Landscape [Design & Development]

The initial plan was to create a loop map in order to represent the continues endeavour we find our selves in searching and freeing fish. But over the residency period I pursued on an end goal. That end being the Tree of life!
In older versions of tuner we have been deprived of Vegetation, leaving a more sterile approach. But this has been hard as I love trees. And now with this new reincarnation of Tuner and its updated water system allowing the ability of more vertical landscapes (rather than water line dependant), evolves for more irregular and hopefully interesting environments.

The landscape should be a challenge yet rewarding but not frustrating unless the point is clear. So I set attempting on creating a corkscrew river rapid! Below is a concept of this and it’s fabrication. For the boat to be able to achieve this sliding motion over water falls and rocks both it’s under the hull and surrounding environmental elements needed to both shared low friction physical materials, plus a buoyancy water system.

With the landscapes’ liner design we find our selves ending down a fjord like channel passage concluded by the ‘Tree of life’. The idea is that they hold the Lifeboat pods (Rockets), acting as launch pads. Ideally I wanted to design a more progressive style for the vegetation, growing and engulfing in size as we approach. Below are landscapes and life pods I managed to flesh out for this residence 🙂 .

RIOT: Civil Unrest

A group of peaceful protesters with placards and flags are seen on the left of the image, while riot police are on the right with guns, shields and helmets. The game is designed to be in low resolution with heavy pixelation. Riot emulates a 2D retro look even though the scene is 3D.

Riot: Civil Unrest is an online game that blends real-world protests from recent history with objective based strategy gameplay. The game references four major civil unrests, Arab Spring in Egypt, No TAV in Italy, 15-M movement (Indignados) in Spain and the Anti-Landfill protests (Keratea) in Greece. The director of the game and previously an editor and cinematographer at Valve, Leonard Menchiari, has experienced riots personally and the game “Riot” was created as a way to express it and to tell the stories of these events. The player can pick between playing as police or rioters. Playing as either side will even tell you about the public’s opinion on how you handled the demonstrations. The game aims to depict scenarios in a neutral manner, allowing the player to explore both sides of the conflict.

Riot was launched in February 2019. It was highly recommended by LIHKG netizens in Hong Kong as early as June 2019 when the Anti-ELAB protest began. Protesters, whether they belong to the peaceful camp or the radical camp, can learn different tactics from the game.

The above video is a trailer of Riot: Civil Unrest. It shows different scenes of conflicts, including police deploying tear gas and protesters throwing molotov cocktails.

On Being Water

When I followed the Hong Kong Protests daily, what captured me the brilliant use of colors. Not just in clothing and tools but as forms of communication. As with all things, I always filter how I see the world through my Elder’s teachings (Elder Isaac Day of Serpent River First Nations). Some of the colors that held the most sway overall were Yellow, Red, Black and White. In Isaac’s teachings that would be Honesty, Kindness, Caring and Sharing. As I reflect on these teachings and think about the Hong Kong Protests I find these teachings completely and aptly applicable.

Of all the signs I choose to replicate the ones that resonated with me the most is “Don’t Shoot Our Kids”, “I Will Not Kill Myself”, “Stop Killing Us” “Be Water! We are formless. We are shapeless. We can flow. We can crash. We are like water. We are HONGKONGERS.” and Hong Kong People Hearts Never Die in Cantonese. I think it is important to profile that the police brutality in Hong Kong has largely targeted the childen and youth, medics and journalists, hoping to scare others into submission. Without the children and youth the movement is ashes on the ground. So I am showing solidarity and my own prayers that the Kids are protected. It is a sad state when children have to take to the streets to protest their own government and write wills to do so.

“I Will Not Kill Myself” was the single most emotional sign I had to replicate. Thinking of the allegations of “suicide” that clearly are of well know prominent protesters including Chan Yin-Lam (15 year old), Chow Tsz-lok (22 year old), Alex Chow and so many unnamed victims targeted by the Hong Kong Police Force, and their enacted state sanctioned brutality during the protests of 2019 and 2020. What struck me in my research is how difficult it was to find a list of these names. I hope these moments and acts are not lost to the tendrils of history. A not so gentle reminder of the great human rights abuses that are being perpetuated in Hong Kong against it’s citizens as we speak. “Stop Killing Us” isn’t just a poster it’s a reality for Hong Kong citizens right now as we speak.

