Faith Restored is a project conceived directly in response to the recent increase in negative sentiments towards religions. Initially, my research takeaway was how most religions have the element of water as a symbol of purity, to wash away negativity. That led me to take a step back and examine the contemporary social landscape that religions are set upon; there is blatant Islamophobia, Christianity is mocked openly on social media because of high profile scandals, Jews and Muslims seemingly hate each other because of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict… and these are only some of long list negative attributes associated with religion today. That in itself is an irony, because none of the religions are about that. Most if not all religion preach goodness, uphold moral values and sets exemplary standards to follow.
Therefore, Faith Restored a campaign designed -as its name suggests- to restore faith in faith (as in religion). Simply put, it is a campaign aimed at denouncing falsehood with regard to religion, and also encourage people to take action against negative sentiments and hate speech, which have been proven to possess a far more dangerous impact if left unchecked.
The three main collaterals in the campaign are designed to each hold a purpose. The campaign strategy (which I dubbed the A-B-C approach) is as follows:
[A]ction: Taking an active stand against negative sentiment
[B]rief: Educating and raising awareness
[C]onversation: Encouraging conversation to foster understanding
LOGO
logo-design
For the campaign logo, it features an incomplete circle (to symbolise something broken/a ‘gap’ that needs to be filled, and in this case, filled with the campaign), where the line the extends from one word to another, which lends to the meaning of ‘restore faith’ and ‘faith restored’.
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THE WALL


https://youtu.be/_irWWSRpsX8

Inspired by Donald Trump’s proposed wall, The Wall was constructed with actual hate speech and negative sentiments collected from the media (online, the news, etc) and anonymous survey responses as hosted on NTU Qualtrics. It is important to stress that the comments are real. The intention is to show how prevalent hate speech and negative sentiments, and by extension, how big of a problem it is. Audiences are encouraged to take action by actually removing the messages one by one.
[Click to enlarge]
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#REALIGION POSTERS
poster-collection_mockup
The posters are straightforward with a clear message – negative stereotypes are one dimensional and myopic. In each poster, an image of the negative stereotype of a particular religion is juxtaposed against one that of what the religion actually entails, in order to bring across that direct contrast between the two. The images are based on actual well-known public figures who have tainted the name of the religion they have claimed, taking action in the name of the religion, despite it being entirely opposite of what the religion advocates. These people are Ho Yeow Sun, Jihadi John and Meir Ettinger. Rather than labelling them as of their religion, they are instead labelled with a question mark – which is both a statement as well as an invitation for the viewer to decide on his/her own terms. The call to action of the posters is to ‘go beyond the stereotypes’ and to consider the many layers of the issue at hand. The posters are tagged with #REALIGION as a way to bring the conversation online as well. (REALigion is a play on the amalgamation of ‘Real Religion’.)
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[Click to enlarge] 
CONVERSATION (Online Video)

https://youtu.be/6sOE5pGZFdc

The purpose of the video is to show the various opinions of youths with regard to hate speech and negative sentiments – and to further encourage conversation about the issue at hand. Furthermore, in its construction as an online video that is highly opinionated, it will encourage other users to join in the conversation as well.

The Gift of Education (Dragon Boat Festival) by JACQIE T.

Introduction 
We celebrate many festivals every year, mostly consisting of eating at joyous occasions and reunion with the family. But have you ever wondered why we celebrate a certain day of the year and how it all came about? The Gift of Education aims to make educating a fun element in a child’s life – to make it enjoyable and memorable.

The Problem
Younger generations are less aware of the origins of traditions, and some of the practices are not being passed down properly.

Reason
Younger generations are learning more about life around the world (technology and advancement) and less about the life at home. This is due to the advancement in technology and existence of the Internet that made learning more independent and less from their elderly. Traditions and customs are deemed lower in priority as they are not considered as an ‘investment’ and breeds no returns.

The Solution
To target young and keen children at the peak of their learning curve – primary school level.

The Aim
Through interactive and hands-on exercises, The Gift of Education aims to instil more awareness of traditions as well as to pass it down to future generations

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Process
I embarked on this project first researching about the healing properties of water and how it affects our daily lives. It was a struggle to find something I was passionate about enough to commit into, hence I continued with my research.

Inspiration hit me one day while I was celebrating Mid-Autumn festival with my friends and we were discussing about the origins of the festival and what the practices mean and how it came about. I realised that as we enjoy more technological advancement, we play less emphasis on learning about traditions and our own heritage. I realise that what we can remember of the traditions were all based on what we were told when we were younger, and not many people bothered to look up the full story as they get older.

