Salad Dressing‘s Royal Stinker
In the courtyard, a playground of Heveatech wooden furniture by the Little Thoughts Group product design collective (facebook), constructed in collaboration with Samko Timber, and inspired by local places and heritage structures and a good dose of nostalgia. Ponggo by Alvin Sitoh, The Last Tiger by Andrew Loh, Icons of Sembawang by Chan Wai Lim, PlayStool by Jane Tang, Tempinis Forest by Lee Chang Tat, Open Play by Leonard Bahroocha Tan:
We were slightly antsy about being ushered into the Airbnb hut by chirpy girls, thinking of the hard-sell of time-share resorts and the like. But what fun! 3D image projection of, we were assured, real Airbnb rental sites around the world!
A lot of the other installations were pure interactive enjoyment as well, even if many of us didn’t bother with the intended message of the exhibit (sorry!):
Dream A Little by RSP Architects
For someone who with mild prosopagnosia and who therefore tells people apart by their smell (not something to admit to anyone!), the potential of Scent Mapping Singapore by Allsense (facebook) was beyond exciting. However, by the time we got there, most of the scents didn’t quite do their descriptors (eg. Balestier Bak Kut Teh, East Coast Chilli Crab, Paranakan [sic] Pulut Hitam, Dempsey Durian Stall, Satay By The Bay, Kampong Glam Pandan Cake, Boat Quay Tiger Beer, Vanda Miss Joaquim Orchid) justice. If only they did! I’d love to have a whole scent library!
Let The Papers Sing To You by Roots (Jonathan Yuen) and Victor Low featured infrared sensors hidden within the frame of the table and recordings of fingers being pulled across papers of different textures.
Many of the white-box explanations next to each exhibit contained phrases like “offers an open conversation”, “this is an exploration”, “…is a subjective affair” or asked whimsical questions of inanimate objects.
Was this the result of innate emptiness? Was this avoidance of any moral or philosophical stance a symptom of the hegemonic tyranny of existentialist thinking? asked someone.
(Then there was pointing out that this was a “design” event, and then there was pointing out by way of response that the line between “design” and “art” had been crossed when those exhibition blurbs were written, and then there were further attempts to define differences between “design” and “art”.)
But even existentialists are quite adamant about what constitutes their angsty equivalent of The Good Life. On the way home today, N and I discussed existential authenticity. Not persuaded by any of these – they seem a desperate struggle for meaning and a reason why they shouldn’t just kill themselves. But for what it’s worth, briefly:
Søren Kierkegaard problem: the media and the church, mass culture, creates the loss of significance of the individual. Society no longer forms its own opinions but relies on opinions constructed by the media. Religion too has become a tradition that passively accepted by individuals, without authentic thought.
solution: face reality, form one’s own opinions about existence, make an active choice to surrender to something that goes beyond comprehension, a leap of faith into the religious.
Friedrich Nietzsche problem: lack of questioning by the individual, herding animal morality, Christian morality = slave morality
solution: transcend limits of conventional morality to overcome oneself, revaluation of all values, decide for oneself what is good and evil, stand alone and avoid religiously constructed principles
Martin Heidegger problem: daesin has fallen away from its authentic potentiality and fallen into the world, “they” (das man) have relieved us of the “burden” of making our own choices, we live in a critically unexamined way, levelling, averageness
solution: authenticity is not about being isolated from others, but finding a different way of relating to others such that one is not lost to the “they”
Jean-Paul Sartre problem: bad faith (self-deception) is when an individual defines himself through social categorization of his formal identity, morality is a tool of the bourgeoise to control the masses, bad faith is when being-for-itself is replaced with others’ freedom
solution: authenticity is realising that the role we are playing is a lie, good faith is living within the portrait one paints of oneself and overturning set roles
Albert Camus problem: its philosophical suicide when we accept religion to relieve us of the anxiety of not having any guarantee of justice etc, life is repetitive and we live in futility and will soon be forgotten
solution: honestly confront the Absurd, live without appeal, keep life’s questions open, gain enchantment with life
fake blurb: This work draws the viewer to consider the utter futility of existential thinkers in identifying the anxiety caused by the absence of what is essential for authentic life, yet refusing to acknowledge the only One who can provide what is necessary for this life and the life to come.