The Moving Manifesto


May 2017
RISD Design Studio 4
Timeline: 2 Weeks
A two-part manifesto and experiential installation examining nuance in relation to the subaltern, as well as the state of being in constant flux and transition. The manifesto itself, co-authored and designed with my friend Sudiksha Krishnan, takes the form of a website so that it can be interactive and accessible, mirroring some key points of the Manifesto.




Part 1 — Manifesto



The manifesto was written both as a tribute to the modern immigrant and as a call for greater attention to nuance. It is a response to our observation that many designers flock to the “protest aesthetic” of large, bold typography and flashy, provocative visuals that disregard the value of time and adaptation in understanding a message. This, we believe, is a privilege accorded to many who are removed from the experiences of the subaltern, a realm where meanings layer unto each other, forming subversive composites.

In the face of fluctuating politics, social states, and accelerated information, we propose the Moving Manifesto as a disposition that ranges from design decisions to our general attitude towards life.




Part 2 — Experience




Amekorin 101 is an experience-based installation that simulates the feeling of moving away from a place of familiarity and entering a foreign cultural space (Amekor), while exploring the capacity of language as an alienating force. It draws from a broad immigrant experience to which X refers, featuring 2 main sections: the first as a process of deconstruction, and the second as a stage of accelerated learning.

The title Amekorin 101 and its screen-based workshop experience is a further allusion to the language and culture tutorials that my mother — a first generation immigrant in Singapore — used to watch, commenting on the ludicrousness of being expected to penetrate a new culture within a very short period of time.





Deconstruction

The card exercise is designed as a symbolic replication of the process of dissociation that many immigrants go through. It consists of a brief 10 min interval during which the audience is instructed to let go of 5 important attachments: an object, an important person, a precious memory, a place that is safe and comfortable, and finally their name. After they have recorded their responses, each participant finds a final card with their new name in the language of Amekor — the symbol of a fresh cultural identity that still remains dissonant.




Language Tutorial

The second part of the experience is an accelerated culture study designed through the lens of language, where a rapid-fire tutorial is screened along with a computerized voice that explains the culture’s alphabet, basic customs, and philosophies. Participants are also provided with a printed instruction manual that contains written forms.