Asian Correspondent » Aalto University School of Arts and Design http://asiancorrespondent.com Asian Correspondent Wed, 27 May 2015 10:03:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Bonjour http://asiancorrespondent.com/112643/bonjour/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/112643/bonjour/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 02:26:28 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/112643/bonjour/

Bonjour everyone!I am writing to you from my new room in Paris. So excited to be here. It’s been a week now and I’ve been running around banks etc and sorting out all sorts of bureaucracy. Has been very confusing at time but I feel as if things are slowly sorting themselves out. I signed my employment contract yesterday so I’m an official lectrice now – fantastic!Finished dissertationI’m still exhausted after all my hard working writing my dissertation but finally after I had loads of trouble binding it (Ryman’s in Derby missed out a page) I handed it in

Link:

Bonjour

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Thai police arrest 3 Taiwanese men in heroin bust http://asiancorrespondent.com/111720/thai-police-arrest-3-taiwanese-men-in-heroin-bust/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/111720/thai-police-arrest-3-taiwanese-men-in-heroin-bust/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 04:49:16 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=111720 BANGKOK (AP) — Police say they have arrested three Taiwanese men and a Thai man and have seized 230 kilograms of heroin before it could be smuggled to Hong Kong.

Police Lt. Gen. Chaiwat Chotima said investigators seized 678 bars of heroin worth 426 million baht ($13 million) at a hotel in Bangkok’s outskirts before the drugs were delivered to smugglers Thursday.

Chaiwat said Friday the Thai suspect was arrested at the hotel while the three Taiwanese were caught before they boarded a flight to Hong Kong at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

He said the four were facing charge of possessing drugs for sale and will be investigated for drug trafficking charges.

Police believed the value of the narcotics will increase 5 to 20 times when sold overseas.

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Conferencing: Part II http://asiancorrespondent.com/109661/conferencing-part-ii/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/109661/conferencing-part-ii/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 04:29:40 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/109661/conferencing-part-ii/

Now that the dust has settled on my first two academic conferences, it seems like a good time to sit down and reflect on the experience.First up, the two day Transatlantic Historical Approaches Workshop, held by King’s in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nothing quite like two rainy, cold British summertime days to welcome our American panelists. I was first up, bright and early, at 9am, to give my paper, alongside Josh Lynn from the UNC. Giving the paper was surprisingly non-daunting – I think I must have used up all my nervous energy back when I gave my lecture.Here is a rather unflattering image of me talking, courtesy of the mistress of ceremonies Amy Kavanagh.Admittedly I overran a little, which was a key thing to take away, and that I think I managed to nail more or less when it came to presenting at the History Lab conference a couple of weeks later. But the best part of the learning curve that this event represented was sitting down on day two with Josh, to discuss how we plan to collaborate in forming our panel for the UNC leg of the workshop

Originally from: 

Conferencing: Part II

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My Everest http://asiancorrespondent.com/108094/my-everest/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/108094/my-everest/#comments Thu, 23 May 2013 05:27:09 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/108094/my-everest/

There comes a time in every researcher’s life when they look at the pile of work in front of them and have a momentary panic about the sheer scale of the task ahead.I am in that moment.I’ve spent the last 3 and a half days trawling through the British Library’s online newspaper catalogue, to get a sense of how many papers I can use for one of my thesis chapters. Over 5,500 records later, I now have a list of 765 papers. Never. Going. To.

Excerpt from – 

My Everest

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India tests nuclear-capable missile http://asiancorrespondent.com/96389/india-tests-nuclear-capable-missile/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/96389/india-tests-nuclear-capable-missile/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 02:05:44 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=96389 NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian news report says India has successfully tested a medium-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile fired from an underwater platform in the Bay of Bengal.

The Press Trust of India news agency says the missile would soon be ready for deployment on platforms, including a nuclear submarine.

India’s Defense Ministry spokesman was not available for comment.

Pallava Bagla, a defense expert, said Sunday’s test off the east coast was 14th in the series with a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles). It would complete India’s nuclear triad — the capability to launch missiles from land, air and below the sea.

