Final Project: Roost

Group Members:
Anam, Gladys, Joel, Song Yu, Youlmae

What is Roost?

Roost is a sustainable cafe in NTU that prepares and redistributes unsold produce (groceries that appears to be less appealing and packaged goods that are close to the end of their shelf-lives) from local stores by turning them into visually-pleasing meals.

The concept of our cafe is based off a nest (homely and inviting) where birds come to roost at the end of the day. Birds build their nests with a combination of mud, fallen twigs and leaves, and sometimes even feathers, which brings the idea of repurposing items that are no longer in use.

The Practice of Sustainability

Roost aims to reduce food wastage from local grocery stores, cultivate accessible conscious living, change the mindset of consumers that unsold produce are still safe to be eaten, and avoid the use of environmentally damaging plastics.

Food waste accounts for about 10 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore, but only 16 per cent of the food waste is recycled. In 2017 alone, over 800,000 tonnes of food waste has been generated in Singapore. Therefore, there is a need to manage food waste holistically and one method is to redistribute unsold or excess food.

User Research and Personas

Our team has set up an online survey to determine our user personas. (Link to online survey:
Based on the results of the survey, we retrieved some common behavioural patterns and preferences among participants. We have also came up with two different personas based on our overall insight.


Roost serves a wide range of halal Asian-fusion dishes. Due to the uncertain availability of unsold ingredients we receive from local stores, we have divided our menu into two: ‘Staples’ and ‘Seasonal’.

The Staples Menu consist of dishes that are made with ingredients commonly retrieved from unsold goods. This is the menu that does not change and customers could expect to come back to the same meals that they have previously ordered. Although the same dishes are made available, there will be variants of them in cases where we might need to substitute some of the ingredients. Some of these dishes include fried rice, pasta, sandwiches, soup, and salad.

The Seasonal Menu consists of dishes that depend on the type of ingredients we receive from unsold goods that are much harder to come by such as meat products, seafood, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Some of the dishes include sirloin steak, grilled salmon tail, and chicken stew.

Roost App

The Roost App is the digital mode of order and payment in the cafe. Everything the patrons need to know about Roost is available on its app, from menus to information of where we get our produce from.  Users will have to create a profile upon download and launching the app. The app keeps track of their order history to cater to food recommendations when new dishes are introduced to the ever-changing Seasonal Menu. The app also has a customer loyalty system that rewards users every time they purchase something from Roost. With in-app orders, it allows users to order their food in advance before collecting it at the cafe itself.  Users will avoid long queues and long waiting time for their food to be prepared.

Here is a working layout of how the app interface looks like:

And here is a breakdown of how the in-app order works:


Reward System

We provide both dine-in and take-out orders. For take-out orders, diners will have the option to either use their own containers to have their food packed in, or pay an additional fee for recycled paper bags and microwavable paper bento boxes. Customers who eat in or opt for the use of their own containers will be incentivized with points through a reward system under their profiles on the Roost App. When they accumulate enough reward points, they can redeem discounts on items in the Seasonal Menu or even free meals off the Staples Menu.

The reward system is also made up of three different tiers that allows for more point redemption as users advance further. This would encourage users to eat at Roost more often and partake in its sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices.

Look and Feel

Location and Layout

Roost will be located at the open area at North Spine just outside of One Stop @ SAC. It is a place that is frequent by many NTU students and it is accessible since it is placed in the center of the campus.

Here are the floor layout that we are currently working on:


These are some logos for Roost that we have worked on:

The tagline for our cafe is “Giving Food A Second Life”.

Field Trip Response: Future World by TeamLab

The Future World exhibition at ArtScience Museum was truly an exciting experience, even for repeat visitors like myself, with some of the exhibits changing over the course of several visits. TeamLab, the artistic collective in collaboration with ArtScience Museum, has put up various works that never fail to entertain its audience through immersion and interactivity. Some of their more popular pieces such as the Instagram-worthy ‘Crystal Universe’ and participation-inducing ‘Sketch Town’ still remains in the exhibition since the very beginning.

