Semester Project – ‘STONE’ update 27/10/20


date: 10 Nov, Week 13
location: Truss room/ LT (Mounting of the kinect/ camera system)

Week 11 – Process and Developing instructions
Week 12 – Set up and construction
Week 13 – Presentation


Human body position
Aim – To find out which positions the body should stay in and the duration to induce a sense of stiffness / being compressed and weighted
i. Use your body to imitate the form of the stone

Generative art – Sonify textures/ each stone

ii. Experiment with different body positions for different time periods
– Different sitting and crouching positions
– Duration of 2, 5 and 10 minutes

Sketch of possible body positions
more sketches
Instruction for ‘One Minute Sculpture’, Erwin Wurm
Instruction for Psycho I, One minute sculpture, Erwin Wurm

2. Philosophy of zen gardens + the making

Zen Buddhism
japanese rock gardens – “were intended to imitate the intimate essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of existence.”

Selection and Arrangement of rocks

the most important part is the selection and placement of rocks.
The Sakuteiki “Records of Garden Making” – manual on “setting stones” (ishi wo tateru koto). “In Japanese gardening, rocks are classified as either tall vertical, low vertical, arching, reclining, or flat. For creating “mountains”, usually igneous volcanic rocks, rugged mountain rocks with sharp edges, are used. Smooth, rounded sedimentary rocks are used for the borders of gravel “rivers” or “seashores.”

In Japanese gardens, individual rocks rarely play the starring role; the emphasis is upon the harmony of the composition.”

– Arranging rocks according to the Sakuteiki

Make sure that all the stones, right down to the front of the arrangement, are placed with their best sides showing. If a stone has an ugly-looking top you should place it so as to give prominence to its side. Even if this means it has to lean at a considerable angle, no one will notice. There should always be more horizontal than vertical stones. If there are “running away” stones there must be “chasing” stones. If there are “leaning” stones, there must be “supporting” stones.- Sand and gravel – The act of raking the gravel into a pattern recalling waves or rippling water

Zen priests practice this raking also to help their concentration
> might omit this aspect in the project
> alternatively, I can generate “white noise” as background for the audio


Playing around with the landscaping of stones

Arrangement of humans in current times

Social distancing at the Hajj
Social distancing concert in the UK


3. Textures – Wearable as embodiment/ ergonomics/ texture of form

Technical Apparel
Materials to endure nature/ harsh conditions

Cambre Jacket — Made from a durable performance denim with quick drying properties.

Ergonomic 3-Dimensional Patterning. Working with E3D in CLO3D has allowed our designers to experiment at a level that wouldn’t be possible in a more traditional environment, and maintain complete ownership through the ideation to manufacturing process.
  • Another layer to explore – embodiment with apparel to create visual texture
    Volcanic rocks vs. smooth rocks (no apparel)
    –  Gorotex
    – Ponchos


Working on sonification system (generative art) currently
– Experiment with stone positions and wearable textures
– Aim to develop instructions for performance by the end of the week (OSS)


Malin Kundang folklore about an ungrateful son turning into stone

Semester Project – ‘STONE’ research and update

Semester Project Proposal


Sonic Development (Generative Art):

Generative Artwork – Stone

Materiality and Space (Performance and Interaction):

1. Arrangement of the human body

How it relates to an experience – eg. staying in a certain body position for a duration of time and what it feels like


Human condition 

Physical, Spiritual, Psychological and the Political

“whole entity of a human being: the physical, the spiritual, the psychological and the political” Erwin Wurm in The Artist Who Swallowed the World

Erwin Wurm ‘Disruption’ 2015

2. Arranging of things/ bodies in space


Zen Garden 

How are Zen Gardens made and their philosophy
The arrangement of elements and space – and their effect on experience

Human Geography/ Humanistic geography 

Yi-Fu Tian

Human geography – is the branch of geography that deals with humans and their communities, cultures, economies and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across locations. It analyses patterns of human social interaction, their interactions with the environment and their spatial interdependencies by application of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

‘Space and Place’ – The Perspective of Experience

Project: Exploring the Arrangement of Humans as Objects (stone)

MediaMob – Heliostat Field

Heliostat Field

Using the concept of a heliostat, my flashmob performance explores the idea of tracking the sun’s movement. A heliostat is a device that includes a mirror, which moves to constantly reflect sunlight towards a predetermined target, compensating for the sun’s apparent motions in the sky. The target can be a physical object, distant from the heliostat or a direction in space.

A heliostat field is a solar thermal power plant using computer controlled heliostat systems using data that tracks the sun position to focus the sun’s rays onto a special receiver at the top of the tower. The concentrated solar energy will be used to create steam that will produce electricity.