India and its nuclear-armed rival Pakistan routinely test different versions of their missiles. The countries have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

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Searching through Cumulus http://asiancorrespondent.com/74982/searching-through-cumulus/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/74982/searching-through-cumulus/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2012 18:46:25 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=74982 “Walk ten thousand miles. Read ten thousand books.”

Cumulus Network | 2012 © Dylan Kwok (Generated from Cumulus Data)

The parallelism of cultural and academic exploration is an essential element in the path of every research, especially in doctoral level. With good supports from a network of universities from around the world, researchers can formulate and refine their topics, findings and focuses. With 44 countries and 176 members, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, aka Cumulus, is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. From events and conferences, to exhibitions and competitions, Cumulus has organized various activities worldwide with numerous colleges and universities or the creative arts. As a founding member of the association, the School of Art and Design joined EXPO 10’ under the name of Aalto University for the first time, gave students opportunities to work together in foreign context and of course a chance to visit China. For Claudia, it was in Shanghai that she found her research interest.

Claudia moved to Finland from her hometown Mexico City for her studies in Applied Art and Design. Soon after receiving her master’s degree in May 2010, she went to Shanghai for the first joint-project of the school, AaltoLab. Led by IDEO, she spent three weeks in China with other fellow students from the School of Economics and the School of Technology. The group conducted series of research on Chongming Island, an ageing rural area near Shanghai. She then participated in another project in Aalto Design Factory at Tongji University for three more months in China. These two projects inspired Claudia and reinforced her interest on design activism, hence the topic in doctoral research.

Claudia at Tongji University | 2010 © Claudia Garduño García

A year has gone by; she is now in Mexico, continuing her research and preparing the Mexico addition of the AaltoLab project with the National University of Mexico (UNAM). With the foreseeable success of her project in her hometown, it is not impossible to anticipate the expansion of Cumulus network in the near future, where Mexico will become another Latin member and complete the North America chapter of the association.

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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Studying with ERASMUS http://asiancorrespondent.com/73891/studying-with-erasmus/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/73891/studying-with-erasmus/#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2012 16:21:08 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=73891 Located in the northeastern part of Europe, Finland is situated between Sweden and Russian. As the daughter of the Baltic Sea, it not only shares the same time zone with the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but also Greece and Turkey. If we draw a circle with a five-hour flying radius and Helsinki in the center, it will cover the Arctic villages in the north and the Mediterranean towns in the south. This Nordic EU member may seem remote, but flying to Helsinki in facts takes only 8 hours from Beijing. With the national airliner providing direct flights from 11 major cities in Asia to Helsinki, this northern world design capital has becoming more popular among travelers flying between the two continents.

"Shortcut between Asia and Europe" | © 2011 Adapted from Finnair

The egalitarian education system of the country has also made Finland a popular destination for international applicants. The number of Asian students who seeks upper education has been increased in the past decades. There are several major reasons that attract foreign students to pursue their graduate degree in Finland, including: the tuition-free master degree programs offered in English, various world-class facilities available on campus and the EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students aka ERASMUS. Established in 1987, the ERASMUS program supports students to undergo exchange programs between different European Universities during their studies. “Walk ten thousand miles. Read ten thousand books.” The classic Chinese proverb has definitely inspired many Chinese students including a Hong Kong media artist Chow Yik.

Yik studies Visual Culture in Aalto University’s Pori campus. Famous for its annual jazz festival, Pori is a coastal city on the southwest border of Finland. Studying in a medium-sized city, Yik was able to fully experience the nature in this country of thousand lakes in her first year. From picking mushrooms and berries; to winter swimming in avanto after Finnish sauna, her days in Pori has enriched her perspective in art and media. Being in the smaller town also encouraged her to attend different school organized trips and oversea projects including an Arctic visit to Tromsø (Norway) two workshops in Vilnius (Lithuania) and Istanbul (Turkey). Thanks to the Erasmus program, she is now on a one-year exchange in France at école supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole. Not only that she can now travel around central Europe easily, she has even visited Morocco in Africa!

