Final Year Project Research & Process IV

During researching I came across this project who Laura Kampf the artist made this Happy Machine herself. It require an adult to cycle where the pivot point will cause the opposite carriage to turn. This simple mechanism I find it interesting that can be inspiration for my project.

However when I look in further, there are many issue such as safety of human and also children. As our grad show will be open for public, the structure and safety are very important. I had picture many situation like what if some one was inside the turning area or just simply put their hand somewhere, those would cause many safety issue that I might not able to control. So, I decided to go for a more feasible device or installation.

Research and Ideation in my notebook


Final Year Project Research & Process III

After the research, I have I few direction where I can narrow and concentrate on.

  1. Spreading of happiness?
    As it can brighten up people’s day and making someone happy.
  2. Ask people to live the moment?
    Sometimes it seems like we concentrate what is far away from us then the one close to us. As technology advance also divert our attenttion more on our mobile phone instead of people around us.
  3. Giving of happiness?
    We get happier when we are giving but due to our culture the way we are different. Like giving praise or giving to strangers are uncommon in our culture. Giving to society, some might not know where to start from.
  4. Good relationship keep us happy
  5. Are we really happy?
    From the statistic by The World Happiness Report, 220 million children and 1 billion people suffered from anxiety, depression and conduct disorder. I though of the percentage of people posting happy stuff in my new feed are actually higher. However, the statistic shows that there are many people who are depressed and I felt maybe they don’t really show out.

However, I seems to complicate my direction from my original objective.

Why I wanted to do this project?

Because I wanted to create something fun and positive vibe for the general public. As long as it put a smile on someone’s face. From the research, the happiness I am referring to was Level 1 Happiness: Represents momentary feelings of joy and pleasure. The immediate feeling of joy from simple things.

I though of an idea of a interactive machine. First, viewers would be presented with buttons that ask them to press according to their average mood of the day.

Happy • Neutral • Sad

After pressing there will be random object with a piece of note drop down for them. Those are small gift like candy or biscuits while the notes would have some inspiring quotes. This was to give them a little small surprise. Also, there will be feedback after they press the buttons, for example if they pressed sad, the feedback can be “awwww, don’t be sad, cheer up”.

Project Brief

Create sets of interactive machine/device/installation to put a smile on people’s face.

Final Year Project Research & Process II

After last week consultation, I went on for a week observation of myself on things that made me happy in the everyday life.

  • Watching Facebook Video of Dogs
  • After completed my Art History Presentation
  • Going Exercise in the morning with my family
  • A packet of Fries
  • Though of new ideas for my interactive space project
  • A gift from my friend
  • Coincidentally saw my good friend
  • Listening to music in bus

I felt mine was more of small things, that revolve around people. I felt happier when I accomplish something or I have help someone. I really appreciate the gift from my friend even though is a cup of milk-tea, it would warm people’s heart.

Next I went on to research what is happiness and I came across this article about 3 types of different happiness in psychology describes by Daniel Nettle. It represent different aspects of positive emotions we strive.

  1. Level 1 Happiness: Represents momentary feelings of joy and pleasure
    This refer more of short-term positive emotions like simple pleasures. Just like in my observation of myself, eating a packet of fries and listening to music lies under this category. It is easy to feel it due to the immediate feeling of joy, however this level of happiness do not last very long and we will return to our normal state very quickly.
  2. Level 2 Happiness: Represents judgements about feelings
    Sometimes was refer as well-being. This feeling goes beyond the momentary feeling of level one, more thoughtful and requires assessments. For example, comparing your situation with people and how you felt in the past.
  3.  Level 3 Happiness: Represents a higher meaning of life, flourishing and fulfilling one’s potential
    This level represents fulfilment like achieving one’s full potential, like accomplishment with higher meaning  related to self-realisation. Usually very difficult to determine but people who are in this level live more in harmony and has lesser inner conflicts because they felt that what they do are meaningful and for greater cause.

