Modern Contemporary Design


In conversation with EEPMON: Shing02, MC / Artivist


Born in Tokyo, raised in Tanzania and England, Shing02 came up in the independent Bay Area scene in the mid ’90s. Over the course of his independent career starting in 1995, he has made the transition from sample-based music to live performances with a full band incorporating traditional instruments, while remaining true to his hip hop roots. I caught up with Shing02 at Atlas Café in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. —-

Photos: Tokio Kuniyoshi.

eepmon: Please introduce yourself.

Shing02: My name is Shing02, I’m mostly known being as a Japanese MC, Hip Hop musician. Shing02 is my stage name but I also like to do graphics and video, to stay involved in the art scene.

eepmon: Absolutely. And we are definitely going to through these things. Great to have you here. Of course many people know you through the Japanese anime series Samurai Champloo – Battle Cry and of course your Luv(sic) series. You collaborated with Nujabes (R.I.P.). He was an amazing producer. How was it working with him?

Shing02: He was a very unique individual. Quiet guy, but he was very particular about what he wanted, not just creatively, but personally. So I think a lot people saw that part of him as an introverted artist, but the audience really related to him through his work.

eepmon: And what is interesting is that I felt that he was very picky who he wanted. It was a very global thing. We’ve got FunkyDL, Specifics… people all over the world. And for someone prolific it must have been an extensive project for everyone and for him.

Shing02: I mean it’s commonplace for people to collaborate with overseas artists now. Back then, you didn’t have social networking sites, you had to approach them directly to see if they even responded in the first place. It was very much a hands-on approach, it wasn’t as easy as posting on a site where you could expect an immediate response.

eepmon: It’s really about that trust factor, establishing strong relationship.

Shing02: I always think that, you know, as far as the works I did with him. The first Luv(sic) we recorded in 2000, just looking back on how things developed into a series, and as more people caught on and people still discovering it, we didn’t even know what we were doing in terms of recording. You know what I mean? It was really like, let’s figure it out as we go along.

eepmon: …and that would be in a sense was a very organic, grass roots…building that thing up.

Shing02: During the creative process too, for sure. All the recordings, if we had all the tools now I’d definitely edit them more. A lot of the times I would just do it at the studio, thinking it would be a rough mix and then it’ll be on a record without me going through all the takes. It was really done in a spur of the moment type thing.

eepmon: I think that this spur of the moment, rough mix… we all caught on to that because the feeling is very raw, really real. Personal.

Shing02: Yeah, also especially in Japan, how Nujabes’ style developed into a category on its own. People started selling records under the label Jazzy HipHop… not just artists, but stores and distributors, they would advertise it in such a way like, “This is such a beautiful combination of melody and drums…” everybody just chopping up piano samples. It got to a point where it was too saturated, and even Nujabes was very aware of that. Over the years, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t just throwing random tracks into the ocean you know? I tried to keep it honest as much as possible. It has to catch your ear first. It can’t just be whatever mellow track that you know you’re going to sound good on.


eepmon: Yeah, and it appears that after the post-Nujabes scene that people seem to caught on to some sort of formula…

Shing02: Yeah.

eepmon: …With the music and it became redundant.

Shing02: I mean it still is. But you know, if it’s unique, it’s unique. It shouldn’t really sound like anything else. That’s just my opinion.

eepmon: The Luv(sic) series. Are you planning on continuing?

Shing02: The thing is, after we finished part 3 and Nujabes wanted to know if I would do another one. There was a timeframe when he was sending me different beats, I told him that I didn’t want to do a sequel without having a theme. So I suggested to him, why don’t we do another trilogy, since we already have something of a franchise with 1,2,3, and people like each one for different reasons, and like to compare among them so I felt I didn’t just want to add to that. Why don’t we just do another set with a different story? He agreed to that idea, so we started to exchange ideas based on that workflow, and I finally liked a beat which became Part4.

As it stands, we still have Part5 with Nujabes’ beat and Part 6 was discovered on Nujabes’ cellphone. It was titled Luv(sic) Grand Finale. The label found the session and gave me the beat, and I got a harp player in LA (Rebecca Raff) to play over it. They are both recorded, they have to be finalized. Should be out by the end of this year. It’s going to be the end of another trilogy and that’s going to be it.

eepmon: I see you most than just a respected hip hop rapper from Japan and U.S. The theme I am doing for MOCO LOCO is Multidisciplinary. Having followed your work for so many years, I see the many dimensions of Shing02. There is more than one Shing02 at work here. One of the things I really think you have is an entrepreneur side of you. Inventor of the Faderboard as for one. Can you please explain to us a bit about that?