Chow Yik's attempt at Hitchhiking in Finland | © 2011 Chow Yik

The Pori-based student is planning to finish her thesis in Helsinki after her exchange, so that she can visit the rest of Scandinavia to complete her Grand Tour. This extensive experience has widened her horizons. She has also made more friends from different countries. But I believe the most valuable insight she has acquired, is the new way to look at her own country, and the most unique insight one can gain from studying overseas.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” by Confucius

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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Apply Now! http://asiancorrespondent.com/73742/apply-now/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/73742/apply-now/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 15:32:05 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=73742 According to data from UNESCO and OECD, the number of applicants pursuing education away from their hometown has increased by almost 5%. One study from Australia suggested that 62% of international students would either pursue a Masters or PhD program in foreign country by 2025. Indeed, my friend who has just graduated from his master’s studies is now enjoying a 30% increase in his salary. Having a graduate degree is becoming increasingly important and with no doubt that it will become a prerequisite in most fields. At the same time, there are more schools in the world providing highly specialized graduate programs. From bioinformatics to ePedagogy, the focuses are diverse and refined at the same time. Despite of the fact that choosing the right major seems to be the most essential part in higher education, I believe, it is the question of how, rather than what, that makes our graduate level studies truly excel.

In the past year, I’ve noticed a general phenomenon when tutoring in the first year design class in the graduate school. It seems like, after years of task-oriented studies, students tend to only solve the problems (If there are such) that are written on the brief without deconstructing the giving task and going to the root of the problem. My first mentor from the design school once warned me about the fallacy of a written brief: When the task is to design a desk, we have the tendency to limit ourselves under the umbrella of the table family. No matter how many references we can gather or how creative we can be, the end result will always be a table-looking object with some numbers of legs. Whereas, if we deconstruct the brief, and realize that a desk is in fact a quasi-horizontal working surface, we would be able to come up with brilliant solutions.

Half Chair | © 2011 Woojin Chung

Last year’s Gold Leaf winner in the IFDA Asahikawa 2011 belongs to a South Korean student, Woojin Chung, who is preparing for his final master’s thesis for the Furniture Design department. His entry, Half Chair, is a simple wooden chair that strives to promote ergonomically correct sitting position. Unlike most ergonomic working chairs, which emphasize on the adjustability to support healthy sitting posture. Woojin tackles the age-old problem by restraining user from slouching with a half-sized seat, hence the Half Chair. His approach truly exemplifies the idea to challenge the norm by searching into the root of problems is one of the important attitudes when pursuing any kinds of graduate studies.

‘If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.’  Having a challenger’s mind-set is important in advancing in our career, and it is one of the most valuable things one should gain from the years of graduate studies.

Challenge yourself now!

Woojin receiving the Award | © 2011 Woojin Chung

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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Fun Art http://asiancorrespondent.com/73286/fun-art/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/73286/fun-art/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2012 19:52:03 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=73286 Snow has finally arrived on the first day of 2012; it was not only the first snow in 2012 but also the first snow of this winter in Helsinki. Soft snow gradually covered the city. Everything submerged into the white sand. Colors, texture and shapes, they all disappeared, as if there was a vast white canvas covering the entire city. The newly layered fresh snow is very attractive, I always wish to dive in and start making snow angels. Snow angels are wonderful. They never fail putting a smile on my face. Especially when there are several small ones next to each other, I can already picture the happy moments when some little children making them. Almost every one who lives in Finland has experience making One or two. It is not only a fun process, but also leaves a message on the snowy ground. But no matter how tempting and powdery the snow is, it is hard to imagine an adult making it on the side of the road, not even half of it (with my other hand holding a laptop case). But for an environmental artist, Wai-Yi saw an opportunity.

SMILE :) | © 2008 Wai-Yi Lai

Carved several letters out of a piece of foam that was salvaged from some discarded packaging material, Wai-Yi populated the city’s new canvas with her upcycled stamp, ‘SMILE :)’. From the step-less playground to the body of a car, her ‘SMILE :)’ stamped across the city, on any snowy surface. Easy to make; fun to play with, yet a powerful piece of art, especially when seen in different contexts, ‘SMILE :)’ was the first project that kicked start a new journey for the Hong Kong native, who came here for her MA studies.

