PEACE PREVAILS

May peace prevails upon all beings on the earth and beyond. You may scroll down to browse the contents of this blog.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

A REVIEW OF "RELOCATIONS" BY LIM KOK YONG THAT PERHAPS MANY PEOPLE DIDN'T READ.

Locating “Re-locations” In ISEA 2008

Embracing technologies in the service of Aesthetic

Just as the International Symposium On Electronic Art (ISEA) 2008 passed off quietly after 10 days of conferences, workshops, exhibitions and other collateral events started since 23rd July, “Relocations” – the media art exhibition in the theme of Locating Media among many other themes ended on 3rd August below the radar of many people. This world’s premier media arts event for the critical discussion and showcase of creative productions applying new technologies in interactive and digital media, is less of a limelight if compared to Singapore Biennale which was also hosted by Singapore but with higher regards.  This relentlessly reflects the little interest if not development of creative media in the Asian region. Nevertheless, the fact that this is the second time ISEA is hosted in Asia represents a wonderful opportunity to support, define, shape and recognize the development of creative media in Asia.

“Relocations” was curated by Roopesh Sitharan – a Malaysian curator, researcher and a loyal follower of media arts development in Malaysia. “Relocations” featured two Malaysian artists: Hasnul Jamal Saidon and Niranjan Rajah who have been creating art by synthesizing new media since the 1990s. “Relocations” was exhibited in the gallery at the concourse in School of Accountancy of Singapore Management University. Locating the exhibition itself was quite a challenge as gallery is at one hidden corner of the tunnel-like walk way. I expressed my concern of visibility of the exhibition to Roopesh and we both broke into laughter when I suggested ‘Relocation’ to be relocated.

At a second thought, the joke appropriately reflects the message of “Relocations”: to transport the artists and the field of practice to a new settlement if not to establish a new ground for new media arts practice, co-locating with the current art development in Malaysia. On the other hand, “Relocations” was there to commemorate Hasnul’s and Niranjan’s constant effort to relocate their positions and roles within the art world generally succumbed to Western aesthetic values. At a very significant level, it also addresses the conception of arts that maneuvers from material to immaterial – post-object art.

“Relocations” critically places these artists within the context of (contemporary) new media where the redefining and repositioning of ideas and concepts is an ongoing and constant process. These curatorial notes stand as a necessary subjective prologue. Gathered there in the gallery were a series of fragments including video, projection works and online installation work (www.12as12.com/relocations/) that recall these two artists’ interdisciplinary spirit. These accounts and artworks, some personal, some analytical, some uncompromising and often in disagreement, have offered provisional glimpses of Malaysia’s digital art.

“Relocations” is a reflexive action due to inability of Malaysian art to encompass the artistic ventures of Hasnul and Niranjan. Digital art has yet to have a legacy interweaving our history of visual art simply because our producers and consumers are still very much obsessed with material-oriented artform. This reflects why their movement failed to manifest in the local cultural landscape. Bearing in mind this situation, it is probably no coincidence that new media curator researcher such as Roopesh, with a very distinct approach, came in as a ‘mover’ to offer a ‘relocation package’ to these artists. Quoting Andrew Clifford in his article titled Interdisciplinary Moments: A History in Glimpse: “When support might not have been present within an artist’s chosen practice but could be found in surprising new locations, new resources and expertise developed, along with new frameworks from which to think about cultural production, collaboration and authorship. This shift has often also meant moving beyond the usual modes and venues of presentation to create new spaces for new kinds of experiences.

“Relocations” is aimed to locate emerging new media practices within national art space before moving onto global platforms. It is establishing a social situation for critical dialogue or inquiry. What is Digital/ New Media art? What are the attributes of this artform? Why do artists take up the lifeless technologies and apply them for creative purposes? What relevance has the technologies to an artist’s personal existential questions? How do specific ‘local’ cultural, economic, political and technological factors exert a powerful influence on artists and cultural producers to engender personal, emotional and experiential relationships with technologies? This essential interrogative tone attempts to open up a relational field, a context to interlace with the creative works of Malaysia artists.

In this exhibition, Roopesh has offered relocation package for new media art practice in Malaysia and his local knowledge and experiences in global arena of digital art provide us with valuable insights on how the specificities of location mediate and are mediated by both old and new technologies of information, communication and experience. And he has made the ‘moving experience’ as sensorial rich yet critical as possible. Whether or not this new settlement can offer an alternative gateway for cultural production engaging technology and articulation of Asian new media art, this I think is up to the level of compatibility in between the new comers and neighborhood. But, I believe this is the curator’s and artists’ hope that “Relocations” inaugurates a conversation that will continue as digital art in Malaysia evolves.

Lim Kok Yoong
2008

Thursday, 25 July 2013

SALING-BERTAUT DAN TRANS-HUMANISMA (INTERCONNECTIVITY & TRANSHUMANISM)

  • Muhammad Hafiz

    Assalamualaikum, Amacam Ramadhan this year? Everything well?
    I stumbled across this, and thought it might be of interest to you: http://c-lab.columbia.edu/0185.html
  • Today
  • Hasnul Saidon

    Wokay je. Tq. Will check.
  • Hasnul Saidon

    LSD, pschedelic ecodelic and inner-net and neural pathways to Huxley's transhumanism - ni dah dibicarakan masa saya di USA 90s dulu. Boleh la layan. Tapi bagi saya, Nabi Muhammad S.A.W dah bawa transhumanism menerusi amalan-amalan 'inner-net' yg wajib dan sunat - solat, zikir dsb. Kita ikut dia je, dia kita punya Master.
  • Muhammad Hafiz

    Yes. Saya ingat En Hasnul pernah bercerita di kelas.
    Betoi tu. That was my first take on the writing. Especially when he says "I predict a huge boom in meditation-style practice to help us deal with this 'infoquake'". Dalam Islam sembahyang itu part of a meditative process. Kita siap buat 5 kali sehari. Memang untuk "learn to control, manipulate and investigate your own internal technology, that 13 billion-cell supercomputer in your noggin"
  • Hasnul Saidon


    Spot on bro.





    Apa yang dibicarakan oleh Richard Doyle, seorang Profesor Bahasa Inggeris di Penn.State Univ. berkaitan dengan retorika kesedaran (rhetoric of consciousness) dan terma 'transhumanism' (dari Huxley) serta keadaan 'saling-bertautan' (inter-connectivity) minda kita yang 'virtual', mungkin boleh dijadikan renungan. 

    Pembicaraannya sudah saya tempuh sejak zaman belajar di USA dulu, hingga kini.  Tapi ianya bukanlah sesuatu yang baru atau belum pernah ditempuh.

    Hal berkaitan dengan perluasan minda, pertautan, dan bagaimana pertautan ini dapat membawa kita kepada kearifan kolektif (collective wisdom) atau kearifan yang infinit (infinite wisdom), bukanlah hal baru. Teknologi dalaman, teknologi nano, 'inner net', 'cosmic space in molecules and atoms' (ruang kosmik dalam molekul dan atom), 'introception' (bukan 'perception') dan 'human-mindedness' (berfikiran kemanusiaan), semuanya melibatkan usaha kita untuk 'bermeditasi' untuk menjadi 'saksi' pada perlakuan minda kita sendiri. Ini juga bukanlah perkara yang baru, atau hanya dibicarakan oleh kalangan pemikir dan saintis serta tekno'kerat' je.  Ini sudah diamalkan sejak 2000 tahun dahulu.

    Apabila kita berdepan dengan 'info-quake' (bukan 'earthquake') menerusi situasi 'hyper-connectivity' dari rangkaian sistem maklumat yang boleh 'melumatkan' hati dan kasih sayang antara manusia, kita perlu mampu merentas keluar dari kepungan 'lokal' jasad kasar (body). Inilah yang disebut Huxley sebagai transhumanism. Keluar dari kepungan lokaliti dan ilusi pemisahan yang dipancar oleh 'mimpi benda', bukanlah juga sesuatu tuntutan yang 'hip' dan baru. Ianya sudah saya pusakai dari tradisi saya sendiri, tapi bukan dari jenis yang dipasarkan oleh Kementerian Kebudayaan.  Jenis dan preskripsinya? Berbeza dengan tuan profesor ni, preskripsi saya bukanlah LSD, juga bukan sebarang dasar yang digariskan oleh mana-mana 'jawatankuasa' dalam bilik mesyuarat (yg boleh juga mabuk dilanggan persis LSD hingga jadi terlebih 'high'). 