What stood out most for me during this field trip was the first installation that I saw the moment I entered the exhibition, ‘Transcending Boundaries’. ‘Transcending Boundaries’ serves as a convergence between digital technology and the natural world. The space digitally expands the idea of natural elements like leaves, animals, and water, while keeping true to emulating their natural properties when humans intervene and interact with it. The installation is made several projections of digitally rendered images with Kinect systems that are meant to sense motion. The natural elements act as haptics, where they are responsive to human touch.

Tons of butterflies are seen fluttering on the walls and they fall when we hover our hands over them. The floor is filled with flowers blooming with water trickling down from a waterfall that slowly flows around the area of the flooring that is being stepped on. The room constantly transitions between the four seasons, showing a flow in time and change.

There is also an image of 3D-painted brush strokes, forming Japanese words, that rotates and transforms into a growing tree that transitions from its dormant to a more active state depending on the season that the room is in.

The whole space manages to immerse its viewers in a digital space and encouraged them to take photos in its picturesque environment. I was very impressed with the overall concept of how it aims to emulate the natural environment, enhanced with neon colours and special effects,  without the viewers having to be out in nature. I felt that this installation addressed issues concerning the environment. Is technology replacing nature? Would we appreciate nature within the bounds of a digital enclosure rather than experiencing the actual thing outside of the exhibition?

Reading Response 3: ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: You Are What You Carry’ by Jan Chipchase

In the reading, Chipcase discusses about how the things we never fail to carry with us when we step outside of our homes do give us an insight about our basic survival needs. These items also tell us more about who we are as a person, from our day-to-day activities, our values, and our beliefs to our status, our self-esteem, and our addictions. He mentions three essential items, keys, money, and a mobile phone, among the many things we carry that are more common in urbanites.

A closer look into the things I carry with me all the time (wallet with only cards, keys, smart phone, earpiece, and cigarettes) made me realise that I prefer travelling light, paying with cards instead of money, having connectivity, having some form of entertainment when I am on the go, and that I need a smoke break every now and then. I would usually travel without a bag unless I am overseas to avoid cumbersome situations where I have to constantly watch over my belongings or inconveniently rummage through the compartments of my bag to find something kept inside. I love it when I could instantly access what I need from my pockets and would avoid having to leave my belongings with somebody else when I have to use the restroom.

I find it most interesting when Chipchase talks about the center of gravity, which is a place in our homes where we aim to leave important objects in and also the first place we look to retrieve them. I have a silver tray next to my bedroom door where I leave all my essential items in. The moment I get home, I could easily toss everything in and I could easily find them before I head out. I established my center of gravity there because there is a power socket close to it where I could easily charge my smart phone. I think this concept also applies when I am out and about. My smart phone and my earpiece is always on my left pocket, my keys, cigarettes and lighter on my right pocket, and my wallet in my back pocket. Having these centers of gravity help me locate these things whenever I need them. So, making payments at a cashier, tapping my concession pass in public transportation, and unlocking the gates to my home are all made easy with the mental note of knowing where everything belongs. This has also helped me to avoid forgetting my essential items when I am out, going through what Chipchase calls a point of reflection where I instantly realise that I left something at home if one of my pockets are empty.

In today’s age, the center of gravity changes when all our essential belongings can be digitalised. With apps and clouds that could store our credit card information, identification, and access, the three essential items can all be reduced to a single smart phone and in a sense, the center of gravity is no longer a physical space, but a virtual one. We no longer have to worry about leaving anything behind so long as we have our smart phones. But to what extent can we rely on just simply carrying our smart phones? In the case of losing or having our phones stolen, would it compromise our survival outside our homes? And if the network fails on our digital devices, what could we fall back on?

Reading Response 1: ‘The Design of Everyday Things: Chapter 1’ by Don Norman

Don Norman highlights the importance of human-centered design where the role of the designer is to ensure that the design matches the needs and capabilities of the people for whom they are intended for. He also mentions that in order for a design to be considered good, it needs to fulfill two characteristics – discoverability (actions that can be performed and how they could be performed) and understanding (the meaning that goes into specifying its physical attributes). He further branches out into five fundamental concepts to achieve a design’s discoverability – affordances, signifiers, constraints, mapping and feedback.

