SB & 3D (Why I’m excited to be in Eugene Soh’s virtual gallery project)

to enter and see IATB in an exhibition with other artists, click here.
Here is the extremely short version: from 2002 until 2008 I was involved with a visionary virtual reality project that combined educational practices with gamemaking and multimedia. However, the spiritual captain of the project was part Disney, part Microsoft and part Sex Pistols. An unexpected death, treachery, incompetence, inexperience, bureaucratic boondoggles and more made my life “interesting”… I have pages of notes about the events and the spirit of the times. We were doing things like Youtube and Second Life before they started. The project was so close… and yet so far away. (Actually, now that mobile technology has settled down, I hope that the lessons and products of that experience can be revitalized. But that’s yet another story.)
In 2006, as a way of showcasing our technology,  I entered a gamemaking hackathon. A theme was given on a Thursday morning and the next day at five the results were judged.The theme was something about healthy eating, I think. Working with my programmer in Hong Kong, we made a game in which the viewer learned about the calorie count of certain foods. The player competed with an AI character.  It was fun to do.
However, what I remember most was a team that made an incredible flash game. I don’t remember if they won or not, but I do remember two guys on that team very well. George Parel and Eugene Soh were full of energy, knowledge and bursting with creative ideas.
They still are.
I’ve been lucky to work with George and Eugene on a few projects since then. In 2008 I finally had to put the educational gamemaking project on hold while I waited for a programmer and the mobile device situation to stabilize.I put more time into writing and art projects. George and Eugene (that dude from Singapore) however, have kept on doing remarkably creative things with IT, art, design and more.
Virtual reality may seem to be an artificial place, but the gallery Eugene has created fills me with memories and hope. I am honored and very thankful for I Ate Tiong Bahru to be on display in
IATB in virtual gallery
Cheers, Eugene! Cheers, George!

Ebooks: Born to Click (1 of 3)

visit for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks

This informal essay is my way of marking the end of a certain era in ebook history. It’s part snapshot, part reference materials, part journal.At the end of this post are notes about me, my experiences and my books.
Thanks to Doug Rolph for his insights on economics, Eric Hellman for his input and my dad for having taken care of our family by selling books.

το πνεύμα του Ιανού

After I finish writing eight books, I will begin marketing. Until then, I’ll probably study the ebook world less and hopefully do more writing, arting and engaging with Life. When it does comes time for me to contribute to the marketing conversation, I hope I have something to say. For now, I present the following notes, quotes and thoughts as a means of punctuating a phase in the development of ebooks as I have seen and experienced it.

This is an exciting time. The ebook delivery platforms are finally stable, self-publishing has proven to have great value and a number of services have recently appeared that shorten the distances between readers and authors. It seems to me that indie ebooks and ebook marketing are about to enter a new era.

This blog post makes little mention of traditional publishing. This is simply because, as much as I would like to enjoy the benefits of being a Big 5/6 author, that fruit is not now within my reach. I am however, considering joining the Author’s Guild.

Although I’ve done almost no marketing, I have studied the environments in which ebooks are created, presented, bought and sold. Some observations:

1. Except for uploading, nothing about ebooks is easy.
Writing is the anti-social social media, full of long, long hours of pressure-filled solitude. Assembling an error-free book is never simple. The social part, finding an audience, is an immense challenge. I respect all of the authors mentioned in this post for they have successfully met these challenges and more.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Stephen King

Based on my experiences, the work breakdown of an 88,000 word novel looks something like this: 1000 words a day (88 days) or, more likely, 500 words a day (176 days). Call it 200 days to prepare something for a proofreader. Two months for corrections, art, and ebook conversion. So, a book takes about 300 working days to finalize. About…
And then there are the thousands of actions needed to connect with readers… The title of Guy Kawasaki’s excellent book says it all: APE, meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

This document, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, is a data-based analysis of the ebook market. Highly recommended, it covers topics important for newbies and veterans. It touches upon issues like word count, pricing, marketing and more. For instance, his research shows that the average bestseller on Smashwords is 100,000 words, and the average romance is 112,195 words. (There are more links to resources at the end of this post.)
Very few traditionally published authors became bestsellers; the same is true for ebook publishing. My goal is not to become a bestseller, but to connect with the largest possible community of people who enjoy the art of reading.

2. A great writer or a great marketer…
….or, the frustration of being caught between not doing enough writing and not doing enough marketing. A writer writes, a salesman sells.
Self-publishing does not equal self-marketing. Spending money wisely on promotion money means income and time to write. (See the links below)
Twitter, Goodreads, FB, LinkedIn and blogging? All have their advantages and disadvantages…

3. There are no independent, hugely successful ebook-only self-publishers.
Note: Two days after this post went up, I became aware of this great piece by Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World. Thank you Jacqueline Church!

