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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Degrees of artistry

THE normal internal body temperature of a human being is 37°C.

Coincidentally, the number of degree students graduating from The One Academy this year is also 37.

And so the 37 Degree Exhibition was born, a graduation showcase of multimedia design, graphic design and illustration students that took place recently in Publika, Kuala Lumpur.

With feverish excitement, students set up and displayed their final projects for the public to experience.

Their diverse work were all injected with a healthy dose of their own personal inclinations and unique perspectives.

Nur Sabrina Nor Azizi has loved comics since she was a little girl.

“They inspired me to pursue art. I remember as a kid I used to collect all the little Doraemon figures.”

She put her passion into her work, creating an interactive webcomic about two aliens trying to find a gift for their little sister.

“I like abstract art and am a big fan of surrealism. But I like to draw cute aliens too,” says the 21-year-old.

From Man to Madness is a short interactive animated horror film by Mohammad Redzuan Ibrahim.

He describes the film as a loose awareness project on psychological illness which, having an older brother who suffers from schizophrenia, is something that is close to his heart.

His creative process met more than a few roadblocks, he says, with massive changes occuring to his storyline and art direction multiple times.

“It took a lot of reading, a lot of YouTube and a lot of talking with lecturers. But overall I’m pretty happy with the outcome. My advice to others would be to plan ahead and test concepts beforehand so that you can save time.”

In a self-reflexive move, Roxanne Lim Ching Huey’s interactive website The Journey of Change was inspired by the problems design students face.

She conducted a survey and found that the top six problems were demotivation, uncertainty, health-related issues, design-related issues, time management and procrastination.

“The character in the story transforms from scene to scene. At the end, the character is able to reach a great height which is a metaphor for the user to always strive to discover more.”

Another positive thinker is Joyce Ng Meii Jee, whose interactive typography installation Good Things Fall Apart So That Better Things Fall Together is based on a Marilyn Monroe quote.

“I’m not what you would call an academically strong student. But I love design and my family has always supported me through it. I moved to KL from Penang when I was 17 to study. There were a lot of new things I had to adjust to but what I learnt is that you can get through anything if you have a positive outlook.”

Some projects were aimed at maximising user involvement in a particular activity.

Lye Vivian created an interactive short film Escape where the user can control the story with their voice.

“I wanted to bring the user closer to the virtual world where instead of just being a third party watching a film, you can take part and be a part of the story in real-time.”

Using Kinect’s motion-tracking sensor technology, Thenesh Skip’s Out of the Box allows the user to control audio and video.

“Each movement is attached to a different beat which is triggered when you execute it. The user can create what they want to see and hear. You basically become your own DJ.”

As president of the exhibition, Thenesh said that it was his job to approve and supervise the decisions of the various committee teams.

The graduation showcase was entirely student-run, with students separated into secretary, treasury, public relations, fundraising, logistics and creative teams to help bring it all together.

“We had to organise this outside of college hours and so it really relied on the commitment of the individuals,” says Thenesh.

Vice president Renee Ho said it was all a good exercise in management and teamwork.

“It can definitely get challenging. You have to learn how to make up for parts of the team that don’t pull their weight.”

Her paper theatre Maïlys and the Enchanted Forest combined her equal interests in illustration and photography.

“This promotes the art of storytelling and is a great way for adults to bond with children. I find that most of my projects relate to children. I also love the outdoors and so I tend to do work related to nature too.”

Some students used their projects to explore the power of visuals in enhancing the user’s experience.

Jake Giam Chung Kit’s Project Origins is an educational interactive website that tells the history of five different major inventions.

“History for me is a boring subject but this is only because of the way it is presented to us. But with cool graphics and animation, people can enjoy history more.”

Elaine Ling Li Fen wanted to explore the effectiveness and functionality of using illustrated infographics in daily life.

“Most of the time infographics use symbols, pictograms and icons which are very flat. Illustrations on the other hand give more life and are able to display information in a more appealing way. It grabs your attention.”

Her exploration encompassed applying illustrated infographics to packaging design, coasters and posters and even a cookbook.

Claire Yap Yeng Yeng took on a packaging redesigning project for Purple Cane Tea.

She tried to bring out the personality and benefits of each tea in her packaging illustrations.

“I want people to approach tea not just as a normal beverage. Tea cleanses and calms you, allowing for more self-reflection. In Chinese culture, there is a real philosophy and art to tea. I want people to engage with and appreciate that.”

The presence of culture and history was also felt at the exhibition in some Malaysian-themed projects.

Inspired by her childhood which she remembers fondly, Qloe Goh Khai Xing made Masak Masak, a pop-up accordion cardboard kitchen for kids.

“This sort of imaginative play for younger children is important in developing identity.”

Qloe used vintage design tiles she found in kopitiams and her grandmother’s house for a truly Malaysian feel.

“I don’t think this game is just for girls. I used to play this all the time with my brother when I was younger.”

Jom Rojak! is a campaign branding idea by Fish Lee Kok An that includes posters with classic Malaysian dishes and badges with colloquial Malaysian phrases.

“Our tourism campaigns usually focus on the separate traditional images of each race. But as Malaysians, we are a mixed culture. We should focus on the things that we have in common. At the end of the day, we are all Malaysians.”

Tags / Keywords: Education , the one academy degree show


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