Taking the glass door next to the ADM General Office as an example, it shows how the lack in fulfilling the five fundamental concepts may result in a not-so-successful design. Students, faculty members, other ADM staff, and guests may have struggled with using this glass door. It is a two-way entry towards the ADM Lift Lobby and towards the ADM Library. The flaw in its design lies in the plight of figuring whether one should push or pull the door in order to open it. There are metal handles on both sides of the transparent door, a clear signifier that the door could be pushed or pulled from either sides. However, there is a magnetic stopper at the top that only allows for a single-direction application of force. This could be seen as a design constraint but since it is placed at the very top and almost not visible at eye level, even from a distance, it does not act as a clear indicator that the door is not supposed to be pushed from the lobby’s side. Therefore, the design failed in giving instinctive cues to the user to limit the set of possible actions. I find myself repeatedly applying wrongful force to the door even with frequent usage of it.

Another characteristic that the designers of the door missed out on is the understanding of its design. There is no symbols or signs to take the role of a conceptual model on the proper use of the door. I realised that with a simple addition of a signage to the door, it could have compensated for the lack of obvious indicators in its design. This brings me to consider: If a design is lacking in one or more of the five fundamental concepts in discoverability, can they be compensated with its understanding – a manual or an appropriate signage?

Public Transportation as UX: Signages (Presentation 02)

ADM Bus Stop

While waiting for the bus, there are signs visibly placed all around the premise to tell the users which bus stop thy are at, what bus services are available there and the timings where they start and end, and the routes these bus services take them to. The information given for the bus routes also helps non-frequent users differentiate between bus services 179 and 179A. First-time users might be confused and board 179A without knowing that it skips every bus stop in between NTU and Boon Lay Bus Interchange. There is also a campus map to help users navigate effectively in cases where they intend to find a particular building/location.

At the bottom of the sign with the diagram of the bus routes, there is a mini illustration to encourage users to tap out their cards when they alight the bus even if they are on concession so that the bus company could provide better services based on user data. This indicates that many passengers did not tap out upon alighting, which resulted in inaccurate data for bus deployments during peak hours and eventually complaints from passenger for the lack of buses during these hours.

Safety Signs

Upon entering bus 179, there are a multitude of signs seen everywhere – on the walls, the floor, the glass and the ceiling. Most of these signs are to ensure the safety of the passengers when the bus is moving. They are coloured in bold red and yellow to grab the attention of users and caution them about the dangers to look out for in a moving bus. Grab poles and handle bars are usually coloured in purple whereas those that are not meant to be held on to are coloured in yellow with warning signs in different languages. There are also signs to tell passengers not to stand on the steps or the upper deck, and to wear seat belts if they happen to be seated in places that are exposed to some sort of hazard. There are signs to tell users to keep clear of the doors that swing inwards (affordance) and also a sign for users to mind their heads due to the low ceiling of the upper deck that may injure taller passengers. There is also an LED sign at the exit door to tell passengers that the door is closing. I see this to be very useful especially for passengers standing close to the doors when it is crowded and for those who are alighting. Another LED sign by the entrance to the upper deck informs users of the amount of seats available since it is dangerous to have any passengers standing there.

In a small island like Singapore, having to face large volumes of people is inevitable when you are in a public space. Public transports are always crowded during peak hours. So when a lot of people want to get on the same bus, safety rules need to be implemented to make sure that the bus is not overloaded and that every single person commuting contributes to the safety of the rest. There were cases where passengers get injured in the bus due to carelessness. Warning signs are also necessary to allow users to get around the design of an object. For example, minding their heads in lower ceilings, wearing seat belts when it is advised for them to, and watching their steps on raised platforms to make sure that they do not trip and fall.

Passenger Conduct Signs

There is a sign on the outside of the bus to tell passengers with strollers to have them folded before boarding if the bus is crowded. And upon boarding, there is a sign just next to where the bus captain is to tell passengers to move to the back of the bus in order to allow more passengers to get on the bus. This tells us that frequent overcrowding of the bus were caused by people not wanting to move in or make more room for other passengers to get on board.

The bus service company has also catered to the disabled and those with young children by providing a designated space for them to park their wheelchairs and strollers. There are signs to reserve these spaces for those who need it more along with ramps at the back exit of the bus to ease the movement for disabled passengers. There are also bus bells labelled in blue specially made for easy access for those in wheelchairs to alert the bus captains when they wish to alight so that they could be assisted.

