Thoughts on Gears’ Concept As Potential FYP Ideas

building up on appearance of old gears

I have tested out my prototypes for gears, using old ones from last semester, where lasercut them for my Interactive Spaces final project. The gears worked well and some parts did not work out – for example the deliberate alteration/ removal of gear teeth in some gears. These teeth did not bite well when in contact with another gear, causing a disruption in motion.

The purpose of spoiling the teeth was to represent gears as unique on their own, seperate from other families of gears in terms of appearance. This makes them distinctive not only in terms of how they react to stimuli such as distance, motion but also visually as well. Each family has distinctive identities that makes them different from one another, in terms of size, the type of teeth and reactionary behavior but overall, the round circular shapes makes them easy to look at as a viewer.

One better solution to alter the traditional appearance without compromising on its main function, is to edit them in a way where when two gears are in contact, their shapes complement each other. Their shapes can be altered from traditional teeth, but they need to mesh well together. However, this would be a safer option to altered teeth in same way throughout each set of gears. Because too many alterations, may make things more difficult to put them together ( unless I plan out carefully the position of gears when attached to servo heads ).

The latter is possible, as long as I mark out the exact positions of the gears’ movement. This would allow the gears to appear to work even when it appears the tooth are crooked.

 renewing concepts of using gears as a representation of something (or someone)

I may change my mind, but I think I would be interested to look into gears. As family of gears, they seem to represent behaviors and emotional states – in reaction to a stimuli. The use of rack & pinion, the long object that acts as a bridge between one gear to another, or one gear to cause one other gear to move, haven’t been explored yet. This is because the old laser cut rack & pinion don’t fit well with the different teethed gears I was using, unfortunately.

The lasercutting machines aren’t available at the moment due to the soft lockdown of our school (Covid-19 pandemic). Therefore, I am just making full use of the leftover lasercut wood (which weren’t all that great either) and experimenting with them and how their movement would inspire more ideas on what I could do for final year project.

 “emotional” states of gears

As advised, I started small first. Instead of trying hard to represent something as abstract as relationships, and their complexity through use of gears, I worked out how a group of gears would work. Three was a charm so I wanted to see how each set would bring out different reactions when all 3 are placed side by side (3,6,9).

I let them gears move for a number of times whilst I do other types of work in the room, hoping I can see from afar what trait or attribute I would assign each gears with over time. Also, I explored through use of randNumber to add some unpredictable element to the routine motion of gears.

Is the gear calm and collected? If its making a lot of sharp noises, does this make it someone who likes attention ( the same way its noise grabs my attention )?

Assigning from left to right – gear 3,6,9 for easy coding purposes, I made several alterations to play around with positions and delay – these actually determined overall identity of the gear.

adding nuances to to emotional states of gears

I haven’t reached to this stage just yet, because the coding parts were beginning to confuse me.

In terms of interaction, I would refrain from using ultrasonic sensor as recommended by some people because it is not strong enough to detect movement. It was suggestible to use Kinect Sensor instead.

in summary

I’m looking towards constructing gears as main subject for final year project, which means plywood would be the material that would be heavily used. A wall size full of gears is ideally the scale I would want to represent the gears. The interactivity element – which means how people are going to play an active/passive role in my installation is determined by how my concepts are applied into practice. Haven’t really confirmed yet on what to do – some suggested a more active approach where people are given gears to hold and put against a hook in a wall to make it as if they are a part of this.

Some suggested a game. I didn’t like games, but the idea of holding a gear that enables the person to control the outcome of the  gears.. . maybe that is something to think about.

The above is a demonstration of a potential game-ified play with gears could be allowing participants to put the gears around and figure out where each one belongs.

The above is refined demonstration of roughly how each set of gears work. Each set  follow a different rate of movement, with some jerks in one or two of them. The “delay” and “pos” (position) functions works together to form a certain attribute to describe a family of gears, like how you would describe a temperament of the person. As mentioned before, there are 3 “families” of them each one distinctively different from the other. It took me a relatively quite a bit of time to play around with these functions in Arduino, and letting them “display” their attributes. I draw conclusions about attribute each of them would have, by controlling functions, including adding “randNumber” to generate random numbers that affect outcome. And yes, it would be more fitting for a set of gears described to be unpredictable (like one further left and further right).

The ultrasonic sensors are attached, but I removed them out of the picture because they may not be used as potential materials for my final year project. Kinect would be used instead.

There’s a lot more experimentation to go. The trio of gears are just a sample of a bigger, more larger scale project that is going to take quite a long time for me to complete it!

