Qing Sheng Ang
Title of Paper
Infusing local culture in Singaporean Animation - Developing a framework of cultural specifics from a study of contemporary cinema in Singapore
Notwithstanding a materializing Singapore cinema, research attention has not been given to how animated cultural products can make an impact on the construction of a local identity. This can be considered detrimental to the cultural promotion of a local but heterogeneous mediascape. The practice-based research attempts to outline a practical framework of cultural specifics capable of producing an animated film that is identifiably 'Singaporean' to a global audience. Resistance against the Marcusian One-Dimensional Man theory, the premise of Kenneth Paul Tan’s Cinema and Television in Singapore, will be the basis of this research in order to understand the emergence of contemporary Singaporean films. Heartlander, a term to describe conservative local population, provides the social semiotics to understand Singapore culture. Films like Ilo Ilo by Anthony Chen and Sandcastle by Boo Junfeng will be analyzed according to five indicators - setting, characters, mise-en-scène, language and premise - as they manifest Singaporean traits in their attempts to integrate local culture. The same indicators are used to analyze films like “Tatsumi” by Eric Khoo so as to locate cultural deficiency within these local animated features. “Flats” by Ervin Han and similar animated shorts are subsequently examined as examples of attempts at infusing local culture into an animated production. The practical component of the research - an animated short film about a baby who tries to retrieve his Merlion soft toy that has fallen out of his HDB apartment window and in the process reveals the contemporary Singaporean residential landscape - is presented as a production journal explicating reception from both local and global audiences.
animation, singapore, culture, cinema, media
Qing Sheng teaches in the Animation programme at LASALLE College of the Arts. Among his works are "Affinity: Our Song", a music video with original music production that made its way into several festivals worldwide. He has received funding from both LASALLE Research Project Funding and National Arts Council (Singapore) to produce animated short films for 2015, one of which is "5 Shades of Solitude" for Utter 2015 Festival and the other is "Lak Boh Ki", a Hainanese animated short. His research interest lies in Southeast Asian culture in Animation as well as pedagogy in 3D Animation visual design.