Research Critique 3 – The 5 Principles of New Media

Out of the 5 principles of New Media, I have identified 2 key principles that relates best to our Interactive Media Project.

The first principle I have identified is “modularity”. The modularity principle states that new media objects are object-oriented, composed of parts made up of smaller parts reminiscent of a “fractal structure”. Both are often made from independent parts which retain a measure of autonomy even if embedded in another new media object.

For this principle, our project fulfils the modularity principle as the various buttons that are connected to our bed are independent parts not directly connected to it. They are added as a separate piece which is embedded into the bed. Even when the buttons are removed, they can still serve other functions and are not built solely for our bed’s purpose.

The second principle I have identified is variability. This was a key paragraph from the reading which states that “a new media object is not something fixed once and for all, but something that can exist in different, potentially infinite versions” (pp.36). Manovich lists seven examples of variability common in contemporary new media, and also considers more foundational differences variability enables: for example, hypermedia elements and structure need not be “hardwired” as in old media. Variables replace constants, and data separated from algorithms (as in computer programming). But to some extent this variability is radically limited to selection from a group of pre-packaged forms: a concept Manovich will later expand as “selection.”

What this means is that any form of new media is not something fixed. It can exist in many different versions and it doesn’t include a structure. Variability can be found in hypertextual or interactive media where users choose different paths navigating through text, thus accessing different content. And this goes for everyone. This principle of variability assures users that their choices, thoughts and desires are unique to an individual.

How this translates to our project is when users interact with the bed, thus causing the lights to react accordingly. There is no fixed variable and every user’s interaction will result in a completely different outcome. This creates a singular unique experience for each user that is tailored to their personalities and how they interact with the work. There is no structure in this and each experience is it’s own.

These are the 2 key principles I have identified from the readings that related best to our project.

Body storming – Memory Foam

The body storming process allowed us to observe a participant experiencing our installation for the first time. We could understand how they interacted with the materials presented and how to improve the overall experience. Since we gave our participant zero instructions, we could observe how she began to interact with the mattress and react to the lightbulbs.

Here is a video of the interaction:

The initial response was slower than expected as she didn’t know whether she was allowed to touch the installation. The way she played with it was not surprising. We expected our participants to respond to the lights and react in their own way, by pressing in different pressures and areas. This was encouraging to us because she reacted in a way that we wanted her to. As to understanding our intentions, she was not clear until the description was explained, which was acceptable for us.

During the discussion, she raised the point that she did not know what to do in the beginning. In a way, this was not a huge issue because we wanted the participant to explore and interact with the installation in the most comfortable and organic way possible, without any instructions. She also mentioned that she hoped that there will be different sounds and lightbulb responses each time she pressed on the mattress.

After some thought, we realised we should indicate that the participant is allowed to touch the piece somewhere on the ground below the mattress. We will also explore inputting different intensities of sound and lightbulb response depending on the pressures and positions the participants’ interaction.


Research Critique 2 – i Light 2019

I headed over to i Light 2019 the past weekend with a couple of friends & was able to view all if not most of the installations put up. After experiencing them, I have chose 2 that caught my eye to write about specifically.

#1: Halo by Michael Davis

Photo: i Light Singapore Facebook

The work consists of a ‘halos’ or what appear to be giant rings that are connected & arranged together in vertical columns. According to the official description of the piece, it is meant to represent “the never-ending flow of the present moment”. When each of these individual rings are touched, they emit patterns of light and sound. Through this participation of past, present & future visitors, the interaction of this work aims to create a link between the people who have encountered it.

Using a motion sensor of some sort on the rings, when visitors touch each of these halo rings, they produce light and emit sound. The sound produced is almost holy-like, similar to the ringing of giant bells in a Church. There is an eternal feeling with the sound. The interaction is also quite fun as the rings are placed from eye-level to a height that’s almost unreachable. It was fun looking at different guests touching them and even jumping to try to reach the other rings.

The interaction in this work helps to connect the many visitors in a fun way. It explores the grand idea of the inter-connectedness of time & how our past, present & futures could be infinitely linked but in a fun & visually pleasing installation.

#2: Squiggle by Angus Muir

Photo: Shout Facebook

Squiggle is a large scale light installation that is made out of digital neon tubing built on a custom steel framework that covers across the grounds of The Promontory of Marina Bay. The work is visually pleasing to look at and at the entrance of the installation are a few joysticks lined up together. Using the joysticks, viewers are allowed to control the flow of the lights of a certain section of the work.