Three years has gone by, Wai-Yi has now graduated and returned to her hometown. Despite the missing of snow in the subtropics, she continues her artistic exploration through different natural mediums. She has just finished a project at the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, in Hong Kong. It was a workshop that allows visitor to “discover art in everyday life” by drawing their very own postcards with her specially made green inks. Since 2010, Wai-Yi has been creating natural ink from leaves that she collected. Not only different hues of green, there were also brown, red and yellow. The spectrum was fascinating.

Leaf Ink | © 2011 Wai-Yi Lai

No matter if it was stamping snow pile with a self-made foam mold along the street, or painting postcards with the homemade leaf inks together in a workshop, there is a consistent theme in her works. They are playful, hands-on and engaging. Nevertheless, most importantly, they put a smile on the viewers’ faces.

Art is fun.

Leaves of Words Workshop | © 2011 Wai-Yi Lai

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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Open 2012 http://asiancorrespondent.com/72994/open-2012/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/72994/open-2012/#comments Sun, 01 Jan 2012 03:02:48 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=72994

'Ylistys Helsingille' by Murrl Media + Agent Pekka | © 2012 MURAL MEDIA

With the vivid lights of Ylistys Helsingille (In praise of Helsinki) augmentedly projected on the walls of the white Cathedral, Tuomiokirkko, Helsinki Design Capital 2012 is officially here.

From different forms of expression including speeches, dances to beatbox; presented by the mayor of helsinki, the top musicians in town;  or the young graduate from Aalto; everyone is a part of the city’s new title, declared by the president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), Mr. Soon-in Lee, the title is now passed on from Seoul to Helsinki.

OPEN is the theme of this year, but what does it mean to be open?

To try?

To mix?

To share?

To search?

To experience?

To experiment?

To examine?

To embrace?

To be embedded?

To be curious?

To allow criticism?

To allow defects?

To allow growth?

To allow differences?

To promote diversity?

To be creative?

To be excited?

To be passionate?

To make way for new ideas and old thinking?

To welcome challenges and competitions?

To make decisions together?

One thing can be sure is that: Helsinki will be the open platform in 2012 for everyone to find this out.

Welcome!

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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Together http://asiancorrespondent.com/72811/together/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/72811/together/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 20:22:13 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=72811 Helsinki pays true tribute to “Silent Night”. Locals tend to go to their mökki (cottages) with families for the winter holidays; shops close for three days; even public transit stops for the night. Downtown Helsinki becomes very quiet, as if the entire city has moved away. Christmas is a special time of the year for people who enjoy the unusual urban peacefulness. Despite the general low level of energy on the street, a small restaurant in Vallila was serving their fusion Christmas menu on the special night.

Japanilainen Ravintola Hoshito | © 2011 Hoshito

Run by a young Japanese couple in their mid 20s, Hoshito is a new boutique restaurant that serves everyday Japanese dishes. I chose to use the word dish instead of cuisine because of the super normality of the food that the owner, Toshiaki, offers. Careful handling of fresh ingredients that is balanced with simple seasoning, their menu reminds me of Morrison and Fukasawa’s ‘Super Normal’, which celebrates the ‘sensations of the ordinary’. Believe it or not, preparing the perfect ordinary sometimes takes more energy than forging the extravaganza. Toshiaki can focus on the culinary art behind the kitchen counter because the restaurant is well taken care of by his other half.

Flying Bird | © 2010 Sawako Ura

Sawako works as a freelance pattern designer during the day. Her talent in illustrating patterns has been recognized by some major Finnish textile companies. Some of them have already acquired some of her designs that she created back in school, including her master thesis. As a fresh graduate from the textile design department, Sawako has definitely launched her career successfully. And yet, this does not stop her from devoting her time to supporting Hoshito, because this is not a path that she walks alone, this is a shared future they have chosen, together.

When I first saw the name, Hoshito, I had a feeling that it meant something like ‘With Hoshi’ ( 星と) in Japanese. But Sawako later corrected me after my dinner at the restaurant on Christmas Eve. It is in fact a spin off from the chef’s full name, Toshiaki Hoshi. I left the two after my talk with them, it was the first Christmas dinner for Sawako to work side by side with Toshiaki at Hoshito and it marks the new beginning for the recent graduate. But this time is not a lonely journey, it is a journey at Hoshito… or with Hoshi.

