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crafting narrativity

a final year project by Nur Sabrina Yazid The Glasgow School of Art


The Memory Palace by Edward Hollis (2013)

“Interiors are not made of one thing, rather they are the meeting places of many things; architecture and furniture, objects and surfaces, commodities and images, and people... Ways in which we build, arrange and fill and decorate exercise in building little worlds, ultimately changing our sense of the world. “

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contents

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introduction

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part 1 manifesto: dream home

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part 2 theatre stage set

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part 3 public installation

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conclusion

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[Prologue] Memories, Dreams and Reflections by Carl Jung

“Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience it as a whole.”

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introduction

My fondest childhood memory is the dollhouses I used to play. The idea of creating stories and a new fantasy world is exciting; imagining characters and decorating the dollhouse with little things and furniture. The love to this form of self-expression and space curation still lives. Today I am practicing ‘interior design’. As I indulge in the world of design, my admiration for the arts grow too. As controversial as it is, I have always liked the idea of being in-between and have always believed great

art

design

things lie there. Interior design as a practice has taught me to be a problem-solver but the arts encourage me to be a dreamer. Why can’t we be dreamers too? In an increasingly objective-driven world, I personally feel that the process of design lack imagination. Instead of crafting spaces, we can start crafting narrativity instead. There is a lot in the craft of the arts that can be learnt and applied to design. Dreaming, story-telling, can change the lens of conventional interior design today. This is my personal manifesto. By looking into narratives and unleashing the dreamer in us, spatial experiences can well be designed or crafted. The project starts by exploring a dreamscape, to crafting a fictional narrative to a stage set, and concluding with an installation design in a more pragmatic context.

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project aim 6

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dreams fictions identity

This project aims to explore how narrativity can be crafted into a spatial experience.

dreamscape theatre installation

Speculate how a sense of interiorization can be crafted based on the obervation of identity, objects and the environment (collective narratives), how the subconscious can manifest into a physical realm.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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brief outline

dream

fiction

identity

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1 manifesto: dream home the beginning speculates how a unsonscious reality can manifest into a dream-like physical realm

dreamscape

2 theatre stage set with a crafting system explored in part 1, a fictional narrative is crafted into a performing stage set through the art of scenography

theatre

3 public installation diving into a more pragmatic context, a narrative of a local site is explored and crafted, marrying the ideas of parts 1 and 2

installation

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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manifesto: dream home

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home is the point between the external world and internal world (self), made of dreams and memories, sense of self is deeply rooted in a home In dense urban surroundings, it is difficult to translate a sense of personalization into actuality. Contextually in Singapore, the houses, mainly new HDBs, are shrinking and the planning is static. People heavily utilize objects and the placement of things in areas to create their own sense of home without understanding what is really essential to them. The original spatial aspect of the homes, without any objects inhabiting, feels simulated.

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introduction, early research

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people and objects

My interest in eclectic homes started the questions of what and how interior spaces are interiorised and created; observing how individuals curate their private spaces and possessions and what it means to them. Some showcase collections of personal artefacts in their homes, some self-made, bought or passed down by generations. The objects hold very personal and sentimental value to them. Some approach of curation is theatrical, yet everything in place still has its purpose forming a coherent whole and reflects who they are. It is interesting to see how the use and placement of objects have hidden narratives and affect the way they feel in a space that collectively is a canvas of themselves.

Leading on, it makes me question how significant objects and identities are in crafting a space.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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objects and its symbolism

Based on the article by Julie Beck The the Love of Stuff. Consumption in modernity has led to individuals becoming more materialistic. Domestically, people acquire physical things, both utilitarian and sentimental benefits, over time to create or represent their own sense of self. However, people are attached to things not because of what they are, but what they can do and how they can make them feel. Objects hold values that are essential and desired to one’s self. According to JBechler, “Identities are categorical labels one associates with oneself, either by endowment or by choice” and the objects possessed by people can be a medium for people to express their identity through its symbolic meaning. Identity mentioned could be looked into smaller categories like objects, values, beliefs, creations, interests etc.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the notion of space

A space the way I perceive it is a canvas of an identity, and is made up of two inhabitants; objects and the people using them. The relationship between both elements creates a hidden narrative and heightens one’s senses and emotions. They are key factors in creating the perception of the space. Is there a way for us to amplify feelings and connections in a form of space and experiences instead of the literal possessions or objects? If a space could speak of a certain identity, how will it be? What’s the value? To me this could be a new way we could interiorize a space. Extracting what is essential to us and manifesting it into something bigger. As Hollis suggests that “interiors are ephemeral subjects made of permanent objects”, I want to explore whether it could be the other way round, if interiors could be permanent subjects that narrate for itself. This could break away from the monotony of spaces in Singapore, like homes, to create a space that exhibits one’s unique identity. As spaces in Singapore are minimizing in size, people tend to exercise a bit of restraint and are forced to look into conventional ways to best create their ideal space. This notion includes the approach to design in general, all types. It is time we think outside the box and let our imagination run free.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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outline To start, I will be reimagining my dream home. By relooking and reimagining moments in the personal home firstly through the study of objects inhabiting, extracting the essence of the home and identity. Then, exploring design elements, mainly play of forms and scales to translate the narrative into a tangible spatial experience. Part 1 aims to speculative a spatial design of the narrative journey (dream home) and explore a crafting process

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1 self, objects, environment

2 extracting narratives

Observing how objects inhabiting the personal space speaks one’s identity or dreams.