Controls such as ‘forward’, ‘backward’ or the option to change the colour of the lights are meant to be an abstract reflection of the multi-cultural world we live in.



Refrain/Reflex | Final by Aaron James & Alvin Ling

Refrain/Reflex is the exploration of the inter-connectivity between music and different feelings and emotions. The way we feel is directly affected and co-related by what we hear.

Refrain/Reflex is an audio/visual piece which aims to translate that experience.

Inspired by the use of portals and the way they are a gateway to different bodies of emotion, we have represented the way we feel into various abstract forms, comprising of different shapes and looks.

Final Video (MAN Version):

Final Video (Elphi Version):


Our work on the MAN wall:

Aj & I are very happy with the final outcome & the look of our work. Through the use of editing rhythmically to the music as well as having the elements flow with it, we feel we managed to convey our initial ideas & themes with this piece & it is meant to serve as something cool & fun to look at when you walk past the wall, perhaps even a form of interaction!

While we definitely had our fair share of struggles getting here, we still managed to put out something we were proud of & we are excited to showcase it on the Media Art Nexus wall!

Somewhere to Us – Home

How I approached the theme “Home” was through the way it connected 2 childhood friends and their journey home. In my short film “Somewhere To Us”, we follow Paul & Sam who are stuck waiting at the bus stop after a Halloween Party, this situation gives Paul a chance to tell Sam things he was previously not able to.

After the pitching process, I began working on my screenplay for a short film titled “Somewhere to Us” under the theme of “Home”.


Once that was done, I started the audition process. Firstly by posting an open casting call to invite actors & actresses to audition for the role of Paul & Sam in my short film.

I auditioned about 20 people in total for the roles, it was a long process but I finally managed to lock down on my talents, Shaun & Rebecca.

It was quite an interesting story as I almost didn’t call in Rebecca when she emailed her CV as I felt she didn’t look the part of the role I was going for. But in the end, she blew us away during the audition & was definitely a great choice for the role.

Some screengrabs from their audition clips.

Location recce & test shots

I went out at 2am on a weekday to recce the location. It was just outside of school & would be convenient for us to transport the cast & crew there during the shoot day. Also, it was relatively empty and had a big road in front it with little cars which were ideal for the shoot.

BTS from the location recce.

Test footage stills

We shot some test footage as well so I could try colour grading it after to see what picture profile would be the most ideal to shoot in for the low light conditions we were faced with.

Script read

I got the talents down again once more for a script read as well to let them try out the costumes for the shoot. The panda suit was kindly loaned to me by Kylen & I ordered the space suit online.

Shot list

As it got closer to the shoot date, I started work on the shot list & callsheet.

I had 2 shoot dates. 1 was the main overnight shoot & the other was a short scene that takes place in the early hours of the morning. I sent it to my cast & then came production day!


BTS shots of the production of “Somewhere To Us”

One of the main challenges on set was sound, as the roads had cars occasionally driving by even in the wee hours of the night. We had to pause in between takes to allow cars to pass before continuing.

To make things harder, there were a people doing sticking their heads out of a van that was doing joyrides around the road we were shooting on, also a couple of ah bengs who were fighting on the opposite side because their e-scooters broke down.

Another scene which was a challenge to shoot was the dance scene, as the first shot was a 1 take continous shot, we had to shift all our production stuff into the car which was driven far behind to be hidden from the set. Also, cars were driving by, and safety for my cast & crew was an important thing to be wary of.

All These Sleepness Nights (2016)

The way we shot the dance scene was inspired by this Polish film called “All These Sleepness Nights” recommended to me by a friend just before we began production. I showed it to my DP and it was through that how we planned & choreographed that single take first shot.

But all in all, we got the shots we needed and wrapped on time!


Some stills from the film

Keeping to the duration of the assignment was a challenge as the film had a lot of dialogue and silent moments that I wanted to keep to create the sense of awkwardness between the 2 characters.

But thankfully, with the feedback from friends & Nicole, I trimmed out dialogue that didn’t move the story forward & still allowed some leeway for the awkward silences in between, while still keeping the rhythm & pace I wanted for this film.

Even before the shoot began, I already had a song planned in mind to use for the dance scene, we actually even had the people who came to audition dance to that song. I initially reached out to a composer whom I’ve worked with previously to try to recreate a similar tune of that song. But due to my own budget constraints, I reached out to the band & their manager via email & they were kind enough to allow me permission to use the song in the film! And with that, we shot the scene while playing that song in the background so the actors could feel the mood & tune of that song in the location itself.