Heliostat SA

Initial Ideation

Building upon my InstructionArt project ‘Choreographic Light’, which uses artificial light to generate movement, I want to explore the movement and reflected position of natural light. My initial idea was to use the behaviours of reflected light (from the sun or a light source) to create ‘light’ drawings onto a surface, where the performers behave as ‘human’ heliostats by moving or flipping a mirrored surface to the scripted direction.

Initial idea

However, for the FlashMob project, I wanted to involve more of the body and bigger movements (ironically, as heliostats can’t move) to create a less static performance. Additionally, due to the restriction in the number of people and material, I was not sure if I could generate an obvious enough effect (of light).

Performance – Heliostat Field

Instead of generating light as an output, I decided on generating sound as a “predetermined target” according to movement and position of the human heliostats. This is also in line with my semester project of generating sound using visual textures.

Moving on to a more conceptual understanding of a heliostat, the performers would still be instructed to track the sun’s movement but in a more abstract manner. Using a website that provides real-time data on the sun’s direction and altitude specific to Singapore (, I would create a score for the participant’s movement according to the live changes in the sun’s movement.

Parameters of Performative Space


Sun-path chart, equidistant projection, generated by Sun-path Chart Software Courtesy: University of Oregon
This solargraph exposed over the course of a year shows the Sun’s paths of diurnal motion, as viewed from Budapest in 2014. Courtesy: Elekes Andor

Referencing the sun-path chart, the course of the sun movement relative to a location is in the form of a convex lines that varies outwards per time frame (a day). As heliostats, the performers would travel along the paths of the “sun” relative to the position of a specific “location”, which is the kinect connected to the computer to generate sound.

Using string and tape, I mapped out four curves of 10 points around the kinect. The performers would use the points of the web as parameters to navigate the space.

It’s interesting how the shape of the sun paths holds some similarity to the heliostat field.

Increased the sun map to four rows

Score for movement 

Real time data of sun direction and altitude

The participants will be instructed to stand in different points and directions in front of a kinect that is connected to a sound generating system that I have been working on on Supercollider and Processing. According to the changes in real-time data of the sun, the participants have to move according to the score of my designation.

Focusing on the sun direction data, a value and direction is given. Relative the original position (north) of the participant, he/ she has to rotate to face the arrow of the sun direction. The numerical data of both the sun direction and sun altitude changes. Whenever there is a change in values on the screen, the participant moves forward.

Given Instructions

  1. Stand at any point on the map, facing different directions
  2. Use your phone to access website (
  3. Rotate your body according the the arrow relative to where you are facing
  4. Move according to the score when the values change.

FlashMob Outcome

The kinect maps the depth positions of the ‘human heliostats’, and plays a sound  whenever a certain depth is reached, generating a  soundscape.
See more on my process of generating sound using real-life movement: (

The kinect, depending on its position, only tracks the depth and movement of a limited range. Referencing how the sun can only be seen in the day, the kinect does not capture the entire performative area, but the system only interacts when the performers move in front of its range. Whenever the performers enters the captured range of the kinect, a sound would be played according to the change in depth value.

To prevent the sound from cluttering (too many nodes), I reduced the skip value (originally 20) in processing to 60 so that the depth value is extracted for every 60 pixels instead of 20.

For sound generation: Whenever the b value (brightness/depth) obtained is more than a certain value (>140) meaning that forms are captured within the range of the kinect, a message is recorded in Processing. I connected processing with SuperCollider that I could design sounds using the (Synthdef function). Connecting processing to SuperCollider using an external NetAddress, the sound is played whenever the message is sent.

Further developments

In the future, I can consider designing more specific sound and using more data points from the kinect to generate a greater range of sound. I tried using x and y values from the kinect and mapping it to two different sounds but SuperCollider could not handle the overwhelming influx of information and the soundscape was very cluttered and laggy.

I could also vary the sound according the the depth, to map the sound to the individual performers. I would also like to expand the scale of the performative space in a public space and increase the number of participants.


‘Heliostat Field (2020)
Interactive Performance by Alina Ling

Performed by Jake Tan and Nasya Goh (Thank you! :-))

More Documentation:


Semester Project Proposal – Stone

Proposal for Performance & Interaction Semester Project

My definition of ‘ING A THING’
‘Materialising an experience and Experiencing a material’

Look deeper into ‘What it means to be a stone?” and Extracting the essence of the material
Go beyond the representational, see what abstract connections can be revealed between the material and experience

Generative Art Project:
Experimentation/ Execution:

InstructionArt – Choreographic Light

Choreographic Light 

Choreographic Light serves as a choreographic system, consisting of a wearable to reflect light directed by laser and geometric ‘scores’, to generate movement.

Using the behaviours of reflected light, the performers are instructed to draw using the point of light reflected from a point on their bodies. Wearing the reflective objects (as costume), the body becomes a tool of interaction with light (directed by a laser). Given geometric ‘scores’ that corresponds to the music, the performers move to create visualised forms with the wearable tool. The movement of the performer is derivative from the interactions with light and body, as well as their own interpretations of the geometric forms.