Shing02: Okay. The Faderboard is an instrument manufactured by Vestax Corporation of Japan. In the mid-late 90’s they definitely ruled the DJ mixer market. Vestax greatly benefited from the fact they had an office in Northern California so the Skratch Piklz would collaborate with them and tell them the features they want in a mixer. That’s when scratching and turntablism were blowing up. It was standard for a DJ to buy two turntables, a mixer with a good fader, and battle brakes.

I’m not a scratch DJ, but I always enjoyed working with them. I was always hanging out in that scene, going to DMC Battles. I’m friends with Q-bert, Yoga Frog, and by watching them…in a way they were role models. Through watching DJs, I had all these ideas, maybe you can use the fader which is basically an on/off switch but also a percussive instrument. You’re cutting and making notes, patterns and rhythms. Why can’t you do something more musical than being restricted to a record on a platter? And then one day it hit me, what if these sounds instead of being fed are pre-recorded? Then I was like, I can just put a whole scale on a digital recorder, I’d use a multitrack recorder and put the faders up and down and cut with a mixer. It became my instrument! I took this system and did a demo at Vestax and they liked the idea right away, and went ahead with the development. It ended up being an expensive machine for what it was, but the Faderboard is still in distribution with the stock they have left.

eepmon: Hmm I wonder if you can hook it up to the computer and program it to do something with it?

Shing02: That would’ve been good man. I really wanted to push it from 2002-2005. I was part of a trio called Kosmic Renaissance, I was playing the Faderboard and the Arp Odyssey synthesizer. Doing the same thing, playing the synth and cutting with a mixer. We had David Boyce on the saxophone running it through mad sound effects, and Sameer Gupta on tabla and drums. We did shows for a few years between US and Japan, and during that time I wasn’t even rapping. I was really pushing the boundaries with fader music. That was a period which was like the antithesis of entrepreneurship, but having it made was a huge accomplishment. 

eepmon: And that’s what it’s all about. You know when I mean by entrepreneurship I think every artist in themselves are one and you gotta experiment and take risk.

Shing02: It was really interesting to see the reaction. A lot of people got it right away and took it further. While other people asked “Why do you want to make it more difficult to play music if you are just going to do scales?” But they don’t understand the fact that you can do so much with fader that you can’t do with a key or a button, or a dial.

eepmon: We can move to your watch collaboration with ALIVE Tymetable. Because you showed it to me when we had dinner last week and you’re wearing one as a matter of fact. Please tell more more about it.

Shing02: My friend Hiro runs the company, we always talked about doing a watch together. He came to me with the idea, “I have a mechanism with 3 rotating discs, do you want to design something?”. I designed 3 or 4 different ideas, some pretty experimental. We couldn’t do fine print on the disc, or at least the people didn’t have the equipment to do that. So this was plan B, but I’m very happy that we put this one out first.

eepmon: When you do your collaborations whether it is a product or with another artist, is it a 50/50 collaboration? Do you see collaborations as an equilibrium between different creators?

Shing02: The percentage is never pre-determined. I enjoy giving feedback even if my name doesn’t end up being on it, I always enjoy doing that. So even if I were to have the final say on how the product is made, bouncing off ideas ends up making it better.

eepmon: Have there been any situation where you had butting heads? Conflict?

Shing02: Of course. But you always have to explain the reasoning, why an idea can be better than the other. As an artist, you always want to do something different, not something predictable. But from a marketing standpoint, you want to do something relatable. You don’t want to do something too left field. So there’s always that. For example, even for this (picks up his watch), we had to be on the same page that the top priority isn’t how easily you can tell the time. We vibed because Hiro already understood the fact that most people use their cellphones to check the time, so a watch is more of a fashion piece. As long as we establish that, and the function is guaranteed, then it’s a good product.

eepmon: I can totally relate to that. In my past collaborations… sometimes things happen, you gotta explain your reason. But sometimes it works out for the better, but sometimes also there could be a fall out.

Shing02: Ah for sure man because..

eepmon: As artists, we have to be protective of, you know, our creations too.

Shing02: I totally understand. I think this is a struggle that every artist goes through whether you’re a musician, graphic artist, film director, right? When you are catering to somebody, you basically have a client that you have to satisfy, communicating your idea till you finally materialize your vision. That communication is an art in itself.

eepmon: That’s right.

