as an inspirational drink for creatives to drink whenever one is faced with a mental block. By introducing the concept of I-Ching, one will realize the potential of water in terms of creation and development, both externally and internally. Started off as a research in the significance of water in the Chinese culture, it appears that I-Ching is the oldest book that influenced most of the Chinese traditions, including its Chinese characters, religions such as Taoism and Confucianism.

logo explanation-01

This logo has 3 layers of meaning. First of all, it resembles the water trigram, Kan, in the I-Ching, symbolizing water. Secondly, when the trigram is rotated, it resembles the ancient word ‘water’. It is believed that this trigram influenced the innovation of Chinese characters, particularly from the word ‘water’. Lastly, ‘inspire’ is a drink that allows the user to internalize the water and activate the energy from within his body. Hence, it functions like a mirror, allowing the user to reflect and realize his potential from within.


The wisdom of I-Ching is indeed profound. Trigrams and hexagrams are used to represent the cosmic energies in the universe. It encompasses everything and anything in the world, including its creation, development and even human relations. Water is one of the the elemental trigram which plays a significant role in the development of the universe. Evidently, the main bulk of water-related hexagrams are positioned at the front of the 64 hexagrams in I-Ching which discusses about creation and development. Think about it, it make sense in the real world. In places where there’s water, there will be life. It is the essence of creation. In relevance to the creatives, creation is equivalent to inspirations. Hence, it can be used to harvest inspirations.

Other than harvesting inspirations from within by drinking the water, the user can also consult I-Ching as advices or creative directions (external inspirations) through casting their own hexagrams. As the user drink the water, he/ she will see a water trigram (Kan) underneath the bottle cap. The positioning of the trigram will be determined (either top or bottom) the moment they flip the cap around to see.


As for the following strokes of the hexagram, the user will have to toss the 3 coins provided and jot/ draw them out in the workbook. After which, they will take note if theres changing lines, which results in changing hexagram that has to be referenced with in assessing the situations.

Read more online: workbook


The user will then refer to the explanatory text book that explain the meanings between each of the water-related hexagrams. The cover of the book is slightly different from the others as it highlights on the water element in the entire system of I-Ching.

Read more online: explanatory text book


Finally, drink more water, be inspired.

wu wei

Wu Wei or “non-action” is a central concept in Taoism, that communicates how the universe works and how as individuals we should act accordingly, in order to achieve total harmony with the universe.

It is said that once an action or practise becomes second nature to us, it means that we have attained Wu Wei , where action of it becomes non-action, or simply, applying effort till it becomes effortless.

In ancient Taoist texts, Wu Wei is associated with water through its yielding nature. Water is soft and weak, but it can move earth and carve stone.

I feel that I wanted to bring light to the philosophy of Taoism, as over the years it has often been misinterpreted as a religion and has lost its true meaning. The Chinese population in Singapore at large has been losing sight of history and culture, especially one that concerns their own race and origin.

back to basics

One of the simplest and most basic form of capturing the concept of Wu Wei in Taoism, is the act of Calligraphy. This simple and common practice to most Chinese individuals (especially as young children), is at the same time a form of art in its highest form.

Practice makes perfect is the phrase that is usually associated with it and at the same time, perfection when attained is truly effortless to the individual.

Hence, using a public performance of Calligraphy as a lead point, we can draw in people to this simple yet complex form of art, which still astounds us today.


By creating a contemporary look and feel for publicity efforts to bring awareness to such a performance will help dispel the myth of Calligraphy being “old-fashioned” and irrelevant to the society.

Aside from that, an important component will be the handbook handout that is to be given out during the performance. Inside the handbook, the sense of balance and harmony is explored in the layout of the content. Selected verses that depicts Wu Wei and the nature of water are extracted and translated.

The interesting thing about the verses, is how they can be interpreted differently by individuals depending on their experiences. Ultimately, it teaches everyone of us ways to align ourselves in harmony with the universe and with oneself.

Watch the following Trailer (it refuses to embed for some reason):

Wu Wei: the act of non-action (Poster and Handbook)


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The idea behind using accordion bind is not only for an impressive display of the work, but it acts as a duality both in implying the idea of a calligraphic scroll as well as positioning out in an encircling manner so as to project the whole notion of harmony and balance, which is achieved through Wu Wei.

