'Memory Catcher' by Serene Lin with collaborating artist Low Han Yuan and Lim Hong Zeng, Vic
In the second edition of art and design collective Phunk Studio’s initiative ‘Transmission: Lab’, 10 multi-disciplinary creations by 10 apprentices working alongside 13 artists, playfully weave magic into the interminable flux of the Kaleidoscope theme.
There are countless ways to utilize a President’s Design Award grant but the quartet behind phunk studio are unequivocal advocates of the mushrooming local arts scene.
It was no surprise when they ignited the ‘Transmission: Lab’ series in 2010 to create a conducive, informal mentoring environment where the next generation of creative stalwarts collaborate with established local and international artists in a year long program.
Co-founder of phunk studio Jackson Tan ruminates, “Transmission was conceived in a similar fashion to how a band releases an EP. In 1998, we were young artists and graphic designers who were literally nobodies in the scene. The self-funded, 500 copies of printed material born out of naiveté known as Transmission was literally our calling card to the world. As LASALLE alumni, we collaborated with our old school, to produce our experimental lab series to nurture the next wave of artists.”
It is not simply about grooming a stable of upcoming artists in a year long project but more about challenging them to move out of their comfort zones and work in mediums and forms that they have not been accustomed to.
Yeo Wanqi, a full-time graphic designer and apprentice in the program, has worked with leading conceptual artist Kumari Nahappan in the installation “Notice Unnoticed”, which meditates on the notion of nature in a bustling urban jungle.
She attests to the genre breaking of the program, “Working as a full-time graphic designer, I am so used to the conventions of looking at things in a 2D way and I always wanted to work in a medium like sculptural installation which allows me to be tactile.”
“Besides the gentle undulations of seashells movements during a wave, my work was also heavily inspired by my mum who is a craft genius and also evokes childhood memories. And working with Kumari and my mum was joyous learning process and helped me straddle a new medium of expression.”
Besides art works that have nature as its premise, there are also works like “Depaysment”, an interactive installation which critiques the divide that technology has created on human relationships and interactions in our present era.
Nguyen Le Thuy Duong, the apprentice who collaborated with New York based illustrator Sachin Teng and young, local new media tech whiz Chang Poo Hee, adds “ As a fine art student who is fond of the pencil medium, I had to push myself in order to navigate the concepts behind installation and I have to admit that the collaborative process was extremely challenging at times.”
Let it be a short fashion video, prints or installations, there is something for clued in local art fans who want to suss out the next wave of young turks at ‘Transmission: Lab’s Kaleidoscope’.