Shing02: You know, you can’t just say BOOM this is how it’s going to be, and I’m not going to listen to you. You almost have to artfully introduce the idea. Sometimes you’re not even fond with that one, and you have to kind of gauge their reaction and then you present them something that you really like.

eepmon: It’s certainly also a trial and error thing too.

Shing02: Of course!

eepmon: And for me I’m beginning to go through these phases. The more I do collaboration the more I learn, the more I can gauge situations.

Shing02: Exactly. Ideally you would be working with somebody that you can build synergistically. You wouldn’t have to worry about what the other person would think, but in certain situations you have to be polite and have to tip-toe around their aesthetics… you really have to know how to maneuver the right way. It’s one way to say f-it, you don’t care about those things, but it will actually make a difference in the outcome. You have to be a good communicator and I learned all that through trial and error, I did freelance jobs in and out of college, I did graphics, part-time gigs, working on video games… Those times were frustrating you know? Some jobs were rewarding, people really like what you’re doing, but half the time you do something that you think is great but the middle-man is like…. (does a weird reaction)

eepmon: hahaha

Shing02: …You know, they aren’t even involved with the creative process. Someone who’s the director, the middle man between the company and the worker bees. That person isn’t even going to be credited and neither are we, but still he’s trying to call the shots and now you’re forced to do something else. Stuff like that, I didn’t really enjoy at all.

eepmon: It is interesting to get your insight on this. I totally agree with you. When I look back at my experience and I’m sure you look back on yours…that we grow thicker skin, we learn how to adapt and we learn to see how the game is played.

Shing02: Yeah exactly.

eepmon: It hurts once, it hurts less the next time and even less and less and so on. That’s how I see it.

Shing02: Yes and those experience were so valuable to me, now that I work with people I might keep giving them feedback to the point that it sounds like I want something different, but I always make sure that that’s what the person is going for as well. So that we’re on the same page. If I ask someone to do an album cover, I might give the artist like 10 different feedbacks. But its not like I’m controlling them, I want them to see what I’m seeing.

eepmon: Another collaboration is the animated film, PETALS OF FIRE that you written and produced, animated by Kodai Tanaka. I find it’s an interesting juxtapose from hip hop rap/lyrics. This animated film has no lyrics what-so-ever. Was this intentional and were you looking at ways to bring out certain dimensions of your audience’s emotional responses?

Shing02: No doubt. I had that idea since watching Gulf War I on TV as a teen. Looking at patriot missiles, wishing they were fireworks instead… That idea stuck in my head and it developed into this short story idea. As far as the animation not having any words, it was important that people of all backgrounds can understand it visually, so I don’t have to put subtitles. That was the point. It’s like this man, whatever idea you have, something small, something grand. You always look for the best way of executing it, and I’ve always been that way. For example, you think of a joke or a punchline… what’s the best way to deliver this? Is it just in a conversation? A monologue? Is it in poetry? Should I put it on a t-shirt? Can it be a title for a song? Should it be a theme of a movie?… all these things you explore in your head. Then you distribute them in different boxes of ideas…. like oh! this would be an awesome script, so I’m going to save that. So that in the occasion that I meet someone, we can develop that idea further. That’s how I’ve been working since I was young, before hip hop. In fact, hip hop helped me realize that you can actually do all this without technical training you know? It’s all about doing it your own way. That really inspired me. Be multidisciplinary, if you want to call it that? To be the jack of all trades. So you’re right, people who know me only as an MC might think, why is he doing that? But I’ve always been doing that.

eepmon: It’s always been rooted in your core.

Shing02: Yeah! It’s kinda like, you know, you walk into English class and discover creative writing for the first time, and finding that freedom to do whatever you want with it.

eepmon: So did hip hop help you discover that light bulb moment which set you off to where you are now?

Shing02: It’s been the light bulb for a whole generation pretty much. This whole idea of cutting, pasting, collaging, putting messages behind it….it is a very powerful art. Because obviously hip hop is taking elements from other art forms that came before it.

eepmon: Hip hop I find builds confidence and is about empowerment. I think it was really fortunate that you were exposed to it at a very young age to realize that potential.

Shing02: and also the Bay area was very encouraging for an Asian artist to be expressive and still be accepted. As I mentioned before, we had these role models as well that weren’t afraid to say “I’m a hip hop artist” you know? It might have been different in New York in the early 90’s.

eepmon: or 90’s in Canada!

Shing02: yeah!

eepmon: So Oakland, California?