Objects are symbols of one’s identity, it shapes the perception of the space. The space becomes a collection of dreams, memory, emotions.

4 the manifesto

3 crafting narrativity

The narrative becomes a spatial experience. The space tells the story, the identity, the dreams.

Can this unconscious notions be amplified and form an entire spatial experience? Series of explorations are made to give them form.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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theoretical framework Bernard Tschumi Manhattan Transcript, 1970

Bernard Tschumi’s use of illustration to translate reality to fantasy and a reimagined “reality” as described “theoretical propositions executed through drawing” is an example of how moments and movements can be metaphorically translated into forms and space. The series of photographs of ongoing events forms a narrative along with his exploration of forms. Tschumi blurs the boundary between the tangible and intangible.

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surealism superior qualities of the irrational, unconscious mind,liberating thought, language, and human experience from the oppressive boundaries of rationalism symbolism between fantasy and reimagined reality, Bernard Tschumi ‘The Manhattan Transcripts’, translating moments and movements metaphorically into forms and space forms and scales use of form and scales to translate and amplify emotions and narrative (Story-telling)

*

The framework here will follow throughout the project. I find myself coming back to these concepts as I craft the different spaces in parts 2 and 3 as well. More elements will be introduced and explored as the thinking and crafting progress.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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dream; 1. [countable] a series of images, events and feelings that happen in your mind while you are asleep 2. [countable] a wish to have or be something 3. [singular] a state of mind in which things do not seem real

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“The rooms we live in are always more than just four walls. As we decorate these spaces and fill them with objects and friends, they shape our lives and become the backdrop to our sense of self.” The Memory Palace by Edward Hollis

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the craft self, objects, environment Re-mapping journey from the entrance to the bedroom, photographing objects and categorizing moments (areas of the home). This is the first form of study of self (myself) and the environment (home and the objects that curates the home). A route that I am most familiar with, I am ‘unlearning’ things that I know and allow myself to dream.

outside

foyer

entrance of foreign and familiarity

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living room

the in-between portal


hallway

gathering of love

bedroom

the ticking bridge

castle of dreams

(above) Pallasmaa’s The Eyes of the Skin. Looking at architecture in a different lens helps achieve a deeper understanding between the space and self. I learn to perceive space more than what meets the eye, it should be a bodily experience.

(above) Edward Hollis poetically perceives interiors and the posessions within as stories of the past. Space and things uncover something of the past, almost like a living entity. PART 1 | 2 | 3

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2. extracting narratives The journey is re-imagined into a dream. Through a series of visual collage, I am dramatizing the journey of the home. What does it feel like to be through a space that speaks of your emotions, dreams and memories? Imagine, wonderland. This is the first set of collages made. The visual and stories need more depth and imagination.

outside

foyer

entrance of foreign and familiarity

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The beginning of this project starts off in a more artistic notion. This home journey is some sort of a personal reflection and artistic expression. The intention to explore and learn the craft of the arts, that can then be applied into a design context at the end.

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living room

the in-between portal


hallway

gathering of love

bedroom

the ticking bridge

castle of dreams

(above) The phenomenology of mirrors in the home of John Soane .The clever use of mirrors creates an illusion and a narrative, building a heightened sense of relationship between the self, and the objects around that are inhabiting the room. The idea of reflection is a tool to the phenomena. PART 1 | 2 | 3

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background

middle ground

foreground

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(above) Pompeii by Robert S. Duncanson, 1855. Learning the visual composition of landscape paintings: idea of foreground, middle ground and background to create depth in space. These qualities create moments in a picture, which depict a collective narrative from the little details. The 2D visuals I create are inspired by this concept, to effectively depict moments like a story. 28

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entrance of foreign and familiarity


Arrival, The sound of the forest, the scent of the trees, familiar traces, approaching a great arc of safety

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the in-between portal

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In between the realms of in and out, of the unknown and the known...

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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gathering of love

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Vistas of memory stretched before me, of shared dreams and beliefs, familiar voices and the rustling of leaves, love and belonging exists here PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the ticking bridge

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Into the light of true home and self, encountering and observing time, moving in time...

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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castle of dreams

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in the comfort OF the four walls made of dreams and memories, my universe lies here

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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3. crafting narrativity The collages depict the narrative, emphasising on emotions and dreams. Here is an exploration of how these intangible notions can poetically and symbolically translate into form.

1. reflection, inspired by mirrors where reflection holds a poetic value of seeing the self and world

2. sense of connection, continuity in a space from a single form, every corner is a different experience

3. memory, inspired by picture frames, sense of vision and broadening perspectives

4. sense of safety, enclosed yet open environment

5. reflection, distortion. the idea of different perceptions that exist

6. sense of comfort, comfort of a bed, a safe and peaceful boundary

7. sense of scale, using scale of forms to amplify the symbolic meaning of a space

8. sense of wholeness, exploring how shifting forms can create different spatial experience

a. the arrival, going into the home

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b. in-between, the foyer is a transition, dark and narrow

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c. shared family space, memories and identity

d. path, the ticking clock creates a sense of time, feelings heighten

e. the bedroom where dreams manifest, an initimate and personal wonderland


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a

b

c

d

e

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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This is an overview of the manifestation process. Play of forms and dream visuals and narratives marry to form this dreamscape.

process - Organic forms are made to imitate a very dream-like state, where the world is disorientated and distorted. However, the absence of tactile makes the space harsh, and not soft and floaty like how a dream should be.

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Tissue paper and its texture imitate a cloud-like effect. It makes the space more floaty, dreamy and ‘indefinite’. The form aims to achieve a sense of journey where it follows through the start to the end, yet having different spatial moments and experiences.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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Here I am translating narrative into a spatial experience through the combination of the play of scale and forms to amplify a symbolic relationship between self and the environment. This is done with the form play previously explored. The main idea is that the dreamscape world is expending through the journey.

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dream narrative

perspectival rationalization

scale as experience (plan)

scale as experience (elevation)

translating dreamscape to world scale (elevation)

translating dreamscape to world scale (plan)

on model (1:75)

physicalisation sketch of dreamscape-to-world (plan)

1:75 8m

1:75 10m

1:75 10m 1:75 12m

physicalisation sketch of dreamscape-to-world (elevation)

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final design manifesting the space dreamscape to design, consciousness to reality, sensitizing self Crafting narrativity; Through this manifesto, the process of interiorizing or spatializing from a narrative (identity) can be obeserved. Manifesting a spatial experience based on the intangible or unconscious element creating a new way space can be crafted. inspired by characteristics of time, space and physics in the dreamscape; spontaneous experiences in every corner, constantly transitioning perspectives and spatial senses, the floaty and light sensation in an indefinite space

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dream home journey

overview perspective

entrance of foreign and familiairty

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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“foyer” to “living room”

the in-between portal, gathering of love

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the ticking bridge “hallway” to “bedroom”

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the “bedroom”

climax point

castle of dreams

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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reflection Whisper of the Heart © 1995 Aoi Hiiragu / Shueisha - Nibariki - GNH

PART I MANIFESTO speaculates the spatialisation of a dream. As the nature of the project is a personal reflection, the narrative here is subjective. Moving forward, PART II should present a more grounded platform for design; a mergence of the speculative and operative and where artistic notion meets design. How? A speculative space can be translated into a physical reality through the art of scenography. Stage and scenic design revolves around story-telling and narrativity.

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PART II THEATRE STAGE design set will explore how crafting narrativity can evolve and be applied in a performative setting. A fictional story to the theatre.

Don Giovanni set design by Frank Gehry. Photography is by Autumn de Wilde.

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The Craft and Art of scenic design by Robert Klingelhoefer (2016)

“Scenic design is a complex craft, which uses a special language of space and image to communicate ideas

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to the audience in an often subliminal way that will complement and support the story and help give it life.”

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theatre stage set

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2

Theatrical stage and scenic design is the creation of the visual and the aural: illustrates our unconsciousness. Unlike the manifesto in PART I, theatre stage supports and extends an idea of a given narrative (in this case a performance). This medium is unique in a way that it is viewed by an audience. The way to the craft might differ here.


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groundwork

the art of scenography A narrative space; “Scenography can be defined as the art of coordination and control of space to achieve the objectives of the performance, which forms the framework... (it) is a representation of theatrical space and its formation through furnishing it with a series of audio and visual signs to clarify the meanings of the dramatic text.” 1 The unique 3D environment creates imaginary experiences that stimulates senses and illustrate one’s unconsciousness based on a story or a message.

1 The Science behind Scenography, Ola Mohammed (2019)

(left) Set by designer Katrin Brack for the set The Battle of Hermann. Landscape of foam becomes the battleground of war.

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role of a scenic designer The scenic designer in a theatre production translates (text) narratives and emotional dynamics into non-static space; imagine and plan, merge the creativity and the practicality. The scenic designs supports and extends ideas in the play, working alongside with the script, director and other fields.Although a story is set, the vision of the atmosphere, aethetic and movement of the stage by the designer can influence how the narrative is perceived, bringing a unique and fresh experience. Different designers have different styles and approach to crafting the narrative and set.

(right) Brack uses the soft foam and pastel colours in contrast of the war setting in the play. The set is minimal and non-static; the foams allow actors to be flexible with the environment. Here, Brack uses models to ideate her vision and study properties of the material.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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Liubov Popova: Set Model (1967 reconstruction) for The Magnanimous Cuckold, 1922.

Influences on set designs today According to Robert Klingelhoefer, influences on design today can generally be categorized into: 1. constructivism, 2. “alienation effect” and 3. action design.1 To briefly understand how stage design is versatile and evolving, I will look into a few sets and analyse what the design intend to achieve.

Stage set for Chroma, a performance by The Royal Ballet, 2011.

Setting for a scene in Mother Courage and Her Children, staged by Bertolt Brecht, 1949.

1 The Craft and Art of scenic design, Robert Klingelhoefer

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Minimalism as an aesthetic becomes more popular, a design movement that dates back to the 70s. Most are keen in expressing only the most essential and necessary elements. A form of abstract expression.


Modernist idea: form over content, importance in how it looks over what it represents. The set is non representational and abstract. The set looks heavy and gives an idea of ‘play’ within the stage with many forms and platforms to interact with.

constructivism

“alienation” effect Idea of estrangement (to intentionally make something different than it is expected) The alienation effect can be achieved not just by the craft of the stage, but through script , acting etc. There can be a play of juxtaposition to evoke a reation from the audience.

action design A methodology that bridge modern to the postmodern. Action design is a metaphorical approach, eschews decoration. It becomes symbolic, and brings the attention to the performers. I personally admire this style of design as it allows room for imagination; achieving more with less.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the narrative

charcoal boys by roger mello

(top images)Extracts of Charcoal Boys written and illustrated by Roger Mello, published in 2019. Mellow explores materials and textiles to illustrate moments in the narrative.