    Saya bukan peminat LSD, mahupun sebarang bentuk "designers' substances" yang diguna untuk memaksa kita mengubah-suai 'kesedaran' minda kita, atau apa yang disebut sebagai 'inner net'. Saya tak percaya cara paksa ni. 

    Saya memakai 'cara' atau 'metodologi' yang dibekalkan Nabi Muhammad S.A.W yang diturunkan menerusi Sunnah baginda. Transhumanismnya adalah keluar dari kepungan (atau graviti) nafsu untuk mencapai (levitate and elevate) ke makam-makam rohani yang lebih tinggi. Inter-connectivitynya hadir dari 'berjemaah' dan tidak memutuskan 'persaudaraan'. Nabi Muhammad S.A.W telah membekalkannya menerusi amalan-amalan wajib dan sunat seperti solat, zikir dsb. Ini pilihan saya wokay, tak kiralah jika saya sendiri terpaksa 'bergelut' dengan nafsu sendiri untuk melakukannya. Kadang-kadang berjaya, kadang-kadang tewas.  

    Persoalannya, apakah yang kita lakukan dengan 'ruang minda' antara dua telinga kita, suatu 'anugerah' berbentuk super-komputer dengan 13 bilion sel yang di'amanahkan' kepada kita? 

    Bagaimanakah kita memaksimumkan, memanfaat serta mensejahterakan otak kita? Apakah tahap 'kesihatan' kesedaran otak yang lokal dan minda kita yang 'non-local'/'virtual', secara individu dan kolektif? Sihat? Sejahtera?

    Jika kita masih 'berfikir' untuk membaca kemanusiaan dan kehidupan secara bercah-pecah, terasing-asing, dalam dikotomi dan binari malas yang dibuat-buat berdasarkan emosi dan sentimen (klise 'independent' lwn 'institusi', 'alternatif' lwn 'arus perdana', tak termasuk berdasarkan retorika politik kepartian dll), apakah kita benar-benar memaksimumkan kapasiti anugerah otak dan minda kita? 

    Apakah kita telah mensejahterakannya mengikut fitrah?

    Apakah kita telah melestarikan 'interconnectivity'(saling-berkaitan atau saling-bertautan atau lebih halus lagi, 'persaudaraan') dan meniti 'transhumanism' (merentas makam manusia biasa ke makam para Nabi). 

    Jika setiap hari otak dan minda kita dihijab oleh hal-hal yang menghalang pertautan ('dis-connectivity') dan melawan kemanusiaan (inhuman), apakah secara kolektifnya kita dapat mencapai kesejahteraan global?

    Sihat ke?

    Tak terfikirkah kita bahawa mungkin 'cara berfikir' (cara kita gunakan otak dan minda) atau 'cara hidup' atau 'lifestyle' yang kita pakai, anut dan amal telah menjadi terlalu sebati (naturalized) hingga kita lupa bahawa mungkin pilihan cara berfikir itu adalah 'alternatif' yang tak bermanfaat, langsung tak 'natural' dan melawan 'fitrah' akal dan jiwa manusia kita. 

    Sempena bulan Ramadan yang mulia ini, apakata kita cuba jadi saksi terhadap 'fikiran dan perasaan' kita, terhadap 'lifestyle' kita. 

    Sihat ke?

    Janganlah tunggu Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (kembali pada Fitrah) baru kita sibuk (secara superficial dan rutualistik buta selalunya) untuk 'bertaut' (inter-connected) semula. Jika itu yang dilakukan, kita hanya dapat 'trash-humanism'.   

     


THAT RHETORIC OF 'ALTERNATIVE' AND 'INDEPENDENT' AGAIN.

  • Sometimes, our 'lifestyle' has been too 'naturalized' to a point we forget that it is actually a lousy 'alternative' to what is really 'natural'(fitrah). This Ramadan, I've been struggling to put that ghost of my 'alternative' past away for good. 

    For the past few days, I've been probed to response to the rhetoric of 'alternative' and 'independent', yet again. This time, for an up-coming solo show of Sooshie Sulaiman in Singapore. 

    Despite the 'artist' side of me empathizing with such rhetoric, the 'academician' side of me is always suspicious of it. I guess that gives a good balance. 

    I hope this can somehow put away for good such rhetoric from the mental scape. I think its about time we get over it.

