4D Project Sheng-Si




*Please note Proposal for all 6 of us are similar =)* Scroll down for more individual tasking and reflection.

  • Introduction

Background info about us/our project

  • Programme Purpose/Objective

The main purpose of this installation is to allow participants the chance to take a step back to evaluate their lives so far. The installation aims to evoke recognition of the fast-paced lifestyle Singaporeans have in general. It also allows participants to reflect on the qualities of their life experiences and authentic connection they have with the things that truly matter in life. It also questions them on the meaning of their lives so far – if they were to die in this instant, what sort of legacy would they have left behind, and would it be something they could be satisfied with?

  • Programme Rationale


Singapore is a fast-paced society and there is rarely any time for people to slow down and truly appreciate life. We thus felt it was necessary to remind participants to take a breather and rethink the value of their lives.

  • Programme Details

The installation comprises 2 rooms, both of which are expected to work independently as well as together. The first room is a narrative recreation of Singapore’s fast paced life, and will end in the ‘death’ of the participant. This is followed by the second room which allows for the participant to do a self reflection of his/her death.


Artistic Direction

Life experiences differ from person to person, and we wanted to be as inclusive as possible to whoever that would be viewing it. The installation thus has a mixture of both literal and abstract elements. This allowed us to create a more poetic narrative that was more flexible, allowing participants to slip into the character portrayed.


We will be making use of sound, videos, voice overs and props to create the desired atmosphere. To ensure that participants are able to understand the installation, we decided to make only the voice over explicit while the rest of the mediums will be kept abstract.


Room 1

As mentioned earlier, the first room is a narrative re-enactment of Singapore’s fast-paced lifestyle. The room is set up with 3 projected screens adjacent to one another.

In this room we use the metaphorical representation of water as life and merge it

together with scenes of the protagonist’s life. The protagonist is never explicitly shown,

allowing participants to insert themselves into the narrative and relate the events with

their own lives.

The three screens are played in sequence and document the growth of the character from a toddler to a teenager to a young adult respectively. Interlaced with the scenes of the character’s growth are scenes of coloured water droplets being dropped into a tank full of water. The water represents life, and the different coloured droplets represent the memories, experience and feelings associated with each growth stage.


The first screen narrates the toddler stage. The tank of water starts of transparent to represent the character’s innocence and purity. Her first memories, which are represented by yellow droplets are seen penetrating the surface of the water before spreading outwards. The screen then shows clips of a young kid playing with toys and having fun in the playground. The screen then fades back to the now yellow water in the tank.


The second screen starts playing as the first screen continues showing the yellow colours fusing with the water. Red droplets are added into the yellowed water, and is then overlapped with scenes of the character’s slow submission to teenage pressure and rebellion. She is stressed from studying and is too absorbed by commitments which result in negligence of her family. The screen fades back to the water, which is not a mixture of yellow and red. The water is now turning darker and murkier, symbolising the chaos and impurity in her life.


The final screen starts playing as the second screen continues showing the yellow and red tainting the water. This is overlapped with scenes of the character descending into a downward spiral in her life. She starts smoking, and is increasingly distant with her family. She is then seen fainting as the fast pace of her life has finally caught up with her and her health. She dies, and only realises the important things in her life during her last moments, when it’s already too late for her to change anything.


The screen turns black. Black is an irreversible colour, which means that the addition of other colours will not change it. Her life is over, and there is no turning back.


Room 2

While Room 1 focuses heavily on using videos, Room 2 shifts towards the usage of props and performance to create a reflective mood for the participants.  In this room, a mock ritual for the dead has been set up.

The room is darkened as much as possible, and a table is setup at the end of the room. On the table lays different objects that are related to death. They include red string, candles and flowers commonly used for offering. In the center of the table lies a dirtied glass bowl. This is a connecting element for the 1st and 2nd room, and is representative of an empty life vessel. Life, symbolized by water, has been drained out, and only the ugly stains of the black contaminated life has been left behind.  Behind the table stand a mirror that reflects the face of those who enter the room, and is meant to prompt participants to look at themselves and self-reflect.

As participants enter the room, a short performance is also put up. A male and female stands on either side of the table. They have a short dialogue about the character in the previous room.




She didn’t have to die this way.



But at least she was doing what she loved



But what does that amount to?



Have YOU lived a fulfilling life?



Or are you just chasing after happiness that is only temporary?