A poetic and sensitive portrait of a child working in Brazil’s charcoal mines and his haunting fate. Written in a perspective of a wasp, it follows the child and observes the hardships he faces, from his work at thecoal mine to his relationships with the other factory workers. Mello allows the little boy’s strength and resilience to shine through in this moving condemnation of child labor.

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*

The attraction to this chosen narrative is the ambiguity of the ending. The story is thought-provoking for a children’s book, more suited for older readers. It is also written in a second person POV (as the wasp) which allows the readers/audience to feel one with the story. The simple storyline presents heights of emotions and drama, an asset that can be played and explored in crafting the stage set.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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(left) set design by Katrin Brack highlighting the concept of ‘atmospheric’ With a strong basis in expressionism, atmospheric set focus on elements that create a prominent vibe, tone, emotion etc. Focusing on ‘scenary’, only one material is highlighted throughout the performance.

This is a good example how more can achieve with less. An alternative reality is created.

OS P H M T

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focusing on elements that create a prevading tone, mood, mystery etc. 64

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IC R E

A

ESS E

forms simplified, intentions amplified


(left) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Sally Jacobs’s famous white-box set design. This ‘action design’ set makes things out of the nothingness; bringing focus to the actors, script, costume. The simple notion to me is powerful suggesting strong sybmolism, eliminating decorations to direct the audience to the characters.

transforming or evolving the scene and set

NON

-- - S TAT I C

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Experience with less. In this part of the project, I want to focus on crafting a space that focuses on the essentials; extracting the narrative to the important moments and emotions. In contrast to PART I, the essentialist design here is more literal and how the “same” can yet be “different”. “the space in which the story must unfold. The element employed may have a metaphorical effect, but also has to prove itself within the given bounds.”

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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crafting system

1. story interpretation

Here is my visual interpretation of the narrative. The visual idea is still literal here, following the setting of the story itself. With the practicality of stage set in mind, the narrative are split into three main sets or “location” and seven main scenes. The story is simplified, with the key points and events remain.

SCENE 1

SCENE 2

Two boys working in a charcoal mine rests, lighting a cigarette and chatting.

*

Inspired by the narrative arc or more the “plot diagram”. Like most story, the arc helps to keep the story engaging. The story should start by introducing the context and characters, and develops to the climax.

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Night falls, a fire breaks out. The boys later find themselves in trouble by two inspectors.

SCENE 3

SCENE 4

Attempting to escape from the situation, one of the boys hides himself in the coal truck. The other boy gets caught byan inspector.


SCENE 5

SCENE 6

The coal truck unexpectedly drives off, the boy finds himself travelling to a steel factory. Scared, he secretly observes the workers and the chaos.

SCENE 7

Back on the road, the boy who is still on the truck finds his friend in the inspector’s car driving by.

(the set and feel gets darker as the story gets darker)

Back in the coal mine alone and confused, the boy gets stung by the wasp.

(the settings observe a full circle, the ending and beginning are at the same place, but different aura)

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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2. stage direction and positions

Here stage and character positions are explored to generally understand relationship of characters and audience. Different stage positions hold different psychological effects; 1. direct the audience’s focus and 2. evoke a particular energy dynamic or emotion1. The stage type chosen is a classic proscenium stage, taking Singapore’s Victoria Theatre as a guide.

1 The Psychology of Stage Positions, Belly Dance Greek

Closeness to the audience - Audience field of vision is mainly on the subject when close, evoke a personal connection. Further away implies a “big picture”, creating a disconnection

(disconnected, dramatic tension or “big picture”) (neautral)

(Connection to audience, dramatic tension)

Centred, orr off - Centre position gives a neautral and equal balance to the stage . With the audience, no one is left out. On the other hand, “(w)hen you’re off-center, you’re privileging one half of the audience, and ignoring the other...it creates some dramatic tension that you can resolve by visiting the other side later. ”

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Exploration of character positions on a prescenium stage setting. Here I am exploring with a few main characters of Charcoal Boys: the mining boys, inspectors and the steel workers.

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In this crafting process, the explorations and characteristics are more specific. The theatre holds a unique psychological effect with everything that stands on it. It is a good learning point observing how distance and orientation can influence the narrativity.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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3. light, shadow, materiality

Light and darkness are elements commonly played in a theatre. I personally find these the most interesting as the intangibility can express so much more than the physical attirubutes on a stage. It makes the set simple yet dramatic simply by the positions of lights and subjects. Intensity, scale, clarity of subjects can be explored simply by light and shadow. The exploration on the right starts of with studying opacity of different materials; paper, fabric and plastic. And few lighting positions; top, back, front and the relationship with character positions.

*

At this point, I think it is critical to acknowledge that the whole theatre production is complexed and does not only involve the stage design. Script, directing, costume etc. plays an equal part in the production. However I am attempting it as a spatial experience designer. I will be setting some grounds for myself to limit my explorations.