Hence, it is important to teach these traditions and practices to the younger generation when they are at the start of their learning journey where they can remember almost everything.

I decided to commit to the idea of Dragon Boat Festival (as it is most related to water) and I was also interested in the stories behind the festival. Having finally found a project idea I was passionate about, I was rather excited for this!

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Initial Collateral Ideas 
1 Illustration book x2 (Story of Qu Yuan and Origins of the Dragon Boat races)
2 Activity kit (linked to illustration books)
3 Website/Mobile Application (an expansion pack for the illustration books)

Final Collateral Presented (with box) 
1 Illustration puppet book (with puppets)
2 Accordion book (with origami)
3 Pamphlet (with activity)

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Overview
The Gift of Education is meant to be an expandable pack, where other packages will allow the children to learn about other festivals and traditions. The version I have made physical talks about Duan Wu Jie, also known as Dragon Boat Festival.

About Dragon Boat Festival
As a traditional practice, we eat Zongzi with our families on every 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar. Dragon Boat races are also carried out to celebrate the event.

1Fig 1 | Flat-lay of all collaterals

 

Collateral #1 | Illustration Puppet Book 
The Story of Qu Yuan

Objective
The illustration book was converted into a mini stage for finger puppets so as to increase interactivity with the target audience who might have shorter attention span if it was just a book with words. This book illustrates the story of Qu Yuan and the origins of the Zongzi, rice dumpling. This educates the children on why we eat Zongzi during Dragon Boat Festival.

Specifications
Binding: Screw bind
– To allow for easier folding up of the puppet stage
Paper: 250gsm
– Sturdy enough for children to handle and to hold the stage
Sizing: 18x25cm
– A landscape stage is more picturesque and looks more like a stage, and big enough to play around with

2Fig 2 | Cover of Illustration book (with puppet attached in front)

Fig 3 & 4 | Pop-up elements in the book to simulate the events unfolding

4Fig 5 | Some pages also includes activities to simulate more learning in children

6Fig 6 | Back of the book includes envelope with the puppet wearing different clothes and even has blank pieces for the children to illustrate on themselves and spur creativity

 

Collateral #2 | Accordion Book (with origami) 
Origins of the Dragon and Dragon Boat racing

Objective 
One side of the accordion book depicts the origins of the Dragon Boat races, and has a fact that states that some villages lack resources to hold such events and hence they substitute it with paper boats to commemorate the event. This part includes an activity for the children so that they can feel like they are part of the festival and also have fun with the family and friends at the same time!

The flip side of the accordion book depicts the Origins of the Dragon and how this mythical creature came about in the Chinese culture. It also includes an activity for them to draw how they think a dragon would look like in their world, spurring creativity.

Specifications 
Binding: Accordion fold
– Simulates the length of a dragon/dragon boat
Paper: 160gsm double mount
– Two pieces of paper mounted to form the accordion fold in 320gsm to make it sturdy
Sizing: 12x12cm
– Small enough for children to handle and bring around to fold the paper boats
Others: Origami paper
– Designed with elements from the illustration book and cut to A6 size

Fig 7, 8 & 9 | The accordion book as a whole, together with origami paper

13Fig 10 | Tutorial part of accordion book, with folded paper boats and origami paper

 

Collateral #3 | Pamphlet (with activity) 
The Art of Wrapping A Zongzi 

Objective
To instil the practice and tradition of making home-made rice dumplings during the festival and to teach young children how to wrap their own Zongzi. Many families now buy pre-wrapped Zongzi from the market and have lost the skill to make their own. This also decreases family bonding time when the whole family come together to make something together for a joyous occasion.

Specifications 
Binding: Folded
– For convenience and easy access
Paper: 250gsm
– Sturdy enough to hold itself and flexible enough to be folded
Sizing: A4
– Easy to handle
Others: Japanese paper (simulate banana leaves) and Colourful strings
– Paper is sturdy enough to withstand many folds

Fig 11 & 12 | Pamphlet packaging

9Fig 13 | Illustrations of tutorial on the art of wrapping a Zongzi

Conclusion
This was a exciting project for me as I was interested in the festival and I love to design for problem solving. However, due to time constraint, I had limited time to include more collaterals and also to master the workmanship of the deliverables. I am however satisfied with the work and how it turned out in the end.

Room for Improvements
To think about the sizing and packaging of the collaterals and how they all come together. Also, better time management.

Takeaway
The research process has helped me sort my way of thinking and how I analyse problems and issues. The consultations and feedback throughout the designing process was enjoyable because it forced me to push myself further than I thought I could go, and each week was a challenge to produce better work than the last, and that was my key takeaway from this.

