Semester Project Final: 聆聽靈聽 / Listening, Listening

Setting up of the Space
The setting up of the space was quite time-consuming because of the large barrels. They were difficult to bring to the classroom, let alone brought to the staircase (but no regrets)! For the audio output, I decided to attach a few headphones to the base of the barrel so that it will project sound when you’re close enough to the barrel.

Attaching a piece of wood to the base of the barrel so that the wiring will not get interrupted.

Attaching audio output to base & flipping barrel over.

Barrel before wrapping up with gunny sack.

Wrapping the barrels up after attaching the audio devices.

Arranging barrels in the space.

More process shots

Space after setting up

Chosen Space
The initial setup space was supposed to be on the second floor at the following space: However, I was not able to get an approval thus I decided to change the location instead. The new location at the staircase was much more mysterious and I feel that it suits the concept better as it was supposed to be a place where you can eavesdrop to people’s conversations – something not so “legal”. Due to the nature of secrecy, I thought the staircase would be an interesting place to explore.

 MAX Patch

Two patches because the audio files were too big and kept causing the software to crash.

List of recordings used

List of ambient sounds recorded

For the ambient sounds, I went to MacRitchie reservoir to record some of the insect sounds and also took recordings of roosters. These recordings were hard to collect as it required me to talk to several people and get near enough to other people to record what they were saying. I also recorded some of the conversations I had with my family as it was easiest to record.

Areas to Improve
My Arduino patch didn’t quite work out. It wasn’t communicating with MAX MSP the way I wanted it to. I think the main problem was the sending of values, I think I am quite close to achieving the right code. In the end, due to the shortage of time, I decided I would just manually operate the patch instead.

Circuit used.

Final documentation of video.
Password: intspaces

Semester Project (Analogue): The Secret Life of Robert & Abigail

The toughest part of this project was creating the different personas of the puppets. I wanted to create a space catalyst for interaction and in this case, it was the puppets. I thought I could use a portable device like the hula-hoop as I was inspired by how puppet troops used to bring their props around to perform for the masses.

Research in the Past 2 Months
For my research, I first went to Haw Par Villa to check out the space. I think the whole of Haw Par Villa is an immersive interactive space itself. I watched two different shows and managed to interview the director of one of the puppet shows. I wanted to understand more about the process behind puppet making and she kindly invited me to the dress rehearsal of her show, The Dog Who Goes Woof Woof. I enjoyed how the lighting and technical aspects of the show came together. Perhaps I could also consider these things in my project as well.

I really liked how the set was designed for this show. The use of different materials and cloth integrated with one another very well.

Another show I watched was a puppet show by a Taiwanese troop.

They used multimedia effects to appeal to the younger audience and tried to incorporate slangs in their performance.

I also found the space at Esplanade concourse really intriguing because of the use of pipes. This space was to allow members of the public to pen their new year wishes and hang them onto the pipes. I like how cushions were placed on the floor to allow the public to sit on.

Process of Making Space

Wrapping the hula hoop.

The interactive aspect of the hula hoop was inspired by dream catchers because the space that puppets reside in feels very much like a dreamscape. It requires the suspension of disbelief to allow people to interact with the space. Creating the three puppets were very tough because I tried to explore different ways of making them.

Password: intspaces

Semester Project Pitch (Analogue)

For the semester project, I came up with several ideas for the semester project after some brainstorming.

Initial Ideas

  1. Eavesdropping through a glass cup
    The idea is to make use of glass cups placed on different parts of a door to see if sound can really penetrate through. Can we pick up a secret or two? Movies seem to always be able to do that…

    Source DreamsTime
  2. Puppetry in Space
    I wanted to experiment with puppets because it was what we were first exposed to as a child. They are quite cuddly creatures and intriguing to look at.

    Source (Bears In Space Performance)
  3. Table Football (Lifesize)
    The exact replica of the table football, but in 1:1 scale! (Quite ambitious)


Selected Idea

I decided to work on something that I was passionate about – puppetry and mask work, more specifically puppetry.  Although I was really interested in the first idea (eavesdropping), I wanted to see how puppetry could be used as an interactive tool or space for people.


Puppetry comes in many different forms, such as:

  • Hand Puppets
  • Contemporary Puppets
  • Rod Puppets
  • Shadow Puppets
  • String Puppets
Various Sources

Puppetry has a special place in my heart because of the magic it brings to a space. It is an object that cannot exist without the interaction of a human being. In the past, a major aspect of Asian traditional theatre comprised of puppetry. It was an art form used in religious rituals and storytelling. It was also a medium used to pass down folklores, values and explain ideals to the younger generation. However, this traditional form of art is slowly dying out in Asia.

One of the difficulties I am facing is how I can convert this into an interactive space. I cannot seem to think of something that is outside of its traditional way of presentation.

I liked Martín Azúa’s Puppet Chair because of the way it is suspended in space. It creates an illusion that the user is floating in the air weightlessly. The user seems to morph into a puppet due to the positioning of the chair. It also makes use of the structure of a string puppet.

Compagnie Non Nova’s Afternoon of a Foehn was an inspiration because of the use of fans as a device to interact with the plastic bag “puppets”. The performer adjusts the speed of the fan from his computer and allows the plastic bags to “dance” in the space, occasionally disrupting the “performance” of the plastic bags. The background music also complements the performance, creating a visual-auditory experience for its audience. How the plastic bags “dance” cannot be controlled by a human, which makes the performance all the more exciting and fascinating to watch.

I also found some projects involving the use of puppetry online, some of which use technology to interact with the puppets.

I am inspired by the use of technology in these instances. Technology removes the limits that a physical puppet has, as it is not tied to a rod and does not have to be controlled by another person. However, this lack of physical touch is something I feel is not what a puppet should be.


My idea is to sew a few puppets and create an interactive space between a group of people. I created a mock-up of how this puppet would look like. I decided to create a rod puppet because it was the easiest out of other puppets. It is also easy for someone to operate it. Moving on, I hope to further develop this idea of an interactive puppetry space.