    We should move into what Huxel used to term as 'trans-humanism', being humans, yet able to transcend him/herself. There are more to discover within our 'inner-net', that mind-space within our two ears, with "13 billion-cell supercomputer in our noggin" (I'm quoting here). That is our 'inner technology'. Its time to explore our neural pathways towards transhumanism, through mind expansion by embracing 'connectivity'.  

    Anyway, before I start to babble, here's an excerpt from my response to 'alternative'.

    Hi ? (name erased)

    Generally I have no problem with what you have written. I think it is a sensible and balance take on 'alternative' and Sooshie's positioning regarding the discourse of alternative. My view is mainly to remind u and Sooshie not to gloss over too much on it, especially in making sweeping statements that can be contested.

    One example is the opening remark "the lack of support for contemporary art from the government and public institutions is often bemoaned". Another example is "local contexts ‘largely apathetic to the cultural value of creativity’. These are lazy sweeping generalizations that can (and should) be contested. Personally for me, they are tired cliches or superficial 'problem statements' that do not ring well with our increasingly hyper-connected post-capitalist, post-information age where everybody and everything are increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent. To always take a lazy presumption that this is a by-default situation in Malaysia, or all over the world even, is also counter-productive and not healthy for the art ecology. Unless, we are talking about taking an exclusive position for 'alternative' creative practices, which I will touch a bit later.

    Perhaps my 20 years or so experience in the arts under so many different capacities, fronts, spaces and contexts can be helpful. I had encountered situations where the very people in the contemporary art who liked to bemoan had received supports (financial, sponsorship, etc) from government and public institutions. In fact, I believe that I used to be one of them, well, I am working for a government institution. But I have always been critical and always been lamenting about lack of support to art from them. Yet, the works of these people (including mine) have been generously purchased and included in the national collection, or exhibited in major shows inside and outside Malaysia, published and reviewed generously in books and catalogues; their shows hosted or sometimes even partly sponsored, with supplementary artists' talks and other supporting programmes. I can cite several examples where creative practices and their proponents who were deemed as 'alternatives' or 'marginalised' before have occasionally been co-opted into the mainstream.

    In a society increasingly dictated by a 'post-structuralist' visual culture and information infrastructure, easy dichotomy and lazy semiotic binary does not work anymore. But, such easy dichotomy and lazy binary have inflicted many 'players'  in the contemporary art scene, regardless of whether they want to position or align themselves with the 'government and public institution' or not. In a small art ecology like Malaysia, creative people work in and out many different 'spaces' and 'fronts', alternative or what not.

    For me personally, I'm always suspicious of such easy generalizations, even though I can understand and even empathize with such generalizations. Another cliche statement if I may add is "the society does not appreciate fine art well enough". After 7 and a half years of running a university museum and gallery, I somehow found that the situation is mostly the other way around, "the artists or so-called creative people are too 'special' and too 'alternative' to understand their society well enough".

    Perhaps, such cliche problem statements can be a form of strategic positioning, especially in soliciting empathy and eventually grants or financial supports from non-governmental bodies, individuals, international NGOs with their local proxies, international bodies etc. Perhaps.

    The phrase ‘temporary autonomous zones’ coined by curators Sharon Chin and Eva McGovern is another 'gloss', ya, big words. Again, it sounds appealing to my sentiment. Yet, it can also be misleading. A crime lord can apply it to justify their chosen crime scene as a 'temporary autonomous zones'. Ok, I know, that's over-imaginative. But the phrase can also be taken as 'temporary exclusive zones - only for members of the club' who's notion of creativity and artistic 'taste' does not conform to the 'general population or public at large'. A 'temporary autonomous zones' can also be zones for a small pool of 'specialized' audience that may not represent the general population.
     
    The "focus on the work of lesser-known artists", and "archiving and exhibitions" that can "engage with audiences beyond art circles" have been done by government and public institutions, nothing 'alternative' or unique about that at all. Even the much glossed 'community art' has also been engaged by many museums and galleries around the world including in Malaysia, often using non-conventional approaches to art in their efforts to engage wide range of audience or public, including from outside the art circles. Many 'intervention' and 'community outreach' programmes by government and public institutions have been organised, including roping visual artists or people from the creative industry to connect with different sections of the public at large. For examples, you can refer to several books and other online materials by the Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTF) USM which I used to direct from 2005-2012 to understand my point. 

    I think instead of glossing over 'alternative', the key word is 'connectivity' and 'dialogues'. But this probably requires another essay to explain.