Curator’s tour & Singapore Bienalle



I have not got the chance to visit the Singapore Biennial, but fortunately there was an online tour that takes you through different parts of the exhibition, where they even have a 360 Panaromic view of each exhibition. One that caught my attention the most was the scrolls’ section. This was created by Veronica Troncoso who produced the scrolls with writings from her own personal archives of migrants and students whom she interviewed. From  memory and trauma, exile and migration, these were common topics in the writings of these scrolls.

It relates well to me, where, even though  I consider myself Singaporean-Muslim myself, I have thought migration and its implications to my routine lifestyle, the norms and how I would relate differently to locals in the migrated place that I would go to. And regarded how different it would from place I migrated away from.

It also brings forth the idea of how our identity is always misshapen by stereotypes and prejudice -which also depends on which culture you come from, which community you are a part of, and how as a foreigner, you try to blend yourself into a said community that you have wanted to call home. When I made a short visit to Turkey last year, I had the opportunity to meet so many Turkish people, who were Muslims like me, and visit their cultural museums like Beylerbeyi Palace where Ottoman sultans used to live.

It gave me a sense of solidarity when we met, unexpectedly, and that curious to learn more about these people, also made this experience a rather interesting. And it was simply because we shared similar faiths – Islam and how our cultures, as worlds apart are very similar in more ways than we can imagine. However, there are instance where my foreignness is disregarded, and sometimes perceived as a nuisance. And I guess that is consequence of being seen as unfamiliar to some people.

From that experience, it has made me more aware that there are cultural implications to migration. And these personal anecdotes resemble how each person quietly suffers the negative perception of locals when they decide to migrate. I think migration is a personal choice that people need to consider, and I guess these anecdotes are personal reminders to all of us, that we are subjected to some form of prejudice – whether good or bad (hopefully good).

Hence, this part of the exhibition impressed me the most.

Personally, there were not a lot of works that I particularly connected with at the ADM Gallery.  I liked how the trail of words from a letter were a way to code people to direct themselves from one place to another in an exhibition.

Unfortunately, in this ADM Gallery, the only thing that fascinated me was the shadows. They looked dream-like.


In the bigger picture, when it comes to both museums and their message or objective behind the work, I felt that it followed a very broad theme between past and present. I don’t particularly have strong feelings regarding how both of them are. The range of mediums used were very broad, and their focus on sub-themes were very different from one another.

Final Year Project Idea

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Nature/ Complexity of Relationships Through Representation of Gears

  • Follow-up of Interactive Spaces Final Project
  • Personifying Gears with human elements through their motion and distance with audience interaction
  • Movement, Speed of Movement, Type of Movement determines Gears have their own “expression”,  “reaction” atypical to people reacting to others
  • In reaction to external stimuli, the above is altered
  • Evoke mood of wonderment and curiosity in viewers 
  • Location of gears to be against two walls perpendicular to each other or against a canvas board (?)
  • Personifying Gears through their motion and distance with audience interaction
  • Movement, Speed of Movement, Type of Movement determines Gears have their own “expression”,  
  • In reaction to external stimuli, the above is altered
  • Evoke mood of wonderment and curiosity (?) in viewers



Chapter 2 & 5

Chapter 2: Project Management Goals & Activities

In order to ascertain the meaning of an intellectual conception we should consider what practical consequences might conceivably result by necessity from the truth of that conception; and the sum of these consequences will constitute the entire meaning of the conception.

There needs to be an objective for every project – specific to needs of field, purposes differ from one field to the next. The reading also mentioned budgeting.  The importance of budgeting is to ensure sufficient costs or potential risks can be curtailed from the beginning of project.

Geotechnical investigations, surveys, hazardous-materials studies, field reconnaissance visits, and field measurements are required, and these involve performing work on project sites.

The aforementioned are also important factors to consider too – which means the location of where our final design outcome will be placed also needs to be considered. By knowing the basic foundations in making of structures, whether an architectural building, a site installation or etc, experts in this geotechnical field can raise concerns to project managers on potential pitfalls or what can be done, which is necessary especially at beginning stages of project.

Safety is important. This comes in the form of health hazards that may disrupt one’s productivity at work, especially in large scale design projects where teams work together. In this chapter, the phenomenon of sick buildings is a term to describe airborne contaminating the environment inside of a building. This affects the people who work in there if they spend long period of time in the place.

Quality is extremely important to design professionals

Projects of high quality are great business development tools. Clients who are pleased with the quality of a project generally return to the design firm for additional work

Design professionals  create a reputation for themselves based on the way they handle their projects. If the process of working through tight deadlines and managing budgets has been good, then the clients would be willing to come back again for future projects.