Finally closing this circle of grief is still the strong hope and message of Hong Kong People, Hearts Never Die written in Cantonese. I believe in the future of our peoples. As long as our hearts live with the fire of the future and we flow like water, then this hope and fight for freedom also never dies. Until we are all free.

A New Dawn: Morning Song

In 1989 a monumental event shaped me and everything I believed in, that event was the Tiananmen Square massacre. Even though I was only 13 years old, my whole worldview shifted and I understood Democracy to be a fight that we must each take up the fight for. It wasn’t a given, it wasn’t a “right” in the traditional sense of the word, it was a privilege that many fight and die for.

Since then I’ve been a protest person. I protested with my fellow Hong Kong people for Tiananmen and I continued to do so in Canada when I moved back at 16 for many years. Even with disability I have tried to continue protesting in various movements like the Idle No More movement.

I used to think I was the odd one out. My family steadfastly loyal to the motherland and the party line, I thought something was different about me but when I saw the sea of people around me with candles and lights… I knew that the passion of protest was in my blood as someone of Hong Kong heritage. I have always seen my people as fierce fighters.

Flash forward to the various Hong Kong protest movements such as the umbrella movement, the anti extradition protests and so forth going well into 2020. It makes me swell with pride that we have this solid tradition of standing up for what we believe to be right.

Originally Mourning Song was a complicated installation tableau with layering and multiple channels. As we built this piece around the education to the width and depth of accessibility in mind it organically became something different. As I continued to approach the project in a prayerful and ceremonial way, a different project slowly manifested into and installation portrayed through a short film.

What started as a “mourning song” as I felt the grief and sadness of watching the HK Protests become marginalized by history as Tiananmen Square massacre was, I continued to research and clarify to myself the ideology around the project. One of the questions that surfaced was what was the core message of this piece and I realized it was rooted in the feelings of hope not grief. I found sounds I captured and birds to enable a natural flow for background, communicating the hopefulness of this piece. The soundscape is punctuated by a winter soundscape barely noticeable during the protest sign tableau.

While I feel helpless and mournful about the state of the affairs in Hong Kong, especially as a Hong Konger in Canada, especially with the serious allegations coming out of Hong Kong, such as suicide cover ups for police murders/blinding of medics/journalists; elicit a state of mourning for the future of Hong Kong and our youth. At the same time, I am steadfast in this being hopeful and the stirrings of new beginnings, the fire lit from decades ago in Tiananmen Square. From the thousands of Tiananmen Square Protests there has blossomed millions who came to the Hong Kong Protests. And while tyranny may have it’s moment in history, there is always a hopeful future as the younger generation continue to fight for the people’s liberty.

These prayers I encapsulated by recreating an Ancestor Altar featuring a serene Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), trying to mimic the street altars I grew up with my Grandmother in Hong Kong. Like the festival of Ching Ming I offer a feast to my Ancestors honoring theses prayers of hope, resilience and protection. Joss sticks, candles, offerings of meats, sweets and rice wine show my reverence for tradition of these prayers.

Thinking about the mantra from Turtle Island’s Indigenous uprising “Water is Life” and the Hong Protests mantra “Be Water” I am reminded of the resilience and the strength of Hong Kongers, like water, can overcome anything. I created a tableau of Hong Kong Protest signs that were dearest to me to document this monumental moment in history as someone who believes fervently in the new future. The youth have shown us that they are capable of leading us to the future and as long as our youth live, then hope never dies and like water we continue to flow into a future free of tyranny, free of walls and surveillance and assimilation. A future where our diversity is celebrated. Until then I present to you “Morning Song” a celebration of hope and new beginnings while honoring the heart of Hong Kongers across the globe.


In the Shadows of Gods

I don’t recall what the festival is called but a search on Google tells me it’s called the Ching Ming Festival. Ching Ming and the Mid Autumn Festivals were by far my favorite time of year overshadowing even Chinese New Year. Both festivals featured fire prominently and reminding me of aspects of my all time favorite time of year: Halloween.

Ching Ming being a festival we went and visited our ancestors resting places, talking to them, honoring them with offerings of food and wine, while burning joss money and sometimes even paper condos and servants. I loved the fire, the bigger the better, I loved feeding the fire with our folded joss money, I loved watching other families offer condos, suits, phones and servants to the all consuming flames. The whole day of adventures: going from site to site and we would end the day with a feast as if we were celebrating with the ancestors together. We would all sit down on my Great Grandfather’s grave and eat a sumptuous meal of foods, fruits and wine often amongst the sweet aroma of ripening mango’s on the trees around us.