CCTV signs that were placed in hidden areas in the bus to monitor the passengers acts as a deterrent to discourage users from performing any misconducts such as vandalism, public defecation/urination or eating/drinking in public transports.

Passenger Conduct Signs

Other conduct signs such as ‘No Durians On Board’, ‘Do Not Occupy More Than One Seat’, ‘Do Not Litter’, ‘Give Up Your Seat…’ tells us that they are all implemented because these things happen too frequently and has caused a lot of inconveniences among passengers on board. Durians are known to give off a pungent stench and were banned from being carried around in enclosed public spaces.

Signs like ‘No Assault On Bus Captain’ provides the right for bus employees to work in a safe environment due to several reports of attacks on bus captains in the past. In 2006, SBS launched a campaign to protect bus drivers from assault after several cases of abuse by passengers.

Vandalism also become less recurrent over the years when it is made punishable by law.

Emergency Signs
  • Signs to tell where to find first aid kits and AED in medical emergencies.
  • Signs to tell where to find the fire extinguisher both on the lower deck and the upper deck in case of fire.
  • Signs to tell where to find the emergency door buttons in emergencies and technical failures.
  • Signs with instructions on how to use the glass hammer to break windows and be used as an exit in emergencies.
  • Safety/Emergency features were rather hard to spot and signs could be made more obvious.

Right off the bus, we can see that the biking community is strong in Jurong. These signs found at the MRT station at pioneer is bike-centric and this particular location is meant for people to park their bicycles. Judging from the sheer number of bikes parked there, I would assume that people would assume that it is safe enough to park. However, there is a poster warning people of the risk when parking at such an area as SMRT would not be liable for any bikes stolen. There is also a large number of bikes available for sharing within this area, further signifying the use of bicycles in this area. This Jurong Heritage Trail is strategically placed in front of the bike sharing area, possibly encouraging the riders to explore Pioneer using bicycles.

Affordance vs signifiers. There is a bike parking station filled with OFO bikes, yet there is a sign that says no riding and dismount and push. This is a clash between perceived affordance and signifiers, whereby the affordance of the multitude of bikes would tell users that this area is fit for the riding of bikes, and yet the sign seems to restrict and signify that you are not allowed to cycle. “Here are a bunch of bikes for you to use, but you’re not allowed to cycle.”

As you make your way into pioneer MRT, you are greeted many information and warning signs. The most prominent one is  right beside the escalator, warning commuters of the proper uses of the escalator to ensure that people people do not get injured during the journey. The use of bright colours which creates contrast draws the attention to this sign and shows its importance. I never noticed this, however, there is a sign board stating the operating hours of the train station which includes the respective first and last trains. I have walked past this sign countless of times but never really paid much attention to it. Despite how importance of the information on this sign is, it is not stated at the information boards or anywhere else in the station. Vital safety equipment such as the phone to use in case of a fire is over shadowed by other signs which use red and have a more prominent placement.

This is a series of directions to the bus stop from the lift. As you can see, it is difficult to view the directions to the bus stop as the sign is badly lit. It could be argued that the increasingly lit section towards the bus stop could be a perceived affordance, whereby the user’s eyes are drawn towards it and thus, becoming able to identify that it is indeed the bus stop. The sign for the NTU Campus Rider proved to be one of the more challenging signs to find, especially if you are new to the area. I remember…. This sign is just printed on a piece of A4 paper and stuck to the top of the shelter. Its size makes it difficult for people to locate the pick up point for the Campus Rider.

In contrast to the signage provided at Pioneer MRT, the one at Boon Lay provides a more localized information board, displaying and consolidating all the necessary information of the station within this small space. The form and design of this sign makes it intriguing, which provides both form and functionality.

At Boon Lay Station, there are two main escalators, one from each side, sandwiching the lift. Using mapping, these two escalators direct the exiting passengers to opposite corners of the station, thusly separating the crowd and preventing a congestion.

As the exiting passengers travel down the long escalators, they converge to the center of the station.

