Inspiring installations from :: Better Future Factory ::

Better Future Factory is a sustainable product design studio specialised in innovative solutions for plastic recycling – Better Future Factory mission statement


Installation: Plastic Reflectic

There is an urgent need to start addressing sustainability issues moving forward. That said, projects that encourage contemplation and propose novel solutions are few and far between. There are two projects that I would like to highlight from this incredible studio.

As an idea it is simple and straightforward. Our actions have a direct impact on the planet, and we need to start taking responsibility for them. The silhouette of the participant is captured as he/she stands in front of the pool of black water. This is visualised using all manner of sorts of plastic trash that were sourced from plastic islands around the planet.

The visual design of the installation is minimal, effective and poetic all at once. The clever use of black water serves both technical and artistic purposes. It hides the plastic objects as they submerge below the water surface, and black water subconsciously evokes a sombre and reflective mood. Coincidentally the participant is able to catch a glimpse of his/her own reflection in the water, providing a quick reminder that every individual has a role to play.

Needless to say, the technical accomplishments are impressive. The mechanics are simple in nature, but well executed and completely invisible to the audience, a hallmark of exceptional work.

As the participant walks away from the installation, the re-submerging of the plastic objects results in a pool of clear black water. This is a reminder to the audience that irresponsible actions will lead to an undesirable outcome for generations to come.

On a side note, as an additional touch, an enclosed layer of clear water can be positioned on top of the black water layer, and shown when the installation is in ‘idle’ mode. The clear water can be ‘flushed’ in/out via the sides on demand.


Landal educative installation

Installation overview

Feed plastic and press!

Your shiny ‘new’ name tag


The above experiential installation is a great example of how message can be delivered through experience.

The installation was first introduced in a park, where the young and old get to learn more about the recycling process while having a little bit of fun, as well as bring something home.

The end product might be considered trivial, but the impact is real. Participants get to see first-hand the possibilities of recycling plastic. Humans are highly visual creatures, so it helps to be able to ‘see’ the possibility in a very tangible way. And being able to bring away a keepsake can serve as a constant reminder; long after we return to our fast-paced, consumerist lives.

On another level, makers, innovators and change-makers will be inspired. If a recycling process can be achieved via an installation as shown, with minimal facilities and manpower, imagine the possibility of small localised and organised efforts.

After many years of inaction, it is evident that we as global citizens, have to organise at the grassroots’ level to effect positive change. Governments and corporations are not going to magically start placing their other priorities below the climate change issue for the foreseeable future. This installation can serve as one of the many first steps we can take to start a responsible, sensible cycle of producing, consuming and recycling; to ensure there is a better tomorrow ahead.



Better Future Factory
Plastic Reflectic
Landal educative installation

“Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery” reflection

Performance info for reference

A “happening” refers to an event in which the concept of ordinary things is revisited or a work in which the viewer may intervene. – Sue Kim


Inter-mission‘s Disappearance is based on Lee Kang-So’s Disappearance(1970s), performed at the National Gallery of Singapore.

Earlier in the same month, a similarly-themed performance was carried out by a group of four Korean artistes, curated by Sue Kim.

During that performance, the artistes interacted with their environment through various means; Jaehoon Kim coordinated the music and played a piece at the end, Junbo captured whatever thoughts came to her mind through her encounters on post-its and pasted it all over the venue, Ji Hye Chung snapped photos of body parts of the audience and projected them on screen while Soodung Jung used his body to convey symbols; rice wine being poured or a cup swaying on table.

Inter-mission’s Disappearance

Bird’s eye view of the installation premises


The performance by Inter-mission, in comparison, was far more technological in nature. The artistes, Urich Lau and Teow Yue Han, utilised a host of modern gadgets(webcams, projections.etc), as well as fashioned novel futuristic versions. The performance entailed a metaphorical transposition of another city’s landscape(urban Tokyo, I am guessing) onto the sterile confines of the gallery.



Midway through the show, Yue Han donned his self-projecting device(term coined by me) and started projecting himself onto his ‘surroundings’ everywhere. I can only interpret it as an attempt to ‘merge’ himself into urban Tokyo or the live feed from within the gallery. The expression of indifference Yue Han exhibited could represent how one’s identity/uniqueness has become subservient in an increasingly ‘noisy’ society.


Apparatus for self self-projection

Self-projecting in action


The performance concluded with the introduction of Urich’s incredibly novel eye/face mask. Here we see him donning a device with two screens that display the live feeds from Tokyo and the National Gallery simultaneously. At the end of show, the artistes did mention something about the respiratory mask symbolising the ‘toxic’ nature of the modern environment and the individual’s need for it to ensure ‘survival’.



Thoughts and reflection

To be honest, on a personal level, I would consider the performance rather avant-garde in nature. There is quite a lot of interpretation and imagination required for appreciation. That said, it was definitely refreshing and enlightening!

In terms of execution, I did have several thoughts in mind.

  • The equipment: audio equipment, workstations and others are unnecessarily visible. I felt that these added mental clutter and distracted the audience from focusing on the experiential aspects of the performance. From the snippets of video, one can probably tell that whenever the audience is trying to figure out what’s happening, they would default to looking/observing the workstations or what the crew is up to.
  • The setting, though Korean-centric, for obvious reasons, could have been better re-adapted to the Singaporean context; again, for obvious reasons. It could have added more authenticity to the whole ‘street’ experience. (Disclosure: this comment came up from Man Wei and I thought it was very pertinent to the discussion on hand)
  • I think the lights were way too bright; the success of the experience depends heavily on the projections and various other light-related phenomena to create an immersive experience. But sadly, the gallery’s lights were overpowering; the projections are severely washed out, lessening their intended effect on the audience’s visual and possibly tactile experience as a whole.



“Disappearance”: Lee Kang-So’s 1970s works at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul – original interview extract

Happenings at disappearance – Bar in the gallery at NGS