From this article, I gain insights and understand slightly more about the term of happiness. Level 1 was mostly we would encounter in daily life and are the most common one. While level 2 and 3 are lesser as it needs analysis and comes deep inside. I find it still very vague for me. In contrast there is another article about 4 level of happiness that distinguished by Aristotle.

We all strive for happiness.

Aristotle refer thats the only one we wanted for. Come to think about it, it is true, whether its directly or indirectly. The choice I make or I worked hard because I wanted to have a brighter future so I can be happy. My parents work hard because they wanted us to have a better living conditions etc.

  1. Happiness Level 1: Laetus. Happiness from material objects. 
    This happiness is short-lived, as it based on something external, the sensual pleasure we get from like new car or like my packet of fries.
  2. Happiness Level 2: Felix. Ego Gratification. Happiness from comparison: Being better, more admired than others etc. 
    We feel this type of happiness when are winning something, getting a promotion also comparing yourself with people.
  3. Happiness level 3: Beatitudo. The happiness from doing good for others and making the world a better place.
    Happiness based on the desire for connection, goodness, meaning, compassion, friendship and unity or in summarise Love. The focus was moved away from individual but the well-being of others. This happiness are more lasting, provides deeper meaning and feeling as compare to level 1 and 2. I felt this when I went to exercise in the morning with my family. Usually my brother and I don’t wake up 7+am in the morning to go with them but after our loss of a close aunty recently I came to understand that life has a limit. So we chose to wake up this early to accompany our parents and family where we leave them all shock and we enjoyed the trip together.
  4. Happiness level 4: Sublime Beatitudo. Ultimate, perfect happiness
    This level are similar to the level 3 happiness, very difficult to describe. Psychologist has labelled this as the ultimate happiness, some say the seek of connection to the larger universe or transcendence. Some people achieve through their spirituality, religion, philosophy, art but there is no define answer to this.

I am thinking of the direction like Happiness Level 3: The happiness of doing something good for others to making the world a better place. There is some questioning social issue in Singapore such as when something happen, the first reaction from the crowd was to take out their phones to shoot what is happening. Was it a right thing to do at first? Or do we always expect there is always someone else can do it? When will we be that someone else? In reflection, I always ask myself what I would do in those situations, but something I am sure about is I would not take out my phone straight away unless I am calling for an ambulance. This was one of the reason I felt to do on this Happiness project.

In this Ted talk by Robert Waldinger, discuss about “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness”. He shared about the research on The Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest study of adult life for 75 years. They track their lives of 724 mens and ask all about their life, work, health. The clearest message they got from the study was Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. They learn 3 lessons about relationship.

  1. Social connection are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. 
    People who are more socially connect to family, friends or community are physically healthier and happier. Also they live longer then those who aren’t. Those who are more isolated their health decline in midlife as well as their brain functioning.
  2. Its not about the numbers of friends you have or whether you are in a committed relationship, but the quality of your close relationship matters. 
    Conflict and without much affection relationship turn out to be very bad for health. Living in good and warm relationship is protective. Their study partnered man and woman reported in their 80s, said they had physical pain but their mood are still happy. However, people who are in unhappy relationship reported to have more physical pain but was magnified by emotional pain.
  3. Good relationship don’t just project our bodies but also our brains.
    The people who are in good relationships felt they can count on the another person when in time of need. Their memories stay shaper and longer. People who are in relationship where they feel they can’t count on, they experience earlier memory decline. Those with good relationship they had arguments and small fights and big fights together but as long as they feel they can count on one and other.

He also suggesting putting what he told in to practical use such as, replacing screen time with people time, livening up a stale relationship by doing something new together, long walks or date night, reaching out to family member who you haven’t been spoken in years. This is something I hope to achieve in my FYP, urging them to take action. The talk he gave was really meaningful and helpful, it have given me one of the possible way I could do for my FYP direction “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier”. I can relate to what he said and I felt is really important as well especially in our current generation. Most of us take advantage of the time at home being with the screen instead of talking to our close one. Once we lose our chance of being able to do it, we regret and feeling we could do better when we had the chance.