Upon traveling down the escalator, there are clear signifiers that direct the passengers to jurong point.

Secondary signifiers like Dr Cindy’s medical aesthetic clinic advertisement also alert passengers that jurong point is within the vicinity.

Using natural mapping,  the passengers who converge to the center will congregate in front of the gantries, thus enabling ease of traffic flow. The exit gantries also face Jurong point directly.

Upon turning my head back, I realised that there was a sign notifying passengers to travel to a different location to enter. This de-escalates any potential confusion and attempts at entry, working with natural mapping to allow for smooth, uncongested directional flow of human traffic.

However, I have to point out that the sign is small and only present on the left side of the platform, a distance away from the gantries.

This may lead to some confusion as people are more likely to head to the gantries first, rather than take notice of the small sign on the left

When we first see Jurong Point upon exiting the MRT, there is no clear signifier that the building which we see is Jurong Point.

There is no clear identifier like a name or a large sign in the entrance directly facing the MRT, and what passengers will see is just a generic mall.

The reputable brand shops like SK and Innisfree are clear signifiers that it is a mall. The sliding class doors affords viewers the ability to see through the building and clearly signifies the building as a mall.

From the video just now, we can tell that the path from the MRT to the bus interchange is very straightforward. There is a clear leading line of sight from the MRT exit gantry to the bus interchange sign, the pathway unobstructed by any shops or barriers. The shops like Godiva and popcorn are also neatly arranged to the sides flanking the clear pathway to the bus interchange. The sliding glass doors leading to Jurong Point act as a clear signifier to show the crowd that the building is a mall, and also clearly shows the signages that lead the people to the bus interchange.

When we walk the path to the bus interchange, there will continually be signages pointing directly to the bus interchange straight ahead. In the first few meters within entry of the mall, there is a split in path where the passengers find themselves with the choice to either continue ahead, turn left, or turn right. However, there is an overhead sign directly before the point of intersection, which clearly labels the direction of the bus interchange, to prevent any misunderstanding.

Usage of the arrow directional guides also help to direct the passengers there. The clarity is further enhanced by visual logos of the bus.

Closer to the bus interchange,there is a screen which displays the bus arrival timings, listing down each bus number and arrival berth.

These are small and are not strong signifiers of the bus interchange from afar, but they include very important information to passengers hoping to navigate the bus interchange.

The written sign which states “Boon Lay” is a signifier for the boon lay bus interchange. However, its design and implicit understanding is largely dependent on people’s naturalised habitat and knowledge. The identifying factors of the signboard are its distinctive shade of green and the transport logo- which indicate to people that this sign is the location of a mode of transport. Because this knowledge is contingent on being Singaporean or having brought up in Singapore, the sign isn’t as informative and can be even confusing to people without the same knowledge

In addition, the placement of the signboard is behind the illuminated screen, thus being shrouded in darkness and also having some of its words covered.

As you can see from the map just now, the passenger service booth was situated right next to the main entrance, and thus makes it easy for any lost or confused passengers to seek help and receive directions.

Furthermore there are many large signboards at regular intervals throughout the station, directing people to their particular bus berths.

Each berth will also have clear signs in primary colours denoting the bus name to prevent any misdirection. The colour choice and design is particularly clear and precise.

Link to Google Slides:

Contributors: Anam, Joel, Yuolmae

Interactive Spaces Final: ZoeBike


The ZoeBike is a spatial device that aims to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle by combining the bicycle and the zoetrope. The rear wheel of the bicycle is used as a gear to spin the zoetrope to display a light-projected animation of a running deer. As the user mounts the bicycle and holds on to the handles, a projected video plays in front of them to simulate the feeling of actually cycling out in the mountains to be closer to nature.

Going Green

With the current state of our planet, as excessive amounts of carbon is being emitted every day, straining on our climate and the Earth’s ecosystem, it is important that we realize and discuss how we could change and improve our daily activities to make sure that we maintain a sustainable way of living.

Taking public transportation and driving an electric car are just some of the ways where we could reduce air pollution and increase fuel efficiency. Excessive use of fuels could possibly destroy the environment, depleting wildlife as well as natural resources.

