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:phunk: No Borders

The multidisciplinary collective from Singapore talks about their new DAYDREAM NATION series, and why they approach their work like a music band.

:phunk: No Borders


July 26th, 2011

Since forming :phunk in 1994, Alvin Tan, Melvin Chee, William Chan and Jackson Tan have emerged as one of the most successful hybrid creatives from Singapore to straddle both art and commerce. Their portfolio, which includes collaborations with MTV, Nike, Diesel, The Rolling Stones and Herman Miller (the REACH project), is as diverse as it is impressive.


Daydreamer, from the new Daydream Nation series

Right now, the latest works from their DAYDREAM NATION series is being shown at the 54th Venice Biennale’s “Future Pass – from Asia to the World” exhibition. “It is an imaginary nation that transcends national boundaries,” explains Jackson Tan.

The Venice exhibition, which showcases over 100 artists, both Asian and non-Asian, crosses genres and disciplines, and highlights a new aesthetic paradigm currently proliferating from Asia to the rest of the world.



In DAYDREAM NATION as with :phunk’s other works, “universality in the modern globalised age” is the recurring theme says Jackson.

The :phunk members first met as students at LASALLE College of the Arts and found they shared a varied range of interests from Chinese mythology to British indie music to American pop culture. Following a failed attempt at starting a music band, they began ’jamming’ with visuals and graphics on Jackson’s Mac.


New World Triptych

“The rock and roll ethos, DIY spirit and working dynamics of a band was developed into our collective’s DNA. That’s how it all started,” says Jackson.

“Our approach is best described as ’an aesthetic collective consciousness’ focused on experimenting with new approaches to visual expressions. We approach the creation of our fine art series like a band producing an album. First, we decide on the main artistic theme of the series, then the number of tracks (each artwork = one visual track), and then we start working on each artwork collectively.”


Metal Stargazer, an upcoming event where music and art collide

:phunk makes no distinction between art and design. “We like to explore, express and communicate our ideas through different mediums. Our projects span across art, design, publishing, fashion, music, film and interactive. We like to blur the lines and push the boundaries between art and design, creativity and commerce, craft and technology, east and west, fantasy and reality, control and chaos, love and hate, friendship and partnership, sound and image.”


Media pole public art exhibition in Seoul


Apart from DAYDREAM NATION, :phunk will be part of an event at Zouk Singapore (29 July) featuring metal music and art; it’s also involved in a public art exhibition currently running in Seoul, Korea.

Hero Image: :phunk members in front of their work, Control Chaos (DAYDREAM NATION project)


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