Amazon is huge, Apple is huge, Kobo and Smashwords are very big. Unless you are selling from your own website or the back of your car, you’re not truly independent.

OK, A bit of an attention grabber there…but the author’s need for a partnership with Amazon and ebook distributors is a dependence that cannot be overlooked. These “automatic partners” will always protect their interests first. They call the shots. Amazon is a business, not an author.

Amanda Hocking is a hugely successful author. At one point, the average daily sales figure of her self-published ebooks was 9000. Again: average DAILY book sales: nine thousand! Her success was based on hard work, technological first mover advantage and an indirect tie-in with Hollywood.
-the successful and pioneering integration of ebook readers into tablets and mobile as well as the launch of the Kindle (2007) and the iPad(2010)
-the large demographic of young women who bought readers and tablets
- the fact that, having written many books, Hocking could quickly provide a new and large market with a variety of new titles
- writing books about the paranormal when Hollywood is pushing the same cannot hurt. Twilight, the hugely successful series of movies about teen vampires began in 2008. Hocking’s first book, My Blood Approves, began selling in 2010.

E.L. James’ book phenomenon began in the fan fiction chat rooms for Twilight. The characters in Fifty Shades of Grey were originally the characters from Twilight. Could Master of the Universe, as her series was originally called, have achieved its success without an existing network of thousands of Twilight fans?

These two women made their mark upon society in two different ways. As shared, collective book-based experiences: WOW!
However, the writing is…”not terrible” or worse

I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people like David Dalglish and BV Larson breaking out, and the rest of “genre” fiction soon followed.

There are “indie success stories” about authors who “rode into town” on the backs of traditional publishing. Funded by Big 6 money these “indies” were advertised and publicized, sent on book tours and given things like business cards. Possibly, audiobooks were made. Hundreds, if not thousands, of their books were given away, many to reviewers.
As the ‘first mover’possibilities of the ebook market became clear and realistic, these authors, knighted by the Big 6 and armed with credibility and connections, rode onto a battlefield with little opposition… Undoubtedly hard work was involved, but to label them as indies brings to mind the quip about George Bush: “…was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”

There certainly are “ebook only” indies connecting with many readers and enjoying sales. I just don’t know of any. (FOUND SOMEONE: LINDSAY BUROKER Please tell me about others! them! Somewhat related to this, are there any “ebook only” awards?

Here, authors talk about their sales experiences.

4. The ebook world evolves to reward the reader; the prepared author benefits from this.
Fan fiction. Goodreads. Ebook readers on mobile phones. The mashup between big data and metadata. Entrepreneurs with vision who see ways to connect authors and readers in a new ways.

It is an exciting time.

Ebooks: Born to Click, Part 2 of 3

visit for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks


SPOKEN: Notes about Curatorial Approach, Implications of Art/VR, and more

All are welcome to view these notes, but this is more of a scrapbook of ideas than an edited, unified post.

1. From an email from Andric Tham, producer of JUMPTHECUT (9:34 AM, July 23,2014.At the time of writing, AT unaware the contents of his email would be shared.)

I guess the only feedback I have is that it feels rather like a novelty. 

