Close to Culture, Close to Creativity, Spot on Asia.

Articles from the “Report” Category

Photo via flickr, @aigle_dore

The Pursuit of Inner Solitude

Posted on November 2, 2013

The growth of cities have seen the shrinking of work spaces and living spaces. As more people attempt to capitalise on where opportunities are to be found, cities get painfully packed. Industrious planners have toiled for years to compact as many brilliant minds as possible into smaller square feet of space. Without a hinterland to run to, it could be difficult to find a quiet place to muse, to work and ponder.

However, escaping inwards could be an answer to find a quiet space within where you can come to yourself, clarify your thoughts, or just sit in awareness. This ‘retreat in daily life’ can be taken in a closed room, or a noisy bus. Nonetheless, free meditation support groups have asserted that if one can achieve just ten minutes of stillness, it is beneficial for rooting oneself in the causes that one lives for, gives greater impetus, increased motivation to strive for the end goal you have in mind, or achieving a greater awareness of self.

An increasing number of youths have also embraced meditation or forms of meditation as a compass to guide them through life. Even though, doing nothing in the midst of meditation is one of the hardest things to achieve in our rapidly paced, urgent world. Never mind also that attention spans are becoming shorter (see article by Daylon Soh—Death to Brainstorming.)

25 year old Kiyoko Ong, a member of Singapore Soka Association said, “Most importantly, it teaches me to respect all human beings as everyone has buddhahood or Buddha nature in them. That’s the first step towards compassion.”

Upon examining some religions and belief systems, one finds that meditation, or some form of pursuing silence, quiet, reflective thinking, is the basis of most of the worlds’ oldest religions. Here’s a look at how different belief systems embrace the pursuit of inner solitude.

0 Comments

+Read more

Photo by Daylon Soh

Death to Brainstorming

Posted on October 21, 2013

“Creativity is dead.”

Carl walked out of another fruitless brainstorming session feeling despondent with more questions than good ideas that address the clients’ brief. Carl, an award-winning creative director at an upstart advertising agency, had been mulling over the brief with his colleagues, some of the most brilliant minds in the industry.

“Those mental blocks get to even the best of us,” Carl lamented to himself as he left the office for a quick smoke.

He understood well that the quantity of ideas matter more than the quality of ideas — at least at the beginning. “Perhaps we just need to give the team more time to crack the brief.”

Times are changing as we live in an attention deficit culture. The audience craves instant gratification and quick fixes while their brains unconsciously filters anything that resembles an advertisement. According to the latest statistics verified by the Associated Press, a modern audience average attention span has decreased from 12 second in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2012.

The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

2 Comments

+Read more

A Night at the Museum

Posted on October 12, 2013

Oh how the Night Festival inaugurated by the National Museum of Singapore has evolved. By evolved, I refer to the growth and diversification of its audience demographics; as well as the development in its programming. The Singapore Night Festival has developed into one of character, scale, grandeur and vision: and it can truly helm itself as one of the annual peaks one looks out for in the calendar. It was marketed consistently across the nation’s paper spreads, as well as along the transportation lines and systems. Furthermore, it was an intrajectory collaboration between not just statutory boards, but arts hubs, performance collectives, visual artists and bands as well. Held over 2 weekends in August, the Night Festival managed to not just draw in the crowd, but make a unique statement about what constitutes successful and long-term festivalisation.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.

0 Comments

+Read more

Reflections on Scandinavia II

Posted on September 26, 2013

It is here that I reference my experience in Scandinavia, where I spent a summer moving through Sweden and Finland meeting curators, academics, policymakers, businessmen, artists, and mostly importantly, the Scandinavians. The Scandinavian model is internationally revered in its successful implementation of the social welfare system; a system that brings about virtuous cycles of trust in its communities apart from the nuts and bolts of the system that involves high taxes on citizen’s annual incomes to fund systems such as national education, healthcare systems, and strong maternity packages, to name a few. The nations share an entangled history of overlapping geographies and languages, travelling along tangents but ultimately carving out their own respective independence. It is precisely this acute combination of shared histories, geographies and cultural influences that allow for comparison and critique. Despite the many similarities, Sweden and Finland stand far apart in the state of their art markets at present day.

Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto

Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto

0 Comments

+Read more

Reflections on Scandinavia

Posted on August 21, 2013

Cultural production, cultural policy and the free market economy are largely intertwined, where some may view the partnership of production and policy as a more democratic process and others, freedom as what begins only after the basic right to the arts is established by the state. Before plunging into the discussion of the dynamic and praxis, let us begin by establishing the relationship between the 2 forces and how it has developed to give us what we have today.

Part 1 of this essay will examine the reasons for the existence of cultural policy; while part 2 explores the realization of these policies across the Scandinavian region, in particular Sweden and Finland.

DSC_4304

The initial freedom of the free market

In his essay ‘Designing A Cultural Policy’, Professor of Communications and Media Studies Dr. Justin Lewis states,

“there are moments in the lives of the cultural industries when the free market may give birth to a dynamic range of cultural forms and expressions”.

These moments are exceptionally apparent in times such as the Industrial Revolution, where abundance in machinery, technology, and labor come together to provide a large range of goods and services that the community can tap into. As we look into the significance of such a time in the larger scheme, we come to realize that often, such moments are precisely those that signify the birth of an economy. An example that embodies this is the amalgamation of the 1960s baby boomers: technological advancement and growth coupled with general economic prosperity that engendered the pop culture and music movements in the global Northwest, in where we saw the birth of The Beatles and the likes. The large base of youths allowed for an experiment-friendly environment for art and cultural production; where novelty met curiosity, and curiosity met novelty, and the free market was as free as one could imagine. Under such circumstances, it may seem as though the free market forces are paired strongly with arts and cultural production to give rise to a wholly efficient society.

0 Comments

+Read more