In Jacqueline Way’s Ted talk she talks about How to be Happy everyday: It will change the world. She mention about the statistic from the World Happiness Report stated that over 220 million children and 1 billion people suffered from anxiety, depression and conduct disorder. This result is not surprising, many Singaporean are diagnosis with depression as well. Those teens and children especially, it is like a diseases of civilisation. As most people uses handphones more than they socialise and didn’t observe of how their friends and family feels even they are just right beside them. Most probably all of them are using their phone at the same time which I find it quite saddening. Seems the world is changing living in the internet rather than living the moment.

She started 365 give with her 3 years old son who she wanted him to grew up happy, healthy, kind and compassionate. She developed this 1 give 1 day at a time for him to practise from small. Researchers also discover that giving will makes us happy as our endorphines would kick in and make us natural high and reduces stress. She start of donating blankets to the shelters near by her house with her son, whether is giving back to the society, helping the nature by recycling or helping human/friend/ stranger from the impact they choose from. She start blogging her daily activities and people started reading it. They send her what they have done and even a school teacher adopted this action to teach in her class. Way’s action cause a ripple effect that affect others, had made an impact to their families, friends and their communities around the world.

I really like the ideas of starting small which it tells people to do within their means. As compare to those issue like pollution of ocean, I felt I can do this more and it gives a sense of accomplishment when we done. It act as an encouragement and remind people about they had contribute to a better cause in their own ways.



Final Year Project Research & Process I

The Happy Show by Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister is a graphic designer storyteller that based on New York, he put up on a exhibition “The Happy Show” that provides diverse experience for the visitor to peek into his exploration on what makes people and himself happy for 10 years.  Also his attempts to increase his happiness through various means such as cognitive therapy and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. The designer showcase through films, print, infographics, sculpture and interactive installation that I find it very interesting as they provides range of experience for the visitors. Sagmeister also uses very bold overall look and feel that I felt is very effective and eye catching.

I really like this participatory piece he did, people are able to grab one of the gumball according to the level of happiness they are in and it reflected the real live statistic of happiness from the visitors.

Another highlight in this exhibition requires a bit of hardwork in cycling a bicycle. The more you pedal the visitor would get a giant message in front of them that involves doing the things you set out to do would increase your sense of well being.

He also make use of the existing objects in the museum to create some interesting and inspiring quotes for the visitor.

“Almost anything, will have some sort of influence on your happiness”

In an interview Sagmeister mention about almost anything, will have some sort of influence on your happiness. He also stated that he don’t think that anybody would be happier after this exhibition but he that his experience would be compiling enough that the visitor would try out the strategy themselves.



Another project I found was this Happiness Currency campaign by Hong Kong Pharmaceutical company, to rediscover the meaning of fortune. As statistic shown that Hong Kong residents focus more on their wealth but their happiness level were relatively low.  Through this campaign they hope to remind them that happiness is also a fortune. The public can get voucher from any participated 40 local stores write and  submit their happy stories to get “Fortune Dollar” that equals to HKD $15. Fortune Dollar can be used at those participated store to exchange for real goods. After that they made a short film of people coming from different background to talk about their definition of happiness. Ending with the your happiness is your greatest fortune.

I find this project rather relevant in today’s society. Sometimes we got lost in what we want in life and focus more on the material happiness. I find the part where they film people from different backgrounds to talk about it was quite interesting and there is about 6.3k views in facebook.




Response to Refik Anadol Lecture (With Xin Feng)

Refik Anadol is a media artist that currently based on Los Angeles. He work with site-specific public art using data sculpture approach, also creating audio/visual performance. Anadol explore between digital and physical relationship of architecture and media arts.

Using Lights as material

In his early works, he transform the Santralistanbul Art and Culture Center Main Gallery building in to animated 3D geometric building.


His uses lights to create different shade on shape to transform the building into 3D which I find it really amazing. Turning the surface of the building into canvas and apply the theory of light and shadow. From Rose Bond lecture she also did projection on buildings but Anadol in a different approach. Rose Bond drew the animation and uses more colour to bring out the narrative but Anadol uses geometric shapes and technology to create the animation.

