How I became an accidental artist – Eugene Soh, TEDx talk Transcript

 

I graduated two years ago from an art school here (Nanyang Technological University). Yes, there is an art school here.

The_Last_Kopitiam_-Eugene_Soh_2010
The Last Kopitiam (2010)

You know like, if someone goes to an art school, you think “Oh, he is going to be an Artist”. That wasn’t the case for NTU. Most of the graduates here end up going a non-artistic kind of route, they become designers or something skill based. I wasn’t any different, I was on track to becoming a programmer, a game programmer, in an arts school. So, how that happened, was because of this picture [The Last Supper image].

I am very glad that I had a lot of free time in NTU. Despite what you think and what art students will say, “Oh they have so many projects, oh this, oh that”. The truth is that we have tonnes of fun [Art school is the funnest school. There was a lot of free time because we could always bullshit our way through assignments that didn’t really interest us and still have a chance at an A.. the “Subjective & Contemporary” kind of assignments.] So, I did this piece in year one, outside of school.

Being open to opportunities

This was in collaboration with Campus Magazine, they are not affiliated with any school, their name is actually called “Campus” and they had a center fold page in the magazine.
They asked me, “Hey Eugene, you are a photographer right?” and I’m like “Yup”. “Do you want to fill it up with your work?” I was a freshman and had this attitude of opening my doors to opportunity, I said yes to everything. I said “Yes” and went to browse my portfolio of photography works.
I wasn’t impressed with myself. it was all like pictures of the shadow of the lamp post on the floor, I thought I was so deep! [Laughter] but those were not suitable for the center fold.

Instagram & Facebook filters (effects) by Dude.sg

The correct and technical term for these Instagram and Facebook filters is ‘Effects’. Yes, they are Instagram AR Effects and Facebook AR Effects. I keep seeing these terms being used interchangeably – “AR Effects”, “AR Filters” or “AR Masks” or even “AR Lens” from Snapchat, ALL of which are acceptable in my books, “Effects” is what Facebook calls them but I’ll refer to them as filters because that seems to be what most people on Instagram are calling them.

Now that we got the terms out of the way, hi, I’m Eugene Soh from Dude Studios @Dude.sg, probably the first in Asia (who isn’t a Facebook employee) to create an Instagram Filter. To be able to create an Instagram filter, you will need apply to be part of the Instagram Closed Beta program where they slowly accept more and more beta testers while they work out all the kinks and add new features. Currently the beta member count sits at 2545 individuals from all around the world. 10 from Singapore.

Guess who was first ever to post an effect on Instagram Beta group page! yes, that’s right it was me.

Don’t ask me why or how I got into the program first, I don’t know the real reason. Facebook’s official statement is that they choose by random. But if i’d have to guess, it was because I was very aggressively making Facebook filters which is in Open Beta. I was genuinely amazed by what they called AR Studio back then, now its called Spark AR Studio. I did nonsense like sensor my nipples with emojis in AR, it was funny. I didn’t take it seriously.

So, I’ve been in the program for 5 months, I should have been churning out filters every day! Yes, I know I should have, but your dude has been busy helping the elderly in nursing homes with Mind Palace VR in a gruelling startup bootcamp by StartupX. I made filters with whatever time I could spare. I’m glad I still have a lot to show for the little time I could spare. (Check out my AR demo reel I compiled above!)

Also, if you want to try my AR filters yourself, I’ve put them all here

Shoutout to all my collaborators:
Howie Kim
Zig Lam
Brian Gothong Tan
Andre Brinstan Frois
Ou Ningfei
Kult Gallery
Chan + Hori Contemporary
ActiveSG Kallang Sports Centre
Global Cultural Alliance
Singapore Art Museum
Sengkang General Hospital
Singapore Tourism Board

Web Art .SG Movement

Web Art Movement

The WebArt Movement is a project where high valued one-worded .sg domains are purchased and distributed to artists around the world to create websites based on their chosen domain word.

The List Of Domains Purchased Are

  1. public.sg
  2. these.sg
  3. good.sg
  4. omen.sg
  5. great.sg
  6. haha.sg
  7. dead.sg
  8. they.sg
  9. cute.sg
  10. full.sg
  11. kill.sg
  12. guy.sg
  13. lah.sg
  14. lor.sg
  15. leh.sg
  16. zai.sg
  17. rip.sg
  18. gst.sg
  19. yet.sg
  20. sue.sg
  21. wet.sg
  22. poo.sg
  23. yellow.sg
  24. boob.sg
  25. aperture.sg
  26. weapon.sg
  27. suicide.sg
  28. frame.sg
  29. curator.sg
  30. artists.sg
  31. derp.sg
  32. him.sg
  33. pic.sg
  34. visual.sg
  35. consume.sg

This is internet real estate! High value internet real estate because they are short and easy to remember.

Who owns these domain? They are mine, Eugene Soh’s a.k.a. DUDE.SG, for now.

How did I get these domain? Believe it or not, they were all available! Internet savvy folk might think that one word domains are usually snapped up very fast by other internet savvy folk. I was checking the availability of one worded domains and to my surprise there were many available; so I bought the best ones and I have decided to use them for art – In this case– Web Art.