Wearable as Choreographic Object

To me, performance has a element of orchestration or script, which comes in many forms from basic instruction, physical and spatial settings to social context. A choreography is a form of instruction to generate movement, loosely defined as the sequence of staged steps and movement. A costume or wearable serves as an extension of the body, which affects or controls the way we move. I would like to explore how a wearable system that manipulates an intangible material, such as light, in space can be used to generate movement.

Initial sketches

Using the “costume” to define movement, I intend to explore the body as the tool for interaction. My idea was to re-interpret the space occupied by our body (physical or virtual in the form of light), and see how our body readapts to the restriction and what kind of movements are controlled or generated.

Bauhaus Costumes – Das Triadische Ballet

Costumes by Oskar Schlemmer (Bauhaus) for the Triadic Ballet, at Metropol Theater in Berlin. Photo: Ernst Schneider, 1926. (Apic/Getty Images)

Schlemmer, the choreographer of Bauhaus ballet, intended for the dancers, adorned with geometric costumes, to explore the reinvented silhouettes of their bodies in the avant-garde performance. The costumes serve as metaphysical forms of expression – removing the fluid fabrics and movements, archetypal of ballet, and replace them with structural forms and their interpreted gestures.


Sketch – Small prototypes of reflective costumes

For the InstructionArt performance, I wanted to test small prototypes of reflective object, instead of a costume, on different parts of the body to study how the tool would be used (through the restriction of motion). The wearable objects are designed to be easily worn and in different sizes, with the reflective surfaces that can be interchanged.

Reflective objects that can be worn on different parts of the body
Different shapes can be detached and attached

A laser will be directed to the reflective surface, resulting in a point of light on the wall

Using geometric scores as instruction for movement

As light is an intangible material, the fluid interaction of light and movement is affected by many factors, creating unpredictability in the outcomes. As part of the system, I would like to choreograph the interaction (drawing with the body) using simple lines and geometric forms, such as circles, square and triangles, that can be easily understood while using the tool. I would like to keep the instruction as minimal as possible so that it will not be so distracting. It would serve as a directive for the manipulated light, while the interpretation (the size, orientation and speed) would be up to the dancer.

A geometric score of different lines and shapes is composed for the performance

William Forsythe – Improvisation Technologies 

Improvisation Technologies – Forsythe created video segments about his approach to improvisation for modern dance, to train his company’s dancer. His categorisation of different classes of movement (lines, curves, shapes, etc) can be “analysed as geometrically inscriptive – a formal drawing with the body in space”. I was inspired by his systematic approach of providing techniques/ instruction for improvisation (usually with no choreography), the choreography then becomes a combination or sequences of set/ designed motions.

‘Improvisation’ Free-Moving state: Moving according to Sound

During the process of “drawing with light” with our bodies, I wanted to see how the body would respond when there is no geometric instruction. Through the experience of drawing with the body, I realised that the light drawn are restricted to lines or curves due to the small point of contact of the reflective objects. Under no instruction or ‘free-style’,  I had the performers move according to the way they like or with the music. The performers would then using the light to interact with each other, creating patterns and moving with the other with the music, which created a collaborative visual experience.

Future direction – Semester project?

Moving on, I would like to experiment with bigger forms of reflective objects, so that bigger movements can be generated. I would also fixed different points of light instead of having one for one object/ performer, so that a spatial performance or spectacle could be generated.

– Using movement to generate music – Collaborative performance with different roles for each performer
– Different parts of the body – more dynamic movements

Zoom Performance – “Blow” and “Sneeze”

Zoom Performances

Performed by Alina and Tanya

Performed by Alina and Fizah

In the current times, how often does a sneeze/ cough capture our attention in public? So rarely do we ever feel the “closeness” of another person without fear or are we fully comfortable to do certain acts – such as sneezing or blowing – without them being seen as blasphemous. The performances of “banned actions” are meant to trigger some discomfort, serving as a humorous commentary to the effect of the pandemic on our personal behaviours.

CONCEPT – Play between Action and Response

The virtual performances “Blow” and “Sneeze” explores the link between an action and its resultant effect in disconnected settings. Making use of online communication tool ‘zoom’ and physical objects, the performances aim to create an illusion of ’cause and effect’, using what can and can’t be seen on the screens. By timing and recreating the visual response of an action, the videos attempt to distract the viewers from distance and disjunction between the “connected” individuals.

Concept sketch

Window Display Installation by Tokujin Yoshioka for Maison Hermès, Tokyo

The idea was inspired by an interactive window display by Tokujin Yoshioka where a screen displaying a woman “blowing” into a hanging scarf. The movement of the scarf responds to the simultaneous act of blowing, creating a perception where there is an actual person performing the action. The concept of connecting two disparate platforms is applied to our zoom performances, bridging our “distance” across virtual communication.