Along the corridor, missing posters of Jane are pasted to give the viewer some background information on the situation of Jane’s disappearance.
What you see
The viewer is given five minutes to explore the space.
Overview of the room:
Interaction with the laptop (Jane’s facebook, Zhi Yu’s facebook and Carousell chat):
What you can touch
Russian Dolls with the stalker’s hidden desires and intention
Tabletop and floor: Find out more about the stalker (His age, unemployment, lifestyle, motif)
The stalkers obsession with Jane
Implied ending or demise of Jane
What you find out
Jane (16) that disappeared on 15 November, was a victim of physical and cyber stalking by a middle-aged retrenched security guard, Koh Zhi Yu (33). Due to her careless use of the Internet, Zhi Yu have access to her photos, information, whereabouts and schedule that allowed him to carry out his obsession easily. On his birthday, Zhi Yu’s desire reached a breaking point and wanted his “baby doll” as his birthday present. Luring her with Adam Levine tickets on Carousell, he managed to get the gullible and over-trusting Jane to his little hideout and shrine where he got what he wanted.
Links between space and digital mediums:
Photos with the stalker at the back of the photo
Jane’s post complaining about her timetable and the printed copy in the room
Childhood photos and pictures taken from Jane’s Facebook onto Zhi Yu’s photo wall
Jane’s desperate request for Adam Levine tickets and the Carousell deal
This installation warns teenagers to be wary of the dangers of the Internet by experiencing the warped mind of the obsessed. It teaches you to be aware and be careful of the twisted misuse and exploitation of information on social media platforms.
Viewers’ Interactions and Reactions
Jane, 16, an avid super fan of Adam Levine, studies at Paya Lebar Methodist Girl’s school. Unbeknownst to her, she has fallen prey to the stalking of a retrenched security guard in her school, who gets photos and information of her interests and whereabouts from her social media platforms. Jane went missing after going to collect a suspiciously good deal for tickets of an Adam Levine concert, leading us to the room where her fate was sealed.
Perfect Blue (1997) – animated psychological thriller film The movie, directed by Satoshi Kon, follows a member of a Japanese pop idol who decides to retire from music to pursue an acting career. As she is subjected to the stalking from an obsessed fan and difficulties in her first acting role, her sense of reality starts diminishing.Reference: We referenced the plot and character development of the stalker in the film, where his obsession with his idol led to scary consequences. His acts of communicating with her fake online persona and his illusions and convictions about her served as main points in developing the stalker character in our story.
Lolita Novel (1955) & Film The classic novel, by Vladimir Nabokov, narrates a controversial story of a middle-aged literature professor called Humbert and his obsession with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, whom mother he married to retain a relationship with his “step-daughter”. “Lolita” is his secret nickname for her.
Reference: In the story, Humbert starts a diary in which he records his obsessive and imaginative sexual wishes about Dolores. We referenced Humbert’s obsession with young girls between 9-14, whom he refers to as nymphets and his affection for his “Lolita”. We made Zhi Yu see Jane as his possession and present, where he calls her “baby doll” and uses a doll motif to represent her. We tried to represent his “innocent” and “pure” love for Jane in a warped and twisted manner.
Aim and Viewer’s interaction The installation aims to convey the creepiness and intensity of someone’s obsession with a taboo subject, in this case an adolescent girl. Our space mimics a room of a stalker that reveals his obsession with Jane and the eventual result of her careless use of social media and his psychotic nature.
Choice of space
Initially, we wanted to use the staircase exit for a room but it was not approved due to it being an emergency exit. We found a convenient space with a window to construct the room. To establish a confined and dark space, we used string and garbage bags to create a boundary and roof.
References (Space – Room of a stalker)
Perfect Blue – Scene of the stalker having a “conversation” with his idol in his room Reference: Cluttered, messy room with bare necessities. The room revolves around the table with the computer and the photo wall with pictures of his idol above it. We also incorporated the clutter in the room – newspapers, filled plastic bags, hung and strewn clothes.
Stalker Room by Eleanor Bull Reference art installation capturing someone’s excessive obsession
Reference: We referenced this work for our photo wall of images and cut-outs of women, use of photo frames, etc.
One Hour Photo (2002) – American psychological thriller film
The main character, Sy, is a photo technician working at a one- hour photo store. He lives a solitary existence and is shy and socially inept, and has grown obsessed with a family that are loyal customers of the store. His obsession grew to the extent of enshrining them in his home with their photos that he copies in secret. The movie demonstrates how traumatising and terrifying being monitored through the camera lens can be, inflicting psychological harm on its victims.