The Mid Autumn festival with the lanterns and bonfires was another highlight of the year. I delighted in making lanterns that I knew I would be able to burn later in the night, parent sanctioned and all. I love fire to this day. Some of my other favorite things to this day being the moon and rabbits, Mid Autumn festival was the pinnacle of my favorite things: Fire, Moon worship, Rabbits and making things. For the adults it was also time to find love and there would be markets of fresh flowers and mazes with notes dangling from higher up, each seeking love or a particular lover. The lights, the flowers, the fires and the lanterns all made for a fantastical childhood that is unparalleled in Canada.

There is something magical about fire to me always and forever. I still remember keenly the smell of josh sticks in the air, the special candles we used, I remember collecting moon cake tins with various indentations to make interesting molds for the night of melting candles. Most of all I loved the ritual of folding and burning joss money. My Grandmother taught me how to fold these papers with the golden square in the middle, we folded it to mimic the old school currency of the gold ingot, know also as a yuanbao.

I grew up in a time in Hong Kong where mythologies and legends were real life. To me phoenix’s and dragons were the real deal, ghost and ancestors walked amongst us and the Gods and Goddesses was a relationship full of wonder, fantasy and fire. May our prayers rise with the smoke to the Gods and Goddesses. It brings me a great peace, at 45, to start to bring these elements to my own home in this foreign land, creating an Altar to the same Goddess as my mother did for so many years continuing a lineage and tradition older then the words I write on this page.













Working with Tangled Art + Disability

I was nominated for Vital Capacities via Tangled Art + Disability. My journey with them started with the exhibition Thaumaturgy. I believe it was our 2nd or 3rd meeting that accessibility training was conducted, in depth instruction was provided so that our exhibition was developed on a foundation of accessibility grounding our direction from day one to be accessible to people of different abilities.

Continue reading “Working with Tangled Art + Disability”

The moose doesn’t strike any emotion.

Although most recently I’ve been focusing on creating the residency risograph prints, this post returns to the idea of context as a fundamental factor in untangling lipreading, typographic and AI errors. Lipreading is often like completing a giant freeform crossword puzzle; filling in one set of clues reduces the parameters for the next set, and the next. Context enables you to instantly discard broader variables and zoom in on the most likely possibilities. Working with BSL/SSE interpreters does the same thing; while “vignette” and “finesse” will create almost identical lip patterns, the BSL interpretations use completely different hand shapes and movements.

Lipreading is physically impossible with masks, but there’s also loss of facial expression giving tone & context. But there are still contextual clues; where are you, what’s happening around you?

The same issues seem to be occurring with AI transcription; I examine the context in which errors occur to try to work out what the most likely interpretation is. This is a real challenge as you’ve a tiny amount of time to expend before the conversation moves on – with possibly another set of mangled meaning to decipher. The last work I’ve made looks at this mental juggling by using the risograph duotone process to “correct” mangled AI using proofreaders marks, to represent the two simultaneous thought processes.  That work will be in the residency exhibition, but here’s a few puzzles for you to be going on with.

“The moose doesn’t strike any emotion.”

“The perfect cinnamon.”

“I know there is a framework for achieving Oswald by doing do command Libra.”

The Gaming Industry: Response to BLM

The image with boilerplate (texts in white against a black background) published by the game industry in support of BLM. One reads 'We denounce systemic racism and violence against the Black community. We will continue to work towards a future marked by empathy and inclusion and stand with our Black creators, players, employees, families, and friends. #BlackLivesMatter'
  • The gaming industry is a multi-billion-dollar, male-dominated industry that has a decade-long track record of shutting down legitimate criticism about under-representation of people of colour, sexualisation of women, appeasement of authoritarian governments and an occasional glorification of violence.
  • Studios have been serving players with politically-charged material for decades: The critique of runaway capitalism in Bioshock, resisting oppression through violence in StarCraft, religious dogmatism in Halo.
  • Politics are already deeply intertwined with gaming. When professional players get suspended for using their platform to take a political stance; when games are routinely edited or banned to please a local authority prior to a release; when studios fail their diversity efforts — or pretend that they don’t need them — all of this is politics at play.
  • But the industry claims that they don’t want real-life politics.