That Second Life has fallen out favor for things like Twitter is because people don’t really want virtual reality. They already have reality reality, and reality sucks, and technology was supposed to make it better somehow.
Of course doing something like that requires you to suspend your disbelief to some extent. And I’m not trying to say that this sucks. It’s great, what you’re doing, bringing art and tech together. It’s something I believe in.
But the medium is ill suited for art. There’s a lot of “chrome” in the interaction which makes it distracting (hence a novelty).
If museums elevate art, VR has a potential to “de-elevate” it, if you’re not careful. For the viewer, if not for the artist. It puts too much in between the art and the viewer, and for what reason?
The idea of tech and art coming together is to make art more accessible to people, which I feel is still yet to be achieved.
That’s just what I feel though. I think the artists are a great bunch though, from the looks of it!
SB reaction…
“Devaluation” point is very interesting and crystallizes some thoughts I have have had. For example, anyone could do this just by collecting jpegs without the artist’s knowledge. In the case of SPOKEN, we have full permission and consent from all artists. This legitimacy may be one of the more remarkable aspects of SPOKEN. (Introduce this idea: what if SPOKEN were a physical exhibition. The seriousness of the physical world: transportation costs, rent, printing cots, opening night party costs, etc. The real world-face-to-face conversations and social aspects of openings as well as the physical aspects of viewing art (alone or together) in a physical gallery.
Democratization of art through technology?
Devaluation or increase value? value of what? Art? Art experience? (Art experience is not relative to the financial value of art? The social value of art is  its greatest “value”.
A great conversation is absolutely unpredictable. Exchnges(information, histories and emotions,  disagreements and  resolutions…When two people have spoken together they have created a common memory in which the linguistic exchange is the core of a physical experience( SONG LYRIC????? something like We spoke beneath the stars?)
SPOKEN aims to have the unpredictability of a good conversation. The curatorial approach was meant to:
-document the life experiences of the curators as reflected through artists with whom they have spoken,
-showcase the artists and the artworks themselves
- perhaps most conceptually intriguing,  the curation was meant to create future conversations; ie SPOKEN is a talking point, the beginning of all sorts of conversations.
Andric Tham, email. 8:33PM, now aware that his comments may be posted here…
I like your comments, the discussion about conversations and what the “value” of art is.
I think I definitely agree with both of those points. Conversation/dialogue is why art matters. It’s why Banksy is considered an exceptional “artist”.
But inner dialogue is also important, and the intimacy that a physical exhibition creates (being with the art, with yourself, and at the same time around people) is a complex and profound dynamic, one in which both inner dialogue, dialogue between people, and dialogue between the artwork interact to surface certain ideas and thoughts. And a lot of it is subtle, sublime, transient.
I am not sure if VR can “recreate” that. Or maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe replication isn’t the point of VR, but escapism—the same way Google Street View is not a replacement for travel and playing Grand Theft Auto is not the same as actually committing a felony. It’s being transported to a place you are not physically in, that is actually alienating and discomforting, and maybe that works for a certain purpose.
That is the opposite of physical art venues, actually. Physical places provide opportunities ripe for people and artwork to talk to each other. And the design of it has that said purpose: white walls, soft lighting. It is… comfortable. You are to be at peace, calm, and to be with art.
VR is the opposite of peace and calm. It is dissonance. Digital/analog. Bytes/atoms. It is cold and harsh and bright.
Maybe it works for certain art. Art which shocks. Shakes you out of your comfort zone. Arrests and assaults you.
Andric Than,email, 9:15 PM July 23
Definitely something to think about.
SB 10:26 PM
That is the opposite of physical art venues, actually. Physical places provide opportunities ripe for people and artwork to talk to each other. And the design of it has that said purpose: white walls, soft lighting. It is… comfortable. You are to be at peace, calm, and to be with art.
Art gallery  as meditation space…or the softest soft sell ever? Yes, I should differentiate between museums, commercial galleries and “art spaces”.
Have you seen The Web Show in
I really really enjoy it, mainly for the space that Eugene created. It is vibrant, tacky, kitsch, gaudy and funny. The art itself would probably not impress me if it were hung in a real gallery, but in that virtual space, everything seemed just right; the space crackled with life. One part of the gallery is flooded!  “Outside” of the gallery is a landscape with a whale floating in it!  Carpeting like a Vegas casino, bright magenta body suits, text conversations on the left side”…as you wrote, it was the opposite of a physical venue”.
With SPOKEN, we are aiming for a Brooklyn warehouse art space meets white cube feel. The sequencing and arrangement of the images will have a logic unto themselves; once everything is in we can “connect the dots” a bit. Hopefully not too much as the SPOKEN experience should be as open-ended as possible.
I have the following Powerpoint under the collection of notes between Eugene and I.

2. Collective.. .Curatorial…. Chronology…. Geography… Technology
 -David Black (unknown)- Morimura (world famous) Perhaps these two are the extreme tangents of the conversation that is SPOKEN.
-A world map of where conversations were held, allowing for web-based conversations. Dial payphones to skype to Google Hangouts.
Perhaps SPOKEN is about the curation of symbols or moments…
The artists were free to contribute any image they wanted to know; the curation was not based on imagery. However,  the images will be  sequenced and arranged to create an optimum virtual gallery experience, one with a logic semi-independent from the “spoken” layer.
3. Nhung Walsh…writer of an introductory essay for SPOKEN
Nhung Walsh works with artists in Southeast Asia mainly in the field of Vietnamese contemporary arts. She is living in Chicago but works between Hanoi and other locations. Grew up in Vietnam, she has background in International Studies and History with research on the wars in Vietnam, politics of war memories, and the development of Vietnamese contemporary arts. She participated in cultural programs at UNESCO in Vietnam and worked with NGOs in various development fields in Vietnam before engaging in curatorial projects and cultural programs in Vietnam and the US. Nối Projects (‘nối’ means to connect in Vietnamese) is Walsh’s initiative with mission of connecting Vietnamese artists with interdisciplinary projects to expand the conversation of contemporary arts. Currently, she is studying Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
from an email:
I want to ask you quickly if there is anything written from the curator (you and Eugene?). And I am excited to read about this in your previous email: “- as you may know the artists on display have all spoken to the curator…and our curator is fictitious although the conversations the curator had with the artists are all factual… “
So I need to study the exhibition a bit better… Anything around these keywords “conversation”, “spoken”,  “virtually spoken”, “fictitious entrance”, “noise”, or something like that? I will get back to you soon about this after I know a bit more and study more about your project.
SB response: I must finalize the notes about Helium as curator.  Some notes were started in the Powerpoint here.
4. Gases, Space, the lungs, the throat, the mouth… shaping internal vibrations into external ones…internal meaning launched into space….ears as receiving dishes….all of this so automatic we have forgotten how magic it is
5. Helium as curator

