Thursday, June 07, 2007

‘PIRATED’ City --- Augmenting Reality through Fiction (work in progress, 3 more mths to go!)

Hey, thanks Hann, for helping to elaborate my thesis at the REAPS #1 (so this is the official name? sounds good!).

Yeh, I am excited and at the same time quite daunted by the scope and goals of this thesis I am attempting. Many ideas, many agendas, many plans.

What I have below is a more detailed description of what my thesis is about and hopefully then, if you can, to help send any stuff you think will be helpful to me. Appreciate it lots.

* I will be putting up an online ‘work in progress’ website + blog of my thesis (together with some other thesis of similar genre) within the next 1-2 weeks, so do look out for it), look forward to your feedback.

Thesis Statement:
Pirated City - Augmenting reality through fiction. To consider the potential of augmented reality as a transformative force that interactively informs, architecture, thus rendering the design process no longer exclusively a conscious and intentional act.

Thesis Intention:
To explore how previously ostracized influences and strategies can 're-infect' the city through virtual parallel universes activated by scenario planning mechanisms and deep understanding of the political, economical, social and site issues and simulating them real-time.
These alternative universes may then serve as a retroactive polemic for individuals to think critically and perhaps redefine the 'city'.

Thesis Project:
Pirated City propose to project the future of the city (Singapore) with reference and simulation from a certain past, gathering failed/rejected strategies and to implement these 'Pirated forces' to create ‘Pirated Singapores’ to explore new possibilities, unexplored paths and avoided strategies. Goal is to generate 2-3 scenarios.

Much Needed information:
1) 2d & 3d models and digital files
2) important news and planning articles involving the site Marina Bay or Singapore in general
3) information on rejected/failed strategies. Even strategies that have been announced but not yet fulfilled. (eg. world cup 2010)
4) photos, videos, clips, archives
5) analysis of the Marina Bay development
6) any other related information

Thanks for reading through all these. Hope you find it interesting and meaningful.

Power And Architecture

In the dawn of the 21st century, perhaps the word ‘EMPIRE’ would seem best to describe the world of today. Boundaries of cities are disappearing, while the influence of the world wide web and interest-based organizations are dictating the perception of the new boundaries for the ‘neo-nomads’ of the world. In the light of this, I personally would say this is perhaps a phenomenon of ‘POST-EMPIRE’, a term I understand it as a state where the mind overwhelms the body, where the perception becomes the consciousness of the person. On a larger city, global scale, I see the post-empire characteristics lies in the open-source content of the Internet or specifically Web 2.0, which has re-defined the way people, interacts, and the way global economy, politics and architecture work.

Where do all these lead me to? I am very much intrigued by the notion of ‘post-empire’ and I believe in its geopolitical implications. I see the seeking of the ‘Power’ in architecture also as a post-empire characteristic, one in which architects of the coming times should consider in order to have their discipline depicting the impact on the world, as it should be. (At least, that’s what I personally think)

Power in various terms of:

1) Power within the architecture world

2) Power with various disciplines

What defines power? What are its manifestations?

In the example of Singapore, the popular urban planner Liu Thai Ker has in a way transcended in this arena. The way he uses the power of urban planning and city developments, and in collaboration with the geopolitical issues, is commendable. From a tiny city state of Singapore, it is an amazing feat that his influence goes beyond to many other bigger Asian cities, even China, where government authorities often respectfully call him as “Boss Liu”.

In Singapore, utilities and standard of public housing has the power to give the politicians an edge. All these design of amenities, and infrastructure includes contributions from architects who spend countless energy to ‘make them work’. But they remain behind the scene or rather; many just want to remain behind the scene. They might not care OR they do not understand yet the extent of such a power they can hold.

Now with the youth of Singapore given so much youth initiatives. Are they/we ready? Can the architecture discipline be pushed? This is my personal burden in the post-empire cities we live in today …

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


(Illustration courtesy of FARM)


National Stadium (West entrance).

9th day of the month.

8th hour after noon.

7th year of the new millennium

6th month of the year.

5th day of the week.

Aargh, I'll stop being silly and just say it's 8 pm, 9th June (Friday).

I'll be talking a bit bout my work, What is Your City?, way late into the session whence everyone is lulled and gullible.
(There probably will be presentations which will probably be more interesting than that!)

REAPS - ReAct Portfolio Sharing #1, 25 May 07

The architect's living room. (Suleen's, in this case.) Nary an unused spot.

Share, and share alike.

Ranidia expounding on some of the corporate projects she had worked on prior.

Spent the evening of May 25th snuggling up over... well, a laptop, and a few samples of another architectural implement that's homonymous with Oreo. Yes, it was re:ACT's first portfolio sharing session, which very much came about after we realised we were beginning to lose track in what each one of us (at least, those of us who were in Singapore at that point in time) was actually doing, with regards to our respective individual creative pursuits.

(On a side note, can I call such sessions REAPS (REAct Portfolio Sharing)? I know it sounds extremely like any other acronym that government bodies are much too fond of (GEMS! SGEM! LOBO! NATO! - ok, so the last two aren't really from government bodies)... but it's a little take on the exposure we get from these sessions. Alternatively we could call it SOW (Sharing Our Works!) but that also sounds like the effeminate term for a rather unattractive animal. (Yet, SOW would actually be some sort of a tongue-in-cheek nod to another local creative group, FARM. Then again, so does REAPS I suppose??)

Got acquainted with some of the work that the core re:ACT members have been doing, whether for their architectural thesis in school, or at work (non-confidential projects, of course). The occasion was made all the merrier by "friends of re:ACT" - Pey Haw, Delft-grad and architect at MKPL; Wei Hui, recent NUS-grad and architect-to-be at DPA, and Ranidia, AA-grad who's currently at HOK's new office in Singapore.

We were also graced - not in physical presence but in digital-portfolio-presence - by Sern Hong, who introduced some work (electronically) on his thesis at SCIarc. It has quite a bit to do with Pirated Cities, and nothing at all to do with the utter misinterpretation of Singapore (and Singlish) in Pirates of the Caribbean (At World's End). Watch this space for more updates.

Suleen then showed us her very intricate model of her interpretation of what the *Scape Youth Park at Somerset should've been, which was also her design thesis project. This was followed by Ranidia's sharing on her work at various practices, as well as her thesis at the Architecture Association, London. I then shared images of my thesis (without actually expounding on the theories, influences and peripheral details), before we called it a very good night.

You might notice the large shift in scale from last year's exhibition-cum-forum (Let's TAP! / Architect-in-a-Bottle) into something that's a lot more, well, grassroots. That to us is very much a necessary step in first of all understanding ourselves, and what makes our creative personas tick. It's part of a long search for who we really are and what we really want to do, now that we're slightly more mature and slightly more capable of identifying - specifically - what it is that re:ACT is really about. You could say that one's greatest strength is actually in knowing what his strength is (I totally made that up - didn't get it from Confucius or Sun Tzu or anyone like that - props!!), and it's sessions like these in which we learn, grow, and learn to grow.

Someday soon we'd be able to set up feed off and into similar Pecha Kucha initiatives; one which immediately comes to mind in our context would be ROJAK. (Which will be talked a bit more about in my next blog entry here.)

Next REAPS (SOW??) session would tentatively take place on June 29th, possibly at my place at Sunset Way, 8 pm. Keep your calendars marked; invitations open to all who chance across this space. More updates soon.