Operators of 'Grapheme', an indie zine, 'Ceriph' a lit journal, plus a host of artistic exhibitions about town, studioKALEIDO is made up of Winnie Goh and Amanda Lee, our label artists present at this weekend's Now is Found.
Who is studioKALEIDO and how did it come about?
A design studio & curatorial practice; Winnie Goh helms the art & design, whilst Amanda Lee steers the content & communications. We also work on editorial projects and campaigns.
What is your background/education and how did you fall into this practice?
Amanda was from Mass Communications over at NTU, and Winnie is largely self-taught. We're interested in creating a hybrid practice of art & design, breathing life into our own initiatives, exercising greater creative control alongside strong points of view, and doing culturally salient work - rather simple benchmarks, yet strangely not altogether achievable when working for someone else, or, alone. Thus it can be supposed that we fell into this practice when we happened upon each other and found that our world views collided and we could do something about it together.
What is your most notable project done so far and why?
We wouldn't quite single out any one project as 'most notable', as we believe in working towards a whole body of work to effectively communicate our complete vision. However, starting Ceriph (with a co-editor) and GRAPHEME helped us gain an initial foothold in the arts in introducing alternative expression, because they are the only ones of their kind in Singapore - print lit journal and zine lab, that is - and with them we're able to house words & thoughts in tangible objects in a myopic and fast-moving society. Our last event, the Art of Rebellion, which is one of our largest curations so far, also generated lots of interest, new work, and new partnerships.
Name some of the challenges of doing what you do.
The usual gripes of tight budgets juxtaposed with crazy timelines, accentuated by the fact that we are a very lean team. Besides that, just the layers of bureaucracy you sometimes have to work through here in Singapore, as well a lack of appreciation for design and a cultural identity that at times feels overly derivative. Since there is also an extremely small scene for art and culture in the first place, it is rather tough on our belief in advocating design as a supporting arm for encapsulating and communicating culture.
What is the design philosophy behind the aesthetic of Now is Found?
Aesthetically, steampunk meets A Clockwork Orange meets futuristic-Bauhaus; thematically, exhortations of living the moment set against machinations of time set against the gears & cogs of modern city living.
What in general is your design philosophy?
Although KALEIDO means 'beautiful forms' in greek, we believe that concept and communication with the audience is key, and to us, this is what transcends a 'pretty form', as we create connections on a higher level with strangers through our creations in an industry (design) that tends to view its output as largely cold, self-righteous or inward-looking. In the long run, we're working towards creating our own vision of a new world order, aesthetically and intellectually, through a whole body of work.
Who are some of your heroes?
Dave Eggers, David O'reilly and Sagmeister for Winnie, and Amanda Palmer + Neil Gaiman for Amanda.
What are you looking forward to the rest of the year?
Staking out Velvet with our artwork for Now is Found amidst sexy muzik, designing the identity for an audiosonic-arts biennale in San Francisco in August, and Lars Von Trier's Nymphomania with Charlotte Gainsbourg in the lead.
Amanda's fond of Broadcast, The Knife, Crystal Castles, Yeasayer, Apparat. Winnie doesn't make distinctions between music genres and listens to anything with a good beat.
You hold exhibitions with other artists, tell us more about it.
SInce we moonlight as visual artist/illustrator (Winnie) and writer (Amanda) respectively, we tend to gravitate collectively towards visual arts + literary arts crossover groupshows that thematically intersect in fresh ways. There can also be a dearth of groupshows that aren't soloshows or background-specific in Singapore, and also shows that do not exclusively feature fine-art. We have more of a street bent, and we try to be pretty inclusive - our shows feature both well-regarded illustrators as well as up and coming ones. Our last couple of shows include Synaesthesia (referencing the medical condition of (simplistically explained) experiencing text as specifically coloured), House of Incest (based on Anais Nin's erotic novella), GRAPHEME Zine Mosh (you'd be surprised simultaneously by the lack of awareness of zines, as well as the passion of the handful who actually do make zines), and the Art of Rebellion (bringing to the forefront forgotten Chinese idioms).
Tell us more about GRAPHEME too.
GRAPHEME is a zine-laboratory in the making over at our studio at Goodman Arts Centre. We're trying to get more people aware of independent-publishing/micro-publishing. When fully functional, anyone would be welcome to head to GRAPHEME zine lab to check out our zine library (local zine collection + international independent magazines), to sit down and enjoy the small pleasure of crafting a zine with your bare hands and our tools, and to sell their zines. Not enough Singaporeans know what zines - and their history - are. More at http://graphemezinelab.com/.
Care to share about Ceriph and its direction?
We hope to be able to get Ceriph beyond the literature community - a nation without an appreciation for words spun by its own citizens will soon forget itself. We're also working to push the design boundaries of a lit journal to whet more appetites out there, so stay tuned. Beyond this, we initially sought out to design a sustainable community rather than a mere physical capsule of words. Head on over to www.ceriph.net for more info.
What can punters look forward to seeing on May 18th?
An exclusive preview of the vinyl artwork we've been working on for Midnight Shift's upcoming releases, with themes of the underground and owning the night. Upcoming sneaks on the studioKALEIDO Facebook page.