The ZoeBike creates a space for users to realize how important the environment is to us and how it provides shelter and resources for millions of species. The deer, being one of the most common species found in the forest, is used as a representation of the very planet we live in. If we stop caring for the Earth, we might not be able to see deers in the future.

That is why we have decided for the light-projected animation of the deer to only be played if the bicycle is being pedaled. If the user stops pedaling, the animation would slow down and come to a stop. Having pressure sensor pads on the handles of the bicycle to start and pause the POV video symbolize how important it is for us as the most intelligent species on the planet to maneuver carefully to be able to move forward.

Changes to the Original ZoeBike Design

The previous ZoeBike had several flaws. One is that the support that is used to hold the zoetrope up was not strong enough, resulting in an inconsistent and lop-sided animation of the deer. We installed wires and fasteners to make sure that the PVC pipe (previously an uneven bamboo pole) was stable enough to bear the weight of the zoetrope. The PVC pipe is then further secured with a plastic chair and bricks to elevate it.

The zoetrope’s design was also changed with the silhouettes of the deer inverted to have it be projected better. We have decided to use the flash light in strobe mode as it allows for sharper projection of the animation.

For a digital spin of the original design, we have added pressure sensor pads to activate a POV video to the handles of the ZoeBike. The pressure sensor pads attached to the icubeX were programmed to start and stop the video that is projected in front of the bicycle.

Documentation Video

Done by: Goh Cher See & Anam Musta’ein

Emergent Visions Response: Machiko Kusahara


Machiko Kusahara is an internationally recognized researcher in media art and theory, who has been publishing and curating in the interdisciplinary field connecting art, science, technology, culture, sociology and history. She is given Ph.D in engineering from University of Tokyo for her theoretical research in this field.

Kusahara’s dialogue “From the Movie Screen to Moving Screens: Life in Tokyo with Moving Images” was a reflection and observation of the use of screens in the public space in Japan. The talk focuses on the functions and the social impact of screens, using various examples with different applications of screens to create an interactive media.


Kusahara also highlighted the fact that audiences were often fascinated by screens that were interactive. That brings us to the daily life of an average Japanese white/blue collar where the majority of their time was spent commuting on public transport such as trains. The commute time often accompanied by the use of mobile phones to play games or videos was a source of entertainment for themselves. Screens, being a driving force in Japan, could often be found on the train as well, whether they are used for advertising purposes or for public service announcements.

In recent years, urban public screens have also emerged on the exterior of buildings, as large-scale projections on several architectures, on billboards, and also on moving vehicles. The ad trucks are one of many ways to show how screens have evolved in transmitting information to passers-by.

Ad trucks:

Screens + Interactivity

Kusahara shared in her dialogue several examples of how screens were taken to the next level by having them paired with interactivity to engage more public involvement. Major advertising companies have came up with innovative ways to encourage the crowd participation with their ads.

From mobile screen to the big screen:
In Adidas’ The Highest Goal”, crowds were given the chance to directly interact with the display on public screens from their own mobile phone screens.

From computer/mobile phone screen to projection:
As part of a launch for the Xbox360 game “Blue Dragon”, IMG SRC inc. made shadow projections of dragons at a carpark in Shibuya where the crowd was able to be part of the screen. People could also participate from the official website and they could control the movement of their shadows shown in Shibuya from anywhere around the world.

Old Public Screens

Kusahara made a comparison between olden-day public screens in Asia and in the U.S. Outdoor cinemas in Asia were held in a way where viewers were sharing public space while for the drive-in theaters in the US, movie-goers are still confined within the private space of their vehicles despite being parked in a public space.

However, both cinemas were lacking in audience participation. Traditional screens was not enough to attract the public’s attention. Screens needed to be transformed and made interactive to encourage crowd involvement. In order for interactivity to come in play on screens, the content needs to be participatory and have transmedia capabilities.

Public Screens in Singapore Then

Wayang Kulit:

Wayang Pacak:

Community Television:

Public Screens in Singapore Now

Projection Mapping on the National Museum:

SMRT North-South Line Display Panels:

Interactive Mall Directory:

Augmented Reality Photo Booth:

Three Great Light Shows:

Future Possibilities with Public Screens

The projects shared in Kusahara’s presentation all happened in the last 15 years. Screens have been transformed and have served different purposes for the public. If we could achieve so much in the advancements of screens, could you imagine what have yet to emerge from the next 15 years?