Physical and Visual

Ethereal / Architecture as a Canvas Light as a Material

Anadol bring further his expertise and incorporate real-time data analysis into computational algorithms in this Ethereal project. It uses multiple projections around the building and are control by computers. Music performance in the building will also change the visual of the projection. This project was to experiment on large scale projections on architecture can be transform, create expand, amplify and interpret space on using audio/visual techniques.

Using the physical building combine with relevant information in to visual also link up with the performance inside the building to create a interesting and relevant context.

Archive Dreaming

Archive Dreaming are data of 1,700,000 documents that are archives turns into an immersive media installation. Anadol wanted to to change the conventional way of viewing experience of a library and cinema projection on screen and constructed 3 dimensional kinetic space. He uses mirror reflection in his project for the top and bottom to create this 3 dimension effect.

From his presentation, he started off working with light and shadow and slowly evolves into more and more complicated projects. I find his works are really impressive and interesting as he keep challenge himself to do better work. Starting from a flat surface architectural, into irregular shape projection like Ethereal in to data visualisation in 3 dimensional.

Reflection – Rose Bond Lecture

The Canadian artist Rose Bond shared about her experience of screens installation and how she started as an animator. I was fascinated by the film Nexus she showed us was done painted directly to the 16mm film at that  time before After Effects are invented. The frame by frame provides the interesting effect of changing lines which personally I really like.

Rose Bond, Illumination #1

Instead of the normal screens, she explore using multiple screens on the window. She shared that the projectors are place inside the building and projected to the window. The animated artwork shows historical past of the Portland Seamen’s Bethel Building showing them through the window created an interesting narrative. It attracted passerby around the building and many stop by to look at the artwork where Rose Bond refer this as active viewing.

The most interesting project was the collaboration with the Oregon Symphony Turangalila. They combine the visual experience and music together according to the music which I find it similar to the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.

File:Vassily Kandinsky, 1913 - Composition 7.jpg

In art history, our lecturer showed us this accompanied by a piece of music on the background and it seems like everything in this painting is moving. I got the similar feeling when I saw Rose Bond’s project.

At last she talk about there is still many possibility can be done with screen, awaiting us to explore even further. I do agree with her as technology advance, many different kinds of screen such as haptic touch screens and bendable screens. I also learnt that her persistent developing ways to work with screen on windows and walls other than the convention method. On the backend, I am sure many preparation time is needed in order to produce the visuals especially synchronising with the music, setting up the projector also mapping to the the ideal area. Setting up before hand would be very tedious and coordinating with the technical people to ensure everything goes right. I can see there is no last min work to create such detailed planned project.

Proposal For Final Year Project


The definition of happiness are very different from each and everyone of us. But what really make us happy? Most of the time we are so tied down by our work that blinded us to appreciate small thing and enjoy small happiness.

  • From this probably can act as an reminder
  • Seeing definition of happiness of other people’s
  • Probably through some interactive experience “Bring back the child-like personality”
  • or making comparison

Stereotype Mindset [Labelling people?]

Putting the viewer in another perspective, by asking “What do you think other people think about you?” Probably have an interactive panel that they can click and choose those options so in the end there is statistic of what most people usually think about.

  • Guerrilla Projects place outside to see how people would react to certain conditions [public’s reaction]
  • playing with different perspective


I was really inspire by Martha Atienza, the way she keep on going just because she really love the sea and wanted to understand more about it. Nature is a subject that I am really interested in which probably I could learn a bit from her to continue doing what I like. I have touch on subject like conservation and also vegetarian diet so this time probably I might go for a different direction.

  • focusing on the patterns or structure
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Smell? like flowers or even meaning of flowers

WK 5: Response Ch1 Kim Goodwin, Design for the Digital Age

Very often, people did would categories design together with art and did not knowing what are the difference between them. Kim Goodwin pointed out that,

In order for design to be design and not art, it must serve human needs and goals.