Great examples of the power of words

There is no theme to this post, except that I like the way the words work.

Like ten pounds of mud in a five pound sack…

Comment made about an outfit worn by Dolly Parton.


Like selling a dollar for ninety cents…

Comment made about Amazon stock when it first went on sale…


… when the Okies move to California, the average intelligence of both states increases…

-Will Rogers

Most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.

-Frank  Zappa


In a constantly changing world, not taking risks could be the most risky thing one can do.

-headline of internet article



Why I use Google+

Facebook is  a 500 pound shrinking party hat; Google+ is a custom-made, constantly updated digital Swiss army knife.

Google+ in action

Screen capture, July 1, 2014


I’m not really a techie, but I try to learn about tech stuff. Why? Because the internet is what is happening. Do I want to be famous? No. Do I want to be #1 on the top of a search engine result? No.

Do I want my artworks and books to be in front of like-minded people who are searching for ideas related to mine? Yes, yes, yes!

I was nicely surprised today that when I searched for a Singapore-based crowdfunding organization, Avvio, that my name came up close to theirs. This happened simply  because I think they are interesting and I shared that view on Google+.

So that’s it.

I could go on  about other Google+ advantages, but the above example is simple enough: you either get it or you don’t.

If you give it some thought, the example above is seemingly positive  and definitely profound. It is also the future, as long as there is Google and people who search.

Techies: Yes, I know there are a quite a few factors involved in the placement of search results. There is no guarantee that this sort of thing will happen every time. But we both know that my same post on Facebook went between a post of a cat and a promise of beautiful skin…and my post stayed there. Not only stayed there, but was  seen by an unknown-but-probably-small  fraction of the people I wanted to share that info with.

SPOKEN gallery+ finalized text

Spoken is a virtual exhibition curated by Eugene Soh and featuring an eclectic mix of 20 artists, including Stelarc, Vincent Leow and Yasumasa Morimura. Spoken refers to the fact that the curators have spoken to the artists in the exhibition, a simple yet profound commonality. Spoken also features original essays and short stories written by Stephen Black. The venue for the exhibition is, the creation of Eugene Soh.
The official launch of Spoken will be early September.
Artist roster:
Mel Araneta, David Black, Stephen Black, Christophe Charles, Debbie Ding, Paul Dodd, Andrés García-Peña, Morvarid K,  Godwin Koay, Hans Lagner, Michael Lee, Vincent Leow, Paul Pereira, David Severn, Arleen Schloss, Eugene Soh, Stelarc, Lily Su, Liqing Xue, Morimura Yasumasa
September 8 Official launch
Closing: :xxxx
Go to Download a small file, answer a few questions, click and you’re in!
-An original concept by Eugene Soh, is unique, informative and entertaining.
-Visitors can easily walk through the gallery and chat with each other.
- pop up displays  provide information about the artists and artworks
- inspired by the Hawkeye Crates Art Space in Brooklyn, the virtual gallery features numerous architectural details as well as a few surprises.
- the artworks were the starting point for the layout and the gallery was created specifically for them. Lighting and information displays are dedicated to each individual artwork.
-The artworks are available for sale, prices upon request.
Contact *Stephen Black email: bookmerah “at” gmail

Text, stories and memory are part of the  SPOKEN experience. In addition to the usual exhibition notes, there will be stories or essays about conversations ES/SB have had with the artists.

Here is an example of how SB spoke to Robert Rauschenberg.

Here is an essay about my work experiences with Michael Lee. It does not mention the first time we met.

We were both viewing microfilm at the National Library. I didn’t know how to focus and asked Michael if he could read something for me. He did and we started talking, later had soymilk and those tart things at the little place at the end of Middle Road, near LASALLE. Later he called a mutual friend: “Stephen Black is either a genius or a compulsive liar.”