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(left) stage sets by Johannes Schütz using light and shadow as part of the performance. I can imply from these images that different positions of the light can evoke different moods. It gives a mysterious ambience, a dramatic experience.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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Stage lighting is a complexed entity on its own. It involves a process of tests and trials for a production to achieve the ambience. Here, I am only looking into a few lighting positions to explore. Lighting is important for visibility of the actors expression and play of shadow.

backlight with the basic crossed pair

frontal

light from below

backlight projection

fabric

The images on the right is an example of the exploration of material and light. The tissue paper is favoured, in my personal opinion it has a unique characteristic. The tissue has similar opacity with the fabric, but with different lighting positions, it changes. This trait makes crafting the narrative interesting; having one material that is versatile.

tissue paper

frontal

backlight projection

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fabric

vs.

tissue paper

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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4. scale, distance, framing

Scale and distance, like any spatial studies, are crucial in the idea of perception. Here I am using the idea of framing to ‘scene’ the scene. As the intensity of the narrative increases, the stage opens up to a bigger world. The main idea I am driving is amplifying the idea of emptiness as the story progresses. The boy at the end of the story is left alone, back in the same coal mine where it begins.

(open)

(empty)

(enclosed)

(intimate)

(intimate)

(empty)

coal mine

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road

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factory

road

coal mine


(left, bottom) set by Maria Bjornson for Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The idea is the building of momentum through the scenes, like how Mozart’s music drives forward. The stage literally opens up to a bigger scenes through the performance. The idea of scale here plays with the tone and ambience of the environment. The audience feel more connected with the stage as the scale of the set makes clear of the ambience at that moment. Below is the techincality of how the stage cleverly moves and opens.

(bottom) set by Conor Murphy for Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. Light projection differentiate the spaces rather than using conventional scenery. The space simply uses a glass frame that rotates, setting different boundaries (emotional and physical).

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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process #1

essentialism, non-static and atmospheric - after a series of process, based of the story interpretation collages to the study of spatial and scenography elemnts, a framing system is crafted as the set. The stage will transform and rotate throughout the performance. The intention is to create different scenes with the same platform.

3 main frame compund

biggest (stagnant)

centre (slide, rotate, elevate)

smallest (slide, rotate)

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Although a ‘system’ is established, the crafting process is never linear. Lighting, stage positions, the framing etc. are concurrently compared and mixed to finalize the outcome. Since nothing is added or subtracted during the performance, the movement of the set has to be smooth and coincide with the storyline.

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process #2

Play of layers - In addition to the framing to impose the element of scale, the tissue paper is a tool for the play of light and shadow. As the frame rotates, at some point it creates layers. This will give different effects in every scene. After a series of trials during the making process, the decision of the size and placement of the paper on a specific frame is made. It is important as it affects the story flow, from one scene to another.

+

craft tissue paper (screen)

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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final design

charcoal boys, the stage play The stage itself plays a part of the performance, like a character on its own. As much as the narrative and charactera are fixated, I want the stage to come to life and tell most of the story (also considering that this project focuses on the spatial experience of the stage).

*

Stopmotion as a mode of presentation is most ideal. It allows me to be more hands-on and detailed with the craft. At some point, it influences the craft and changes some original ideas. It makes me reflect on the set as a ‘director’ or ‘designer’ and the perspective of the audience. It is a challenge, but it makes me more sensitive to the spatial design and experience. 78

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scan to watch!


PART 1 | 2 | 3

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PART 1 | 2 | 3

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breakdown Storyline scenes (2D)

SCENE 1

SCENE 2

SCENE 3

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Scenes (3D)


Symbolism of character relationship and atmosphere

Plan view of the stage, orientation of the frames

Scene with lighting

The two boys start of within the smallest frame compound, sitting closest to the audience with direct light. This is to achieve intimacy and an ‘introduction’ to their personality and friendship.

The fire outbreak signify chaos and a big change , foreshadowing an unfortunate fate. The stage rotates and transforms dramatically, with lights flickering to symbolize the chaos.

In hiding, the positions of the boys and the inspectors are a bit disconnected while stading on different frame. The boys are subdued to silhouettes, giving suspense. PART 1 | 2 | 3

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SCENE 4

SCENE 5

SCENE 6

SCENE 7

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The boy who is hiding on the truck is left alone and confused, spotlight on him. Still within the smallest frame, it moves further back and elevates to represent the truck on the go. Play of lights imitate street lights.

The frame rotates as he arrives in the steel factory. Suspense is highest here. Still centre-stage and facing the audience, the lighting suggests that he is not seen by the workers. The focus is still on the boy, maintaining the relationship with the audience.

On the go again. This time the frame rotates to the opposite position as he travels in the opposite direction. The other characters appear off-centre as he observes them secretly.

Back all alone in the coal mine, scared and defeated. The centre frame moves back, the stage transforms such that the space is the most spacious. This is to imitate a bigger but emptier world for the character, a juxtaposition to the first scene. PART 1 | 2 | 3

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reflection Don Giovanni set design by Frank Gehry. Photography is by Autumn de Wilde.

A common concept I learnt so far is that scenogrphy have this notion of ‘clues’. Elements like light and shadow can give the audience something to anticipate, or a tool to help them understand the story. Role of observer shifts from passive to active. Blurring the relationship between audience and actor, spectator and spectacles; audience as an intergral part of experience. “Today, scenographics spaces stand as the contemporary manifestation of this spirit of discovery and interaction.” 1

1Liquid Spaces, Sofia Borges (preface)

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With the idea of dream to manifesto in PART I and the art of scenography in PART II, the final project will find the marriage of both. PART III will tackle the crafting of narrativity in a pragmatic local context and site. This time, everyone is an observer or an audience, and is a part of a ‘performance’.

Ann Hamilton,The event of a thread, 2012. An installation-performance art activated by swings and curtains.

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Just Two of Us, Katharina Grosse

“We are not just spectators of our reality,

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CRAFTING NARRATIVITY


we are co-creaters.”