After this short dialogue, an usher will come in to encourage participants to have a silent self-reflection for a duration of 1 minute. The narrative her is kept short as the main highlight here is the participants’ own involvement in the room.

  • Target Audience

Students of the School of Art, Design and Media and NTU aged 19-30.


The main purpose of this installation is to allow participants the chance to take a step back to evaluate their lives so far. The installation aims to evoke recognition of the fast-paced lifestyle Singaporeans have in general. It also allows participants to reflect on the qualities of their life experiences and authentic connection they have with the things that truly matter in life. It also questions them on the meaning of their lives so far – if they were to die in this instant, what sort of legacy would they have left behind, and would it be something they could be satisfied with?


Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 6.10.08 PM

Research Paper 


For this project, we aimed to tackle and address the issue of leading a fulfilling lifestyle in a modern context. We observed that many youths face the similar issue of being overwhelmed by school work and other commitments, and often had little quality time with things in life that truly mattered. (BBC, 2007)


In our research, we came across one particular trend that had a huge impact on our artistic direction.

Due to high societal pressure and escalating suicide rates, the ‘Near Death’ movement has become increasingly popular in South Korea. This movement aims to address this issue by giving participants the chance to detach themselves from their fast paced lifestyle to reflect on their lives. As such, multiple ‘Fake Funeral’ services have been conducted across the country. In this particular one, they are lectured by a philosophical guru and invited to write out their own eulogy. After that, they will be placed in a coffin for 30 mins to experience death. The act of being enclosed creates a deafening space of endless darkness, and the atmosphere allows the participant to evaluate their lives from a objective and detached point of view.  A lack of self reflection usually leads to people feeling lost and depressed, and this death meditation in the enclosed space forces them to look within themselves for answers that they have been seeking, but thought they didn’t have.


Another work we came across was Christian Boltanski’s The Heart Archive. Occupying a space in a museum on the uninhabited island of Teshima in Japan, this artwork collects heartbeat sounds from all around the world. Participants are invited into a room where they listen to the sounds of their own heartbeats through a headset. After that, their heartbeats recordings are saved and used in subsequent set ups of the art piece. The heartbeats are immortalized, and remain as fragile remains of their existence on earth.The work makes one contemplate on bereavement and what we remember during our existence on earth. As you take part in the installation, it evokes a sense of uncanniness which acts as a mirror of what lies ahead and our future and our nonexistence in it.  The artwork questions the impact left behind by each individual whose heartbeat sounds have been recorded, and we believe the fragile and faint nature of the recordings makes one ponder on the meaning of their lives, and how many people they have impacted. It also relied heavily on symbolism and non-literal ways of portraying the theme, which we found interesting.


We believe these two artworks were greatly valuable and conveyed an important message. We thus decided to reference these two particular artworks/movements in terms of artistic style and content.



Life in the fast lane ‘speeds up’. BBC. BBC News, 2 May 2007. Web. 4 May 2007.

“Fake Funerals in South Korea.” Vice. Vice Japan, n.d. Web. 21 Apr 2016.

Demetriou, Danielle. “Boltanski’s hearts don’t skip a beat.” The Japan Times. The Japan Times, 6 Aug 2010. Web. 4 July 2013.

Waters, Florence. “Christian Boltanski: The Heart Archive, Serpentine Gallery, review.” Telegraph. Telegraph, 12 Jul 2010. Web. 6 Aug 2010.


Individual Artist Statement:

Sheng-Si (生死) is an installation art that question the audience about life and death through a series of events that happens from a point of view of a child towards a young adult. The exhibition consists of 3 different screens with video projections, objects, sounds and stage performers. Through the usage of abstract representation of using ink drop to represent different emotions, this piece highlights the fast pace society and ultimately questions the importance of life. Referencing from the “Fake Funerals” event in south Korea, which convey the similar meaning as our artwork about how fulfilling their life was.


Tasking and Individual Role:

Gladys are I are in charge of the planning, camera work and post processing stage for this project. For the planning stage, we did like a rough layout on how the overall shots will come together followed by a rough draft of a storyboard to make sure that we don’t missed out any of the shots. The Music, Sound and Vfx were added later on after the final post processing to further enhanced the mood and the flow of the video.