However, if clients are unsatisfied with the outcomes, then there is a chance that clients may form impressions that make design professionals’ quality of work appear less than. It would be a good opportunity for design professions to look out for any loopholes in the way they managed the project, where they can work on closing the gaps that never knew existed.

This would benefit potential clients as well as themselves, so that by knowing one’s own limitations or potential weaknesses, they would be careful not to repeat the same mistakes again. This goes for all kinds of professions in general, but in the design world, those who take on more experiences from many years should be quick to admit shortcomings of his/her own in and generate clear, sustainable solutions along the way.

This is supported from page 33, where “Learning is a necessary survival skill for project managers for it is the only way to prevent past mistakes from reoccurring.” As a precursor to efficiency, that will be mentioned later on, I thought that it is important that project managers or even other team members voice out concerns at some point during the stages. It is also important that creating a work climate of tension and fault-finding may result in poor productivity for some workers.

Instead, wouldn’t it be better if people were just as quick to exchange creative solutions after every problem surfaced? By acknowledging that shortcoming are part and parcel of life, and that it is predicted to come, to allows teams led by Project Managers to share innovate solutions would be good too. There would be an open air of communication, which is also a necessary part of making sure we are being efficient.

Additionally, “a common way most young project managers learn is by making their own mistakes, which are sometimes mistakes others in the design firm may have already made”. This supports the need to understand nature of team work and large scale projects may be demanding, however there needs to be an open communication

From managing budgets, meeting deadlines, or quality control are some elements that can affect overall quality of work. Alternatively, clients may look elsewhere where their needs are met way beyond their expectations – leaving professionals unaware or confused of what could be done better.

Managing a project, as well as everyone’s expectations, is a juggling act. It takes experience, education, and a lot of practice to properly balance all facets of a project for the benefit of both the project and everyone involved.

Efficiency, which is often confused with effectiveness, is doing things quickly, without a lot of false steps and rework ( explain relevance of this in cultural context in personal work environment

I agree with the statement that efficiency is often mixed up with effectiveness. There seems to be a recurring issue in doing things in a haste manner, instead of thinking things thoroughly and looking out for potential ideas or solutions that would improve effectiveness of the work. Based on my personal experiences, in this day and age there seems to be growing norm of being quick and efficient, which is acceptable but it can also come at a cost.

For example, managing several deadlines would require a student to manage his/her time properly, meaning planning stages need to be well thought out or else there would be tasks done at the last minute. As a result, the quality of work, or idea processes or experimental stages are affected if the time is not managed well. I personally find that quality of work is always supported by thorough research and planning and great time management, and this may not necessarily be done in the most efficient way possible.

The basic phases to start off a project includes:

1. Start-the project begins

2. Planning-figuring out how to perform the work

3. Design-the project’s overall design is worked out

4. Production-preparation of construction documents and/ or other deliverable based on the overall design

5. Closeout-the project work is completed


1. Defining the design project’s scope of work, budget, and schedule-in effect, determining the project objectives

2. Planning the work effort so that the project scope of work, budget, and schedule will be met

3. Directing the design team as it does the work so the project objectives will be met while staying within bud- get and on schedule

4. Coordinating the efforts of the design team so that inter- disciplinary information flows smoothly and at the right time

5. Monitoring the design team’s work product and progress against the project objectives, budget, and schedule

6. Learning from the project-what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve performance on the next project

In summary, Chapter 2 described the importance of having a work plan and having project managers equipped with the right set of attitudes and ethical principles to follow when juggling multiple tasks and people. They do not play the dictatorship or autocratic role. This would be detrimental to the emotional climate of the work environment, and this may gradually affect the outcome of the project.

My personal take on this is culturally, there needs to be a shift in the way we see leadership in 21st century, where hierarchies are still formed in some countries, including Singapore. With design professionals or project managers, they need to understand the nuance of leading people without resorting to autocratic or dictatorship and more open to new possibilities of working in a dynamic that produces the best outcome.

My take on this is that managing the emotional climate, and ensuring that project managers attend to specific needs of people are important in ensuring the work is on track, and that everyone plays a contributory role to quality of the work put in.

As much as having a solid framework from start to end is important, I also think having some sense of spontaneity may work in some processes. However, my limited experience in working in design industries may make this statement not so relevant but still something to think about, because it can possibly lead to new ways of learning.

Chapter 5: Planning the Project

pg 81-110

Design professional are planners by profession.

