Yue Si Wei - Curation

Barriers

The photographer makes use of gestalt theory to bring out the idea of our anti-social society. Objects that look similar (in this case, the darker windows) will automatically be grouped together by the brain, thus singling out the main point the photographer wants us to see. The fact that the man was trying to pull down his curtains shows that he too wants to isolate himself away from the rest. Also, black and white filter is used to further evoke feelings, particularly negative ones, in viewers. It also shows how dull (both literally and non-literally) our lives have become.

Looking at this from a technical perspective, I feel that the way this image is framed can effectively bring out the meaning our group wants to portray — Anti-social isolation brought about by architectural design and people’s attitudes.

Adopting this approach would be a useful to our final project as I could easily relate the photo to the the scenario in HDB flats in Singapore. Despite the government constantly encouraging interaction between neighbours through community activities and campaigns, many still shut their doors tight to avoid encounters with their neighbours. People consciously and subconsciously try to pull up barriers to “protect” themselves from others. In the past when development in Singapore was not rife, when Kampongs were a common sight, there were so much more interaction between people in their tight knitted communities than today. Today, we can no longer see much of the “Kampong Spirit”, so what has gone wrong? Our groups aims to show how the barriers erected by Singaporeans have made our society a sadder place to live in.

I love how this photo is framed as well — there is obvious intention of “symmetrifying” the entire scene, from its subjects to the objects used. This photo also aims to show the concept of “barriers” in a different way. In contrast to the previous photo, the barriers of this photo is not a physical manifestation, but one that we cannot see but know that it is there.

Although the chairs are positioned in a way where it facilitates interaction, both subjects are busy with their phones. This is a common sight in Singapore’s society today.

Juxtaposition could be seen in contrast to the passer-bys in the background who are busy living their own lives such that viewers would be led to look at the ladies in the foreground first, then the people in the background. The two elements (passer-bys and the ladies) work together to reinforce the theme of the photo in an effective manner.

However, my favourite takeaway from the photo is the photographer’s metaphorical usage of the tree (in the middle!) to represent the “barrier” we are not able to see physically. The erected tree seems to be a tall wall separating the two subjects, and this cutting up of the entire photo into two parts could further bring out the idea of the antisocial concept our group is trying to explore. Whether it is intentional or not on the part of the photographer, I feel that making use of metaphors to portray separations “unseen-able” gives a even better effect, and we can definitely adopt this technique.

Reference:

Antisocial. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2015, from http://www.deviantart.com/art/Antisocial-91407233

Carson, S. (n.d.). Sandy Carson — Prints. Retrieved March 25, 2015, from http://www.sandycarson.com/about/prints/#slide-3

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