 

Designed by JACQIE T.

Across by Carla

Concept

Across is an experience in the form of an art event whose purpose is to provide a space and time for people to restore and reach nature, our bare essential – connoting three different things:

Across the path to event main’s space (going back into nature from the hustle bustle of the city)

Firstly, by breathing and being more aware of the trees which enclose the event’s main space. Oxygen from plants is our very basic need. Nature has been scientifically proven to 1) reduce stress; anxiety; anger; and fear and increase pleasant feelings and positive mood and 2) enhances a sense of unity and community.(1)

Across to who we are (reaching our soul)

Secondly, by listening to our soul to reconnect with who we are, our deepest thoughts and our consciousness that make us human – with the privilege of silence(2) (from the soundproof dome and vow of silence) and detachment from gadgets. This is realised by means of writing by hand on a blank sheet of paper which allows the audience to outlet the rattling thoughts in their head. Along with silence and nature, tensions in the audience’s mind and body are lifted. Clear-headed, hopefully, the audience will be in a healthy and better mental state after experiencing Across.

Across the barriers (reaching out to others or the “other”, i.e. other than “our” kind)

Thirdly, by showing compassion and respect, and hopefully acceptance, to others: to be humane. This is realised by means of going through the whole positive experience in the same time and space together, such as wearing the same white clothing with no jewellery and no shoes, sitting in a circle formation, not uttering an insult and by giving others, should the audience choose to, a letter (which might be a medium for one to share his/her story to another).

“Whenever we expand our levels of compassion and understanding, whenever we increase our empathy across cultural and even species boundaries, we benefit individually and as a species.”(3) – James Calcagno

Footnotes:

(1) Nature significantly reduces the production of stress hormones, blood pressure and heart rate and releases muscle tension. Therefore it reduces stress, anxiety, anger and fear, and increases pleasant feelings and positive mood. As a result, one becomes more calm and balanced from a depressed, stressed, and anxious state of mind. On top of that, a “study at the University of Illinois suggests that residents in Chicago public housing who had trees and green space around their building reported knowing more people, having stronger feelings of unity with neighbours, being more concerned with helping and supporting each other, and having stronger feelings of belonging than tenants in buildings without trees.”. Brain also does have a tell: “when participants viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy and love lit up” as opposed to “when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety were activated.” Thus, nature also “inspires feelings that connect us to each other” – hence, enhances a sense of community – “and our environment.” In conclusion, nature heals and restores oneself, and connects. (Reference: www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing)

(2) Silence is a state of mind. It is often connotated with a sacred, respectful, and positive atmosphere – often in a religious setting. Silence, scientifically, “stimulates brain growth by creating new cells in the hippocampus region, which is linked to one’s ability to learn, remember things, and even emotions.” Thus, practically, it can prepare the state of mind of the audience to focus and to access their memories better. 2) Based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain, silence also releases tension in the brain and body (in two minutes) and is more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. 3) Some noises are not essential to our ears and, as proven, “noise has a pronounced physical effect on the brain, which can lead to elevated levels of stress hormones.” (Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1860846/)

(3) www.ted.com/read/ted-studies/evolution/introductory-essay

Execution

The three deliverables are (in order of the importance):

  1. A video of the reenactment of the experience (below are the screenshots);

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2. A walk-through space rendering to aid the visualisation of the experience and its elements, including its atmosphere and spatial-visual direction;

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3. A guidebook for the experience to communicate the visual system and art direction of the event, through logo, illustration, typeface, natural-and-minimal colour scheme. The book also communicates the sense of calmness and silence through its minimalist and empty (white-space) visual.

Process

My research was guided by my personal take on bathing, that feels like a ritual to me. It is also space for me to connect with my deep thoughts (when I think and reflect). This event was inspired by the research on Japanese bathing culture whose essence is cleansing soul through a bodily experience (ritual). I also looked into Onsen, Japanese hot spring and public bath, and how it is experienced. I took out some elements from them such as the departure, connection the body experiences with water and one with oneself in solitude (which results in a release), connection with others in an honest form of being naked, and the return. In the sense that after one returns from this “world” of suspended animation, whereby one is withdrawn from the daily routine, one is “renewed” both within himself and through the connection one makes with other human beings. 