What do I plan to do with these domains? This is where the call for collaborators come in. I am looking for 35 crazy artist/web artist who would like to produce a internet piece with one of these domain addresses. If you (yes you!) are inspired by these domains and want to produce art with them for fun– feel free to leave a comment below or email me at eugene@dude.sg with your top 3 domain choices.

Send in your top 3 domains you might want to work on/vandalize by 15th March. After which, an FTP username and password will be sent to you via email You will have 3 months to work on the website before the sites are printed/materialised/immortalized into a chinese scroll form, ready to be exhibited here in Singapore! It will be super interesting to see what everyone does. I will be printing your homepage however long/wide/small it is.

Chinese ScrollAn example of a Chinese Scroll! This example scrolls horizontally.

What are the expectations of each website? Here are some examples of web art projects that are good/weird, just to give a sense of what kind of work you can do. pointerpointer.com , trnsprnt.tumblr.com , hypergeography.tumblr.com , fridayfriday.net , drunk.dude.sg

Anything goes!
1.

You can create a site tumblr style, to feature random stuff you find on the internet, related to the domain name! That would be like curating your own small museum on the Internet. You’ve actually been doing this for quite a while. If you think about it, your entire facebook wall is a gallery of stuff you have curated.

Its entirely up to you, go ahead and create some ridiculously crazy website that will blow people’s minds.

When is the deadline for the completion of each website? 15th July

Hurry now, Email me at eugene@dude.sg

“Usually, people think of a cool website idea before they start looking for a suitable domain name but here, we turn the traditional web production process on its head by first choosing a name that spawns creativity.”

“The inspiration for this project came when one of my collectors said to me, “Eugene, I’m very impressed by your work… but I’m even more impressed by your website [domain]–How did you get DUDE.SG? One-word domains were snapped up a long time ago–or so we might think. That night I went home to check for available one-word domains. To my surprise, plenty were available! So I bought the best ones.”

ArchiGallery: Listening To Architecture Virtual Tour Installation at National Gallery Singapore

There are some cool areas at National Gallery Singapore(NGS) that are not accessible to the public, either because they are dangerous to get to or because they have become part of their private offices. I was commissioned by NGS to create a two virtual tour installations for two areas at the Old Supreme Court Wing – they are the main dome (the roof) and the prisoners walkway where prisoners walk to enter the court room from their holding cells.

The Microsoft Kinect One motion sensor and the instructions for visitors

Visitors stand in front of my installation and wave their hands around to navigate the tour without touching the installation. This is important because the installation is permanent and having a contact-less experience would minimize wear and tear. Typical virtual tours would use a headset that would probably break within a year.

This virtual tour is part of the ArchiGallery: Listening To Architecture exhibition where I am also responsible for another exhibit: The Construction Sequence Animation. I could have done the whole video myself but I out-sourced to my go-to 3D modeler, Zig!

This is a video I shot on my phone during the opening ceremony. The animation I made for them has no audio and I had no idea they were going to screen it like that during the opening, so it was interesting to watch the Emcee narrate my work.

This is where my construction animation sequence is silently on display every day. Level 4 of the city hall wing at NGS

The Last Kopitiam

THE LAST KOPITIAM BY EUGENE SOH

The Last Kopitiam a.k.a. The Last Wonton Mee is made up of 16 photos pieced together. Most obviously relatable to Da Vinci’s Last Supper mural, your dude truly is very proud to present a local version set in a local coffee shop: Kopitiam style.

I had a square table. Each character was shot separately because it was virtually impossible to get everyone down at the same time.” – Eugene Soh


Behind The Scenes Photos:

Hidden Leg 2

Singapore Artists Exhibit in Amsterdam

The Overview Installation in Amsterdam (Kulter)

CCTV goggles on the left and Lizard goggles on the right
CCTV goggles on the left and Lizard goggles on the right

Just came back from exhibiting in Amsterdam at A-Lab with three other amazing artists, Jacquelyn Soo, Marc Nair and Zul Mahmod. It was a two day exhibition (9th, 10th October) and I had so much fun watching people tackle my maze with my live CCTV goggles on. 

I made a video of my installation. The installation is now known as CCTV goggles; decided to name it what people are already calling it. 

This show was an eye opener for me because it took place in a city where marijuana has been legalized! There is weed everywhere! Viewers of my work were saying it was like being high on cannabis because of the out of body experience it was giving them. They went on to describe their trips and I listened inventively because I never smoked weed before.

Singapore has this law that bans us from trying weed even outside of Singapore (yes, even in Amsterdam). Damn it Singapore….  I guess my CCTV goggles would be the Singaporean way to get high lol

I also brought my lizard goggles there. I reserved it for those who proved themselves worthy in the maze. There were people who adapted really quickly and breezed pass the maze and there were a rare few who got stuck and gave up. 

Huge thanks to Stephane Blokhuis for helping us put the show together in Amsterdam – she got busy early this year sourcing for venues in Amsterdam while the rest of us were looking for funding. Speaking of which – thank you National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and generous Indiegogo backers for supporting us!