Also a certain nice aesthetics presents itself as the huge chinese characters are aligned on the side of the pages that also serves as some form of tabbing for one to jump at, for people who do know about the Taoist Scripture and its chapters.






“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Water is seen as a natural resource – like land and air. It’s a type of resource that most people feel should not be commodified as it is a fundamental necessity to life. Many feel that  it should not be subjected to the same impersonal system that other goods follow. In other words, many people have grown up thinking it should be free. But this is where the problem lies. The notion of water being “free” in all actuality comes at a price. It’s common for the average person to have little to no idea about the conditions of their water systems, what it takes to sustain it and the effects of it outside their homes. And because of this, people tend to be upset when the governing body that manages their water increases their rates.


What I’m proposing, is to tackle the situation by targeting the younger generations between the ages of 5-9, and in turn, their parents. This will be done by simplifying the complexity of the economics of water to the point where even a 5 year old can understand it. The logic is that by teaching the child, we are able to shape this growing generation’s attitude to water so that they are able to understand and appreciate its value. This will then be done through the following three mediums: Hardcover book, Interactive Website & Animated Book Release Trailer.

Learning outcomes:

  • To have a basic understanding of the economic problem surrounding water. This includes learning about the concept of scarcity, the value of water, government expenses on maintaining a potable water source, demand and supply and virtual water.

  • To have an idea on how water allocation and distribution works as well as why we need better water management. This touches briefly on the costs and benefits of water management and the impact of water allocation to human welfare and the environment.


Colloquial, informative, simple, fun

What’s in a name?

It was clear from the get-go that I wanted to develop a series of characters for a picture book. Finding names for both characters and book was a challenge I had not realised to be a rather difficult one. The book for the first few weeks was simply called Water Economics – for lack of a better word. Funnily enough, after a few more weeks of research, the title and character names ended up being derived simply from the etymology of water economics.

Oikonomia was the greek word for economics and this was broken down into the two root words oikos – meaning family, household, house, – and nomos – meaning managing, or to manage. Water in greek had a few translations, one being hydor and the other vero, which was pronounced as nero. And so the book was reborn with a new name – a far more child-friendly name than water economics for sure.


As my response to the brief, I have chosen a book, a website and a video as my three different mediums; each with the core principles of water economics instilled inside.

#1 – Picture book

Using the medium of a picture book was an easy decision to make due to the audience I have decided to target. It was a toss up between creating a print version or an ebook – with the ebook being of course, more aligned with my message as it has a far lower water footprint than that of its print counterpart. However, I had rationalised that even in this day and age, nothing quite compares to the charm of a physical book. And so I compromised  by choosing to do both. The idea was to create a book with the same timelessness as many of your children’s classics, for instance, Dr Seuss, Winnie the Pooh and the Little Prince, just to name a few. These books managed to compress several layers of meaning into a single narrative, imbuing in the child a philosophy that stays with them as they grew up.

But unlike the books I had listed above, the tone the narrative took leaned more towards an educational approach. I had felt that this was more appropriate due to the messages I was trying to convey. The principles of water economics covered beyond the moral and ethical, but also the logic of trade, exchange, supply and demand. Thus, I reasoned that an informative approach with a light, fun tone would be my best option. The clean and simple lines of a vectored illustration was the style I had chosen for the series of deliverables, with flat, deeper pastel colours for the colour scheme. I felt that this best suited my purpose because the style lent a sense of clarity and simplicity that I needed.

E-Book Copy:

 photo ONN_PB_01_zps7218db1e.jpg  photo ONN_PB_03_zps7d5ed293.jpg  photo ONN_PB_04_zps932ed7d8.jpg  photo ONN_card_zpse4b7873a.jpg

#2 – Interactive Website

To accompany the first deliverable and to push the message further (as only so much can be covered in a picture book), an interactive website was decided for the second deliverable.

The website contains four separate sections: E-book, Games, Videos and Research. Though the website is accessible to anyone, not everything is available to the public. Only by inputting a serial code  that is included in the purchase of the book can the user unlock the e-book copy, all the games, leveling up and saving features.