SPOKEN artists

-Come back often (or sign up for updates) for  news of artist’s upcoming events, as well as interviews, videos and more…

LINKS for artists

Arleen Schloss

Mel Araneta

David Black

David Black currently  has no online presence.

Stephen Black

Christophe Charles

Debbie Ding

Paul Dodd
Free downloadable music: h ttp://

Andrés García-Peñaés_García-Peña

Morvarid K

Godwin Koay

Hans Lagner

Michael Lee

Vincent Leow

Yasumasa Morimura

Paul Pereira

David Severn


Lily Su

Eugene Soh


Lily Su

Liqing Xue

Arleen Schloss, Mel Araneta, David Black, Christophe Charles, Stephen Black, Paul Dodd, Andrés García-Peña, Morvarid K, Godwin Koay, Hans Lagner, Michael Lee, Vincent Leow, David Severn, Eugene Soh, Stelarc, Lily Su, Liqing Xue, Morimura Yasumasa

SPOKEN Eugene Soh/Stephen Black open notebook

ICON Martell Eugene PDF unable to load. PDF is cover of the first

Started on the  morning of July 1, 2014. This is public, but is mainly a record of notes and conversations between ES and SB.

To Eugene


As you can see the banner above is from the first edition of  Can we discuss a logo or font or screen capture or something that we can use as a banner as well as for projection identification? (If we create a scene with you and I in the gallery, maybe we can use the dialogue box as a way of describing the picture OR acting as a title and giving info about SPOKEN.

(July 3…Just sent an email to Eugene elaborating on that and suggesting a few ideas/asking for input.)


This is about the writing side of things. There will be the usual gallery notes: I will be responsible for that. Your input is welcome, of course, but I am sure you will be busy on building the gallery.

At present, I have selected 20 artists and you have 5. That is great and we can lock that down…or…

What if?…

What if we created a hybrid character who has met all of our artists? In other words one fictitious character will have spoken to everyone. This does not mean any more work for you, unlessyou want to create that fictitious character as the host of the gallery. I am completely neutral on this, BUT

It unifies the chronological differences between you and me. It also allows for a bit of creative writing, in that I would create a bio for the character whom we have created.Simply, it may be interesting to have one character meet everyone that we met. The reality of how we metthem is unchanged.

Michael Lee and I did something somewhat like this for his 2011 Biennale piece, Office Orchitect.

3. Machinama? Can?

SPOKEN project description, press releases, reviews, interviews, background of project


collage title page Spoken virtual gallery gallery sgSpoken

A virtual gallery project by Eugene Soh and Stephen Black, Spoken features an eclectic range of artists, including Stelarc, Yasumasa Morimura,Vincent Leow, Christophe Charles and Hans Lagner. Spoken refers to the idea that the curators have spoken to all of the artists, a simple but profound starting point. Documentary writing, flash fiction and metafiction are an important part of Spoken. The exhibition is also the location for He in Spoken, a short machinima film now in preproduction.

ICON Martell Eugene

Note: we are pleased to announce that Eugene Soh is a nominee in the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu 2014, one of Singapore’s most highly regarded photography competitions. This will result in some postponement of the September release, though the text, machinima and internet-related aspects will continue as planned. Eugene’s photography work is now on display in Singapore:

About Eugene Soh:

A recent graduate of Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media, is recognized as being a pioneer in the Singapore Web Art movement. The Last Kopitiam, Eugene‘s update of The Last Supper, has been very well received and exemplifies his light-hearted approach to art.

The Future Audience: Eugene Soh at TEDxYouth@Singapore


Steve and Eugene In gallerysg square crop

Eugene Soh and Stephen Black at the Web Art Show at

About Stephen Black

After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, began a journey through art, Asia and writing. In Tokyo he worked with butoh dancers, including Kazuo Ono. In Hong Kong he produced promotional videos for Cartoon Network and Turner Classic movies. Art, writing and life experiences in New York and Paris; in 2002, he began working with virtual reality in Singapore. Books by Stephen Black include Obama Search Words, Furikake, Bus Stopping and I Ate Tiong Bahru. Contact With Shadow is becoming unglued. 

Contact With Shadow on Unglue


Interior of Gallery, work in progress

Interior of Gallery, work in progress. A gif  artwork by Paul Periera and a painting from the Crime Faces series by Paul Dodd.

-An original concept by Eugene Soh, is unique and entertaining.

-Visitors can easily walk through the gallery and chat with each other.

- Pop up displays provide information about the artists and artworks

- Inspired by the Hawkeye Crates Art Space in Brooklyn, the virtual gallery features numerous architectural details as well as a few surprises.

- the artworks are the starting point for the layout and the gallery is being created specifically for them. Lighting and information displays are dedicated to each individual artwork.

