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"It was difficult to read.It didn't flow. Too many assumptions made. Did not enjoy this. " the reviewer on Amazon wrote. This saddened me: someone purchased my book and did not enjoy or benefit from the reading experience. The reason given, that I did not provide enough exposition or background information, taught me a lesson. Exposition, I tend to think, is like fat in cooking; too much overpowers and clogs the reading experience, too little and the reader finishes the book wanting more: unsatisfied. The person who wrote the one star review thought I was thin on details. I understand and accept that opinion. The subject matter of i ate tiong bahru includes Singapore's colonial history, the Japanese Occupation, life during pre-and post Independence, food, Art Deco architecture and and vignettes of life in Tiong Bahru, both contemporary and historical. I tried to explain local words and customs with context and footnotes*. However, having said that, I often very consciously want to create a situation where the reader does not know the meaning of a word or has become "lost " as a result of cognitive dissonance. A narrative artist can use words to create a trail of breadcrumbs that satisfy but lead to a place that may-- or may not be, familiar, dark or joyful. For example, there is a difference between writing about a confrontational situation and using words as elements in a confrontational situation created by the author. A reading experience, that is what I work towards creating... (In this video I attempt to explain this.) I will make it a point to familiarize myself with more science fiction, where imaginative, non-existent gadgets, customs and environments must become crystal clear in the reader`s mind.The lessons learned can be applied towards the follow up to iatb, tiong bahru mouth. Bottom line: Most of the reviews of i ate tiong bahru have been very supportive but, as the book continues to attract readers outside of the Southeast Asia area, I should not be surprised by more one star reviews such as the one posted. And, as I rewrite tiong bahru mouth, I am carefully considering when to challenge readers intentionally, if at all. sb i ate tiong bahru and other reviews are here. *Having converted iatb into an audiobook, I now avoid footnotes; they do not easily flow in the audiobook format.
As mentioned in Part 1, the Tiong Bahru Mouth edition of photographs is now being prepared. Some images from the series are here. A description of the print ordering process is here, including links to the outstanding printer (Samuel Chia) and the museum-quality framer, Framehub. This weekend (September 24 and 25), and next, I'll be at the Isetan at Wisma Atria, Level 1. I will be casually holding a seminar on the story behind the images, as well as the ordering process. This is a bit of an experiment and, from what I learn, I may develop a kind of "pop up" gallery in the future. new topic: AUDIOBOOK Mirai Booth-Ong, a Los Angeles- based Singaporean actress/singer is now finalizing the iatb audiobook... new topic: CROWDFUNDING VIDEO "outtake" new topic: FREE iatb EBOOK... just send me an email and I will send you the file. However, if you want to buy from Amazon... Also, I have a special offer of $18 for all 8 of my ebooks. Drop me an email if you are interested. new topic: T-SHIRTS...and soon iatb baby wear! Thank you for reading this far, as well as your interest and support! See you in Tiong Bahru! Sincerely, Stephen Black The following interview starts with questions about Bali Wave Ghost, my most recent novel, but also covers a bit of the story behind i ate tiong bahru.
Reviews are now being collected and updated, but for now, there is only this link . i ate tiong bahru has sold almost 2000 copies, qualifying it as a national bestseller in Singapore. A second edition is now being planned. The follow up book is tiong bahru mouth. Printed copies of i ate tiong bahru are in all Singapore public libraries, as well as at Naiise, Booktique, Books Actually, Plain Vanilla, City Book Room, Kinokunya and excluniqueeee. Ebooks are available on Amazon.
It's all data is a phrase that I've thought about for quite a while. With every fresh sunrise in the digital era, the walls between categories have been melting, becoming pools that are constantly expanding. What were once rigid divisions between categories have become places of possibilities, where different types of data can interact. There are hundreds, if not thousands of examples, but Smab is a great one. I enjoy SMAB's tagline: Are you ready to listen with your eyes? Interactive Fiction! From a reddit post:
Because of its status as outsider art, most of the authors are independent freelancers who are in it more for art than any glory. If you're interested in working with people from the IF community, there is a forum at intfiction.org where you can discuss theory or find collaborators. Also, most of the very top programmers frequent euphoria.io/room/if, including people like Emily Short, who has been the top author and the face of IF for 2 decades.I am now excited about starting my first piece of interactive fiction. It seems that I can use my experiences as a writer, an artist, a gamemaker and a music producer.At the moment, the themes are self-discovery and the facts surrounding an undiscovered 1921 painting by Picasso. This is the first of a series of posts about the possibilities and challenges of music in the An Authentic Picasso project.