    In summary, we have to take a precautionary posture to avoid from being blinded by the cliche rhetoric and discourse of 'alternative'.

    Peace be upon you..


    HJS


    Question

    • Anyhow, could you share your thoughts about artist-run, alternative art spaces in m'sia, particularly KL?
      Do you think it's fair to say that these spaces have a hard time living up to these labels? (collusion with the 'system', private sector', etc...being 'alternative' for the sake of it.)

    • My main point is to raise some questions about that...a certain scepticism, but perhaps I'm being unfounded? My argument is that Shooshie, in contrast, is aware of the notion of 'the alternative' becoming a brand in itself, as well as wanting to work within the system, not 'in opposition to' it

    • Hasnul Saidon

      We are living in the age of hyper-connectivity, a post-information age, even post-institution. Everything is inter-connected, inter-dependent, nothing can claim to stand on its own. Asserting 'alternity' is just a binary play, a kind of structuralist semiotic twist, and ya, works well for branding or to assert a difference. I'm a post-structuralist, always suspicious of easy and lazy dichotomy. Hehehh.
    • Question


      Do you feel like it's fair to say that existing spaces in Kl, the way they operate, play on this binary for branding/strategic purposes? I also raise a point about them being in inaccessible locations (perhaps apart from annexe), which makes it easy to be 'alternative' rather than a viable, visible option to mainstream society.
    • Hasnul Saidon

      Ya, a good point indeed. Simplistic binary logic does not work in a post-capitalist and highly networked and inter-connected society. Several case examples have shown that 'alternative' can be exploited as a hip term to be different, superficially. Yet, when one looks closely, I mean at the fundamental structural and conceptual level, many things are still the same as the mainstream - money, money, money!

      Ironically, I have found many 'alternatives' emerged from the mainstream. I can cite many works that have been shown in the mainstream that I consider as highly 'alternative' in regards to providing visible and viable options to mainstream side of the contemporary art practice, ideologically. Some even subvert certain State-prescribed ideologies, openly.

      Then again, post-capitalism (sometimes even the gov. institutions) know how to absorb and neutralize 'alternatives' and turn them into profitable feeders for its system. Now many things that were previously deemed alternatives or even outright 'immoral' before have become accepted products and lifestyles - skateboarding, extreme sports, underground music, etc.

      I look at this as a play of languages and discourses, like a dialogue, where some subversion and diversion have taken place amongst different performers.
    • Hasnul Saidon

      One thing is certain here, at least for me. To come up with an easy and lazy dichotomy or binary between institutions (government especially) and the so-called 'alternatives' would be last thing I do.
    • Question


      Are there any particular spaces that you think exploit this situation? Examples that come to mind?
    • Hasnul Saidon

      Almost all. During a recent round-table talk with the proponents of these so-called alternative spaces, I discovered that in many ways, they have operated like an institution, with an appointed curator, a curatorial theme and guidelines for submission of work, acquiring sponsorship and financial assistance (by asserting 'alternativeness'), organisational or team-structure, vision and mission, objectives, all of which somehow appear like any other institutions.

      From my experience in ICOM (International Committee of Museums) UMAC (University Museums & Collection) and UM-NET (University Museum Network South East Asia), I can cite examples of modus operandi that are similar to the so-called 'alternatives'. Even the National Visual Art Gallery of Malaysia used to work together with several groups of graffiti and street artists. In George Town, alternative street art has been elevated to a higher status, incorporated into the heritage and tourism business and infrastructure. Several 'intervention' projects organized by museums and galleries around the world including Malaysia, deployed 'alternative' ways of engaging audience with contemporary art. The 'alternatives' have also began to dance with the capitalists, if not the government or 'institutions'. Some have even managed to secure generous grants from outside. Even Sooshie herself used to work in many projects with 'institutions' including the National Visual Art Gallery of Malaysia and several commercial galleries.
    • Hasnul Saidon

      My point is that we have to be careful not to gloss over too much on this 'alternative' discourse, especially in regards to Sooshie and her space.
    • Question
      Sure. in fact, that's why I propose this idea of 'alternate' space - that's interchangeable, but also evokes the intangible...and a nice play on the word 'alternative', which you almost expect to see/read instead
      the alternate, changing, unfixed nature of these categories of 'alternate' and 'mainstream'
      I'm also trying to underline the connection between the way she approaches these projects and her own individual work, or rather, the flows between the two.
      A sensible route?
      in your own opinion?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

EMBRACING PARADOX - BETWEEN MEDITATING AND RUNNING A COUNTRY

In the middle of my father's lecture to my big family (whilst quoting Al-Ghazali's), my mom used to interrupt, "kalau semua orang buang semua kehendak dan keingingan, betapa atas gunung, siapa nak bagi makan anak-anak dan uruskan negara? (if everyone dispels wishes and desires, meditating in mountains, who is going to feed the kids, and run the country?"). My father just put a 'selamba' face and continued with his lecture. I miss them.

