So… how’s work?

Ever since returning to Singapore, this seemingly innocuous question I’m often asked is probably best answered by the late (and eternally great) Rodney Dangerfield.

While the job ended up being quite different from what I had originally signed up for, I’ve been trying to convince myself to learn beyond my talent and passion. What did take me by surprise after over a month into the job though, are the few colleagues who are clearly giving me the cold shoulder for some strange reason. I must have been lucky to have worked under cozier and less sterile circumstances.

Fortunately, most of the folks I’m working with are friendly and talented in their own right. Logically speaking, I should proportion my concerns accordingly. The funny thing about being human though, is that you could have a hundred friends cheering you on, but just a handful who dislike you in order to turn your mood down.

Whichever the case, I’ll try, and try harder. It’s an opportunity for me to earn their respect.

ICA 2010 Conference: Photos & Videos + Download Our “Leveling Up Students” Poster

ICA 2010 Conference @ Suntec Singapore - 15

Here’s the digital copy of our International Communication Association 2010 conference poster – Leveling Up Students with Class Blogs: Engineering Active Learning through Game Mechanics. This was color printed on an A0 size paper, so you have a choice of a JPEG or PDF versions.

Derek Lackaff and I wrote this up after conducting our experimental semester with students in Buffalo and Singapore back in 2007. On the whole, everyone had a good time… we even managed to throw an MTV-style awards party at the end of the semester!

I had more fun at #ICA2010 than I expected, mostly because the poster session was disorganized. A few of us received wrong instructions and printed our posters wide (72″ x 48″) when the conference boards were actually portrait format, and sticky tape became hot commodity. I also bumped into old friends while making new ones. Everyone was smart, friendly and most importantly, excited to share their discoveries.

Read on to see the ICA conference posters submissions I found interesting (presentation quality varied greatly), as well as a few video interviews with academics and curators while I roamed the Suntec City Convention floor.

Continue reading ‘ICA 2010 Conference: Photos & Videos + Download Our “Leveling Up Students” Poster’

First ever Creative Commons Salon in Singapore (Bonus: Inch Chua performs!)

CC Salon Singapore #1

Yesterday, my poster session at the ICA 2010 conference turned out more fun than expected (will share that soon), while last evening’s first ever CC Salon Singapore at Hackerspace SG turned out to be quite a riot!

In case you weren’t aware, CC Salons are global, informal events focused on building a community of artists, developers, and creators of all kinds around Creative Commons licenses, standards, and technology. It’s nice to know CC awareness is growing within Singapore’s various creative communities.

Continue reading ‘First ever Creative Commons Salon in Singapore (Bonus: Inch Chua performs!)’

Sony NEX-5: a proper camera for cyborgs like me

Unboxing Sony NEX-5

I’ve been waiting for a proper camera, one that gets as quality as a DSLR, without the bulk and bore. Sure there are micro four-thirds like the Olympus PEN series, but they just didn’t tickle my adamantium bone.

Continue reading ‘Sony NEX-5: a proper camera for cyborgs like me’

Barcamp Create @ Jakarta: On Intellectual Property Rights in Indonesia

Presenting Social Marginalia @ Barcamp Jakarta
“@brainopera talking about making books social”. Photo by @PreetamRai

Thanks to @PreetamRai, I got to visit Jakarta for the first time over the weekend. At their barcamp, I made it count by presenting an interest of mine, social marginalia. @RandomPlaydo was inspired enough to write his thoughts about shared digital annotations.

Barcamp Create focused on Intellectual Property Rights in Indonesia, and received an intimate turnout at the International Design School (IDS). Topics were spot-on with a few awesome surprises (see @glennmars’ Recycling Ideas below!).

We got to spend time with amazing people, including @glennmars @ChrisWaterGuy @aulia @monieksagita @barijoe @koesuma @savitri @kuriman and @murakumo_andy. You can see our red carpet photoshoot on Facebook. Alternatively, we used ScribbleLive to liveblog for #BarcampID, as reblogged below…

Continue reading ‘Barcamp Create @ Jakarta: On Intellectual Property Rights in Indonesia’

Social Marginalia: How authors & readers give books immortality

Ulysses by James Joyce

Ever since I saw Alex Halavais rework Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother (2008) into a networked ebook at, I’ve been intrigued by the whole idea of marginalia.

For Barcamp Create (12th June, Jakarta) and Creative Commons Salon (25th June, Singapore), I’ll be showing participants the evolution of marginalia, from early handcrafted books to the present day ebook readers.

I’ll eventually ask what happens when we start turning books into social platforms through marginalia, with tools such as CommentPress and

Here’s my presentation slideshow on Google Docs, which will always be work-in-progress.

The Artist is Present. So am I.

imho, MoMA is sensory but overtly commercialized.

“What you do here? You see museums? Oh god, you see nothing. Go to the clubs, go dancing, drinking, so many beautiful pussies in Manhattan. You see nothing.”

That is my Albanian limo driver, Rafek, in his late fifties yet clearly without any dysfunction. Perched above the Manhattan traffic on his carriage, the Cadillac SUV, he peers out at the pedestrians, howling whenever we drive past an angelically proportioned lady of the night.

New York City, a renowned safe harbor for immigrants seeking a brighter future, gave Rafek his chance of starting a new life. A decade back, he arrived in New York and applied for political asylum. A court hearing and five years of no-travel commitment later, he brought his family over and lived the American dream.