-The artworks are available for sale, prices upon request.

Note: Spoken will be in a completely new space at, which is presently hosting the Web Art show.

How Eugene Soh and Stephen Black met:



List of artists:

Arleen Schloss

Mel Araneta

David Black

(No internet presence)


Stephen Black


Christophe Charles

Display at Unearthed Exhibition at Singapore Art museum An example of art by the Psychogeographical Society

Detail from “Here Lies the River” by Debbie Ding, on display as part of the Unearthed Exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.

Debbie Ding


Paul Dodd
Free downloadable music:


Andrés García-Peñaés_García-Peña



Morvarid K



Godwin Koay


Hans Lagner


Michael Lee


Vincent Leow


David Severn


Eugene Soh




Lily Su


Liqing Xue


Morimura Yasumasa



Anyone, especially journalists, are welcome to send questions to bookmerah(at)


Depending on test results and feedback I will either continue with this document or start another, hopefully improved, version.



Click here for a list of the artists in SPOKEN, as well as information about them.

SPOKEN open notebook. Click here for email extracts and notes from behind the scenes.

SPOKEN is a project by Eugene Soh and Stephen Black, combining a virtual gallery, a book project and the works of an exciting and eclectic mix of known and emerging artists.

The site of SPOKEN is On display at the moment is The Web Art Show, featuring Singaporean artists. (The present gallery will be completely reconstructed for SPOKEN.)

SPOKEN  references  the fact that one or both of the curators  have spoken to the artists.

Short stories, essays and text related to SPOKEN: click here. Besides being a virtual gallery, SPOKEN  is a book project that combines fact and fiction to present conversations the curators have had with the artists in the exhibition. Online right now are two works-in-progress, a story about meeting Robert Rauschenberg and one about meeting Michael Lee. Note this is a work-in-progress and the texts have not been proofread.

Virtual Art galleries in Singapore, article by Gwen Pew, TimeOut  July 3, 2014 This went up on the morning of  July 1… For now, here is Eugene Soh’s TEDx talk about the audience of the future…. and Stephen Black’s TEDx talk about words and technology… with spontaneous performances and music.

24 hr Singapore art: Notes and Photo Gallery 2

This gallery contains 5 photos.

This is the third section of a project about the Singapore Art World on June 6, 2014. Original: Part 1: : #SBCTPA1 Stories/memories collected starting from June 29, 2014 Photos taken by Stephen Black, with gear from Camera Rental Centre. There … Continue reading

24 hr Singapore art: Stories/memories collected starting from June 29, 2014

This blog entry is the second part of this.

FB screencapture Alvin Zom   The above was posted on Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn  the morning of June 29, 2014.

First reply by Zom Lehman:

My son was almost 2. I was working as an artist. I can look closer at the date and the things going on at that time to get a better picture if what I was doing…
Reply 2. Alvin Tan:
 I was at a rehearsal for Gitanjali [I feel the earth move] on Friday 6 June from 10am till 5pm. Had a meeting with Sean Tobin and then went for a show at Esplanade from 7.30pm till 9pm. Went home, did work and slept. On Saturday 7 June, I had rehearsal for Gitanjali [I feel the earth move] from 10am till 6pm.
(SB Note: Was happy to see Bani Haykel is doing the music. I had hoped to involve him in this 24 hour project somehow. In the new text must mention working with Bani on the Big Homer “rock opera” as well on the 3how Riverwalk Session CD with Amith Narayan, Curtis King and Wilson Goh.)
On 6 June, amongst other things, in the late morning I went to the hairdresser and in the evening I performed “Waiting for you” at Kovan HUB 206. You took a beautiful photo of my performance with my last sitter.  Over night I was informed by my cousin that my grandfather had died. On 7 before 13:00 I went to Kinokunya and bought a couple of books.
SB NOTE: I then asked Daniela for the names of the books, maybe a bit more detail.
Her reply, via FB:
… felt very good that day because i was having my hair done and i would be nice and ready for my evening performance. I went to Tony & Guy; they have been my hairdressers since I arrived in Singapore. Tess, a lovely and gentle Singaporean Chinese woman, is one of those people stable in my life, which is nice. I sit there and chat a little with Tess, but if I am busy, then I tend to use that time to catch up with reading catalogues… after Tess, I went to Kinokunya and bought, amongst others, these books: Nietzsche made simple and The Birth of Tragedy, which a friend of mine, philosopher of ethics in Naples University, recommended to me for my research in performance art.
I had lunch at Sushi Tei, i love Sushi Tei, it is unpretentious but decent and I have the card which gives me 10% off but 20% on my birthday month, which was in June. I returned home around 16:00 in time for Luca to be back from school with the bus. We spent time together, probably doing homework.
At 18:00 his father came to pick him up and later i made my way to Kovan MRT as I was due to perform alongside Yuzuru and Malvina at the PA art event. I saw some people I had not seen in a while. I was more confident this time. At the performance many people sat down with me and we looked into each other’s eyes it was meant to be in silence bcd words can create such misunderstandings but in the end people were a little embarrassed and talking to me made them feel more comfortable so i adapted… then I went home and to bed. At night time my cousin from Trieste texted me that nonno had died.