TASBIH BONDA



Utk anak anak murid dan bekas bekas, ni pula srikandi/heroin saya. Ilmu halus yg anda dapat, banyak tempias dari dia. Balasla dgn doa utk dia agar dia sihat, gembira dan terus bercinta, berkebun dan berbakti menyubur benih dan bunga di tapak bumi bertuah dan tanah berkat titik peluh dia. 

(To all my students and ex-students, this is my heroin. Most of the soft knowledge that u got from me, came from her. So, u may repay her by sending your prayers, that she will be in good health, happy and continue to be loving, planting, serving and nurturing new seeds and flowers on the blessed soil that she had acquired with her own sweat, blood and tears).

TEMPIAS DIAM DI KEBUN RUPA (FLASHES FROM SILENCE AT KEBUN RUPA)

"Fikiran dan perasaan hanyalah pakaian (jiwa). Basuhlah kalau dah lama sgt dipakai sampai busuk." 

"Thought and feeling are only what we wear. When used for so long, they become stinky; wash them"

"Kita semua sedang menuju impian dan cita-cita kita kecuali bila otak kita mula memberi tumpuan kepada apa saja yang kita tidak mahu dan tidak suka." 

"We are all on our way of achieving our dreams and wishes until the moment our brain begins to focus on what we don't want and don't like."

 

A DISTANT ECHO

CIPTA 2013 Final Year Assessment, External Evaluators Report & Meeting and the students celebrating their freedom.

Despite the ground-breaking selection of several works from the final year students of the Fine Art Department, Faculty of Applied & Creative Arts, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) in the up and coming Malaysian Young Contemporaries 2013, I sensed a distant echo from the Department, with its vibe diminishing as it tries to revert to its former glory in driving the e-art scene in Malaysia and beyond. For many years, as reviewed in some of my blog entries, it has churned out exciting e-art works that should be witnessed by more. Yet, it has also been dangerously lingering and circling in a similar vicious cycle of academic numbness that may sadly diminish its glow. Very sad to see a 'garden' that one used to lovingly nurture, fight for and sustain, is slowly turning into a distant and mechanical plantation. Really hope that I'm wrong and the situation will be remedied soon.  

MAKAN MALAM

Cuti sehari je Bapak, kena balik Penang mengejor mimpi benda. Doakan semua selamat. Minggu depan kita makan sama-sama lagi. (Its only a one day holiday Bapak, have to race back to Penang, to continue dreaming. Pray for us. Next week we will join you in your dinner again.)

Doakanlah usaha saya membangunkan rumah kampung di Tanah Tok Timah tercapai agar saya boleh makan malam dengan Ayahanda dan Bonda saya setiap hari.

MARI MENUJU KEJAYAAN


Tolong doakan anak comel nama Amira ni. Pagi ni dia ada ujian dan temuduga kemasukan program senibina UiTM. Dia budak baik. 

(Please pray for Amira's successful test and interview for entry to UiTM's architecture programme. She' a good girl)


Kepada semua sahabat fb yang mendoakan anak saya Amira Hasnul Jamal diterima masuk ke program sarjana muda seni bina di UiTM dulu, terimalah salam kasih dan kesyukuran tak terhingga dari saya sekeluarga. Getaran kuantum dari doa anda semua telah dimakbulkan Allah, dia diterima masuk. (To all my fb friends who had prayed and sent wishes to my daughter Amira Hasnul Jamal for her success in entering the bachelors of architecture program at UiTM, my family and I offer our gratitude and love. The good quantum vibrations of your prayers and wishes have been answered, she was accepted.) 

As for Mia, perhaps the following blog entry is still relevant to remind you to be thankful for being granted the gift of life, to fill such gift with gratitude, especially when there were so many fb friends from all walks of life who had prayed for u and sent u good wishes - Luv from Abah. 