I was recently reminded of how important the presentation of an object or idea is. I have often disregarded this idea or used it as a filter to separate people who are serious about my work from those who possibly interested in it because of an attractive presentation. With the I Ate Tiong Bahru book, for example, I avoided putting a nicely composed Tiong Bahru street scene or a plate of delicious food on the cover. Both would have been appropriate, but both would have attracted readers that might have been disappointed in the text inside. The stories in IATB are not "avante-garde" or challenging. The mix of styles, plus the way history, fiction, fact and food information are woven together mean that the reader never knows what to expect on the next page. The cover, perfectly realized by the photographer/designer Philipp Aldrup, was meant as a suggestive signal that the reader should be open-minded. With the Voice of Pieces project, I ignore Design, just as I Ignore Art, Commerce, Logic and more: the VoP Project is about creating an experience and an oral history more than anything else. Lastly, the original cover of Furikake was meant to be the "ugliest cover on Amazon. Designed it myself! At the moment I am using this blog post as a way of remembering things, looking at my life from a different perspective. I would like to make time and come back and write about more of the designers and design experiences later. For now, I present you with just the minimum of info. If you are one of the brilliant designers listed below, please know that whenever I see your works, I am very appreciative and feel very fortunate to have worked with you. THANK YOU! The Eighties! Mr. Xerox Machine... Oh, was I happy working with copying machines.!(Am happy!) New York City, Rochester NY, Tokyo, Toledo, Ottawa Lake... the errors, the unevenness, the paper jams, "double exposures"...wow! This video...well...I would love to work on it again... And yep, Paul Dodd, the drummer, has helped me with a design project or two, including the logo for blacksteps, my "sleeping" company. Paul's work as a painter, however is what makes him one of my favorite Artists. Danceteria/No Se No...The designers at these places made a great impression upon me, though I did not know them personally and my involvement with Danceteria and No Se No was only very rarely featured on their posters, almost nonexistent. Izumi Inoue He did the layout and cover for a book I was working on, something called Tonbow, which needs to be rejuvenated. It was my first time to experience the power of self-publishing, though I only made a few copies. Izumi was/is a magician! Galerie NW House-Endo-san or someone she knew made the postcards for my exhibition. They were simple delights that we put stamps on and mailed. Tokyo/SPP/Barae..... Barae is a post-butoh dancer/actress. In the early Ninties, we operated an art space together, something called SPP. Our own design work was copy machine/collage style, with one exception. The W postcard was a luscious postcard and the text was in Japanese and English. I must find it and scan it. Working on that was my first lesson in wabi-sabi. Also, whenever Barae had a performance, she worked designers to make chirashii; the results were gorgeous. Terry Jones. Five minutes when he came in to oversee a story about Stelarc featuring my photos of Stelarc. I-D Japan He will not remember me. At the time I did not know who he was. But he knew what was and--wasn't-- working with the layout. The Nineties! Sadato's 1992 CD cover Never met the designer. Would like to shake his or her hand. Sadato, where are you? David Bothwell. It was always a treat to work with David and Alice and hang out in their office in Hong Kong. SO PROFESSIONAL! They did the flyer for a photo exhibition of mine, as well as the VHS packaging for Yallah, the Sadato VHS. And then there was the delightful craziness of posters for Hans, the Birdman. David did the cover of Obama Search Words. Roy Chan wowed us all with the look and feel of SPOKEN. Roy also created a postcard for an exhibition I did in Tokyo, that seemed to "inspire"a travel agency poster: the look and feel was exactly the same. Makiko Kuno. Su go ii! I watched Tamala being born. Network TV. Sally Howard. Stefanie Pfeffer,who is now doing all kinds of interesting motion design in Europe Lawrence?--all from TNT/Cartoon Network in Hong Kong. And, the staff who worked with me in the promo department at Fox in Tokyo...yes, I have been very lucky. One of the projects I did, the sales tape launching Cartoon Network in Japan, was featured at the Promax Awards. In TV, designers and graphics people make it happen!And, sometimes, it is Stuart Rankin feeling! Kumiko Akiyoshi. Unfortunately I cannot now remember the name of her friend who was also a great designer. I do remember she drove a Corvette when she took me to see the restaurant in Kabukicho that we c0-designed! David Severn, an artist, he did the drawing for an upcoming book of mine called Flame Magnet. We are also hoping to re-energize the characters we created for a virtual game space called Secret Donut World. The dawn of this important millenium of ours... Well, things started in Tokyo, when I worked for Fox, then in 2002 where I was with the Youtube-like company (before Youtube that was also a Second Life-like company (before Second Life). Though I was Creative Director, most of the packaging was handled by those who worked with characters. I need to retrieve the emails exchanged with the woman who designed the cover of the ABM Notebook. She was great. I say "was great" because, sadly, not long after we finished this project, she was taking photographs and was fatally hit by a car. It was also around this time that I met the very talented Peter Dean, now a good friend. We worked on something for something like a joint venture between Canon and the gaming/video company I worked for. Kinda experimental, which was a surprise for a company that big... THE DEAN on Facebook. To be continued!