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This conceptual project is centered around a love story, published in a book format. A multi-layered story with many symbolic references to Water, this book will have readers turning and flipping the book back and forth several times as they seek to unravel the mystery of it, a process which reflects the state of a person’s retrospective thought process.
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conatus. Latin for impulse, inclination, and tendency, it refers to the will of a thing to continue to exist and enhance itself. In my project it relates to both the nature of water and the possibilities of humanity to act as a part in larger-scale change for good through social design.

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LUO Jewellery by Tan Luting

luo jewellery logo

“Women are made of water.”

 (quote from Dream of the Red Chamber)

According to traditional Yin-Yang theory, everything in the universe has a dualistic nature. It is this dualistic nature which maintains the equilibrium and order of the universe. Hence, Yin (the female principle) shares equal importance with Yang (the male principle). In traditional Chinese culture, women are closely associated with water, the symbol of Yin. To me, water and women share many similarities – they are both soft, graceful, flexible and yet strong and powerful at the same time.

“Luo” stands for the Goddess of River Luo, a beautiful female deity who has been a symbol for ideal women for centuries in China. Luo Jewellery is inspired by the softness, the sensuality and the purity of water.  The softness and sensuality of water are closely linked to the traditional Chinese ideals for female beauty. An ideal woman is gentle, graceful, sensitive and flexible like water. This still holds true in the modern context despite the changing roles of women in our society.

Ancient philosopher Lao Tse once said, “Weak overcomes strong, soft overs hard.” Water represents the strength of femininity. In my project, I want to celebrate the beauty of women through the manifestation of water in the form of jewellery designed for modern and sophisticated women.

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“Wudhu is the key to prayer as prayer is the key to Paradise.”

‘Wudhu’ is the act of washing the face, both arms up to the elbows, wiping one’s forehead, washing of ears and noses & feet to physically cleanse one’s body and mind in preparation to pray to God. This purification ritual is done before every Islamic prayer. It is not only a reflection of physically purifying oneself, but acts as a catalyst for the conceptual purification of one’s mind against dwelling on moral decadence and the material world. It is the point where one encounters the One-ness of mind and body towards a singular aim of worshipping and thinking of God. In worship, the mind is clear and one gets a heightened awareness of one’s mortality in relation to the world while in meditation or contemplation.


Oasis: A Journey

Book Cover

The juxtaposition of the methods to conceptual purity in the Islamic purification ritual is akin to the journey of one in search of an oasis. An oasis situated in a barren landscape, a beacon of hope and survival for travelers. In the book, first comes the narrative of the journey, then its logical definition and lastly, its spiritual context.

These three elements: narrative, rational meaning and religious context, interact with one another, to make obvious the spiritual sentiments behind the search for conceptual purity. The narrative is based on one man’s desperate search for water. His suffering is seen as a metaphor for a spiritual struggle, testing his faith in God’s plan. Next, the rational definition of a word (which best represents the narrative) is given, which is then reflected by its use in the context of religion. The word is given spiritual connection to a Quran text and the text from the Quran reflects off of the metaphorical meaning of the narrative. This cycle of inter-play between the three elements is endless and represents the continuous struggle between holding onto the material world or the afterlife.

Read the full text :  Oasis


A Visual Journey : Imagining the Intangible

The book and the video form a dialectic of spirituality through two methods, the written word and the image. The meaning of the words and the images that are conjured up by the text place emphasis on the religious context, making the intangible tangible. On the other hand, the images in the video seem to draw away from the image into the realm of intangibility. Although, the Quran verses are absent, the images and audio exude the strong sense of heightened spirituality and mortality. The exploration of contrasts between the tangible and intangible in both mediums re-enforce the pursuit of conceptual purity.

View the full video below.


Promotional Poster

The poster is a promotional deliverable for the book.

Poster in-situ at Public Library














Water as an important life source

This installation is based on the water cycle, the perpetual exchange of water between the atmosphere, soil water, surface water, ground water and plants.  When the water from a river evaporates, it become vapor and turn into clouds. Eventually, it turns into rain.

In festivals such as Thailand’s Loi Kratong, it takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional thai calender. “Loi” means “to float” and a “krathong” is traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk. Wishes are made by placing offerings on banana leaves and placed on water, letting them float away with the current of a river or a canal.

The water carries all their wishes hoping to be heard and received. An installation is created with raindrops as a metaphor to signify wishes made by people.

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