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public installation

3

Narrativity is deeply rooted in culture. Culture defines as the “stories that members of a culture measure their identities against, consciously or not.” Social behaviour and activities and shared ideas can be categorized in this narrative culture. In a multi-cultural society like Singapore, unique and niche culture can be abundantly found; religious and heriatage sites, food places, malls to name a few.

In this final part of the project, I want to conclude the idea of crafting narrativity in a pragmatic and local context; how culture (narrative) can be elevated and experienced in a real communal environment.

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groundwork

“city of books” Bras Basah Comlpex dates back to the 1980s, known as the go-to place for books and related trades (art materials, educational resources). Book merchants established businesses and soon become tenants, cultivating an arts culture. Against all odds, the complex is still thriving today due to the loyal customers and the niche community. The complex sits humbly in the arts and heritage district in Singapore’s civic centre (home to museums, monuments and modern retail). The preservation to its original architecture and heritage is a nostalgic and charming entity. Today, it houses book shops, art galleries, printing services, antiques, music supplies and other specialty shops.

*

Bras Basah Complex makes an ideal platform for crafting narrativity. The quiet retail culture that is rich amongst the arts community is a narrative on its own. The social characteristics and events that take place here are a form of narrativity that is worth exploring and celebrating.

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CRAFTING NARRATIVITY


(top) Drawing of Basheer Graphic Books, a popular bookstore operating since the 90s loved by the arts and design community. This sectional perspective depicts a bit of the interior and most of the exterior that sits on the corridor of the upper level of the complex.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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architecture The complex hold some unqiue features, one includes it being both a commercial nad residential site. The 25-storey residential unit is one of the city’s last afforable housing project for the Housing Development Board (HDB)1 and sits above the complex (a 5-storey atrium). Despite the occasional bustling shopping envionment, the architecture of the site successfully achieves privacy and peace for the residents. 1 Brief History of Bras Basah Complex (https:// bras-basah-complex.com.s)

residential and commercial

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CRAFTING NARRATIVITY


long corridors

stairs

atrium

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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L5

(left) Floor maps of Bras Basah Complex (commercial), the 25-storey residential flats sits above the fifth storey.

L4

L2

L3

(shops)

(void A) (atrium)

L2

(Diagram above) Take the complex’s second-storey as a study. The “core” of the complex is where the escalator sits, traffic is the highest here within its radius. The complex’s prominent traits are the atrium and long central voids within the 5-storey commercial site that allow natural cooling ventilation and lighting. Most shops line along a corridor which hugs a void. Besides the practical aspects, the voids influence the visual and spatial perception of the entire space.

L1

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(above, Image of Void A) Walking through the complex on the first storey gives a sense of openess and scale.w

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the narrative

city of dreams The common narrative : The arts culture. The act of discovering or learning of new ideas and sharing dreams and the space with the like-minded.

Then vs. Now. Although Bras Basah Complex still stands, the complex is more reserved. Purpose-driven shoping and services; usually only regular shoppers or people part of the arts community frequent here. This sense of an understated community is what I find unique. A mellow act of preserving and acting on a culture that has existed for a long time. As commercialization in modern Singapore is evergrowing, this complex is still keeping its charm in a subtle way.

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I. Manifesto

>

dreamscape

space

>

*

In Part I where I explored a dreamscape manifesting into a space, Part III will converse; exploring the space and extracting the dreams and back to space. Similarly to Part II, BBC acts as a performative and narrative space, this time “performed” by the people/community.

III. Bras Basah Complex


creating

learning

embracing

discovering

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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casual passer-by, families. shopping.

students. shopping for supplies.

..

ds hol ex both l p com d by en Obs The es like rs oft : o n c enio ter t ervi rive e-d and s The s at ca ows o h ps g. s t rs h urp 1.P ific sho youn store visito rs visg d d c a l l n n e o e a gu ou it sp old to vis ests. Y y of re ey com e t e r i h r y r th e T t , b o j a e ce al. e in com vintag n the m or go the pla ating g i e r e f i t v s f o na y est po the are o pur emor ay of The r xr a e . v m w ace e ne with e of irect p du iting a sens ery d n the s ed an a hub v i st with g in a ng with intere ity for s culn n ti in u u t c l t raft t r a f u s le po and c ter s p n i i o e and plac issed y arts n m he of t d, a ith ma . re ch w sses o l p ri sine t is tha nd bu a ture ns..

tio erva

hobbyists. learning, creating

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seniors. window-shopping, strolling.

tatic re s me a ts . So ron opf cades s the h s fa r nd st Mo glass , exte interio : t s u k d tore s r t o O i a o l s tand ond s to oks n v i2. I have s tly bo ce bey visitor ng vis i s t r r n t o d o e e e f t i n m per a s f g ild in uct es, eo d ex stor ping g prod xampl and bu playe p is e c n sho isplayi good icipate ucts d s traffi s d rt d d a e a e o l y r s s p i b his p erve t, nclo e ith s T rac at. to inte ops w ten ob feel e may b h d f tors The s lass o ible an pfronts en from . g s e e o ests nd the less vi the sh n be s t of th i a u e e h c r o c e a n b in and ctio hey e. S as t clusiv lot of a ers in x p or e l, not a Shop ted. l . c sma utside conne o s i d e e th e ar stor

shop owners/workers. manning, servicing, sharing

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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arts and creative culture as a narrative, a community identity

peeking into fragments of dreams and ideas of individuals

collective consciousness

Amplify these “reserved” narrative. How do I make it more seen and appreciated?