Shing02: Well I went to high school in Menlo Park and then went to UC Berkeley.

eepmon: Oakland, California in the 60’s and 70’s huge movement. A movement of one common goal, one common struggle for equality. Can you tell me a bit about the BPP?

Shing02: The Black Panther Party?

eepmon: Did you draw influences from their advocacy and message?

Shing02: Of course but being in the Bay, you learn about them through your peers. Obviously you have Tupac Shakur, his mom was a Black Panther and he was a part of Digital Underground. You see parts of that legacy. You still have Black Panthers doing workshops, it might not be a direct influence but you can see it in our generation, our parents were involved in the civil rights movement. Then I learned a lot of through Japanese American communities. They were watching what was happening, not just in the Bay, but nationwide and walking with Martin Luther King Jr.

eepmon: Was it a pretty big Asian American movement as well in the Bay area?

Shing02: I wouldn’t say big but there are activists that are still active to this day. People carry on the legacy of internment which was a huge discovery for me. People understand it’s all related, they’re not separate incidents. In the East Bay it’s very much rooted in the culture. People are socially aware and politically conscious. It’s different than any other place.

eepmon: So now, we are here today with Shing02. Rapper/Activist roots from Oakland, California, immersed with friends who were descendants of the movement.

Shing02: Basically. We had friends that were ethic studies majors, they also talked about issues, reading books…

eepmon: …and we come to today and we still see this struggle all over the world.

Shing02: Of course! Of course.

eepmon: Now we can shift the activist and social roles that you have been involved in. The Arab Spring. Can you shed some light of your views and your exposure to that situation?

Shing02: Okay. This is 2011, I was in the Bay working on my nuclear report which is a whole other issue.

eepmon: We’ll get to that too.

Shing02: I was introduced to Shadi Rahimi. She had already went to Cairo and she had documented the youth movement there and one of the characters was a rapper. I watched her screening and was intrigued by the whole scene and especially the timing. I was introduced to Karim of Arabian Knightz and he knew me through Samurai Champloo.

eepmon: Everything comes full circle.

Shing02: Exactly! I had been to Egypt 30 years ago which is ironically when the Mubarak regime started. So I thought it was only fitting that I pay a visit. They were like come! and I wanted to take a break from what I was doing so I just went over there for 6 weeks. It was such an eye-opening experience.

eepmon: Please tell us what you saw.

Shing02: Since it was 6 months into the revolution and it was during Ramadan there were hardly any tourists. The city was still alive and people’s eyes were wide open like what is happening. Of course the city is peaceful but when you go to Tahrir Square there is a huge protest going on every week, and people still angry about the countless lives that were taken by the military. My purpose wasn’t necessarily only for me to see what was going on, it was mostly about wanting to hear what the people had to say. I was there to listen. I was in the studio with people and talked to them a lot. Half were fluent in English, and those are the voices that you don’t hear from the news.

eepmon: Right.

Shing02: Hardly ever! You only hear of clips from extremists or militants… you don’t see the everyday, bilingual multicultural student who knows what’s going on and can break it down very intelligently. Those are the voices that need to be heard.

eepmon: The media has certainly been focusing on things that only provide a narrow view of what is going on in the whole. General consensus is that the media isn’t being fully transparent with its viewers.

Shing02: Yeah, it’s so corrupted. For example, one protest I went to, there were tens of thousands of people. There were families, kids, they built a stage, they had prayers, songs, speeches…it was such a festive atmosphere. Then on the same night the more extreme crowd went down to the Israeli Embassy since there was another incident where an Egyptian soldier was killed on the Israeli border… so they smashed windows, one guy jumped on their roof to take the flag down. That event was sensationalized by the media – like “Violent Protestors Attack the Israeli Embassy” but when you are there, you see tens of thousands that were there to drum up the revolution. They weren’t there to be violent. So things like that, become so one-sided in the news. I understand that people gathering, singing, praying is not going to make the front page news as much as the other incident.

eepmon: The media appears to gravitate towards things that are shocking or catch people as if it came out of the movies.

Shing02: Exactly. Basically everywhere around the world is just like here. People just chilling at a cafe talking, you know? Everywhere! Even in Libya or Syria right now it’s just like this. People chilling. But the media wants events. They don’t want lifestyle or what people are thinking. They just want to report things and are waiting for things to happen. They don’t really want to go into the city and talk to people about what they want or what they’re thinking. That’s why I think it is so unfair sometimes what foreign journalist do. Unless they’re from there, they are coming from a whole other background with a different education and they are reporting things as they see it, you know? Obviously they are entitled to do that.

eepmon: How would you go about emphasizing the people’s voices? How would you go about bringing that into the light?