    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-06-18-too-little-too-shy-the-gaming-industrys-response-to-blm-opinion
  • Most statements made by the makers and publishers of games are boilerplate: companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo decry racism, affirm the need for inclusion and equality, and often directly address “the black community.”
  • In a piece for Vice, Gita Jackson writes about how these statements aren’t just the bare minimum. They’re clueless and hollow, unwilling to confront their complicity and center the conversation on anti-black racism.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/5/21281726/video-game-companies-george-floyd-protests-blm-support

Undetermined

The symbol that represents the mathematical concept of ‘undetermined’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
This is an aerial view of the symbol of 'undetermined'. It is seen at the bottom of the image, with a long road ahead of it. The sun is rising and the image is in warm saturated colours. 2 cows are playing on top of the symbol. Cattle Depot is on the left of the symbol, the glass grid is on the right.
The symbol of ‘undetermined’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot.

UNDETERMINED: not authoritatively decided or settled (Oxford English Dictionary)

Example sentence:
The future is undetermined!

Division

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Division’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
The symbol of 'division' built with 'Polished Blackstone Slab' is in the foreground. A cow stands on the left side of the symbol while the other stands on the right. They confront and stare at each other.
The symbol of ‘Division’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot.

DIVISION: a disagreement or difference in opinion, way of life, etc., especially between members of a society or an organization (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
Online users see social media as both a cause of and solution for societal division.

Negation

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Negation’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
The symbol of 'negation' built with 'Polished Blackstone Slab' is seen against a setting sun in a red sky. Cattle Depot is tinted in red. A cow is in the far background watching the sunset behind the glass grid.
The symbol of ‘Negation’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot.

NEGATION: the exact opposite of something; the act of causing something not to exist or to become its opposite (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
This political system was the negation of democracy.

POWER

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Power’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
A giant panda sits on the symbol of 'power' built with black 'Polished Blackstone Slab' outside Cattle Depot. The panda is eating green bamboo greedily. A few cows can be seen scattered in the background around the other symbols, oblivious of the panda. Cattle Depot is on the left of the symbol, the glass grid structure is on the right.
The symbol of ‘Power’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. A giant panda is sitting on the symbol and devouring bamboo.

POWER: political control of a country or an area (Oxford Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
The present regime has been in power for more than 70 years.

Charge

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Charge’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
A peaceful herd of cows gather near the symbol of 'charge'. This is a top aerial view. The black sign is seen on grey concrete ground. On the top left corner of the image are some brown granite and a metal fence, hinting that Cattle Depot is on the left side of the image.
The symbol of ‘Charge’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. A peaceful herd of cows gather near the symbol.

CHARGE: an official claim made by the police that somebody has committed a crime (Cambridge Dictionary)

Example sentence:
• Peaceful protesters were charged with rioting.

Mass

The symbol that represents the physical concept of ‘Mass’ from the Dutil-Dumas message.
It's daytime. A paranoid cow stares at my camera in the foreground. Behind the cow is the symbol of 'mass' built with 'Polished Blackstone Slab' on the road outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. Two more signs can be seen further in the background. There are other cows wandering around. The glass grid structure is on the right side of the image.
The symbol of ‘Mass’ outside the virtual space of Cattle Depot. A paranoid cow is staring at my camera.

MASS: affecting or involving a large number of people or things (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)

Example sentence:
Mass surveillance of private communication concerns us all.

Detention (video game)

A scene from the game Detention. A girl in school uniform is in the foreground of a dark sinister gym. On the stage there is a male teacher and a seated girl also in school uniform. On the left of image there are 2 lines of Japanese text. The Japanese language was widely used, as Taiwan was a colony of Japan for 50 years before it was defeated in WWII. On the wall of the gym is a portrait of Sun Yet-sen, the founder of Chinese Nationalist Pary (KMT).
A scene from the game Detention. On the left of image, there are 2 lines of Japanese text. The Japanese language was widely used, as Taiwan was a colony of Japan for 50 years before it was defeated in WWII. On the wall of the gym, there is a portrait of Sun Yet-sen, the founder of Chinese Nationalist Pary (KMT).

Detention (Chinese: 返校; lit.: ‘Returning to School’) is a horror adventure video game created and developed by Taiwanese game developer Red Candle Games for Steam. It is a 2D atmospheric horror side-scroller set in 1960s Taiwan under martial law. The game also incorporates religious elements based on Taiwanese culture and mythology. A live action film adaptation distributed by Warner Bros. Taiwan was released on 20 September 2019.