Reference: We wanted our space to reflect how scary and creepy someone’s obsession with an unrelated person can be through the bombardment of images. We referenced the photo wall shrine Sy made of the family for our room.
COMPONENTS OF THE ROOM
Photo-wall and Table
Components on table: Laptop, calendar, lamp (main light source), mirror, empty food containers, trash and cup noodles, papers and documents
Bed and Window
Bed consists of a “doll” of Jane’s pink sweater wrapped over a pillow, Jane’s bloodied uniform, messy blanket, dirty clothes
DETAILS AND ELEMENTS
Chinese newspapers with jobs circled out – his unemployment
Notes of his desires towards Jane – mild level
Notes of his desires towards Jane – Higher intensity and level of danger
“You’re my birthday present”
“I will be with you forever”
“You will be with me forever”
> Implying what could have happened to Jane on Zhi Yu’s birthday, 15 November
Aim and Viewer’s interaction We wanted to create a link between the images in the room and the information the stalker has about Jane with Jane’s social media outlets.
Jane’s Facebook: Many posts ranging from different time periods about her interests, whereabouts, schedule, photos, conversations and wants.
Zhi Yu’s Facebook: Account of unknown background, Facebook friends with Jane (She accepted due to her ignorance)
Carousell exchange between Zhi Yu and Jane: Zhi Yu offers Jane tickets to Adam Levine concert that she is desperate for, ask for meet up at the house on 15 November, 2017 for collection
SOUND & LIGHTING
Lighting – Our main source of light comes from the table lamp as we wanted a tight and dark space.
Sound – The sound was a recording of the stalker singing a birthday song to himself over the sounds of a girl’s (Jane’s) muffled cry for help. We recorded it with an ambience noise. The sound clip was looped for the entire span of the installation.
“Abattoir”, also known as a slaughterhouse, is a short story of a shy and introverted girl who just transferred to a new school. Bordering on the line of fantasy and reality, she sees her new environment as frightening and disturbing. Revealing her psychological state of mind as she meets her new school mates, she sees them as haunting animal figures, whose abnormal actions scares and confuses her. While believing that the evil is purely out of her imagination, she is manipulated to conform to their ideals and become one of them.
The girl – Weak and afraid, who eventually fell prey to the stronger-minded. While the main character believes she is being accepted if she conforms to their way of life, she loses her identity.
The fox – Masking her true intentions behind inviting and kind act, she controls the weak mind of the main character to gain a lackey who follows her blindly. The fox has always been characterised as crafty and this quality is shown as she catches and fools her “prey”.
The dog – Symbol of blind loyalty. The main character foolishly becomes a loyal servant almost immediately after receiving a few acts of “kindness”.
The rabbit – conventionally known as silent and weak, the contradiction of power given to the rabbit allows the film to be slightly more creepy and haunting.
Overall Style & Themes
Genre – I decided to go with horror, using sound and imagery to convey the mental state of the main character. Purposely avoiding a happy ending, I appointed the fox as the main villain for this short story.
You’re Next (2011) – American slasher horror movie
Use of animal masks – the lack of empathy and human nature in the murderers adds to the horror of the film
Use of still scenes – coupled with silence to build suspense.
Jan Svankmajer’s animations – surrealist works “Alice” and “Meat love”
Use of stop motion – every action is captured with a natural flow
Use of sound – only the sounds of actions are heard against a background of no sound.
The Cure for Wellness (2016) – A health and mental institution with a dark past and terrifying truth
Use of images of the place – beautiful yet hiding an ugly or distorted truth. There is something amiss in the perfect and beautiful place
Baking of bread, grinding of coffee beans, the hustle of the lunch crowd, housewives gossiping and friends catching up
‘Man getting lunch’
When I crave time to myself, I go to one particular breakfast joint at Cluny Court. Usually quiet, lunch is the time of the day where things speed up. I frequent this cafe when I need a place to think and generate ideas, usually in the afternoons when it is relatively empty.
However, the busy crowd is somewhat calming, knowing that they are busy with themselves, engross in their conversations or lunches. The hustle-bustle of city life affected even such small spaces where people come in for a just quick bite. For me, I spent hours in my table spot, usually marked by a drink or unfinished plate of food, doing work or just contemplating life. I feel incredibly comfortable in ‘my corner’.
Note: People are usually isolated despite having a large central table, contained within “their part” of the table or “their table”. The environment may encourage conversations between strangers but barely any are started.
For My World, I chose a place I frequent due to its minimal interior and white walls that I find calming. I was inspired by Wolfgang Tillman’s photography series of still-lifes that mainly consist of a white environment and compositions of objects.