With Hoshi | © 2011 Dylan Kwok

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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ADD Passion http://asiancorrespondent.com/72626/add-passion/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/72626/add-passion/#comments Fri, 23 Dec 2011 00:42:10 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=72626 The purpose of laboratory is to conduct experiments. Different labs have different research focuses: from generating artificial life form; to searching for God particle, each one of them has their own specific themes, nevertheless, there is a common experience that shared by every single labs: Failure.

Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”  There is no doubt that perseverance paid a major role in Edison’s long list of successful inventions, however, it is his enthusiasm that motivates him from one test to another. Failure is an inevitable milestone in any successful research. Every failure marks another beginning, and it all depends on the passion. One of my favorite mottos from IDEO: “Fail often in order to succeed sooner” clearly describes the nature of experiment. Every unsuccessful attempt is a reference point to the next steps. Trial by error is the way to bring us closer to the fruitful results. However, failing a task can be stressful in our meritocratic societies. The feeling derives from the undesirable result can be disappointing, hence make us frustrated, and ultimately lead us down the path of renouncement.

Indeed, we are not machines that can process data without having any feeling involved. Emotions are unique human qualities. Some can corrupt our performance; damage our confidence and eventually drive us away from our goals. But at the same time, others can enable our ability to empathize; give us energy to pursue, and drive us to success. Above all other emotions, passion is perhaps the most essential and the antidote to cure the negative feelings from failures.

And yet, an architect is not necessarily born to be more passionate about buildings. It is the environment that helps nurturing the growing interest into a passion. School is one of the environments that we spend most of our time in during the first several decades of our lives. Nevertheless, school’s curriculum may not be able to define one’s passion, passion can always be found in the extra curricular activities.

MediaLab Demo Day at Lasipalatsi | © 2011 Dylan Kwok

Last week, I attended two events organized by two different laboratories in the university. The Demo Day, where more than forty individuals from MediaLab displayed and demonstrated their prototypes or preliminary concepts to the general public in Lasipalatsi, a venue located in the downtown area of Helsinki. The latter one was a lecture given by Ulrika Karlsson from KTH-Royal Institute of Technology that took place in Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory (ADDlab), an interdisciplinary research platform initiated by Kivi Sotama, an associate professor at UCLA Department of Architecture. Despite the nature of two different events: where one focused on sound and the other focused on space, yet both of them shared the same emotion that drives their projects forward. There is no doubt that passion was the key that creates the content.

Discussion after lecture | © 2011 ADDlab

To paraphrase Emerson, nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Laboratories are some of the best platforms in school to nurture passionate future leaders who would not give in to failure and dare to change the world into a better place.

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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What Sustainable Growth? http://asiancorrespondent.com/71818/what-sustainable-growth/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/71818/what-sustainable-growth/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 19:49:16 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=71818 What are our choices for future growth?

Everyone of them requires imagination, perseverance and most importantly a new way of thinking that fuel paradigm shifts in our social value.

Act, act… otherwise we are lost.

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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Welcome Abroad! http://asiancorrespondent.com/71196/welcome-abroad/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/71196/welcome-abroad/#comments Sat, 03 Dec 2011 16:24:03 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=71196 Studying abroad is wonderful. It broadens our horizons in so many different ways: Talking in exotic new languages; encountering with unimaginable culture shocks; seeing indescribable foreign landscapes, those can illustrate only the tip of the iceberg… but what if this is only a beautiful illusion we romanticized. And in reality there is only a piece of paper and several stressful memories after years of studying abroad that remains, is studying abroad really worth it?

Perseverance Plus Proactiveness

To be honest, Finnish is not the easiest language to learn. Especially, when lectures were given in English in the university. I have to confess that English is still my only choice when having conversation in Helsinki. But Satoko’s fluentness in the language never fails to impress me. Just like the other day we were at the café with Mai and Satoshi, updating each other about our lives. She was telling us about her experience at Design Forum Finland that it is important to keep her mind sharp everyday in order to switch between Japanese, English and Finnish. As a matter of fact, Finno-Ugric language was not her major back in the university. Coming from her hometown, Yokohama in 2004, she is now an alumna from the School of Design. The language was not the reason for her to be in Finland, but it is essential for her life here and has led her into different adventures.