I didn’t have it as hard as Rafek. Moving to the States was fun times for me, though going home was another story altogether. Though I struggled a little moving my nine years of baggage from Buffalo back to Singapore, I won’t deny that my heart had always belong in this tropical city. I just needed a really good reason to return… and the job was it.

I really wanted to do the East to West coast roadtrip as a personal farewell, but I chose on a tour of museums around New York City instead. Thanks to my professor mentor, Alex Halavais, I was able to stay comfortably yet frugally in a relatively expensive city.

What Rafek didn’t realize, which I didn’t want to dive headlong into, were the real-life pussies and boobs I got to see… at a live nude performance-art piece in the Museum of Modern Art. This was significant for two particular reasons: 1) Visitors were overheard commending how MoMA was willing to challenge conventions, 2) Being single for several years, it was a vice-free way for me to get visually reacquainted with the physical female form.

The exhibition which ended yesterday (May 31st), is none other than Artist Marina Abramovic’s retrospective performance-art piece entitled “The Artist is Present“. Since opening March this year, this show alone has drawn more than half a million visitors to MoMA.

Read about the exhibition at your pleasure, then take a mental flight across the other side of the planet to our fair (relatively oil-free) shores of Singapore. Would we ever see such gratuitous art exhibitions in Singapore? Possibly, but definitely not now.


From my month long exposure to what Singaporeans have to say about themselves, there’s a widespread belief that we lack the cultural maturity needed to create dialogue about the arts. Simply put, as a tiny economic powerhouse, Singapore’s initial focus on financial prowess may have cost the nation in cultural criticality. The government recognizes this, but it will take a generation or two before we see society’s appreciation of the art grow. The myth that art is only for the affluent remains invincible.

While local museums have been carefully making art relevant and accessible to the everyday man, they may also have to provide the challenge for those of us who seek a deeper connection with exhibited art pieces. In order to establish Singapore as a cultural capital, there’s a need to graduate museum visitors over time (even years!) in terms of the the thematic complexity of exhibitions. That said, some could argue that such complexity would naturally occur within any context, even simplistic one, not necessarily requiring predetermination. Either way, we have to keep asking what works best.

The National Art Gallery, Singapore, where I now work is staffed by some of the most talented museum curators, educators, and management talents around. They are in the phase of testbedding exhibitions at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), in preparation of when the new galleries open at the former Supreme Court & City Hall.

Over the course of my new life in Singapore, my personal mission here would be to stay curious. As a fresh pair of eyes in musuem scene, I hope to reveal and question traditions to seek sustainable approaches to conversing about the arts. If you’re so inclined, I do keep a blog for interesting ideas at Join me there.

Before I go, we have to ask… what is Art?
My favorite quote comes from Andy Warhol who once said “Art is what you can get away with” (Thx Liz!)

It’s Official: I’ll be working at The National Art Gallery of Singapore

Photo courtesy of Gouldy99

For my friends on twitter, thank you for staying up to 1am EST (or 1pm in Singapore) to listen to my big news…

So after six months of fear and self-loathing, the big news is that I’ve finally found a dream job and will be moving back to Singapore for good. I’ve had a great nine year run in Buffalo, made incredible friends, and now it’s time to pack up and go.

As my housemate Jay puts it, I left Singapore for New York around age 24, and I return at 33. It’s been that long, but it’s been just as swell. If you’ve been following me online, you’ll know that I’ve been bidding farewells and visiting local museums. For the curious, here are the details of my new role… Continue reading ‘It’s Official: I’ll be working at The National Art Gallery of Singapore’

Come explore my entire room, in Photosynth definition

Photosynth: Kevin's Buffalo Bedroom

Being sentimental, I decided to photosynth my entire room before I start packing. If you don’t already know why I’m moving, I’ll announce it when I get the official green light. IMHO, things are going to get pretty darn exciting on my end.

As a self-proclaimed social cyborg, I’ve been exploring new ways of capturing experiences. While I could have digitized this personal space in a 360° panorama, I preferred photosynth for this because it lets me focus on particular objects around the room with amazing detail. Everything from the love letters, to the toys, to the books I own, you can try to locate for yourself. Leave no stone unturned.

If you explore my photosynth, I’ve even included highlights on the right sidebar as hints to the juicer bits. You can experience my personal life in Buffalo, by heading over here. If you spot anything strange, feel free to drop a comment!

Pixeet 360: Create 360° spherical virtual tours on your iPhone!

Pixeet 360 iPhone app

While window-shopping on the iTunes app store for panoramic camera apps, I discovered a little-known 360° panoramic app from Japan called Pixeet 360. Quicktime VR experiences typically require expensive hardware, software and photographic know-how. Pixeet 360 leapfrogs all that by allowing anyone to capture and create these immersive experiences right on their iPhone.

While their app is a free download (iTunes link) for viewing panoramas, making your own immersive 360° panorama requires activating the app by purchasing their $79 fisheye lens. Add their shipping fee of around $15, and you’re almost at the $100 mark for generating instant immersive panoramic experiences. Depending on how driven you are, this might not be something you’d whip your wallet out for, so let me share what I’ve discovered… Continue reading ‘Pixeet 360: Create 360° spherical virtual tours on your iPhone!’