Message From Landscape Architecture Program Leader

Dr. Yin-Lun CHAN

The Lingering Musical Notes

The beginning of an end or the end of a beginning? In Hindu cosmology, the universe is destroyed in order to be recreated again by the Lord Shiva every 2,160,000,000 years. Our world exists through different cycles––day and night, seasons, economic booms and busts, birth and death. To think of history in terms of linear progression, constant growth, and unimpeded expansion is a rather new (and I think wrong) way to understanding the world. It’s simply not how life is experienced across cultures and throughout history. The world returns to its original state at some point or another, and to consider something as a beginning of an end is only a matter of scale––it is more important to genuinely live and enjoy every moment along the way.

The theme of this year’s THEi Graduation Exhibition, ‘Overture’, happily embraces these somewhat challenging and contradictory notions of beginning and end. Graduation from your undergraduate studies is definitely a milestone. It’s a festive celebration of completing something. Completing something is not easy. If you do not feel strongly about this now, you will. But it is important to finish something, in order to embark on the new journey of your next adventure.  And traditions tell us to be ceremonious about it.

‘Overture’ implies drama ahead. Drama is good because drama implies stories. If you think of yourselves as the directors or dramatists or musicians of your lives, then in addition to plots, it would also be a good idea to think in terms of tempos and rhythms, the unique musical arrangements of your life. Sometimes there are gradual build-up of energy, sometimes there are long periods of peaceful quietness. Like Shiva’s conception of destruction and creation, the different movements of a music piece, the birth and dissipation of a musical note, harmonies and discordances, through appearance and disappearance, form melodies that linger in our heads. This is the beauty of composition. In the process of composing, we alternate our minds between structure and details.

So this is my long-winded message to our graduating class––enjoy the creative act of composing the stories of your lives, and of the world. Complete projects, and start new ones!


Dr. Yin-Lun CHAN
Landscape Architecture Programme Leader