As someone who works as a publicity officer in the

They try out various alternatives, making sketches over and over until the design is just right

A design project must be planned. This is the only consistent way of achieving project success without blindly hoping for a lucky roll of the dice. Not planning projects is also a plan, a bad plan. It is a plan to fail.

A giant leap, yes, but it was the small steps of a well-thought-out and executed plan that got him(Neil Armstrong), first astronaut to land on moon) there. 

When the project manager does not know a certain aspect of the work-and this is both understandable and common-the project manager must consult with others who do.

Explain assumption that project managers tend to know everything, there fore assumed role as a leader, tends to associate them with qualities of a know-it-all, which is an assumption. Therefore,  it is very important

Planning large projects is a lot like eating a whale. The trick is to divide the project into manageable bites or pieces-called tasks-and then chew them in the correct order (see Figure 5.5).

 Something unexpected almost always happens on projects. Consequently, it is a good idea to squirrel away a little money for the unexpected 

As mentioned in previous chapter, on spontaneity, there is also some thing unpredictable that can happen along the  way.  Hence, before the problem becomes difficult to resolve, storing a portion of money aside as a potential solution is useful.

The project manager also uses the project schedule as a timeline benchmark, against which project progress can be compared to see if work is being accomplished at the pace it should be

Two kinds of knowledge required to properly plan a project:

1. An understanding of project management

2. The technical knowledge and experience that comes from actually doing design work


There are six objectives of the project work plan. These are:

1. Definition of the project objectives

2. Identification of the project team

3. Breakdown of the project into task budgets

4. Development of the project schedule

5. Establishment of the project quality-control program

6. Identification of other project-specific procedures and standards


In summary, there is a lot of lists pertaining to project work plans – from the practical to the theoretical. I would only follow one that is best suited to my personal objectives of planning Final Year Project in the coming months.  In pages 106-107, “Outline of a Typical Project Work Plan Document” seems to covers all things necessary.

Social Art Practice – A Case Study on “Modern Resonance” by Alecia Neo

Social Practice Art gives a voice to many types of causes, or raises awareness about issues that are of a concern to many people, particularly artists and it with artists who are representatives of the mass collective of people who would follow similar concerns.. .

 Their artworks portray concepts or visually appealing works that is meant to engage viewers and let them ponder and think about how this could possibly relate to them. 

Alecia Neo, a Singaporean artist has made an interesting art installation recently called "Modern Resonance: Power To The People", which was made last year. Her Bauhaus-centric type of as she described uses materials that captures the essence of people - where the use of 100 bulbs lying around the ground seemed rather symbolic and representational of idea of people and consumerism.

 “Modern Resonance” pays tribute to the hardware and software of a power station – its utilitarian principles and generations of workers



Utilitarianism follows the belief that the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority. Bauhaus elements are added as well (beauty + usefulness) , the artist portrays her works simplistically with just 100 same bulbs, wires to light them up and some double-sided round mirrors. These products seems to be everyday objects which, in relation to concept, is mass produced in many different forms. Some mirrors are round, rectangular, short and long. The same applies for the bulbs too.

Perhaps, the intention of making the products the same throughout, is not only Bauhaus, but also to create sense of “mass”, like a collection of the same thing over and over again. This could be critic on mass consumerism in today’s city life too. In relation to the works, there are laid out in same manner, with bulb and mirror side by side. The artist’s intention is suggestive of strong influence of Western principles with Greek philosophy (British philosopher created Utilitarianism) and German art movement (Bahaus). These influences are also critical to look into when we consider how they portray artwork, especially when put in local context – they appear very far apart.

 the hardware and software of a power station – its utilitarian principles and generations of workers.

As mentioned above by artists, this artwork worked well as a tribute, especially with ambiance that resembles to that of a religious vigil taking place.

There’s also that possibility that this could be figurative too – where in a capitalist democratic society like Singapore, our quest for control and power also creates a rather dog-eats-dog way of thinking too. Therefore, the ladder could symbolize idea of climbing our way to the top, thus forming a hierarchy.


With lone figure dressed in blue, as main character in performance art also representative of blue-collared workers. For example people who work in professions deemed to at the lower hierarchies of society – namely those involved in manual labor. My take for this work is that it is meant for locals to be directly affected by the consumption of power, light that we often take for granted. With the use of ladder, representing a hierarchy, and video projection of portraits at the bottom, seems to me reflects the natural hierarchies that categorizes people of blue-collar at lower ends and those who “make their way to the top” as upper end. This is just my interpretation.