Using the natural light from windows, the photographs seem taken from a real setting when in reality the objects are purposefully composed in the shot.
Composition of objects I had with me on hand.
The images I took in “my world” consists of a tabletop in front of a window. While the objects are not arranged into a composition, I tried capturing the scene in that moment in time from a slight angle below eye level. I eventually cropped out additional details, such as the chair on the left to give it a cleaner look.
Series of photographs capturing the dynamism of apparels
The primary function of any clothing is to cover and for warmth, however, I believe there is more to apparel than that.
A body is a canvas, where one paints on everyday by deciding what to wear, how to match an article with another, which colour to illustrate their mood. In that lies the similarity to art. “You are what you wear”, outfits create one’s identity and express his or her personality through style. This is especially true for those who choose fashion as a medium to express themselves.
While clothes give identity, they can be used to hide oneself. Using them as a shield, thoughts are masked with the versatile medium. There is a paradox in that. Hiding the face in the images purposefully, I feel that using clothes to hide the state of mind is convenient at times.
Thus, I feel that a sweater encompasses both the quality of revealing identity through style as well as the literal meaning of hiding one’s body.
With the gap between high fashion and street wear becoming smaller, the oversized silhouette is seen coming back to trend. Valuing its modern aesthetic and form, I have been amassing a collection of sweaters and jumpers for myself despite its incompatibility with the weather. Through this mustard jumper, the dynamism of fashion that attracts me is captured through the fluid and expressive movement. The photographs capture the contour of fabric that loosely follows the form of the body. This piece of clothing serves as a symbol of the excitement fashion brings to my life.
‘Movement’ captures how the sweater folds and fits on a moving body. Hiding the face, the apparel takes over to create a pleasing form. The warm tones add to the contours of the fabric. Shadow casted is minimal to bring the focus to the interaction of the body and clothing while providing a bit of contrast to the light. ‘Movement’ is intended to display the freedom of the apparel and the comfort I feel in my”skin”.
‘Fleeting’ is a photograph of the sweater mid-air, just before disappearing out of the shot, capturing its contortion and dynamism.
‘Swaying’ is composed of myself, the oversized sweater as well as laundry drying in the wind in the background. The various colours and form speaks of fashion as a whole, being vibrant and beautiful at the same time.
Clothes plays a big part in defining me,
as fashion is something I am perpetually interested in.
Having decided on the subject matter of apparel, I flipped through my collection of fashion magazines for inspiration and was particularly taken by the shoot “Undone” in The Gentlewoman Issue No. 13. Instead of the regular modelling of clothes on a human model, the assemblages were laid down on the ground. How the form of fabric changed when it was sprawled on the flat surface intrigued me as it looked almost dead without a wearer.
So I decided to explore how a piece of clothing would look without a wearer, and experiment with the shape and folds and how they interacted with light. How to capture the paradox of how apparel is non-living (without a wearer) but can give life (identity) to a body.
I was pleased with the series of photographs produced, especially the last image as it captures the apparel in its natural form. The deep red of the sweater was contrasted with the warm white background, bringing attention to the folds and creases created with the interaction with the flat surface.
I tried working with sweaters of thicker fabric, realising some of them can retain a shape on its own without a body.The jumper is able to “stand” on its own, creating the body (as if it is worn)
My experimentation and close-up of the apparels brought me to the works of Wolfgang Tillman‘s photography of clothes hung up or strewn across a surface. Though portraying a simple subject matter of clothes, the clothes contain human traces, the act of wearing and using.
After working with just the apparel itself, I started thinking about how I can interact with a piece of clothing, in the case of this project, a sweater. Should I wear it? Stretch it? Throw it? I then came across a fashion editorial of the brand ADER ERROR by Kersti K., with fascinating compositions of clothes levitating in the air, the moment just before it falls. I found this interesting as it encompassed my feelings towards fashion, that it is exciting and dynamic. It also approach the paradox of non-living and living in a fun and vibrant manner.
While I may have been keen to continue my experimentations of clothes on flat surfaces, I decided to focus on the dynamism of clothes in the air as well as interacting with it myself (by wearing and stretching).
Experiment – Capturing the trajectory of a thrown sweater
I decided the throw the sweater across the camera on self-timer, to capture how fabric interact with the air. It captures the form of the sweater before the it is pulled down. I finalised on one where captures the “life” of the sweater for the close-up of the object.
My final works differ much from my initial test-runs where I focused on the “dead” and “still” quality of fabric as I venture into exploring movement and dynamism, which better represents my feelings towards fashion.