AR contact lenses and hologram models are just one of the few possibilities in the transformation of screens. With developers already working on such ideas, future feats in public screens are endless.

Done by: Goh Cher See & Anam Musta’ein

Reflection: An Evening with Blast Theory’s Matt Adams

Matt Adams

Driven by his passion in theater, Matt Adams has incorporated performance and interactivity in his projects, exploring sociopolitical themes while applying new and unorthodox methods. Merging the realms between the real world and the virtual, Adams has certainly redefined the genre of play within itself.

Interactive = Unfinished

Adams began his talk by claiming that when a work is interactive, it means that it is also unfinished. He highlighted the importance for us to see the relation between the two words. When a work is interactive, it means that it leaves and offers something opened for the viewers or participants to come and engage with, and complete for themselves. The viewers are the ones completing the experience for themselves and in turn become a part of the artwork or installation. That is why it is the artist’s responsibility to ensure that the work is tidied up into a narrative to be properly presented to the viewers.

The idea of having a work ‘unfinished’ is pretty evident in all of Blast Theory’s projects that Adams shared during the talk. The participants and their experience play an integral part in making these projects complete.

Kidnap (1998)

One project that really stood out for me during the talk was Kidnap (1998), a performance that featured two participants kidnapped in a safe house for 48 hours under the surveillance of several online viewers. The online viewers were given the autonomy to control the cameras in the cell and communicate live with the kidnappers.

Prior to the kidnapping, a registration was posted online to call out for interested participants to partake in the project, which also required them to pay £10 and sign a disclaimer to confirm their consent. Ten entrants were then picked at random to be under surveillance, where their behaviours and daily activities were closely monitored by the team over a two week period. Two of the ten shortlisted participants, Debra and Russell, were then randomly picked again as winners to be involved in the actual kidnapping while keeping law enforcement, friends, and family informed of the situation.

The team was then engaged in a lengthy chase to capture both winners and have them confined in a purpose built room at a secret location where live footage of them were streamed to the online viewers. Over the 48 hours, the winners were fed and taken care of by their kidnappers while the process was monitored by a psychologist. The winners were also offered a prize of £500 if they managed to escape, reach a telephone and call a designated number.

The project was covered by several news reporters across London and was also turned into a 30-minute film which was then premiered at The Green Room in Manchester in September 1998. It managed to garner a major response from the public as it raised the awareness of several social issues circulating the area.


The project was a work of control and consent, inspired by the Spanner Trials where sadomasochists were prosecuted despite carrying out activities out of consent, has also delved into themes that revolved around several other social issues. It exposed the workings of the media in Britain while addressing problems in lottery culture (similar to how participants had to pay a certain sum with a small chance of being awarded a prize money), and voyeurism (where online viewers were able to “spy” on the kidnapped participants in private).


Kidnap is a perfect example to demonstrate how the interactive work was completed by not only the kidnapped winners, but also the online viewers who have spectated the events that transpired over the course of 48 hours with having a certain amount of control to what they were seeing on the screens. The experience was different for the winners as they were physically confined in the space and in the center of attention while the participation of the online viewers were rather more passive. Therefore the work goes unfinished if the participants were taken out of the picture.

“Interactive = Agency

Interactive = Political”

Before ending the talk, Adams also made relations between interactivity with agency and how it is political. Works should have agency for narratives to unfold and different actions may result in different outcomes. It goes the same for how interactive works can be regarded as political, in which it is able to offer a new perspective to spectators or provide change to how certain things should be carried out.



Exercise 3: Helmet of Justice

Project Description

The Helmet of Justice, modeled after the weighing scale held by Lady Justice, is meant to play with the human sense of balance. Having two sides to the weighing scale that are attached to the top of their heads with different amount of load placed on each end, participants are required do regular human tasks while attempting to maintain a balance between the two loads.

  • Safety Helmet
  • Wooden Plank
  • Strings
  • Duct Tape
  • Plastic Plates
  • Cardboard
  • Load bearing different weights

Done by: Cher See & Anam