Terima kasih semua atas ucapan yg baik baik. Guru-guru kita yg hebat-hebat tapi selalunya tersembunyi, selalu pesan - hebat dan unggul adalah pUJIan, pinjaman sementara yang dividennya di akhirat bergantung kepada bagaimana pinjaman itu dilaburkan (kekadang dileburkan) di dunia. Saya panjangkan je ye. Terima kasih lagi sekali atas kata-kata sejuk utk Amira dan saya, yg dapat la juga kurangkan angin panas dalam diri. Angin panas ni boleh leburkan segala kehebatan dan keunggulan mimpi benda yg dilayan sakan walaupun hanya dipinjam sementara je. Mari semua menuju kejayaan.

THE COUNCIL OF JEDI - PICTURES FROM THE RECENTLY HELD INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON NEW MEDIA ART IN SOUTH EAST ASIA

New Media Art in South East Asia
Bandung Institute of Technology, Bandung, Indonesia
July 1, 2013.

From my hotel room.
Agung from Indonesia (left) and Nguyen from Vietnam (right) during the morning session.
The audience in the morning session.
Presenting my "Tracing The Light : E-Art as an Epitome and Catalyst of Paradigmatic Shift in the Malaysian Contemporary Art Scene"



"I carry a big responsibility on my shoulder here - first, to make sure that I don't fall asleep, and second, to make sure all of you in the audience not do fall asleep too."
By noon, the audience has been reduced into less than half. Ya, the cliche 'quality is better than quantity' can be applied here to save my ego.
Facing Krisna Murti.



FATE OF THE BODY - STATING A PRESENCE IN THE ELECTRONIC AND CYBER ERA



Fate of the body – stating a presence in the electronic and cyber era

(Fragmented translation from an essay originally written in Bahasa Malaysia and published in “Pameran Seni Elektronik Pertama” - 1st. Electronic Art Show”, National Art Gallery of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 1997)



Hasnul J Saidon





London in the 18th century. Mass printing technology, gave birth to several innovations in ‘print making’ art amongst ‘fine artist’. Oral tradition began to be forgotten as Edison with his phonograph and Berliner with his gramophone began to invade human civilization.  Alaxender Graham Bell and his telephone, displaced human voice and extended it beyond audible local distance. Muybridge, Lumiere, Marey, Eastman, Kodak and Edison extended the dream of displacing humans into an artificial stage. They became modern ‘dalangs’ (puppeteers), who opened up the path of using 'light' and film surface as a new stage for human civilization. They completed and perfected early experiments by Platteau through his ‘phenatiskiscope’ and Daguerre through his ‘daguerrotype’ in transferring human drama from reality to ‘virtual reality’. Through such virtual reality, humans began to encounter an ‘out of the body’ experience, to be ‘presence’ as ‘light’ on a flat screen. Film and cubism – began to provide multiple views in relation to Einstein's theory of relativity. They signify a shift from centralized view to ‘based on the viewer or camera’ quantum view. Wright brothers shifted the limit of human perception and perspective from middle distance landscape to a bird’s eyes view, different from views painted by Turner, Constable, Ingres, Monet and friends. Satellite images and electron microscope also shifted human perspective  – allowing humans to peek into the double helix structure of DNA or galaxies or a woman bathing in Kremlin! Scientific and technological inventions extended the biological body.  We simply can’t leave the fate of the body to chance anymore. We have to shift and adapt to a new world created by a techno-centric view, or risk being colonized by a ‘fate’ dictated by such view. Macluhan’s notion of global village also connotes transmigration, yet we should also ask, what about virtual or online transmigration? With the hyper-connectivity of online space, we can’t deny the implication towards cross-cultural encounters. We have to encounter new cultural agents – Ken, Saleem, Dunhill, Malboro, all the global brands. We have to encounter what Baudrillard has termed as simulacra. We have to acquire a virtual presence, to become an avatar. ‘Terminator’, ‘Blade Runner’ used to remind us of technological catastrophe. We need to re-visit the meaning of ‘melayar’ (sailing or to be hip, surfing) – to be a fluent sailor, or now a hip surfer on the net wave. Are we performing it with wisdom? We should question scientific rationality and value that are propelled without human values. We have fuse wisdom from both the East and West, and take notes on the fates of previous civilizations. What have we learnt?