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Me & My Shadow: Embracing Solitary Moments

Me & My Shadow:
Embracing Solitary Moments

Me & My Shadow is a B.A. final year project which touches on the problem that people no longer have, or see the need to have, solitary moments in this highly social society.
“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
– Blaise Pascal 

We live in a day and age where much emphasis is placed on communication, networking and group ideation – the need to be extremely social. Day in and day out, we are swarmed by text messages, emails, calls… And more often than not we would always be around people, pressured by the society to come out of our introverted selves and become adaptable social animals, or risk missing out on the best things in the world such as potential business deals, once in a lifetime opportunities, or simply, the good fun. If, ever, we are alone, we’d be plugged in to the world with our cellphones and gadgets.
This constant human engagement via physical or technological means creates a problem in this society – that Man no longer have, or see a need to have, “alone time” in their lives to recharge and restore their body and mind. Are we constantly socialising because we fear missing out, losing out and being alone? When then, can we eventually have time for ourselves, to breathe, to rest, to grasp reality, and to reflect on our lives? 
The Project
Through a series of projects such as the building of temporary spaces for passersby to experience mental and physical solitariness, Me & My Shadow explores how the use of graphic design interventions can allow one to realise the importance of alone time in today’s highly social society. 
The objectives are to educate the target audience on the misconceptions and importance of solitude, and explore whether moments of solitude can be created for the laymen using self-reflection and the creation of solitary space in the public area.
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"One Moment, Please."
One Moment, Please. is a series of  interventions, namely #1: The Cubicle, #2: The Teepee and #3: The Chair.
This series experiments with the creation of spaces (or “situations”) in the public sphere, where the three temporary structures are set up in the middle of nowhere, seeking to break the flow and daily routine of passersby, giving them a choice, or opportunity, to have a brief moment to themselves, for themselves.
One Moment, Please. #1: The Cubicle
Bath times are highly regarded for their creativity-inducing abilities. These brief yet important daily routines are also a form of “alone time”, allowing one to recharge and rejuvenate. With the same concept in mind, portable cubicles with curtains were used to create a temporary getaway from the world.

> View more of this project here
One Moment, Please. #2: The Teepee  
Teepees are often associated with Native American dwellings. They also represent peace, tranquility, solitude and beauty. The portability of these tents makes such interventions extremely interesting for they can be planted nearly everywhere and attract curious bystanders.

> View more of this project here
One Moment, Please. #3: The Chair
Like a loner often being shunned by the public, single seats placed in the open tend to be ignored and neglected. Will anyone defy social norms and spare a moment on this chair of solitude?
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"The Personal Space Prototype"
The Personal Space Prototype is an experiment meant for users who wish to create their own little private space at work, in school, or even in the public arena like cafes where noise and movement have become a constant. It delves into using the DIY paper-folding technique to create a personal bubble for oneself.
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"When I’m Alone"
When I’m Alone is a participatory series of 7-day themed projects aimed to find out what people see, feel, or think about during their times of solitude – be it during their daily commute or morning moments on the toilet bowl. The project also hopes that people can explore themselves as a subject through the journaling their daily solitary moments.
When I’m Alone #1: The Point And Shoot Series
In the Point And Shoot Series, participants are each given a disposable camera, which, for a period of 7 days, become their eyes – an apparatus to log their curiosity.

> View more of this project here
The results of this project are extremely varied. Some participants prefer staying at home, while others choose to go outdoors for a midnight run... with the camera!
The photographs are then developed and designed into posters that can be folded and made to stand. The card can be unfolded and flipped to show other selected photographs.
When I’m Alone #2: The Blank Canvas Series
The Blank Canvas Series a notebook project – participants are each issued a 16-page blank notebook. For a week, this notebook will serve as a personal blank canvas for self-exploration.

> View more of this project here
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"Going Solo."
Going Solo. is a publication of curated writings by people I know – personal stories, essays and poems – on solitude, mindfulness, space, and the environment.
Because the ways to which one can experience solitude are aplenty, solitude can be categorised into many types.
To New York University sociologist and historian Richard Sennett, there are three solitudes in the society. There is the solitude of isolation – imposed by power, the solitude of the dreamer – represented by non-conformists who seek revolution, and the solitude of difference – one based on the idea that there is a difference between being lonely and being alone, of having an inner life which is more than a reflection of the lives of others.
To artist Michael Lee, there is an additional solitude of the cosmos, referring to the solitary existence of elements beyond the human world, one that acknowledges the fact that humans are not the only beings capable of being in or subjected to solitary situations.
To me, solitude could simply mean being in a state of physical isolation or a mental state of self-reflection and thought. The bed, bathroom and bus are known as the 3 B’s of creativity, and these transitory and most of the time, solitary, moments often go unnoticed, unappreciated and taken for granted by us, who find joy in fiddling with our phones and chatting up with friends 24/7. Apart from embracing the transitory moments, solitude could also mean us, holing up or shutting ourselves out from the world; us, getting away from the world; or us, going about the daily routine alone.
There is just so much to discuss about what solitude means to us apart from the socially-constructed views on the detrimental effects of the acceptance of solitariness – often associated with, but not necessarily including, introversion – in the society.
The writings are accompanied by photography taken from an unplanned solo journey to “anywhere the bus takes me”.

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"100 Ways of Solitude"
This little book of solitary moments aims to share with its readers some ways in which they create and can spend time with themselves on their own. Being in solitude can be fun once you realise that loneliness can be overcome. That’s why illustrations are incorporated into this little book with a light-hearted approach - “alone time” is normal and should never be associated to the “loner” or the “anti-social”. 

View more of this project here
Me & My Shadow: Embracing Solitary Moments

Me & My Shadow: Embracing Solitary Moments

Me & My Shadow is a B.A. final year project which touches on the problem that people no longer have, or see the need to have, solitary moments in Read More