The game references Taiwan’s White Terror period, when martial law was enforced on the citizens. The White Terror era refers to the suppression of political dissidents following the 228 Incident, an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, which was brutally suppressed by the then-Chinese Nationalist Pary (KMT) regime. The government subsequently imposed martial law, which was lifted on July 15, 1987.

Another scene from the game. The point of view of the audience is from a window of a classroom. The grill of the window resembles the grill of a prison cell. The light is warm, soft and diffused. 7 male students, heads down, carrying school bags queue up behind some desks. The student at the head of the queue opens his bag for inspection by a police officer.
A scene from the game.

The background of the story centers on the love affair between a student and a teacher in 1960s Taiwan. The teacher helped smuggle banned books for a secret book club in the school, and when the love affair turned sour, the student reported the book club to the authorities. Consequently, the students and teachers who were involved in the club were sentenced to death or 15 years in prison.

Such persecution was very common during the White Terror period. The punishment was actually much more brutal in reality.

INTERACTIONS [Landscape]

I think a good landscape should be enticing and thought-provoking. The power of landscape design is immense and should never be underestimated. As I mentioned before for this reincarnation of Tuner I plan on bringing it back underground to grow the sense enclose, need for air and to assist in the game plays interactions of fish collecting practices.

SCANNERS
The Scanner is like a radar mechanism, when found and attached to the boats roof hook, all 3 of it orbs rotate about their orbits, at each turn displacing a line to their nearest corresponding subject, ie Fish, Junk and Rockets. All these three orbs speeds can be controlled individually sonically creating an ever phasing sequence. Initially this control was access via the Midi protocol each orb having their own physic knob here on earth. But now the foam of interacting will need to be re-designed into the GUI interface.
The scanner is also a lantern for dark zones epically when the internal torchlight fades due to the boats’ strength depletion . I will supply the new scanner in operation (video), here below are some (blurred) old in game shots.

Continue reading “INTERACTIONS [Landscape]”

Part 2: Animal Crossing (Stop playing politics or face a ban)

A scene in Animal Crossing. A black-clad protester with black gas mask stands in the middle of a park with trees in the background and on the left. There is also a bonfire on left. Behind the protester, there are 6 paintings on easels, 2 paintings are with slogans in Chinese character, 1 painting is with an open palm and 1 painting with a finger pointing up. These 2 hand gestures represent the slogan 'Five demands, not one less (fewer)'. On the grass, there are 3 banners with different slogans, images of the protests and key dates in the movement, such as July 21 and August 31, when protesters and passengers in the tube were brutally and indiscriminately attacked by gang of thugs and police.
Image posted by activist Joshua Wong, via Twitter. This is a scene from Animal Crossing. Behind the protester, there are 2 paintings with Chinese slogans. There are also paintings of hand gestures that represent the slogan ‘Five demands, not one less (fewer)’. On the grass, there are 3 banners with different slogans, images of the protests and key dates in the movement, such as July 21 and August 31, when protesters and passengers in the tube were brutally and indiscriminately attacked by gang of thugs and police.

https://hongkongfp.com/2020/11/21/stop-playing-politics-or-face-a-wan-nintendo-warns-animal-crossing-gamers/


• Nintendo told businesses and organisations to “refrain from bringing politics into the game,” and said those who breached the guidelines could be banned.

• US President-elect Joe Biden is also among those who hope to capitalise on the game’s popularity. Biden’s campaign launched its own virtual island last month, allowing players to “volunteer” at the island’s campaign headquarters and visit polling stations. Under the new guidelines, the island is likely to be banned.

• “It is a shame that Nintendo overlooked the significance of this game.”, said Joshua Wong.

The Gaming Industry: Blizaard

Screenshot of Hearthstone Grandmasters streaming event in Taiwan with Hong Kong player Blizchung. It's a split screen with the Taiwan player on the left and Blizchung on the right. This is the moment when he took off his mask to say "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times".
Screenshot of Hearthstone Grandmasters streaming event in Taiwan with Hong Kong player Blizchung

On October 6, 2019, during the Hearthstone Grandmasters streaming event in Taiwan, Ng Wai Chung, a professional Hearthstone player and resident of Hong Kong known as “Blitzchung”, was being interviewed following his match, during which he donned a mask similar to those worn by protesters in the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests and said “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times”. The stream was cut off shortly after. The following day, on October 7, Blizzard announced that Blitzchung had been banned from the current tournament, would forfeit any prize money (approximately US$4,000 by that point), and would be banned from other Grandmaster tournaments for one year.