Draft for proposed Camera shots/Scenes:

Overarching theme: Fast pace of life, lack of time for what truly matters (family, relationships, self) and too caught up with things to do/frivolous matters

Screen 2 – Red

  1. HOME (DAY) Taking secondary school book from shelf, proceeds to study
  2. Time lapse/Location lapse – Home, Starbucks, Ntu Open Area, Home + constant flipping of pen (increases in angst and pace)
  3. HOME (DAY) Shoves the books all aside in frustration, throw pen (diff shots)
  4. HOME Loud jarring alarm clock ringing, slam the alarm clock down  
  5. PRESBYTERIAN SCHOOL (EVENING) School Bell Sound Heard, Runout of school, go home (POV shot)
  6. HOME Dinner scene with family, nonchalantly distracted by phone
  7. HOME Go back to room whereby it is dark

Screen 3 – Blue

  1. HALL (NIGHT) Lighting up a cigarette in hall, smoking
  2. ADM 3D ROOM AND DRAWING ROOM Overlap with scenes of rushing to ADM, Drawing – 3D Room > Shaving the foam, Spray can, Foam cutter
  3. ADM DRAWING ROOM Phone ringing in the drawing room, “Mommy”, ignores phone
  4. HOME (NIGHT) Takes art file and art friend rolled bag, transit to home at the entrance of living room, on the light
  5. HOME (NIGHT) Walk to dining table, sees dishes on the table + post it note
  6. HOME (NIGHT) Walks to room, suddenly blacks out
  7. ADM DRAWING ROOM (NIGHT) **Hospital scene
  8. ADM DRAWING ROOM (NIGHT) Weakly picks up phone, glances at photo of family, blackout

**Hospital scene – (establish heartbeat monitor sound with black background)

  1. Blurry lights,  pan to table
  2. Bedside table with flowers, phone back cover with photo of family, take the time to notice it, weakly picks up the phone, blacks out – death  
  3. Flashback – Heartbeat sound decreasing, muffled voices,

Flashback Scenes – Friends laughing,

Happy family dining (with more interaction) >> Transit to lone dining of dabao food (HALL)

muffled voices, glimpse of using the phone close-up (HALL) “(Chinese) What time are you coming home? Your dinner is getting cold.”

  1. Cut back to the hospital scene with her holding up the family picture and dropping it. (Dead)


Rough Draft of the storyboard:




Filming location:

  • Foundation drawing room 1
  • Gladys House/Room & Living Room
  • Hall 15 Room
  • Hall 15 Smoking corner/ Corridor
  • NTU’s playground
  • Presbyterian high school
  • Foundation 2D Art Room
  • Starbucks
  • NTU North Spine open area
  • Foundation 3D Room
  • Product Design Spraying Corner

Equipment/Props needed for Filming:

  • DSLR Camera 600D / Semi Macro-Zoom Lens (POV Shots)
  • 2 Memory stick/ 2 Camera Batteries
  • Warm Lighting Kit
  • Secondary School Textbook/ Stationaries
  • Secondary School outfit
  • Alarm Clock
  • Gladys car to travel around different location
  • Dinner scene/food setup
  • Art Drawing props
  • 3D props
  • Hospital props

Behind the scenes of some camera works:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.54.48 AM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.14.52 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.14.40 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.14.24 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.14.01 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.12.03 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.11.33 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.10.44 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.10.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.09.46 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.09.29 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.09.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.08.37 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.07.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.06.53 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.06.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.06.12 PM IMG_3705 IMG_3442 IMG_0230 IMG_0188

Photos of setup:

IMG_0411 IMG_0416 IMG_0417 IMG_0418 IMG_0419 IMG_0421 IMG_0423 IMG_0424 IMG_0428 IMG_0429 IMG_0430


Final Video:

Installation Video:

BTS Video By @ziyuziyuziyu:


I really enjoyed working on this project as it touches on a very emotional topic called Sheng-si, which is really relatable to us students who are living in this fast paced society, rushing for assignments and neglecting our family and friends around us. Am I really living my life to the fullest? or am I just forsaking all my friends and family around me. What will truly happen when I suddenly passed away and living in regrets. Is it too late? or should I make a change now? All this questions are always pondering in my head while I am working on this project and I believed my team too, felt the same way as I am. All in all, I am so thankful for my teammates to be able to work hand in hand, having trust in one another and being so cooperative throughout the entire project. Is not easy to work with 6 people and we did it! Good job everyone =)



Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar