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  • Writer's pictureLihong

(almost) clandestine adventures on a sunday afternoon in the times of coronavirus

So on Sunday morning, I saw a friend's post on instagram about Jewel, the extravagant mall in Changi Airport. I was going mad from not leaving my home for weeks, and was itching to have a safe adventure. So yes, it wasn't entirely necessary, but I don' go anywhere, not even to the hawker centres, so I thought I deserved this excursion.

It is a strange feeling to go to the airport and not be getting on a flight. My habitual neural pathways misfired and made me feel excited for a little moment, because my brain thought I was about to travel. The anticipation was like rain to a bone dry reservoir during a drought. I almost felt the drumbeat of my heart. And then I went home.

But not before filming lots of little snippets of any moment I felt like capturing during my short little wandering (I was there for about 2 hours, and also took the time to memorise my monologue for Strasberg class).

In a way, I never got to experience the airport in this sort of whimsical way. I was listening to a playlist of songs and let it carry my feet where they felt like going (well, except for where it was marked out of bounds). Got stared at a couple of times by people (at least they couldn't see me singing or talking to myself behind my mask...)

Setting the conditions of only staying there for 2 hours max, and listening to the narrative that was writing itself in my head, helped serve as a creative prompt. And I made myself do minimal edits, putting in a max of 2 songs from the long playlist, and create an experimental film to go with a poem that wrote itself while I was wandering around.

Reflections on the process

Could I have used better equipment? Maybe, but I didn't have it. Could the transitions and music matching have been more precise? Probably. Could the story have more structure? Yes, if that had been the aim and I had sat down and thought about what story I wanted to tell before I went there, did a recce, filmed, refilmed till I was happy, perhaps risk getting chucked out by airport staff before I was done. But the aim in this exercise was to generate something quickly, not get bogged down by my natural desire to make something perfect, which can take the fun out of making itself. I wanted to capture the feelings and impulses as they arose, and if I spent my energy trying to make sure everything was perfect, the moment would have been gone. I'd have lost my train of thought.

This is where I draw a parallel between making quick art and the prototyping stage of the innovation process. In this stage you're not looking to create the final product. The idea is to create something tangible (versus something abstract) so you actually can test users' interactions in a real, non-simulated way. It's to allow designers to fail quickly and cheaply, so that less time and money is invested in an idea that turns out to be a bad one.

“They slow us down to speed us up. By taking the time to prototype our ideas, we avoid costly mistakes such as becoming too complex too early and sticking with a weak idea for too long.” – Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

So yeah, this film is intentionally low-res, and I had so much fun making it I want to make more. Some stuff will be crappy, but I have to get the crap out of my system first.



Overactive prefrontal cortex

I am an insect in quicksand

fighting the laws of physics F=mg

but under the vortex

I imagine myself standing in the middle of it

eye of the storm

The water must fall


there's turbulence, escaping eddies

but the next sheet of water comes crashing down

destroys the spirals

The ground is so compelling to the water

it cannot help but surrender

no more possibilities

path dependency will determine the rest

following the click of a locking mechanism

the familiar dénouement of events

un déjà vu aussi ennuyant que réconfortant

c'est dans ce déclenchement

discharge of stored energy


that tension breaks

and air becomes breath

Only in the unintentional discharge

the misfiring of the brain that happens sometimes

when habit short-circuits logic

will there be surprises

som ett vådaskott

ett oavsiktligt avlossat skott från ett skjutvapen

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