The materials used were very clever, with the ladder, and the bulbs which are repetitively displayed all over the space – as if to show the concept of hierarchies where “you climb your way to the top” a typical phrase that is somewhat present in cultures such as the workplace, for example. W

However, the artist’s video projection of portraits seemed a bit off to me, but there are several assumptions I’ve made.

The close up faces of the people were not identified. Video projection featured both men and women, much older in age where they appear to show facial expressions of them smiling and some closed.


Talk about functions of materials – interesting element is the round mirrors beside the light bulbs – are they meant to portray something for viewers? Mirrors are used for reflections so could it be that, based on the way they are positioned, is artist subtly making us viewers that our reflections towards the usage of power.


In summary, this multimedia installation piece seems to suggest several spiritual, reflective elements with strong concepts to hierarchies and personal identities of those who are categorized to the lower rungs of society – blue collared workers, as they are the ones performing manual labor , or industry. It seems artists are trying to portray them in a commemorative sense.

In terms of spiritual/religious elements, it is seen in the way vigil-like set up. What appears to look like candles lit up individuals are actually light bulbs, with a distinctive illumination of photographic projection of portraits of older laymen and laywomen alongside the lights. It looks beautiful when it gets dark – because the illumination gets stronger.

The interaction seemed to be minimal, with direct gazes of the audiences at the main subject, a young lady in blue uniform, perhaps to identify oneself as a blue collared worker, performing on her own. A few audience members are selected to hold the light bulb switch and wires. And assuming the lady give commands, they are the ones to heed her.

The performance piece was not recorded. However, some photographs featuring the main subject, a woman dressed performed several occasions. One include

Majority audiences watching the performance art, while there a few squatting down – grab hold of wires/light switches to turn on the bulbs.


In retrospect, the terms social practice art in this sense is quite broad because it covers different themes, which are free to be interpreted by the artists and non-artists. Undeniably, there will always be a focus towards a type of demographic, in my opinion. That would direct viewers and art critics towards understanding the theme and being fully aware that they are around us. The work is simply an outlet to express that theme, in relatable means, because after all the work is synonyms to “relational art”. It relates.

With that being said, the work directs its focus on the blue collared workers, of socity, where they often work at backend – unrecognized for the effort in provision of everyday products to ensure safe consumption.

Also, I found that materials artists use can be symbolic – representing an idea or a concept that relates to mass audiences. I think this is the beauty of social practice art making, it relates to people!

In the bigger picture, it is portraying the effects of capitalistic society where hierarchies are naturally formed, making the creator/manufacturer the demographics where they are most unappreciated, but artists puts spotlight on them to give them the recognition they deserve.

Social Practice Art by ‘transparadiso’

One example of social practice art is  which was initiate by ‘transparadiso’ (Barbara Holub/ Paul Rajakovics)

The place of this installation is in Liezen which is at the geographically at centre of the Austrian country. This installation aims to bring community together discussing and realizing new forms of societal acting based on shared common ideals, something they would want to see happening, as quoted “reconsidering neo-liberal economical structures still prevalent”.

“This concept leaves the conventional categories of sculpture, painting or graphic design behind and turns art into a space of thinking and acting by inserting dialogical settings directly into the everyday space of people.” (Werner Fenz).

These are large orange blocks are tangram pieces of wood. They are originally some form of Chinese board games that was used, where you put these geometrical pieces together to form shapes. It was also adopted during the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy period too, which was in the 19th Century.

This was initiated in 2011. And given the different shapes of tangram they have, in Austrian culture it is normally used as toys for younger children to play with. . The original tangrams was used at the beginning stages of the project -where people come together and attempt to put these blocks of wood where because of the scale, each person has control over how the blocks can be formed.

At the next stage, these blocks are in large scale. There was a couple of game sessions organized for the public community. This took place in Liezen, and the game was a modified version of tangram game, and what I found interesting was this brough people of different ages together and turning it into a collective art project.

The game sessions also served for discussing vital topics like new forms of commons and collecting art (not just by the wealthy) – as well as the future of Liezen.

Eventually the storage pieces are emptied, and these tangrams are sold to public afterwards. The tangram pieces are sold as art pieces (referring to minimal sculpture). Thus the storage space/ pavillon will be emptied and ready for use for future activities by the community by August 2011. The earnings will be reinvested in Commons Coming to Liezen and the further programming of the pavillon.


What makes this a social practice art is its ability turn a simple game that’s historically part of their culture, and introduce it in a way that engages with the public. From turning tangram into large scale pieces, giving the people a chance to directly influence the outcome of this art project, and to discuss about ” neo-liberal economical structures ” are some aspects of social practice art seen here.