I knew he would not last much longer after my mother’s death last November.
loops the kinokunya and sushi tie occurred on saturday 7 before 13:00


Reply 4. Joyotee Ray Chaudhury:

 On 6th June me and a team of other volunteer artists were painting a mural at the Sri Narayana Mission home .
Joyotee and crew painting mural
Photo credit: Radha Kumari
(SB Note: Joyotee appeared as the love interest in Big Homer, performed at Goodman Art Centre with 3how. )
Reply 5. Debbie Ding:
 On 6 June at 11am I was attempting to write an additional 3000 words for my draft dissertation in one sitting, discovering that squeezing out more words on demand was very very difficult and perhaps a bit overambitious but did it anyway (not the best 3000 words I’ve written), submitted it online, then ran to school to continue working. I sat in my studio editing the final mix of a sound work that was due for submission on 6 June as well, it was a sound piece about interior sounds inside one’s ears; it was hard as the sounds made me very sleepy. As I was leaving the studio I bumped into Katie for whom I was supposed to build ant models but I had to run because I was almost late to see The Drowned Man at the National Theatre in Paddington.  It involved the audience wandering around a massive set with masks on. I was carrying too much equipment and heavy tools in my bag so I went to the bar inside the theatre early and had a glass of wine in the middle of the show. Sitting in the front row of the bar, the performers on stage started to pretend I was the “songwriter” of one of their newest hits, and asked me to come up to sing it with them. Fortunately, the song lyric only consisted of one word: “TEQUILA”. After 3 hours of the show I was starving because I had forgotten to eat lunch so we ate at a strange posh italian place nearby after the show. I couldn’t convince Sarah or Bing to come all the way eastwards with me after dinner so I trekked down alone to Apiary Studios to listen to my friends play at their vinyl release – Masters’ Acid Witch Mountain. George was already there. There was a massive gong. The gig was awesome and me and Biin were sitting right in front. My flatmate Giuseppe also had some video works showing there as well but by the time I got there he was mysteriously gone. Lots of familiar faces as it was also some manner of a resurrection of Adaadat Records and launching of the blog of some esoteric occultism/spritualism-related journal. Later at some unspecified hour I had too much wine and can only recall wandering from room to room trying to find George but instead found my friend Simon on a technicolour dance floor and having a yelling conversation along the lines of “Where’s George?” “Don’t know! Lets DANCE!” Finally George found me, put me on a bus home, and cycled behind the bus. I spent most of the bus ride with my face pressed up against the glass looking out for George on his bike. We stopped at the Jewish bakery for a pastry and went to bed. I can’t recall what I did the next day as my google calendar is blank and doesn’t show  any appointments, but probably not a lot after a day like that.
SB Notes: Many experiences with Debbie Ding, from classrooms to Little India house parties. I once gave her a rock. I am extremely, extremely fortunate to have had her help with the cover of this, which was modified by Shaz at Shoreless. Debbie’s original cover is here.
Reply 6. via comments section:
I walked in the middle of huge crowds all afternoon long :
a school fair Little India and the MRT…nobody talked to me and  I did not talk to anybody, yet it was overwhelming enough to overcome the feel of loneliness…
Meeting a young man’s stare, and sharing a smile instead of turning the eyes away… Getting home exhausted, eventually happy to be alone, in a comfortable silence.
Reply 7. Via email, from Jeremy Tiang
6th June was the first read-through of my translation of Floating Bones  (a double-bill of plays by Quah Sy Ren and Han Lao Da), which is being performed at the Arts House in July– but I wasn’t there, as I’m on a whole other continent from the show and its rehearsals. Instead I continued working here in New York, where I was knee-deep in other translation jobs. The director Elina Lim later let me know by e-mail how the read-through went, with her suggested changes to the script. I worked late into the night, slept, and the next morning made a fruit tart to take to the first birthday party of a friend’s daughter– a picnic in the park. (The actual party falls outside the time frame of this exercise).
Reply 8. Via Facebook, from Olivia Kwok
Morning of June 6. Second day in Bali, Indonesia.
This is the final stop of a 5-show tour with Malaysian punk band, Weot Skam.
We had the luxury of a few free hours today, after being on a constant move the past week, crossing the country in vans, trai
ns and the ferry.
We rode around on our rented motorbikes all morning and afternoon, under the blue skies of Kuta and Ubud. Got wildly lost trying to find some temple… buying multi-coloured hand crafted wooden cocks on keychains (don’t ask) along the way and having nasi padang lunches in the ‘hood. This languid ended with a couple of drinks at a cafe 2 steps away from our resthouse, shooting the wind for a bit before the boys prepared for the last performance.
Twice Bar. Conveniently located in the heart of Kuta, mere minutes away from the famed shores of Bali. One would never be able to guess there would be a place like this here, homing the sub-culture. This is common sight – teens decked out in black and studded boots loitering the streets of Poppies Lane, seated on sidewalks outside convenience stores with drinks in their hands, waiting for the show to begin. Weot Skam gave it all tonight, alongside local bands BattleField and UglyBastard.
12MN. Post-show adrenaline high. A good buzz from free alcohol (thanks Gus). Taco place. Late night beach visit. Amazed by graffiti art seen in a new light. More specifically, a ‘shroomed’ light… Being caught in a state of acute consciousness and oblivion… drifting off to slumber. That about sums up the evening.
The new day started at noon, when we woke hungry for food. And of course, the rest of it is a story for another time.

