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.

Dude’s top 5 favorite things in Lijiang, China

Pretending to be a model in LiJiang

Tigerair has resumed direct flights between Singapore and Lijiang for a cheap price of SGD319 (I checked myself)! They sent me and 4 others there last week so we can spread the word! I was sent as a Sports+Travel Magazine writer! 

Honestly, I never heard of Lijiang until tiger told me and thought it was going to be a “pass-through-city” to get to more famous places like Shangri-la up north. I’ve never been so wrong.

Pretending to be a model in LiJiang
Me pretending to be a model in LiJiang, with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background. Shot and directed by Rina

Lijiang IS the place to visit and not just a pass through. The place is so famous for its beauty, it got my dad excited when I told him I was going. I must have been living under a rock (Singapore).

We traveled early November, it was autumn, temperatures were cold. No snow yet but I brought my puffer jacket anyway. It came in useful.

Here are my top 5 favorite things during this trip.

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!

Old Supreme Court: A Historic Virtual Tour (App)

Old Supreme Court Virtual Tour

zaobao took a really good picture of me. I mean the shot itself is technically difficult with the bright background, dark interior and reflective screen brightness. Impressed!

8 months of going to The Supreme Court that security thought I was being sued or smth lolol. My ‘sentencing’ was read by Chief Justice Sundaresh on Tuesday and it was in praise! Surreal!
Take a tour of the National Gallery building before it opens here -> Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id985981806
or Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sg.dude.OldSupremeCourt

Dude Shirt

Grey Dude Shirt

Presenting my very own DUDE SHIRT! I’ve been looking everywhere for a soft grey T-shirt to make my first shirt with. I was really particular in my search. The T-shirt had to fulfil 3 strict dude criterias.

  1. Softness: I hate rough shirts, they get so scratchy! I wanted a shirt I could wear everywhere and also to be comfortable to even go to bed with. A sleep worthy shirt!
  2. Greyness: I wanted to parody that popular ash-grey ARMY T-shirt. The colour needed to be in the right………………… shade of grey…
  3. Thinness: I remember wearing those grey army T-shirts, they were too thick! Too thick for this (Singapore) weather. It needed my T-shirt material to be thin enough to keep cool but not too thin that it feels flimsy and cheap.  

I’ve found the perfect T-shirt for me. I’m planning to make more. Please let me know if you want one 

Army Dude Shirt
How the Dude Shirt looks on a regular person (me) M-Size

Eugene’s 2 important museum exhibitions of 2014

Last year I exhibited two different types of work at both Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum. It was a really big deal for me though I realized I didn’t blog about them at all! So here are photos from each them.

Singapore Art Museum – Sensorium 360

I had the good fortune of exhibiting my Installation, The Overview Installation, as part of Singapore Art Museum (SAM)’s quarterly exhibitions from 31st July to 22 October 2014. 

All three viewing modes were available namely, God view (Third person perspective), Vice Versa (Swapping Perspectives with your buddy) and Lizard Vision (having eyes at the side of your head)

The show had a constant flow of visitors everyday and I was told that there were queues for my installation and that people come back for more!

The Overview Installation at SAM
Visitors navigate a simple maze while watching themselves through a CCTV camera. Third person view for real life!

 

The Overview Installation at SAM
CCTV view that the participants see

 

The Overview Installation at SAM
Wall text describing my work

 

lizard vision
A visitor squatting down to experience the lizard vision goggle.

 

The Overview at SAM
Curious visitors queuing to try my work haha

 

Gallery Sitters at Singapore Art Museum
Me with the gallery sitters who have been taking care of my equipment for the three month duration of the show! Thank you! They had to work the hardest at my piece compared to the other works in the show because they actually had to help visitors with the goggles and explain things to them.

This work went to TV! I think they did a good job documenting it too. 

Sensorium360_straits_times
Press coverage of the show

 

National Museum – Icon De Martell Cordon Bleu Photo Award 2014 

Thank you Kelley Cheng for nominating me for this prestigious award. Here are photos from the award show from 20th August to 5th September 2014 – Just in time for the Night Festival party crowd.

Eugene Soh Last Kopitiam at The National Museum Icon De Martell 2014
Eugene Soh with his work “The Last Kopitiam” at the National Museum during the Icon De Martell award show

 

The National Museum Icon De Martell 2014
A TV playing the nominee’s interviews on loop. You can watch mine here

 

The Human Caterpillar at The National Museum
The Human Caterpillar (2013), It is not everyday that I get to say that my backside is hanging at the National Museum lol.

 

Singapore National Museum
Works left to right, Monumental Task (2012), Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Singapore (2014) and Venus & Grace (2012)

 

Icon De Martell - National Museum
The night festival crowd

 

Icon De Martell - National Museum
More night fest crowd photos.

 

Icon de Martell 2014 at The National Museum

 

 Okay that’s all! Happy Lunar New Year everyone!