In this second of an occasional feature, DesignSingapore catches up with the beneficiaries of its scholarship programme, to find out about their current projects and pursuits.
Lim Si Ping, 28, received the DesignSingapore Scholarship in 2014 to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Design & Technology at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City. She will complete the course in 2016.
Hello Si Ping, what have you learnt and how have you benefitted from your course of study so far?
The Design & Technology (D&T) programme at Parsons has changed my approach to the design discipline. With my previous experience working in the interactive advertising industry, the programme has sparked my interest in coding. D&T focuses on both critical design and programming. This empowers me to push beyond the boundary of aesthetics, and conceive ideas that may not be achievable in print, but through interactive platforms that enhance the user experience. The overlap between design and technology is expanding. To be competent in both areas would enable me to realize ideas that I could not achieve previously. What I have benefitted most from D&T is the exposure to the diverse range of technologies such as physical computing, software development, creative coding and augmented reality.
There will be more inter-disciplinary collaborations between communities of practice, such as institutions, organisations and the design industry, making our city a more vibrant home to live in.
What was the highlight of your study stint so far?
I had the privilege to present Facebook (below) at New York City Media Lab to professionals in the technology industry, and the project received commendation. It opened doors for me to opportunities outside of the Masters programme. Another collaborative project was presented at New York Hall of Science. Visitors were very receptive to our presentation and expressed interest about the future of gadgets.
What significant projects are you working on or planning to do?
My research is on surveillance design, data visualization and interactive art. I developed a prototype concept titled Facebook. It is an interactive book that tracks netizens’ data through facial recognition; then uses their personal information to generate a narrative – with them as the protagonist. A big part of my work explores speculative case scenarios for a technological future. In collaboration with Chris Fussner and Travis Alexis (classmates from Design Strategy & Systems Thinking, and D&T Photography respectively), we conceptualized objects that “disobey” conventional paradigms of light, computing, gravity and sound; and explore the power dynamics between authority and those subjected to it in situations of potential tension.
What is your ambition?
Our life is determined by what we do for a living. A designer’s job is not about working in a fancy studio, or being part of a billion-dollar advertising campaign. If we take away the glamorous façade of a designer, and see ourselves as ordinary human beings, the bigger picture of life would be revealed. With the fast-paced nature of the world, I plan to expand my skills in order for applied design thinking to stay relevant for the better good. What I do now will be outdated 10 years later, so I hope to keep learning.
How do you hope to contribute to Singaporean design; or to the discourse of Singaporean design?
I hope to apply assistive technologies in educational institutions, so that learning experiences can be enhanced. At the same time, I hope to contribute to the digital technology and contemporary arts scene by pushing the boundaries of interactive design and data.
How do you envision the state of Singapore design to be 10 years from now?
Singapore has already put into action a plan: by positioning our city to become one of Asia’s biggest cultural and artistic hubs. Unlike New York, we are still a young nation. But I hope a decade from now, there will be more citizens who will pursue the creative field and create cutting-edge design that is more than what meets the eye. There will be more inter-disciplinary collaborations between communities of practice, such as institutions, organisations and the design industry, making our city a more vibrant home to live in.
Applications for DesignSingapore Scholarship will open February 2016. To be updated, be on our mailing list.