Olivia manages the Singapore Art Salon. The next one is July - 29 July at Artistry Cafe 

 Reply 9, via Facebook by Nguyen Hong Nhung

Hi Steve, I dont know if I am related to Singapore art the way you want, but your question is very interesting so I want to share my answer with you. You can use it or not it’s up to you. One thing I did after 11am Friday June 6 and before noon June 7: In the morning of June 7 I went out with my best friend to an exhibition of old Vietnamese’s magazines from 1865-1965. He enjoyed it. There was a small bookshop at the exhibition and as I was telling him how much I missed a book I read when I was little, I found it lying on the table right in front of my eyes. It’s “The Paul Street Boys” I read it when I was in elementary school and I still love it. I bought it together with two other books. But the book sellers told me he wants me to have “the Paul Street Boys”.


I meant the book seller didnt take my money for this book. It’s a present.
 Nguyen Hong Nhung runs Nối Projects, a cooperative initiative connecting Vietnamese artists with various interdisciplinary dialogues and creative projects. Earlier in the week she gave a presentation at Grey Projects and also attended a curators conference.
Reply 10, FB notification the responded via comments section, by Fiona Chong:
Hi Stephen,
I’m not sure why you chose 6 June for your project but I found it really interesting because 6 June this year marked an extremely important milestone in my life.
It was the official opening of my graduation exhibition –– an accumulation of many sacrifices, hours of hard work, financial commitments and emotional heartaches. I had taken a leap of faith a few years ago, leaving an established career to pursue my dream in photography. Last year, I left Singapore to a small town in Maine, US where I knew no one to immerse myself in a photography school.At 11am June 6th, I was on the road, heading into Portland, Maine where the gallery was located. As I sped past the beautiful summer scenery of Maine during the two hour drive, flashbacks of my past year occupied my mind like a movie screen. I recall the very first time I reached my school campus. That excitement built up from months of preparation work and anticipation. My first critique class. My first Salt print. That time I broke down alone. Spending nights in the lab editing. My first winter. How I have changed as an artist. I’ve never thought that I would evolved to be an artist. That time I broke down again. What if I had stayed on in my previous career? What do I do next now that I have graduated? Panic sneaked in.4.30pm
I arrived at the gallery early because I wanted to spend some private moments with my work before guests were due to arrive at 5pm. Perhaps to every viewer, the prints and the multimedia piece tells a story and evokes certain feelings. To the artist who created them, there are personal stories intertwined within and the breadth and intensity is so much more that words sometimes cannot do enough justice for them.Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt in life is that the harder you try to cling on to something, be it someone, a moment, happiness, relationships, and wishing that it won’t leave you, the faster it slips away from your grasp.With a last look at my work on the wall at 8pm, it officially marked the end of this chapter of my life.
The higher you go, the harder the crash.
Where and how do I start my next? I honestly do not know. I am still searching for answers.* The body of work for my graduation exhibition can be viewed at:
Reply 11:via email:

BANG! BANG! WONDERLAND is a Aljunied Cluster Arts village held in conjunction with the PAssionArts  Festival 2014.




24 hr Singapore art, June 6/7 (Offline draft + Photo Gallery 1)

This gallery contains 26 photos.

I don’t know how you arrived here, but welcome. Thank you for coming. Here is something I am giving away and here is something I will be giving away–with your help, hopefully.) Stories, data and more photos related to this project … Continue reading