I read more on the art of Japanese bathing and was also inspired by the elements of nature and the relationship between bathing and spiritualism. I was also inspired by water and Chinese philosophy that discusses xin (mind/heart) and ren (humaneness). Drawing from my research, I personally like the idea of relaxation and letting go. I then was thinking of a place of solitude and was inspired by a monastery I used to often visit in Indonesia, which was also a place for spiritual retreat. I went researching on hermit houses, and so I found a space that I’ll create. Afterwards, I was thinking about the process and research more on the elements included in the event (silence, nature, writing, white clothing, removing makeup). After having both, the event was created, but the ritual was still abstract. The next step was to pay attention to details of the experience and incessantly, as I progressed, polished the concept and the practice, linking things and making the elements in the event to be solid. Then, I settled on the deliverables and started to organise the concept which contributes to what goes into the deliverables, i.e. the video and the guidebook. Afterwards, it’s a process of looking into details and polishing them again and realising ideas, like for the video shoot: buying materials, planning, asking people to be my model, shooting, post-production, for the space: figuring out how to render a walk-through space.

Thoughts

It’s been a journey to find my own originality, what I want, and base my creation on a founded concept.

The Explorer’s Guide to Mythical Sea Creatures in Southeast Asia by Sharmayne Ng

Concept

The early stages of my research into the concept of water led me to the discovery of seafaring myths and  mythical sea creatures that are unique to Southeast Asia. The stories of these mythical creatures are deeply ingrained in the culture of Southeast Asia and can tell us a lot about a country. It also offers us a good glimpse into the beliefs, values and everyday life of our ancestors.

Compared to its Western counterparts like the Lochness Monster or the Basilisk, Southeast Asian mythical creatures are not very well known. This really compelled me to design a way to present the mythical sea creatures of Southeast Asia to more people in order to preserve the rich stories about Asian culture.

Targeting millennials who have a penchant for traveling, The Explorer’s Guide to Mythical Sea Creatures in Southeast Asia is an adventure type explorer kit that hopes to instill a sense of wonder and exploration about the ocean as well as introduce mythical sea creatures originating from Asia.

Deliverables

1. Explorer Kit

2. Poster/ Map

3. Website

 

The Logo

The logo mark contains the icon of a compass is a nod to the invention of the magnetic compass by the Chinese for maritime navigation.

File 17-11-16, 3 52 10 PM.jpeg

Visuals

The blue and white color combination is inspired by Chinese ceramics which was  widely traded and highly sought after. The wooden box is derived from the shipping crates that seafarers used in the past to transport goods like pottery.

Explorer Kit

The Explorer Kit is meant to be something that can be given as a present to a person who likes to travel or is planning to travel to countries in Southeast Asia. It contains object for use when travelling such as a travel journal, disposable camera and keychain. The travel journal includes suggested places where one ‘can find’ the mythical sea creature. These suggestions encourage the user of the kit to go on an adventure to learn more about the country they are visiting through the mythical sea creature.

Explorer kit.jpg

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File 17-11-16, 4 09 09 PM.jpeg

 

Poster/ Map

Poster/ Map IS for people who have yet to plan a visit to one of the southeast Asian countries to learn about the mythical sea creatures without having to travel.

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 4.41.36 pm.png

 

POSTER 2.jpg

 

Website

The website serves its main purpose as an ever updating  glossary of  mythical sea creatures. It also serves as the platform for the online purchase of the explorer kit and a gallery that gives the community the space to upload scans of their travel journal writings, doodles, and photographs to share with each other.

Website-01.jpg

Designed by Sharmayne Ng

 

Research Process
Having an open-ended brief, I thought of so many possibilities with this water project. Since it is such a broad theme, I decided to narrow it down to the topics I’m more interested in, such as spiritual and philosophical concepts and the oceans, because I find them fascinating.
My entry point to this project was the study by Dr. Masaru Emoto on water crystals, and how water from different sources reflect an entirely unique molecular composition when seen under a microscope, although it may look like they are both simply just, water. I find this study fascinating because it had many abstract areas to explore further, like how Dr. Emote claimed that human thought could alter composition of water molecules, which in turn, could alter or affect people because we are mostly composed of water.
I reflected on my own cultural experience and how I was brought up and I realised that this theory has been floating around even in my family! My dad would read a prayer to tap water to serve to me and claimed it then had healing properties when i was sick, and I somehow believed him.
I also looked at photographer Maurice Mikkers’ work on the Imaginarium of Tears, where he collected tear specimens and observed them under the microscope, and concluded that their composition somehow reflected, in an abstract and beautiful way, the reason for the person crying.
Challenges
I struggled quite a bit with my concept and it dragged my design process on quite a bit. It was difficult because I wanted to delve into a new approach to design, that is a design fiction, by juxtaposing the two things that don’t go well together – water and our electronic gadgets.
Although it seemed clear in my head why I wanted to approach the topic this way, I couldn’t find a good way to clearly convey the message and my deliverables did not deliver the objectives of my concept. I tried to pick apart the concept and questioned my decisions for weeks (the tone of Siri, the digital interface aesthetics, a project that mocks our dependency on the cyberworld, etc), until I reached a decision, to finally scrape it. It is definitely something unique I could explore in future but the objective of my project at that point had two important parts, that is to encourage people to stop using their gadgets, and to encourage a reconnection of water and the self.
Figuring out the core of my project definitely took the bulk of my schedule for this module because my theme is very content-driven. I picked up quite a few books to curate texts from and I quite enjoyed reading them myself! I was happy to finally figure out my message even though it took me a while. But as Nanci quoted Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I either win or learn.” 🙂
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screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-5-22-40-pm