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(Above) Collage depicting Bras Basah Complex as a stage with collective talents and dreams, peeking behind the walls. This shows potential in highlighting the performace (creative culture) that exists. Note that I am not changing the narrative (identity), the aim is to amplify it.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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The area around the core, where the only escalators are, usuallly observe the highest traffic in the complex. The surrounding stores are also the most frequently visited. It is an ideal area to explore and craft. Thisbookshop is one of the few good examples of an interactive shop facade, displaying the products freely. Nonetheless, it can still be reimagined to reveal more, dream more.

stories unraveling

*

The simple journey mapping here is similar to the dream journey in Part 1. An experience journey of a subject is always a good tool to study the nature of the space and the relationship to the people inhabiting it; how they move, interact and perceive.

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reflecting, appreciating


(void B)

* BOOK POINT (void A) (atrium)

a quiet collective consciousness

escalating dreams

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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the craft openess

dis tor tio n

“un dim ens i

oning”

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fabric facade Main idea is to replace the shop facades into layers of suspending fabric. By challenging the interior and exterior beyond its given perimeters, the visual and physical boundaries are blurred to bring people into a dreamscape like state. The store and/or corridor extends more than its perimeters.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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Use and play of an ideal material can achieve a simple but significant experience. Textile is a popular material in modern architecture and spatial experience. It is often associated with the idea of lightness, connection and used as a performative language or experience. The characteristic that interests me the most is the ambiguity the fabric can give; act of appearing and disappearing of subjects, seen and not seen, and how it can “dance” when activated. This seems ideal in a space like Bras Basah Complex, as mentioned, how it is a performative space on its own that is rich in the creative culture and activities. By using the concept of the fabric into the space, it might highlight the narrative of the culture and /or even participate along. Highlighting the narrative, becoming the narrative.

*

Exploration of textile materials (fabric and paper) continues throughout this project. Some characteristics like opacity and lightness are still highlighted and are key in the process of designing. This shows how a couple of characteristics of an object can be uniquely explored and applied in different crafts or design

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(left)LOGAN offices by SO-IL. Seamless floor-to-ceiling fabric partitions separate central work areas while still maintaing the essence of a shared environment despite the visual segmentation. The opacity of the fabric here functions as a kind of hazy filter, reducing people and objects into dream-like silhouettes. I believe the fabric acts as a medium of the seen and unseen. Setting boundaries but also blurring them. It gives a unique form of story-telling through the idea of “peeking” into the movements beyond an area. (left) Qiora store & spa at New York City. Suspended coloured fabric veils setting visual and tactile boundaries in the space. Unique colours are calibrated by overlapping the layer of fabrics, creating depth and brings people in. The lightness and softness of the fabric seem to be ideal in a soothing setting like a spa, which also resonates to lightness and calmness. This is a good example of how qualities of the fabric matches qualities of the setting and brand, whilst providing practical spatial use.

(left) Project by Dioinno Architecture PLLC ; Cloud of Wind is an installation set in a field, using fabric as shading without it being a static entity. The cloud-like fabric form responds with the air, liberating the space and depicts an ever-changing setting. It is decribes that even the sound of the fabric is a similar imitation of the sound of nature. The fabric here is used delicately. It becomes “alive” and becomes a performance by nature. This concept resonates to a performative space like Bras Basah Complex. I like how it is designed with the sensitivity of the environment in mind, and coorperating it to be part of the form. The fabric and nature becomes one. PART 1 | 2 | 3

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process #1

Blurring boundaries. Amplifying narratives, celebrating identity. Into dreamscapes. Challenging memory.

Layers give depth and different visual perceptions

Fabric extends and hugs the shop facade

Play of opacity, lightness openess

As the fabric extends out the corridor into the void, it hopes to bring people’s attention on the high volume space. Also connecting the shops and voids.

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Into a dream The translucency of the screen reduces the act of people into surreal, dream-like silhouettes, achieving a sense of ambiguity. Through the fabric(s), the image of the movements and social activities are “blurred” just like a dreamscape. This gives room for imagination and wonder as people get to observe and subtly experience the nature of the place. Play of perception Layers of fabric gives the liberty to craft the experience. More private or more public. Different visits, new things to see and experience. Again, emphasising on the light touch of the fabric, it hopes to bring out the narrative that exists and not obstruct. Connecting spaces Most shops in the complex will share the same fabric facade. The complex will look like they have collective that amplify the identity altogether. The fabric

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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process #1

Blurring boundaries. Amplifying narratives, celebrating identity. Into dreamscapes.Challenging memory.

elevation view of a shop facade

The orgainc form here resonates to the dream-like state, how visuals are less vivid and blurry. However, I feel that the installation is harsh and forceful in the conext. The intent is to not interfere with how people act and interact in the complex. An unusual organic shape might disturb the integrity and nature of the complex’s identity too much.

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process #2

Blurring boundaries. Amplifying narratives, celebrating identity. Into dreamscapes. Challenging memory. Framing scenes.

Keeping the form simple and familiar, the form is changed into straight-forward suspended fabric, similar to curtains. The rectangular form gives the idea of “framing” the shop. By giving a scene a visual frame, it simply highlights the events happening within. A simple but effective gesture.

