At Singapore Art Book Fair two weekends ago, we were heartened to see for ourselves that print is well and truly #notdead (long live paper!). We believe the printed word, enhanced by beautiful typography and compelling layout, remains the richest medium to convey ideas that spark change and ultimately transform societies and economies.
In a toast to the fellow artists, thinkers, storytellers and innovators who attended, supported, followed (or missed) Singapore Art Book Fair, here’s a round-up of a weekend well spent, defined by an outpouring of creativity and an abundance of visual art and content.
This year’s fair attracted a well-rounded lineup from near and far, with over 60 local and international exhibitors (twice that of last year’s edition) coming together to showcase – in creative consultancy Do Not Design’s words – “the art and possibilities of print”. From punchy illustrations and powerful photography to imaginative booklets and beautifully curated zines, a great variety of mediums laid claim to the enduring beauty and utility of print.
Art lovers, book lovers, magazine lovers, zine lovers and people who love anything related to the creative industry must not miss @singaporeartbookfair happening today and tomorrow from 12 to 8pm! This was my harvest yesterday and I am not even half done! See u guys there!!!! #holycrapsg #filmisnotdead #sgabf2018 @holycrap.sg @renn.lim @aira_lim
2018 marks the fifth edition of Singapore Art Book Fair and the first year it’s been independently organised, neither funded by nor affiliated with any external bodies. To celebrate its newfound freedom, #SGABF has replaced #SABF as the fair’s official hashtag.
That’s not the only change: in another first, #SGABF2018 “recalibrated its focus” by turning towards work that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but provokes critical thinking and further discourse. To amplify ideas worth spreading beyond the SGABF weekend, we’ve shortlisted five exhibitors whose publications exemplify this new direction:
Independence: The History of Graphic Design in Singapore Since the 1960s
Published by The Design Society
The first book to trace the evolution of graphic design in Singapore, Independence documents the effects of the country’s economic goals on its design sector, the resilience of its design pioneers and the unbridled growth and promise of Singaporean design.
Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book
Published by Swell
We are honoured that our design for ‘Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book Vol. 1 of V’ by artist Shubigi Rao has been selected in AIGA & DesignObserver’s “50 Books | 50 Covers” of 2016. Big thank you to @aigadesign @designobserver & the jury! The book will become part of the AIGA collection at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library, the Robert Haas Arts Library at Yale University as well as the online AIGA Design Archives. #graphicdesign #book #publication #design #typography #AIGA5050 #AIGAarchives #studioswell
A decade-long project on the history of book destruction and censorship, Pulp is the perfect tribute to art book fairs, telling a powerful story of the book as a symbol of resistance.
Published by Volume Press
A Shanghai-based magazine about “self-discovery through travel”, LOST offers intentionally global perspectives. Its candidly written, bilingual stories explore the foreign and the familiar, delicately combining cross-cultural curiosity with universal themes of loneliness and introspection.
Published by Central Saint Martins
A biannual journal rich in in-depth analyses, critical essays and savvy art histories, Afterall has recently welcomed Ute Meta Bauer, the founding director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (the very venue of #SGABF2018) to its editorial team.
Published by JOH & COMPANY
B is an ad-free monthly publication that dedicates each issue to the study of one global brand, sharing untold stories and insights that any reader “interested in brand marketing and management can leaf through with ease”.
These publications (and many, many more) point towards the unique ability of print to bring together diverse geographies, viewpoints and art forms. Yannick Bouillis, director of art book fair Offprint Paris, suggests that art books provide a kind of refuge for artists: “Although artists have less and less control of how their work is sold and exhibited [today], they can maintain their independence through publishing.”
Apart from artists, audiences also have much to gain from print, especially when broaching specialised subject matters. Dense texts and thoughtful themes benefit greatly from the formal qualities of print as a highly tactile and durable medium, and interesting visual elements go a long way in improving the legibility and enjoyability of even the most serious content. Now who said print is dead?
Evening break sessions at Foreign Policy take on various forms. One of which, and our most recent favourite, includes going a few doors down to Creamier for a cone (or a cup — different strokes for different folks) of ice cream.
One evening, not feeling entirely up for my cone of pistachio ice-cream, I hand my cone over to Min Min for a bite. “Wah.. this flavour is very jelak, and very heaty,” she goes.
“Feeling heaty” appears to be a trope in our conversations, so much so that Iryna (who’s from Canada, and is fortunately not subject to the arguably absurd notion) laments whenever it comes up: “This shit again..?”, “Heaty? Isn’t it always heaty in Singapore?”
Yet, those unfamiliar with the concept will soon learn: feeling “heaty” won’t resolve itself by being in an air-conditioned room; it won’t prevent you from developing a fever, a nosebleed, a sore throat, ulcers, excessive thirst or irritability, but having a glass of starfruit juice will (as Min Min will have you know).
It’s not so much a situation that manifests itself externally, but internally; kind of like a feeling, and often, feelings can be a challenge to describe. If foods generated a vibe or an energy, this would be it. Jackfruit and I have always been civil with one another, but too much of her gives me feelings of irritability. Likewise, too much of Lettuce has me lethargic.
In light of this, our resident health advisor Vanessa has shared some of her tips on the energy of specific foods — warranted by her mother’s age-old knowledge.
Oh hi, everyone. It’s us. Has our prolonged disappearance earned us the reputation of Zombie Boy? Or in other words, the boy who got lost in the woods?
Unlike Will’s disappearance, however, we’re pleased (or maybe in fact saddened) to announce that we haven’t encountered The Upside Down.
We’ve always been here.
But while we do continue to be chased by a hoard of demadogs (aka deadlines), some amount of effort has been made in keeping up with the rest of the world, and we thought we’d drop by to say hi.. to whoever it is who’s out here.
Alright, hard truths are painful.
From crying for help in between deadlines to rioting about the absence of a certain food centre, we’ve come to realise that we’re still really fond of talking to each other. So much that we are often left speechless when it’s time to update you on our thoughts about the the world around us.
Let us have some time to go under our tables and reconcile what goes on within our minds; we promise to come back with better things for ya.
xo, Foreign Policy
Ah … where should we start?
Haven’t you seen a cuddly furry little one on the sidewalk or one strategically self placed in the warmth of the sun and thought – “I want that”. I have, you probably have too, unless you are one of those cat haters who repeatedly comments on cat videos that dogs are better. Come on, #alllivesmatters #lovewins, learn to love a a wide eye kitty or JUST STAY AWAY.
Ok, got carried away, got slightly agitated there, i apologise. Now back to business. I’m writing this to kindly inform and educate everyone on the secrets of performing a catnap. The actual task is easy, but the preparation is slightly more complicated. It might be seen as an illegal act, but it truly depends on how you do it.
Silence, something almost unheard of these days. In a world of immediate communication, updates and repetition of information, we are loaded and saturated with almost too much sights and sounds.
In the rare moments of silences, it almost feels strange and unnatural, the silences when we run out of small talk, the silence when your mobile devices die and you realise that you have no idea what to do, the silence the morning after the party, the silence when you are stuck in the washroom listening to someone else doing their business in the next cubicle.
Of course, there are instances where silence can be appreciated and enjoyed. The starkness of the dawn, the silence that follows the breeze and the crashing of the waves, the silence of watching the sunset or the stars in the night sky, the silence of your own room, the silence of comfort.
Our longwinded politically-correct rationale:
Largely a design studio/consultancy/bureau/think tank, we want to recognise the purpose of our work in a wider scope, by delving into culture and design of all sorts. You can expect studio updates, thoughts, and explorations of our individual and communal interests. Maybe more questions than answers, but we are hoping to get a conversation going between you and us.