we are all bodies of water

Concept

We all know how our surroundings and the people around us can affect the way we think and affect what we do, but we rarely think about how it affects the water inside of us – our molecular make-up, our insides.

We as human beings, are composed mostly of water, and we understand how essential it is to our living. But other than physiologically, water benefits us in more ways than one. In a metaphysical way, it is a medium for transportation of ideas, culture, thoughts, emotions, and it is especially important because it transmits these things to other water bodies as well.

This whole idea of treating our bodies as water bodies and water as a metaphysical element other than an essential one, provokes contemplation and self reflection on one’s identity and his or her connection towards their element.

Objective: To introduce the concept of us human beings as water bodies as it provokes some thought, communication and a rediscovery of the self.

Target Audience: Milennials.
Design Rationale:
Photography
Collage-style personal photographs to juxtapose a human as water body with another water body, and to highlight that they do have common cultures.

Colour palette
Significantly blue with accents of flesh tones to mirror the palette of the collages.

Graphic
Doodle-style graphics to symbolise the subjects of matter in the chapters and to serve as a symbol of the body without being specific to a gender or type, to fit with the action done in the 3rd deliverable and to highlight the personal aspect of the project.

Deliverables:

Publication

Poster/Leaflet

 

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Installation collateral

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Learning Points
  • Opportunity to expand on third deliverable, shifting it to the driving deliverable of the project and making it the main event. Expanding the deliverable to something more location-specific, expand into a proper event.
  • Managing time especially when you are having a creative block and being constantly critical of your concepts.
  • To be conscientious of trendy colours even if its appropriate for the theme. Consider whether it gives off a different message than what you intend and consider if it reduces quality of your work.
  • Sequentially plan your project from your objective and see if your deliverables link back to it.
  • Discovering that the belly button body doodle resembles the chinese character that means river 🙂

by Minh Nguyen

1. Idea Generation

Right after I received the brief, I immediately thought about Mekong River — one of the most important river, if not the most, in Southeast Asia — as the environment of the river is in danger due to extreme changes caused by human activity, yet is little known even in Southeast Asia.

Since the beginning of time, the Mekong River has been nurturing worlds of creatures and culture. Just like a mother who never stops giving her offspring her best. However, the mankind seems to be too greedy. They change the river, interfere with the nature in order to serve their good. They abolish other creatures’ lives so they can thrive.

The purpose of this project is to build a right mindset about water: Water is not only for human. Mistreating water, who has been nurturing us — we literally cannot live without water — is just like mistreating our own mother. In a bigger picture, this challenges the normal view about water: water has to be crystal clear, and blue in colour. In fact, crystal clear water is poor in nutrition. And there is only one species that requires water to be crystal clear in order to drink: human.

2. The Audience

The audience is children, since they are more open to changes, and it’s better to have them grown up with the right knowledge. The deliverables are filled with simple, handwritten words and illustration to align with the audience I chose.

3. The Deliverables

The deliverables consists of an illustration book, an infographic to explain further the scientific facts, and postcards to expand on other rivers in the worlds

Designed by Madeline Ngai

Water, life giving, fertile, changing and mysterious has long been equated with the feminine aspects of creation, nature and spirituality.

In what other ways is water symbolised by the feminine? In many ancient societies, female deities embodied these aspects of water that were so venerated. These goddesses were usually valorised independently of the existence of any other male deities.

It is my hope that by bringing these stories and profiles of some of these goddesses to light and with sharing, women of today’s age may find strength in this knowledge that they own a power unique unto themselves.

Target Audience: women of middle socioeconomic status and above

Visual concept: As Yin (the dark half of yin and yang) is considered the female principle associated with water and its qualities, I designed my visuals with attention to contrast and overpowering of dark colours, or negative space.

Deliverables: (1) book, (2) postcards, and (3) website

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