Design has a purpose when we designed for product which will help human to improved their life. Whereas art is an expression or application of human creative skill and imagination also, an end product that reflects the inner vision of the artist. This kept me thinking that will there be  a combination of both art and design? The designer can craft a ceramic to fulfilled its purpose such as a candle light holder but aesthetically expressive and unique created through creative skills?  I also agreed with Kim that design is a broad term which are very difficult to define exactly what is it.

Interestingly design involved learning about human senses, cognition and ergonomics, focuses or understanding to create a good design that solves the problems. It would help the designer to build on its details while designing for a problem. Designers also design beyond just its function but the aesthetics which are also important human goals.

Kim introduce us with the Goal Directed Design that provide a fundamental premise to design a successful product is to focus on achieving goals. It touch on the design of a product’s behavior, visual form and physical form. This method provides a framework for designers to help keeping them on track but not a set of rules and constraints.

I do agreed focusing on Goal-Orientation Design would be effective in many ways. As during design process will involved many people from different backgrounds. This method would reduce conflict and increase effective communication and efficiency. Also based on the process it provide concrete based to work on to strengthen the ideas.

Kim pointed out that not all organisation are able to take the full advantage of design strategic values which I agreed as well. There are unforeseen circumstances such as the culture in the company, relationship between the employers and the decision makers. Each department play a significants roles which will affect the outcome of the design. It also takes time to practise this method as an individuals or in organisation.

From this, I wonder how company like Cooper manage their work load in the reality as the process are really long. In reality design companies might neglect or skip some steps such as research or framework definition part due to client’s deadline or pressure.

Lastly, Goal-Directed Design are very important which most of the time are neglected by designers. It allows us to learn and understand the product better and allow us to stay on track. Yet, I feel it was not a rule to follow strictly but during certain circumstances designer should be flexible by knowing what to be scarifies and working within the given condition and timeline.

WK 3 – Response to CH 1 from Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman, Thoughtful Interaction Design

In this reading, Löwgren discussed about what is good and bad design, if a fast and efficient digital artifact is not a good design if its not intuitive or easily understand by the users. Also if it did not meet the basic function of user’s need are also impractical.

Working with design means that you continuously need to define and redefine what you think of as good design. It is a never-ending process of thoughtful reflections.

Löwgren pointed out that designers need to think what is good design in order to improve her design ability. As a designer, we need to know that the world is changing people’s needs and wants are also constantly  changing. What we design 5 years back might not be effective for todays’s society because many context and things have changed. With constant redefining and reflection will help designers to improve her design ability.

I though of the Nikon DSLR screen interface design and its functionality. The older version was shown in a complicated design filled with numbers, which might cause confusion for the beginners. This prevents the users to learn and also will affect the product usability. [Older displays]
However, in recent years they have changed their interface design to a more prominent to bring focus to the important and commonly used settings by using icons. [Newer Displays]
These changes can help the user to understand better this complicated device to create better experience. By using icons to focus on the important and design them neatly to reduce confusion. Some cameras also added touch screens to align with the current technology, as most of us are using touch screen phones to make it more convenient.

A good thoughtful design has to understand the design process, design ability, the designed product and design as part of a larger context. Being reflective helps to examine the purpose, outcomes and benefits of doing it in different ways. Also Löwgren pointed out that even professional design is a result of conscious action of a designer does not mean that all properties and characteristics are intentional design decision. This reflected the imperfection within the product or design that happens out of what the designer expected. We also need to take into consideration that the designer has a bigger picture to consider for the design and constrains she might face to produce an effective and balance design.


One of the thoughtful interaction design I felt was POSB/DBS mobile application. It was really simple and clear to use as compare to OCBC app. They even designed quicklinks like “slide and hold to peek” your account balance to provide connivence for user to check their account. The designer also uses bold fonts to create the contrast within the app to increase readability. It also uses simple terms and icon to help user understand more about the functions. Overall there were lots of thought put in to create this clean and clear design where the user can easily navigate around.