work-in-progress, writings, sketches

︎ 16 October 2018

Portraits, A Zine

Progress on my portraits. Lately, I don’t feel very good about the things that I made, I felt like I lost the freedom to truly experiment and enjoy myself. Life at the moment is filled with uncertainty and self-doubt, and even though I like to make these illustrations and work on my projects, I feel a constant inner voice asking myself repeatedly if I’m doing anything right. My friend and I share this struggle, and we decided to stop caring about rules and whatnot, and create something just for fun. So we decided to make a zine for each other.


︎ 3 October 2018

30 people, 30 days, 30 illustrations (wip)

Some colour experiments. I wanted to go for a 2-colour combination and try using a variety of fonts, but decided they all don’t work. Lately I’ve been feeling self-conscious about experimenting. God forbid we ever try anything anymore with no reason whatsoever. Life is frustrating lately, and I am just relieved I could even work on these illustrations.

︎ 27 September 2018

30 people, 30 days, 30 illustrations (wip)

︎ 22 August 2018

Notes on Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott


A person’s faults are largely what makes him or her likable. I like for narrators to be likely the people you choose for friends, which is to say that they have a lot of the same flaws as I. Preoccupation with self is good, as is a tendency toward procrastination, self-delusion, darkness, jealousy, grovelling greediness addictiveness, They shouldn’t be too perfect; perfect means shallow and unreal and fatally uninteresting. I like for them to have a nice sick sense of humour and to be concerned with important things by which i mean that they are interested in political and psychological and spiritual matters.


Hope is a revolutionary thing, let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work, you don’t give up.

First Drafts

Writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way to get anything written at all is to write really really shitty first drafts.


Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It keeps you cramped and insane your whole life, and is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. Perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess shows us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground – you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidying suggesting suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.

How to do you know when you are done?

You just do. You’ve gone over and over something so many times, and you’ve weeded and pruned and rewritten, and the person who reads your work for you has given you great suggestions that you have mostly taken – then finally something inside you just says it’s time to get on to the next thing. Of course, there will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.

Even though you know that your manuscript is not perfect and you’d hoped for so much more, if you also know that there is simply no more steam in the pressure cooker, and that is it the very best you can do for now – well? I think this means you are done.

Pay attention

There is ecstasy in paying attention. anyone who wants to can be surprised by the beauty or pain of the natural world, of the human mind and heart and can try to capture just that – the details, the nuance, what is. to be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind.


I used to think that paired opposites were a given, that love was the opposite of hate, right the opposite of wrong. But now I think we sometimes buy into this concepts because it is so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality. I don’t think anything is the opposite of love. Reality is unforgivingly complex.

︎ 21 August 2018

Notes on Meta/Data by Mark Amerika

Part two of my notes, collected when I was working on my project in 2016.

  1. Interconnected digital narratives, besides the blog, my source material comes from defunct web pages (insert screenshots)
  2. Identify time period that you look at the source material
  3. Life as a medium transporting experiential knowledge into visual remixes.
  4. Virtual communities that provide us a suitable place to shape our personas
  5. The comfort of knowing who you can be and how much more accurate that portrayal of yourself can be, if you allow yourself to be online and making use of the necessary tools to shape yourself.
  6. What visual vocabulary is involved when you are in the process of shaping this persona?
  7. How did the shaping of an online, unalienated persona, shape my real, physical life and as an artist?
  8. In the age of network cultures, the eye touches rather than it sees. It immerses itself in the tactile sense it feels when caught in the heat of the meaning making process.
  9. Part of a greater desire to become part of the socio cultural mosaic
  10. Multilinear narrative environments. how is narrative distributed, how is it existing on the online space? narrative types? is html narrative
  11. Adapting to new skins. collaborate with new technologies
  12. Advent of the internet as globally distributed network of digital art created for artists and scholars to evolve alternative lives of inquiry that will have critical ramifications in our culture. in areas where we compose, publish, exhibit, distribute and network these knowledge
  13. Breaking barriers: geographical, time
  14. Progressive art practice integrated with info-driven community/society. online publication/exhibition
  15. Utilisation of cross-media platforms embed research, thinking, self-reflection, in doing so, changing way artworks are communicated and accessed
  16. Interactive digital art. data visualisation, further educate ourselves to perform in this dynamic, computer-mediated environment.
  17. Transferring creative and critical skill sets to the information, data-driven age.
  18. Internet is an opportunity to bring wider visibility to an individual’s art practice, creative process. such process can be shared immediately online, open a network of external lives in real/online life that gives artists and the work a more significant place.
  19. Visual communication can expand and contribute to multimedia art/new media environment, including web publishing, digital narrative, wireless networking, interactive cinemma, artist e-books, motion picture graphics, data visualisation, online art exhibition, generative art, code art, database aesthetics
  20. To theoretically articulate, through critical visual design skills and transferring that skill set to the information age. using that visual skill set to create user interface, focusing on bringing that print/tactile experience to the screen, to issues like site navigation, program functionality
  21. To innovatively combine traditional visual communication practice and further expand on the existing function of print, emphasising on reconfiguring the conventional notions of reading, writing and accessing the print media
  22. To take into considertation, that data becomes a part of open-source, a material in itself, a narrative device
  23. The history and practice of net art before and after WWW. (include artworks)
  24. How other artistic media enabale us to place the emerging forms of digital art in their historical and aesthetic context
  25. Students feel they have a certain amount of control over distribution of their work. with digital art they can immediately publish and exhibit their work
  26. Sites, homes, texts, digital being, all takes place in the placelessness of cyberspace
  27. Repeated gifs of defunct websites
  28. Rethinking representation: moving beyond the knowing and entering a world of immersive topographies that open up unknown narrative worlds composed of unstable identities.
  29. How can I respond to the rapidly changing aesthetic, political and economic realities presented to our contemporary society with advent of computer, internet and social media?
  30. So much of our commercial and subversive art is developed with software apps that encourages the liberal use of modernistic practices, sampling, collage, tech gimmickry, engineered behaviours.
  31. What we are doing is not all that new. looking for structural changes in these works and approaches, you are likely to find changes in mediums through which this art gets distributed and how emerging network culture transform the way we participate in appreciating and making art.
  32. What is a blog? could be an autobiographical work in progress, surfs for data, sample, manipulation, and exhibited in a space that is more than just a diary web site.

︎ 21 August 2018
Notes: Meta/Data by Mark Amerika

Part one of my notes, collected when I was working on my project in 2016.

  1. Mining digital terrain for autobiographical purposes (self-portrait)
  2. Built-in obsolence of virtual memories. compare digital archiving with physical archiving
  3. The persona vs the character. exploring the projection of self through various media, what it means
  4. Physical journals contain the touch of hand and the tactility of print. what is its technological counterpart and how can I show that through my work?
  5. Visual vocabulary and language of the internet
  6. Context: what is net art like before 2000? what does this new media mean for artists’ practices then?
  7. How far did they come from the early networked/performance art (i.e Nam June Paik) and other performer-artists?
  8. Tools are easily accessible to my generation. we are able to immediately make art with photoshop at hand. online communities are youth-led, often explore the potential of  integrating traditional and digital ways of making art.
  9. Easy for us to use these tools to our advantage and narrate our stories.
  10. The impermanence of time in a data-driven environment. what’s time like on the internet.
  11. What does archiving and collecting mean to me and my art practice?
  12. The glitch as a reimagined metaphor in my artwork.
  13. Quantifying one’s life through data-collecting, all of this is part of a larger story: the public vs private
  14. Research and process is the narrative
  15. Vannevar bush: trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory
  16. Blog entries = experiential content, experiential database
  17. Benefits of creating an alchemical remix of narrative strategies
  18. My desire to run away from social media and virtual affirmation
  19. The digital source material, ready for immediate remix, reinterpretation at a click.
  20. Internet of time, built-in obscolence
  21. Net artist who capture consciousness with readily available digital apparatus
  22. An autobiographical work in progress
  23. Operating in a more fluid, interdisplinary lifestyle
  24. On remixing: I can look back of whatever traces I left behind and reapply my conscious to it again.
  25. Burrowing underground for shards of light. source material. my work is all source material.
  26. Look at specific themes that have been at the core of my practice (hybridized)
  27. Write, draw, make
  28. Big issue themes such as feeling alien in status quo culture, tapping spiritual unconscious, alienation, bullying, rigidity of academia, rule-based system, beauty differences, turning all that into an autobiographical work in progress memoir
  29. Instant gratification: what the internet gives us, and what this generation will feel much of the consequences of. what are the long term effects of instant gratification?
  30. Making art for an online audience who are always ever ready to accept them.

︎ 18 August 2018

To Write Again

I deactivated Facebook for a really long time. All of this is difficult to describe and write down. Once in a while, I go back on to look for something on my feed. I die a little inside everytime I scroll down my feed – I am overwhelmed by the images and words, those that I’ve written, those contributed by others. All of these things do not exist anymore. I feel a little like that when I scroll through my own Instagram, but not so bad. I’m still on my Instagram break, I don’t forsee myself returning yet.

I thought about how Kenneth Goldsmith writes about Facebook and our browser history a form of a memoir. It is a little too honest, I suppose, way too autobiographical for my liking. I go through all this writing I did on my blog, but I did not die a little inside everytime I scroll down the page. With words, with blogs, it is possible to craft out a personal history the way you intend it to be. To call my Facebook feed a memoir is a bit of a reach for me. To be able to write is... in some way, to be able to romanticise things. There is some kind of a romance, I imagine, that is associated with memoirs, which is not what I would think of my Facebook feed. If anything, it is a collective effort in describing who I am in relation to the people I interact with, which can be painfully honest. Writing only involves my own point of view after all, and those that I wrote about were only figures, and not voices.

It was painful to go through my own online history. Despite keeping a blog for most part of my life, I did not feel this sinking feeling when I read those entries again.

︎ 20 August 2018
Notes: Waste Time on the Internet by Kenneth Goldsmith

On archiving

Our archiving impulse arises as a way to ward off the chaos of overabundance.

Joseph Cornell’s boxes – stockpiling and collecting of ephemera, organising them by arcane and precise system.

Management of information _ downloading, cataloging, tagging, duplicating and archiving.

Cornell’s boxes are similar in constructions to computers. An interior voyage. Each box an interface, with its own operating and navigational systems, like browsers. Desktops resembles Cornell’s boxes – a time before multimedia is coined as a term.

Cornell’s prediction that this is how we interact with vast multimedia formats. Multiple windows. A distraction, but a life training for a distracted world. Not always a bad thing. Instead of destroying our concentration, the distracted is attracted by a rival interest.

Dream machines and eternidays

Jacques Lacan - mirror stage. The image of oneself as a whole person is intoxicating which can explain why we are hooked on external representations of ourselves (as in the myth of narcissus). We enjoy seeing ourselves being tagged or retweeted, we can’t leave Facebook or Instagram.

Mcluhan’s theory that insertion of the self into the media is a basic precept of electronic media. Humans are fascinated by an extension of themselves in any material other than themselves, which is why people have interest in social media apps: it’s interface is designed such that when you log in, you are greeted with likes etc, an accumulation of social media capital, a symbolic currency for which ‘I’ is the social media’s metric of valuation.

Compulsive ‘instagram it’ behaviour

Vilem Flusser’s description of such a phenomenon in 1983, writing about the analog camera: Flusser’s view is that the content of the cultural artefact is completely sublimed by the apparatus. The camera app, instagram, robotise all aspects of our lives. Coerces us and we obey. Instagram: we think we document our own memories, but these are just memories for the app. Once we buy into it, it’s hard to leave it. Your cultural artefact is locked within that system.

Personal notes

Not too sure about the effectiveness of Goldsmith’s argument about how time spent online is not wasted. I enjoy this book for some of the references to modern art history and some interesting examples of artworks. I think his class Wasting Time on the Internet (and the list of how to do so at the back of the book) can all make for a kind of performance art.

Goldsmith’s point of view, as an artist/educator, is worth reading, especially since my interest in this topic stems from my own art practice. I think given his position and background, I do not doubt that his time spent online is wasted at all. That might not apply to most people.  Kenneth is his own example of this theory – he is interested and focused on this subject, he is adding value to this conversation about our relationship with media, devices and information consumption. But I suppose he agrees to some extent: ‘not everyone is as focused, distraction might mean missing the main event, but what if nobody knows anymore what or where the main event is?”.

Works mentioned

1. Black Box – Jennifer Egan (2012)
2. Joseph Cornell’s boxes
3. The Clock – Christian Marclay (2010)
4. Finnigans Wake – James Joyce

︎ 19 August 2018


Just finished David Sedaris’s When you Are Engulfed In Flames. Very enjoyable weekend read with bits that made me laugh out loud.

I came across an article today by Emily Rudow on Medium. She wrote about her experience of running 10km everyday for a month. It’s a personal challenge she decided to do after reading Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life. I think it is true that we all need to be on some kind of a quest daily, no matter how big or small. It is the daily action of putting one foot in front of another that helps to put things into place. It is also a form of hope. I think of the things that I have done this year, and truth be told, I haven’t done much things to shout about. But I am feeling happier and more stable than I did in a long while. Most of my energy is spent on just taking care of the normal aspects of life. Things I didn’t do a good job at before. The process of it helps me to feel happy and calm in a way I didn’t feel before.

As an avid diarist, the decision to stop writing can feel rather unnatural. I did not write to recount my day, I write because I felt overwhelmed. This realisation happens as a result of going through my archive – tons of writing that represent versions of myself I didn’t like. It feels scary to confront my own history sometimes. I realised that I could have used some help before, but it wouldn’t have been easy to ask.

Writing now feels unnatural. There are long pauses between each sentences. Before, the words flowed easily. There was no control.

I suppose this is how I realised that I am completing a personal quest. There is some difficulty in creating all these sentences now. There are multiple times I have to press the backspace bar, multiple times I reread the things that I write and noticing how they lacked a certain smoothness. But it’s okay. I am learning to write again everyday, in a way that is new and feels like the person that I am now.


︎ 16 August 2018

no money

Lately I feel a shadowy sense of anxiety over me again, after looking at my bank account and realising that most of my funds have been depleted after clearing my debt and getting an insurance plan. A kind of displeasure and unjust I haven’t felt for a while crossed my mind: Worked for two years and I am back to my penniless post-grad self. I used to feel bitter about this and that was the feeling I got when I first started working.

I recently applied for another job, doing something similar. It pays more, so I hope to save more towards my MFA.

Someone had this to say to me regarding this decision: don’t you think that you are selling out by getting this job? I don’t know if I would want to sell out by taking that job if I were you.

It was the second time that someone had implied I was selling out, and I was pissed. I wanted to tell them, you couldn’t even sell out if you tried. I was damn fed up. I know these people, I could empathise with their struggles and I know they did not say it with ill intention. But I also wish they could just suffer in silence and not be catty about it with me.

I wish it wasn’t such a loaded conversation: this whole thing about making a living. Even if I feel fairly comfortable about the decisions I make, I did not like the reactions that I get when I am asked why I do certain things. No one should be judged for their worth based on these decisions. Jobs are not a measure of our worth.

I decided to continue working within the military because I think it fits my needs for now. I appreciate not having a network – no emails, no phone calls, no connection. I go directly to the person I need to work with, if necessary, and vice versa. It gives me time to work on my projects and live my life. I don’t hate it. Most importantly, it keeps me grounded.

Manjula Martin pretty much sums up this idea of being grounded in her own essay from the book Scratch:

Empathy is perhaps the most valuable skill a writer can possess, and I found it at work. There, I was becoming myself, figuring out my values, where I stood in relation to the world and what I wanted to say about it. My art wasn’t doing that for me, art was what boomeranged off me while I processed real life. Would I quit working if I could? Of course I would. But I’d do so with the knowledge it might make me a person who is less engaged with life, and possibly a lesser writer.

The people I work with are very different from me and I appreciate that about them. The environment teaches me to be kind and patient, which are things that I am not really good at doing. Given the kind of person I am, to be completely involved in my art means to make a show of my flaws. It means to accept and celebrate things about myself that I should improve on (or change). Working with others help to build character. It is a simple way of explaining things, but it is an important truth. It really benefits the creative process. At this point in my life, I think I needed to learn about this, instead of going to do a job that is expected of me.

︎‘The Best Work In Literature’ by Manjula Martin vqronline.org/personal-essay/best-work-literature
︎ 8 August 2018

Not a minimalist

This week I finished Marie Kondo’s book on tidying. Found it at work, the last place I’d expect to find that book. I did not care much for the book at first. The phrase ‘spark joy’ seem to be a rather trite and flimsy piece of advice, especially after making its round online, but after going through the book in a day, I think it deserves to be described as more than just that book that instructs you to pick up whatever you possess and ask yourself if they spark any joy in you.

It was a helpful read, since the previous weekend I just got rid of my wardrobe — the whole thing, whatever’s left of the Ikea wardrobe I got as a hand-me-down from my sisters. I tossed away many bags of clothes.

The thing about Marie Kondo’s book that speaks to me is how our possessions can impact so much on who we are and what we want to do in life. I care a lot about this, since I mostly spend my free time just assessing whatever I own. On my computer, offline in my own space In my own projects, I go through whatever I have collected and written, and I hold on to them and hope that there is some meaning to these things.

I clean my room most weekends and toss away things generously. When I do so, I always feel better, and sometimes I get a clearer picture of what I wanted to do with other parts of my life. Recently, the slow progress on this site got me feeling really down, and I entertained myself with fantasies of a new wardrobe filled with clothes that I liked to wear — I did my math and research and found a cheap wardrobe from ikea and spent a weekend tossing and arranging things.

There are some really helpful tips that I get from the book, and I feel like I can apply to other parts of my life as well. The truth is I’ve felt suffocated for a while, a long running list of things I wanted/should do. I know I will never get to most of it and I feel horrible that I will not do so. I am afraid to know that I don’t know what the fuck I am doing. And living day to day is frustrating if I allow myself to brood upon it.

My life can and should be more minimal than it is now. There is a lot of noise inside my head and I am burdened by the things I desire to do and realistically will never get to. Even by some miracle that I get the chance to start working on that list, I don’t know if I feel that strongly about some of the projects anymore. I don’t like that I can feel so strongly about one thing and then I feel nothing the next moment.

Anyway I know that complaining is a waste of time. I think I can definitely try to KonMari my idea/project lists.