I Don’t Know You – The Marias was used for the dance scene

Also for the end-credits music, I reached out to another band who also allowed me the usage of their song. It was quite a fortunate outcome as I couldn’t have imagined using another song for these 2 scenes. And the lyrics of these 2 songs do provide a sense of meaning for the story between the 2 characters as well.

We’re Not Just Friends – Parks, Squares and Alleys for the ending scene.

I was happy with the way the film turned out & in particular the pivotal dance scene between the 2 characters!

Final Thoughts

It was a challenging lead up to the production of this film as I was stuck with coming up with an idea even before the pitch.

Initially, I didn’t want to do a romantic-dramedy type film again as it was something I did enjoy doing but have done before. I was trying to go for something different instead of something so conversation-driven. Personally, I felt the addition of other elements in the film helped to make it more distinct and different from just your usual romantic-comedy & I was happy with the result.

With the support of my friends who provided me with so much feedback & encouragement along the way, it allowed me to push through & create this film that I am happy with.

Concepts of Digital Imaging Project 4 – “Trash”

Final Video:

Password: a

Final gif:

Artist Statement/Concept

Being born in the 90s, I fall under the generational demographic otherwise known as the millennial. There are many personality traits of our group of people, ranging from the positive to negative.

When I set out to create this image, I was hoping to explore the negative side of my own experience as a millennial. Negative traits such as self-entitlement, arrogance, thinking we know how to run the world and being sheltered from reality are some of the traits I felt that I embodied in my personality as a millennial. To put it simply, I or we are considered trash, I used trash to represent this as we are useless, just thrown on to the ground as we lay to waste & do nothing with our own lives. At least that’s the negative stereotype that came with the title.

As you can see in my image, I have strewn a trash bag on to myself as I lie down in the vastness of this empty beach lying there asleep or ‘doing nothing’.

That was the concept when creating the original image, as this assignment was to create a moving image, it was a good opportunity to push the concept further and make the image more dynamic. I did this by adding other empty plastic bags floating in the wind. They move slowly as this is representative of this sedentariness I want to capture in my image as I am lying down asleep. The plastic bags are empty, representative of millennial stereotype as just being airheads and seemingly being able to hold a lot of things but are in actual fact just completely empty.

Technical Decisions 

Before I started the animation process, I broke down the image into 2 parts, creating a separate layer of just myself and another of just the background. I had to use the clone stamp tool to paint in the background to recreate it after I removed myself from it.

Background layer

Me layer

Afterward, I added 3 separate layers of empty plastic bags PNG files on top of the image so that I can use this for the animation process during After Effects. Breaking down the plastic bags into separate layers makes it easier during the animation process as they are all in individual layers.

The first thing after dragging the Photoshop file into After Effects was to create a new camera and enabling the depth of field settings to create a sense of perspective in the image.

After enabling 3D on my layers, the next thing I did was to move the position of my plastic bag layers, as I wanted them to be in the foreground of the image and out of focus, I moved them closer to the camera, but locking the camera’s focal point on my image and background plane.

I started by animating the camera to move forward, this helped to create a sense of depth and movement as it moved past my plastic bag layers and closer to me.

Next, to make the plastic bags have the floating effect I wanted, I used the puppet tool to create points on the layer, I then key framed the position of the points as the camera tracks in, I animated it to look like it’s floating in the air. This was done for all 3 plastic bag layers.

The movement was close to what I wanted for this gif, but I realised something was a bit off, and that was the sky was too still as everything else was moving.

What I did was to duplicate my background layer and do a quick rotoscope of the sky, with the sky as a new layer, I moved it behind my background plane and scaled it up to fit the image. I then just did a small position keyframe to move it as the image tracks in.

Just for minor details, I rotoscoped out the plastic on myself and created puppet points and key framed them as well to move back and forth to simulate the wind effect I was creating in my image.

Lastly, I used a curves adjustment as well as a hue/saturation adjustment on my plastic bag layers to blend the lighting of it into the image and change the colour of the plastic bag to a bit more of a dirty green colour.

And with that my final gif was created!

Artist references

1. Ronen Goldman

Ronen Goldman is an Artist and Conceptual Photographer based in Tel Aviv, Israel.  He specializes in creating “Photo-Dreams” – conceptually constructed photographs illustrating his various dream states. I was inspired by his compositions and framing, employing the use of objects that come into the foreground to create a sense of movement and depth in a still image.

2. Scorpion Dagger (aka James Kerr)

James Kerr, better known as Scorpion Dagger has created hundreds of GIFs that warp Renaissance artwork into a collection of surreal, irreverent animations. I was inspired by the subtleties he employs in his gifs, creating small and simple animations but yet are effective in terms of image-making.

3. Carl Burton

Carl Burton creates soothing and peaceful gifs to look at. The slow subtle movements he creates in his work definitely inspired me to employ this sense of calmness in my own image-making.


Visual Storytelling – Project 2: Self Portrait

Project Title: Self Portrait

Please access this link to view the final work. (opens in new tab)

*Spoilers below* (Please read after trying the website)

I have made changes with regards to the layout and linking of the images following the in-class presentation.

This is a write-up regarding the thought process I had with the concept, image-making, layout and how I’ve linked the images together to tell this story.

When you first enter the site, you will be greeted with a home page welcoming you to begin the story.

Clicking on the begin button takes you to a rule page which explains how the website works and how to interact with it.

This is the first image where you begin the story. There are a total of 4 buttons on this image.

Image 1:

Button 1: The scraps of paper on the right
Button 2: The painting
Button 3: The artist’s back
Button 4: The mirror

Clicking on button 1 takes you to the 2nd image in my sequence which is an empty canvas.

Button 1: The scraps of paper on the right
Image 2 & 3:

Clicking on the button in image 2 takes you to image 3.

The button in image 3 takes you back to image 1.

These 2 images are to first reveal what the scraps of paper are, they are paintings of the many attempts the artist has spent trying to create this perfect painting.

Button 2: The painting
Clicking on button 2 in the 1st image, we know that the artist is still painting, trying to work on this painting.

Button 3: The artist’s back
Images 4 & 5:

Button 3 takes you to image 4 of the artist’s t-shirt, filled with paint, he has already been at it for a long time.

Image 3 takes you to image 4 which is the artist’s hand filled with paint, showing the source of paint in image 3.

These 2 images further show the state of his hands & t-shirt now, filled with paint, this is to push the idea of the state of the artist is in this very moment, already filled with paint.

Image 5 has 2 buttons, one on the paint on his hand which is a back & forth between image 4 & 5 to show the source of paint.

The other button is on the brush, which takes you to image 3, revealing the painting. Establishing the connection and setting up the artist previous failed attempts at painting and showing his state now.

Button 4: The mirror

This button takes you to a close-up image of the mirror.

Image 6:

Clicking on the mirror takes you to image 7:

Image 7 shows you the back view of the artist, which he is using the other to reflect and see for himself. Clicking on the button brings us to image 8.

Image 8:

Image 8 establishes the fact that he is using the 2 mirrors to paint a back view of himself.

There are 4 buttons on this image.

Button 1: The artist’s face
Button 2: The artist’s brush
Button 3: The front mirror
Button 4: The back mirror

Button 3 & 4 brings you to the 2 respective mirrors so that the viewer can understand the significance of how the mirrors work for the artist.

Button 2 brings us back to image 5 which will link to image 4 to show us what the artist was painting.

Button 1:
Clicking on the artist’s face brings you to image 9, which is a close up of the artist looking at something.

Image 9:

Clicking on his eyes, we have a shocking revelation. The artist is bleeding, he is dying.

Image 10:

Clicking on the button which is on the blood. We go to image 11.

Image 11:

Image 11 reveals that the artist is bleeding everywhere, on his head and his hands. When you click on the blood on his hands, we go to image 12.

Image 12:

Image 12 also shows him dying, bleeding all over his body.

We click on the blood, we get another reveal, his final painting. This painting shows us the artist has been using the mirrors to paint a back view of himself.

But with a twist, his soul is leaving his body.

Image 13:

This image shows us the artist painting himself dying, which when you look back at image 3, it was an abstract version of this intended final painting. This connection shows us why the scraps are there and how the artist has already tried multiple times to perfect this painting.

There are 3 buttons on this image.

Button 1: His hand painting the image.
Button 2: The soul part of the painting
Button 3: The artist’s back.

Button 3 brings us back to image 7, which shows us how the back view he sees in the mirror is correlated to this painting he is trying to paint.

Button 1 brings us to image 14, which shows us the artist finishing the final stroke of his painting. The paint falling off his brush to show his final stroke.

Image 14:

Clicking on the paint brings us back to the painting. Relating the fact that the artist has finished the painting he is trying to accomplish.

Finally, button 2, reveals to us that the artist is in fact dead.

Image 15:

Button 1: The artist’s head
Button 2: His hand

Button 2 brings us back to image 14, once again relating his brush in the painting to his action in reality.