*

Here, the idea of “framing scenes” learnt from Part 2’s stage design is applied. The difference; part 2 involves a fictional story that tranforms into a theatre space setting. The performance is still directed in some way. Here in Part 3, the complex has its own narrative - the identity and the people and their interactions. The intention is to simply amplify that. PART 1 | 2 | 3

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‘scening’ dreams... appreciating and celebrating the identity...

Collective moments - (left) ‘Out My Window’ photographed by Gail Albert-Halaban, capturing people in their intimate moments through the windows. It is described that nothing exciting happens, but that is where the beauty lies. The window framing reveals ordinary people doing ordinary things. There is a bit of a sense of curiousity and story-telling implied. Different moments, separated by walls but under the same roof. The fabric in Bras Basah Complex hopes to achieve a similar effect. How the framing fabric ‘pictures ‘ people simply doing what they do. The narrative reveals itself.

part b (void facade)

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part a (corridor and shop facades)


Deterritorializing - The fabric opens up the space, changing the way the people perceive it as they know. As most are purpose-driven in their intention of visit, memory of the space is ecident. This will break that notion. There is more liberty in how they move and navigate through the complex. More “revealing” of what they think they know of the space and place.

Performing textile - Besides exposing the activities within the shops, the airiness of the space and people passing by gently and subtly moves the fabric. The fabric in a way serves a few purpose. It amplifies the narrative and becomes a narrative.

(above) Urban Podium In Rotterdam, a theatre podium that uses curtains as both a boundary or part of a ‘closed’ stage. The curtains here have multiple use, while still feels light to the eyes and surroundings.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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part a (corridor and shop facades) Length and layers - Play of the length and width of fabric and the number of layers can be set in accordance to the shopowners. Full length and more layers achieve more privacy. The visual becomes more cloudy and dream-like. Shorter length will give more exposure,xxxxx only revealing some parts which gives more ambuigity.

*

Again, the idea of scale and layering plays in the craft. A simple notion like adding or subtracting something can imply different narrativity. Here the environment and the people as a narrative craft itself. The fabric installation most importantly acts as a tool to reveal that.

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wonder wanderers

making of dreams

pitter-patter rhythm

Illusion puzzle - The layers of fabric create micro frames. Frames within a frame within a frame... chapters in stories. As one views the facade as a whole, they can also explore more perspectives of the activities happening within. Above are a few examples of the scene.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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Overlapping layers, reveal less

Full length, covering most of the shop facade

1 layer

d)

(voi 2 layers

4 layers

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Although the fabric concept is proposed as a shop facade, it can also be used in the interior of the shop as a tactile boundary. The height of the complex (corridor) is estimated at 3.5m, and the interior extends more.The variation makes the place ever-changing, only by the subtle changes. I think it is a unique way to express the arts and book culture that is supposed to be imaginative. Suspending at half length, reveals parts

d)

(voi

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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part b (void facade)

Volume play - Taking advantage of the spacious void in the complex, a similar fabric installation suspends from the highest to the ground floor. The void space at the ground floor usually observe the most traffic, as people are actively passing by through the complex. The sense of volume and scale of the building are prominent. Currently, metal railings surround the void, almost blocking the view to the interior or other side. Framing the end of the void with fabric instad, and will similarly “scene” the activities that happen through the floors. This hopes to bring a bit more attention and appreciation tothe complex’s essence.

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General concept of the shop and void facade with the fabric installations.

PART 1 | 2 | 3

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dream-stage-complex

Bras Basah Complex reimagined. The installation hopes to achieve a more imaginative space, where the arts culture are amplified and celebrated. People should be free to dream, and it requires people to make dreams into realities.

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PART 1 | 2 | 3

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PART 1 | 2 | 3

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conclusion In summary, the idea of crafting narrativity diverges into three mediums here; from a self-expressive dreamscape manifesto to story-telling in the theatre and finally an installation to a public space with an entrancing identity. Bras Basah Complex is the ideal space as a conclusion, not just because of the unique space, but in reality it is where people celebrate and dream of the arts and design. Similar explorations and ideas are constantly brought into play in all the practices. Forms, materiality, perception are a few concepts that are common in the craft. Subconsciously, I have created a formula that I can use in different practices. Again this proves how by learning from the craft of the art (in part 1) can be applied in design (in parts 2 and 3). The idea of scenography in part 2 especially is a good example of how art and design marry; imagine and operate. I believe that different contemporary spatial practices can do the same; retail, exhibition, hospitality etc. As much as interior design has its rules, I think it is valuable to be more wondrous. Narrativity can create a unique impact in the way we experience spaces.

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1 MANIFESTO

2 THEATRE STAGE SET

drive

consciousness

scenography

narrative

spatialising a dream (manifesto)

spatialising a story (fixed content)

spatialising an identity (place)

approach

speculative

speculative - pragmatic

pragmatic - speculative

method

self, objects, environment to narrative to design

narrative to design

people, environment to narrative to design

development

0-dimension (dreams) to 3-dimension (form)

2-dimension (storybook) to 4-dimension (form,time)

0-dimension (dreams, culture) to 5-dimension (form, time, interaction)

space

private space, self reflective

form

art

3 PUBLIC INSTALLATION

installation (consciousness + scenography)

public space, local context

design

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Profile for Sabrina Yazid

Crafting Narrativity  

A thesis project by Sabrina Yazid aiming to explore how narrativity (dreams, stories, identity etc.) can be crafted into a spatial experienc...

Crafting Narrativity  

A thesis project by Sabrina Yazid aiming to explore how narrativity (dreams, stories, identity etc.) can be crafted into a spatial experienc...

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