Shing02: To the forefront?

eepmon: Yea.

Shing02: Well, now…well you mentioned the Arab Spring which is symbolic because people utilized networking tools to spread the message and get the information across. What and when things are happening. I don’t necessarily put it on one company like Facebook or Twitter. People already had cell phones at a much cheaper cost than here mind you, so people are really hip to communicate with one other. They already have a natural skepticism towards the media which is good! People should be skeptical about where the information comes from. Only the younger generation will bother to be out there and say, “This is what is happening and don’t believe the news” because relatively speaking, they have nothing really to lose. That’s why people need to be more expressive. Even if you don’t know the whole truth, at least express what you know.

eepmon: and I think it’s like not to be afraid of being…

Shing02: Being wrong…

eepmon: yeah or the conscious of, “Oh you don’t know the full story…” …

Shing02: Exactly.

eepmon: I think it’s important to express yourself in that view.

Shing02: It definitely restored my faith in art because I was definitely losing faith in America, in hip hop and materialism. (sees an activist he knows and calls out her name. We get introduced and chat a bit). So let me finish about Egypt. It really did restore my faith in people doing art for pure motivation. They really see that change is possible first hand, and coincidently when I came back to New York the Occupy movement just started. Regardless of what people think of that now, at least people are little bit more aware that America is suffering. It’s not fine and dandy. Cities are going bankrupt. Politicians are corrupt, it’s on record. Even if we can’t institute change right away it makes a world of a difference that you don’t remain ignorant about these issues you know? That’s one form of resistance. To stay informed. Even if you won’t act on it, or can’t afford to act on it, at least stay informed.

eepmon: That would be the most powerful thing to have for everyone.

Shing02: That has been my work in Japan as well. The point isn’t to be in a debate or to win an argument. At least be informed for your own sake.


eepmon: We move from the social causes and into the environmental causes.

Shing02: Okay.

eepmon: Of course as well all know 3.11 and the Nuclear fallout marked a significant turning in Japan. I know that you’ve been actively involved with the Nuclear issue before all that happened.

Shing02: I started in 2002, but officially since 2006.

eepmon: You’ve given presentations all over and you went to Fukushima with Shimpei Takeda, my previous interviewer with the TRACE project.

Shing02: My presentations are more like workshops. I’ve had requests from Universities but I haven’t fulfilled them all yet.

eepmon: Can you elaborate more about the research and the work that you have been doing on Japan’s Nuclear fallout.

Shing02: Up until now, people have only learned one version of the story by the government, the nuclear industry, and scientists hired by them. Then you have another school of scientists and doctors that are more from a public health stand point. Not just limited to radioactive material, but people who are generally concerned with public health. The industry wants to know the level at which things start causing visible harm, so that they can set a limit to how long workers can be in that environment. From a public health perspective, we are looking at the most sensitive of populations, with babies at the top of the list, how much should they tolerate? It’s more of a moral question. How much risk should they be taking on when they are in the mother’s womb, or an infant with radioactivity in their bodies. The answer is clearly zero. It shouldn’t be in their diet. But the fact of the matter is, it already is because of our history of contaminating the world with nuclear bomb testing, and then from uranium mining to using them in reactors to reprocessing spent fuel rods, and on top of that accidents happen regularly. So these guys in the political arena, their whole MO is to protect their nuclear industry. It is only understandable that they are going to minimize the risk of ingesting radioactive materials, and these huge leaks aren’t suppose to happen in the first place. They aren’t even prepared to talk about health hazards once it becomes a public health issue. They are not prepared. They are only prepared to deal with situations happening in and around the plant. They can’t even start to implement a plan to protect the lives of the people that are living under normal operations, let alone accidents.

eepmon: With the ingestion of radioactive material. Can you elaborate more on that? I did go to empire22 (…

Shing02:  It’s all in Japanese. That’s another thing I got to work on the translation.

eepmon: There are essays, articles and diagrams of the material that you’ve been researching.

Shing02: It’s very simple. The fact that we are burning uranium as fuel, it creates hundreds of fission products. When you split uranium, you get all these elements that are radioactive, and they decay into other materials which are still radioactive. Every element is different. You basically create so many scenarios where radioactive elements could end up in the food chain and could deposit or concentrate in your body.

eepmon: It’s happening right now.

