The giant birdcage (1) sitting proud in the corner of Singapore art and design collective Phunk (opens in new tab)'s studio is, in fact, not a birdcage. It's actually a throne, created in collaboration with furniture designer Nathan Yong. Inscribed along the perch are the lyrics to the Aerosmith hit Dream On.
"It celebrates the spirit of the dreamers and the power of imagination," explains Alvin Tan, who co-founded Phunk in 1994. "The throne is a sanctuary in which the king can nest his dreams, then set them free to take flight across the universe."
The rest of Phunk's work requires similar explanation. There's a print of the word 'faith' (2), in which the collective has imbued traditional iconography with fresh meanings. "We referred to diverse sources to create a complicated flamboyance in our unique way," says Tan, of the studio's creative approach. "This also corresponds to Phunk's 'control chaos' philosophy."
Hanging on another wall is a larger work, a painting entitled Crassh (3). Part of the studio's Art! Slippery When Wet collection, it illustrates the idea that everything must crash before new things can form.
Meanwhile, a golden bomb sculpture (4) is a metaphor for the power of love. "The atomic bomb is the ultimate symbol of mankind's creative genius and destructive nature," explains Tan. "We wanted to build a 'love bomb' to spread the message that the most powerful force in the world is actually love," he adds.
The original sculpture stood 1.8m tall, while this miniature version was created to enable Phunk to share its message on a wider scale. "We wanted to spread love into the homes of space-constrained Singapore inhabitants," smiles Tan.
Photography: Marc Tan
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 227.