The E-book section is where the user can read a digital copy of the picture book. The format is derived from your typical e-reader, albeit even more simplified.

The Games section expands on topics such as Supply and Demand, Virtual Water, Water Allocation, Water Distribution and other fun facts. In playing the games, the child will be taught a little bit more on the specific topics mentioned above. The games vary from ‘fun’ to something akin ‘educational fun’. Through this experience, I hope to also promote tangential learning through the nuggets of wisdom scattered in the interface.

The Videos section contains the book release trailer and other videos relating to the book.

The Research section is an external link that will lead to a separate website containing information for parents and teachers.

 photo IntWeb_Loading_02-01_zps6991dea0.jpg photo IntWeb_Research_02-01_zpsf9f18ca0.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_House_Lounge_02-01_zps2ef24fcf.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_House_Room_02-01_zpse70b709d.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_House_Toilet_02-01_zpsd0c62f90.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_House_Kitchen_02-01_zps648ad673.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_Farm_Corn-p2-02-01_zps3169664d.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_Office-01_zpsf4951628.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_Market-01_zpsb3a442dc.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_HydroDam-01_zps7b152111.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_Factory_Results-02-01_zps35b912a3.jpg  photo IntWeb_Games_Rock-01_zps9e94158b.jpg

A more detailed explanation is provided in the printed booklet below:

 photo ONN_IW_01_zpse24024cc.jpg

#3 – Book Release Trailer As with any product, a form of promotional advertising is necessary for its launch. For the third deliverable, I felt a video platform would be a good medium to choose as a form of animation would draw a younger audience better more so than a single static poster.

The video is a simple animation with background music and no voice over as I felt that a voice over would prove rather jarring. The teaser trailer is a simple message about the value of water and the idea of  what goes around comes around.

Final Product Shot  photo ONN_3_01_zps9c36798e.jpg

“Water is a mater, matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” – Albert Szent Gyorgyi

A mother’s love is just like water. It nourishes, provides, and does not give up. Regardless of the hurts and pains, they find the simple joys and shower their families with unconditional love. Such genuine love comes from deep within. However, despite their contributions to the family, they are often taken for granted.

A mother’s love may be shown differently; it may be harsh or it may be soft, but all mothers love their children nevertheless.

Embrace is an exhibition specially dedicated to mothers, to commemorate and pay tribute to mothers for their unconditional love towards their families through allowing the audience to reflect and share their stories with others, embracing those precious moments. From the time of birth, we are found in our mother’s embrace; Where love resides, all things are made whole.

#1 Installation: Wings of Love

These time capsules, made up of approximately 250 circular plastic containers and lids contain every single precious moment of love. The circular forms carry symbols of universal, infinitity, unconditional and protection. As a universal symbol of love, these mother hen’s wings portrays a mother’s unconditional love, protection from danger and also, a source of comfort and security.

The audience are allowed to write their special moments, letters to their mothers, a word of thanks, and anything that spells love and place it into any empty container to share their story with everyone else. The installation provides them a space to reflect and to enjoy the stories of others. zoominwings openImageImageImageImageImage

#2 Embracelet: Jewels of Love

Delicate and elegantly designed, the beads represent the precious tears of joy and sorrow of a mother. There is no love purer and more genuine than a mother’s love.

Packaged in a simple plastic container, this embraclet is like a jewel in a time capsule, with a note attached to the cover which allows people to write their heartfelt messages to accompany their gift.

Silver has a feminine energy; it is often related to the flow of tides. It is commonly associated to purity, emotions and calmness. Sometimes, symbolizing a time of reflection.

The bracelet is designed in as a wrist piece, with a wing attached to each end of the bracelet. This would imitate the action of embracing when one puts it around her wrist.


#3 Brochure

Measuring at 10cm by 10cm for each page, this brochure takes the form of the circular containers used for the installation. It carries the details of the exhibition, photographs and brief information about the artworks. Printed on white shimmer paper which gives an elegant and precious appearance. The flexibility of the brochure allows readers to interact by playing with its form.