Shing02: It already is happening. We have trace amounts of fission products in our blood probably right now that were never around 60 years ago. To what extent that’s affecting our health? We will never know for sure.

eepmon: In June 29th, 2012 there was the Never Start Japan’s Nuclear Plants protest that was happening and I was listening the news and they were talking about the Japanese government wanted to start up the Nuclear reactors again. One thing I found really interesting is the media emphasized that because in the summer time, there is a lot more demand of energy and therefore we need to restart. But I can’t help but think that there certainly economic factor that plays into this. That the dollars are more of what they are looking for versus the former.

Shing02: Well it’s both, you know? If they were to lose all value on their nuclear infrastructure, they will go bankrupt. That’s without a doubt because they’ve been investing so much with great amounts in subsidies. It’s not like electric companies one day decided to build nuclear power plants. It was ordered by the government. They wanted to rely on uranium more than buying oil and natural gas. That’s why they invested so heavily in uranium mines themselves.

eepmon: so they could be self-sustainable.

Shing02: Yes, that was the goal.

eepmon: Currently how many nuclear power plants are active in Japan?

Shing02: Active? Meaning operating?

eepmon: Yes.

Shing02: Technically 1 out of 54. (note: As of July 11th, 2012)

eepmon: Gaging down the road, do you think that it is almost inevitable that they will slowly turn them back on again. Public health should be priority one however there could be great economic ramifications if they don’t.

Shing02: Well, that is a very multilayered, multidisciplinary discussion. First of all, what are we dealing with? People are demanding that the government draw a different plan for the future, so that we don’t have to rely on nuclear energy. That’s the future we are talking about. At the same time, we already have a situation in Fukushima where things are still not contained. It’s not getting any worse hopefully, but it’s really hard to talk about these two things at the same time, and also impossible to talk about them separately. So what have we learned from this experience, really?


eepmon: I think that with this incident, this could spark a rejuvenation of people becoming a lot more aware, transparency of government and all these messages.

Shing02: Of course! There is always going to be ways to justify what they say, and there is also going to be ways to show them otherwise with real data. Supply and demand of electricity, the peak amount of energy use, price points… My whole point is that we need a balanced argument. It’s the same thing with the environment, the public health issue, and the economy. You can’t just take their word for it, “Hey, we are going to have rolling black outs if we don’t do A, B and C.” That’s their perspective. Now that people are more keen on the issue and they are demanding answers, asking intelligent questions… it’s harder for them to just roll out something and have people accept it. All in all, I think people are learning, so long as people stay informed and educated, that’s key. It’s a necessary change that needs to happen. Regardless of how many reactors get restarted or how many more plants they are trying to build. People need to have a shift in how they view the technology and the risks, not just the technical but the social risk, moral implication of having something like that in your country, you know what I mean? It’s not just about science and math. People’s lives were dramatically altered, changed, and destroyed because of this one earthquake… the tsunami erased thousands of lives but then the nuclear power plant destroyed lives because of radiation because you can’t even see. 

eepmon: What can I say from computer engineering background, rap, hip-hop, culture, collaborations, inventor, director, performer, activist for humanity and the environment I see you with truly a man of cause and a multidisciplinary individual. Any last words or comments?

Shing02: Thank you. As a final word, a lot of my friends wear just as many hats as I do. We say wear many sandals in Japanese, “waraji” by the way. I think you should challenge yourself to work with people in different trades. Sometimes you get interesting results that way. I encourage people to explore more and in the case of activism, when you take in all the data, it could be boring and daunting but there will be a time when it intersects with lives of real people and you will be in a position to empower them. It’s really about empowering people with knowledge, rather than discouraging them with information which can be depressing sometimes. For example, giving them statistics like “this many rain forests are gone in this many years…” but we should turn that around into saying, “this is what can we do to increase the rainforest”.

As an artist, creating things, using energy and materials – we all share this contradiction that we are part of the problem even while we are talking about solutions. We drive, we ride on airplanes, even the cleanest of the clean energy is never 100%. Having said all that, we can really start to investigate what we can do on our own that’s more sustainable. There are two different scenarios, corporations deciding what is best for you, and you choosing what is best for yourself. It’s never black and white. There’s always these grey zones with gaping holes you have to fill in. If you take others’ word for it, you’re never going to understand where the truth lies.

Going back to our very first point, art is all about communication, it’s all about persuasion. Politics in Greek means the art of controlling people, originally. It’s an art. So you have to master the art of communication, otherwise you can’t create anything that’s worth people’s time and energy.

eepmon: Thank you Shing02.


Below are some videos produced / performed by Shing02.

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