* DESIGN OF
THE YEAR 2007

0501


Lim Wei Ling was educated in architecture and design in Singapore and London. She had spent her Undergraduate days as an assistant to set designers, in order to learn the art of scenography. Her 'hands-on' approach, diligence and dedication in this path of study had won her praise and acclaim over the years.

She begins every project by carefully examining the intricacies of human relationships and their unique space of interaction. Then, she delicately weaves an environment that captures all these human sensitivities which are expressed in the form of sculpture, installations, architectural form and fabric. By exploring the synergies between philosophical, intellectual and artistic interpretations, Wei Ling creates deeply intimate spaces imbued with colours and textures that help to tell the story.

"Wei Ling has the flair of interpreting the abstract or unspoken concept in between the lines of a play; she can illustrate the environment by generating energetic designs and sculpting spaces for the settings, so that the world of the play and its characters will surface. Being insightful and having sharp aesthetic sense, she often adopts a neutral approach where the design elements are kept to the fundamental. She plays with complementing colours and materials that reflect ephemeral quality," says Kuo Jian Hong, Artistic Director of the Theatre Practice.

As a cross-disciplinary spatial designer, Wei Ling incorporates a wide range of media in her creations that include architecture, interior design, theatre and film, installation and graphic work. In 2005, she co-founded [+O], a multi-disciplinary group. She has also participated in many major art festivals both locally and overseas. Some of her notable works include Schoenberg...Prismed in 2005 with pianist Shane Thio, where she designed an avant-garde setting to depict the theme of war seen through the eyes of three artists. She had created six pieces of wood installations to each represented a note based on Schoenberg's Six Little Pieces. Op 19. Other memorable scenography projects also include the late Kuo Pao Kun’s musical, Lao Jiu, as well as Moving God with The Theatre Practice in 2003, and Menage à 13 with The Theatre Practice for the Huayi Festival in 2005.

Her recent collaboration with The Finger Players, known for their unique multi-disciplinary approach that fuses theatre, human actors and puppetry has resulted in the creation of an unusual stage performance titled 0501, that was presented at the Victoria Theatre in April 2007. This was a collaborative project consisting of 11 individuals of different disciplines in the arts. Each performer was given five minutes to present their work and hence the name.

Wei Ling's space installation titled [ç³»: web] (xi) was based on a quest to explore the idea of authorship and to develop a work that could attain a life of its own by manifesting itself through the invisible energies and dynamics around it, akin to how living things would grow in our world. Her objective as set designer here was to become one who merely plants and cultivates the idea, sets the parameter and system for a life to grow where allowance can be given to its own intrinsic nature and the dynamics around it to evolve on its own.

By deploying the clever use of ordinary objects such as paper cups and the nostalgic provision shop money tin on pulleys, she was able to create a visual representation of a communication network system. Wei Ling also created 11 isolated islands for each performer to dwell in amidst the audience. A single line led the audience to the entrance of the backstage where it started splitting into a massive web of hanging tins. The performers were able to communicate with each other by placing an object or a message within this system, much like a letterbox. This ultimately became a web of constellations that traced the movements and inherent relationships between people that can grow with time. This was a simple yet dynamic stage production and performance, no doubt.

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SET INSTALLATION
Lim Wei Ling

COLLABORATORS
Overall Concept & Direction: Ong Kian Sin
Lights Installation: Lim Woan Wen
Sound Art: Darren Ng
FOH Installation: Cecilia Chow

DIRECTORS ARTISTES DESIGNERS OF ISLANDS AND INDIVIDUAL WORKS
Tan Wan Sze
Lim Chin Huat
Koh Leng Leng
Doreen Toh
Lee Yeong Wen
Darren Ng
Jo Kwek
Lim Woan Wen

PRODUCTION MANAGER
Cecilia Chow

PRODUCER
The Finger Players

MEDIA MATERIAL
White cord, recycled tins and pulleys on fly bars in Victoria Theatre

‘‘Always observe, listen, learn, experience, explore, trying out, adjust, and remain an open mind.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What did you learn or take away from working on the design?

Lim Wei Ling: The one should always observe, listen, learn, experience, explore, try out, adjust and keep an open mind. That it's always important to begin every product by carefully examining the intricacies of human relationships and their unique space of interaction. Then, to delicately weave an environment that captures all these human sensitivities. It's important to adopt, if you can, a neutral approach where the design elements are kept to the fundamental. By exploring the synergies between philosophical, intellectual and artistic interpretations, one can then create deeply intimate spaces imbued with colours and textures that help tell the story.

Citation

‘‘Always observe, listen, learn, experience, explore, trying out, adjust, and remain an open mind.’’

Jury Citation

Visualise this - countless strings with cans attached to the ends are hung from batons in a stage performance played by 11 people. When one can is pulled upon, another can which is attached at the other end of the thread is lifted up, revealing special messages.

The players seated on the stage wait patiently for the arrival of messages, delivered from the cans suspended on spindly threads amongst them. Performed in this fashion, the players start to build relationships with one another, through an intertwined network of accidents and inevitability. This installation-cum-performance is aptly named, 'A Map of Life'.

The name implies that even though lives in the contemporary world seem to be determined by accidents, there is always an invisible inevitability behind them. This intensely abstract space filled with acute tensions, causes us to re-think the meaning of design in a metaphysical way.

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Nominator Citation

TAN HWEE BIN
INTERIOR DESIGNER

0501 stands by itself as a unique stage set installation in simplicity with style.

As an audience, I was amused with the use of very basic everyday materials and the way of execution to sculpture the space with the change of audience orientation and seating in the theatre.

The execution is no longer symbolic and it's a realisation of an invisible thought and wavelength. A new life injected to the long forgotten childhood games which we used to play due to the advancement of today's technology.

OTHER RECIPIENTS

Hans Tan

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR 2018

Founder, Hans Tan Studio; and Assistant Professor, Division of Industrial Design,
National University of Singapore
Hans Tan Studio

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