FILE NOTES: Why Playgrounds Should Never Grow Out of Style

In today’s digital age, the realm of children’s play is expanding rapidly into the fourth spatial dimension—the spatial dimension of virtual realities and cyber networks. From books and games to music and crafts, digital technology has converted traditional (physical and haptic) forms of play into digitized formats with user-friendly qualities: mobile, convenient, responsive. Such technological innovations…

FILM: Urbanized

Urbanized, the third and most recent feature-length documentary in Gary Hustwit’s design trilogy film series, has been on my radar for quite some time since its debut in 2011. Last week, I had the opportunity to watch the DVD format of Urbanized. With a running time of 85 minutes, the film managed to explore an array of divergent…

EXHIBITION: The Price of Neglect

In The Price of Neglect, Lu Guang lifts the heavy veils of human indignity shrouding ostracized communities in China from the public eye. Lu Guang’s cogent photographs expose the raw realities faced by entire villages grappling with HIV/AIDS (where poor peasants have contracted infected blood after selling their own through unregulated procedures), cancer (where industrial-related pollution has devastated agricultural land and water),…

FIELD REPORT: Filling In The Void

The HDB void deck, a venerable feature of Singapore’s public housing architecture, has enjoyed decades of unhindered building implementation since its first introduction in 1969. Popularly accepted as a rational design solution to high-rise tropical living, the void deck is often viewed as an architectural necessity and public good. Firstly, as an open space constituting…

FIELD REPORT: When Big is Beautiful

The pervasive two-winged city denizen, cloaked in plumage of nondescript greys and often seen roosting on a window ledge or splashing in a park fountain, navigates a shaky relationship with its two-armed urban co-habitant. At worst, the pigeon is pelted for being a pesky nuisance and, at best, lobbed a scattering of food scraps (which…

FILM: Manufactured Landscapes

MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES. The title—whether or not intended to be tongue-in-cheek—is laced with honest truth. Today, over 50% of the world’s population live in an urban context, making cities the single-largest aggregate landscape on our planet to be manufactured completely by humankind. And here, in these cities, is a complex narrative of consumption (demand) and production…