Button 1 brings us to the final image.

Image 16:

Image 16 reveals to us he is dead, clicking on his back, brings us back to image 1.

The concept:
This connection shows us that this whole series is capturing the moment in time where the artist finishes a painting of himself dying, completing a self-fulfilling prophecy of his own death through his own painting of himself dying.

Clicking on the “reveal” button on the menu on the left will confirm this story to the viewer once he/she has figured out.

Project afterthoughts:

Starting this project was a bit of a challenge for me as I struggled to find a story that could show a single slice of time but through multiple images. Which was kind of a conflicting thing, but it was definitely interesting exploring this as a medium of storytelling.

My initial arrangement of the website was more sequential, with 1 button per image, hoping that as the viewer plays through, they figure out the story, otherwise they can try again.

But after feedback & seeing someone else try the story during critique. I figured hiding different buttons within 1 image to allow the player to connect the dots to how these images link together through repetition and connection. This way of telling the story I wanted to tell works better and it gives the images new meaning as they are being discovered and clicked along the way.

I’ve arranged it such that as you click, you will see only 1 side of the story, such as revealing the artist’s death before seeing the painting. Or seeing the painting following the reveal of his death. This method of hiding 1 side of the story confuses the viewer and allows them to guess what is going on before the other side of the story is revealed to them.

It was definitely different from the typical way of how a story is approached and looked it, and I feel it being applicable to the way I tell stories in other mediums such as filmmaking, and this was definitely an interesting project!

Concepts of Digital Imaging Project 3 – “Mouth”

Artist statement:
The 2 main things I set out to do for this project was to have a slightly quirky approach and telling the story from an unexpected perspective. The editing would also be quick but somewhat off matching with the voiceover is saying. With that in mind, I developed my concept.

The story I developed follows the mouth as it’s way of life is slowly become disrupted as it’s user’s lifestyle changes. The VO in this film is told from the perspective of the main character’s mouth.

As I was telling an entirely new story, finding the footage I needed for this project would be a challenge and I decided to just film everything from scratch.

Here is the link to view the final film!

And here’s the 30 seconds version:

Password: m

Technical decisions:
For the editing of this video, how I approached was this to create a first-person narrative of the mouth that is typically viewed as a non-sentient being. Having that perspective to indirectly match the visuals was to help keep the story light-hearted as well as to keep the quirky vibe I was trying to go for.

One of the main challenges for the editing of this video was the lack of music. As we were not allowed to use a music soundtrack for this project, it was a challenge trying to keep things interesting as well as to keep the pacing of the video.

So when I was conceptualising this project, it was important for me to always have an accompanying audio in the visuals. This was to help me achieve the kind of cuts I was going for as well keep the pace of the video.

Sounds such as the teeth brushing, cereal opening, chewing sounds and the door opening etc.

With these sounds in mind, I then used it to achieve the quick cuts of the visuals with the sounds.

Colour grading:

For the colours of this video, I was going for something that emulated film stocks but something that was more natural and having the colours to pop, the colours were also bright and everything was in bright light, keeping with the light-hearted tone of the film.

I then added some stock film grain by using an overlay over the raw video footage. This was to create that filmic look I wanted for the film.

Lastly, I added 4:3 crop bars, usually, people would use the 2:35:1 crop bars for the cinematic look. But for this video, a 4:3 crop bar was used as the film was focused on the mouth as the character.

Cropping off the excess on the sides helped removed any unwanted information in the frame and bringing the focus to the mouth. It also helped as an aesthetic choice to help the video have this vintage look.

Voiceover script:
This is Jerry.
But, no I’m not Jerry.
I’m Jerry’s mouth.
Jerry and I have been together for about 26 years.
Things used to be simpler.
But since that day things have changed
I’ve been getting quite a workout lately
It’s tiring
Things used to be more efficient
But now things take so much longer
Things used t… Jerry, what
are doing it’s only 6pm
You never gargle this long!
Floss? You never floss….
Jerry what’s happening? Who is this?
Jerry, what are you do… no! Jerry!

Oh. Well, that wasn’t so bad.

Artist references:

Edgar Wright

One of my main references is English filmmaker Edgar Wright, he often uses employs quick cuts with sounds and swells to great comedic effect. Employing this visual style of his, I was able to pace my video to show information but with the shortest amount of time.

Here are some examples of how he employs the use of quick cuts in his editing:

Wes Anderson

Another influence of mine is filmmaker Wes Anderson, he employs the use of central, symmetrical framing which helped guide me visually as I was shooting this film.