Perhaps I should have asked Satoshi about his studying abroad experience. An Osaka native, Satoshi came to Finland four years ago for his master’s degree study in the Furniture Design department. During the school days, he was able to explore the limits in wooden furniture and try out his design in the school’s woodworking facilities. I still remember seeing the pictures in his thesis book, showing the tests he made on his laminated chair legs, and the way he broke them, then remade them; broke them again and remade more of them; and finally presenting his wooden folding chair FAQ at the graduation show to his thesis evaluator, Ville Kokkonen, the design director of Artek, and Satoshi has been working as an in-house designer at Artek ever since.

And yet, I have also missed the chance to ask Mai about the school question, and distracted by her inspiring stories about her career. It was 2003 that she first came to Helsinki from Yamaguchi, and has been working for Marimekko for more than two years after her school days. What is the secret behind? Series of opportunity happened at the right time seems to be the driven factor, as she put it. But there is an important part missing here according to Seneca’s famous formula: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”, hence, “[good] luck is what happens when [good] preparation meets [good] opportunity.” If perseverance is the key to good preparation, then I believe proactiviness is essential in meeting good opportunities. Being the nation’s biggest D-school, Aalto served as a platform not only for building up her skills but also her opportunities to meet with other important figures in the industry.

After all, I didn’t ask what I had planned at the café. Why would I spoil my time there in a nice afternoon with some of the closest friends whom I have met here during my study? If we had not come for school in the first place, there wouldn’t have been any inspiring stories; I would have never met them and there wasn’t even any coffee chats at the café. Was it worth it? HEL YES!

From left to right: Satoshi Yoshida, Mai Ohta, Satoko Taguma | © 2011 Dylan Kwok

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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On Creativeness http://asiancorrespondent.com/70414/on-creativeness/ http://asiancorrespondent.com/70414/on-creativeness/#comments Fri, 25 Nov 2011 11:04:12 +0000 http://asiancorrespondent.com/?p=70414 Last night, I came across a very inspiring lecture, illustrated in RSA Animate series, by a world-renowned physiatrist Iain McGilchrist, called The Divided Brain. Unlike the classic false assumption in the 60s and 70s where reasons in the left and imagination on the right, McGilchrist mentioned the division of our brains as more open and board on the right and narrow and focused on the left.

[Iain McGilchrist on The Divided Brain]

Human beings are different from other animals that we have the gift to empathize. With the left hemisphere yields clarity, abstraction and decontexturalises, where as the right yields a world of changing, evolving and interconnected beings within the context of living world. We always combine the both halves in different ways to broaden our understanding of the world in order to manipulate it. He emphasized that for both imagination and reasoning, we need both of the right and left hemispheres, thus the connection between the both matters.

This reminds me of Steven Johnson’s TED talk in where he mentioned, an idea is a new network of neurons that happens inside the brain.

[Steven Johnson on Good Ideas, TED]

In fact, our environment that led to innovation should be similar to the one inside our head. The “Eureka” moments thus are results of successful incubation of great ideas that have evolved in years and decades. The only way to accelerate these “slow hunches” is to find missing pieces from others who are interested in the same topic. In other words, innovation and creativity requires platforms that encourage hunches to be incubated and collided simultaneously.

Unlike the traditional style of education, where all studies are strongly categorized and hardly collaborate, a fluid network is important for yielding creativeness. By combining sciencebusiness, engineering, chemistry, electrical engineering with art & design, Aalto University not only encourages in-depth research studies on specific areas, but also promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration between schools. This is what the new school strives for and contemporary education should be.

Posted By Dylan Kwok

- A Hong Kong native, Kwok has been practicing spatial design since his graduation in 2009 from the University of Art and Design. Having lived in various cities in East Asia, North America and the Scandinavia in the past decades, Kwok has experienced different educational settings in ideologically contrasting societies. He is now working on projects related to livability, innovation, and design activism.

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