Research Critique II

I Light Singapore 2019

I went to I Light during its opening on Monday with Fizah. It was like our first I Light experience and we started walking from the beginning of the trail. There are many interesting installations that were really good looking, but lack interactivity. Amongst all the works, I picked out these 2:

Work #1: Facey Thing by Uji Studios (New Zealand)

Image taken from
Curious audiences getting their faces enlarged while others have created ‘marks’ that are left behind due to their interaction

Link of work:

This artwork is a giant LCD screen that has a camera facing in the direction opposite the screen creating some kind of digital mirror. It was created as a ‘fun and satirical celebration of … selfie culture and universal surveillance…’ commenting on how facial recognition has become such a norm that we use it for our own enjoyment rather than worrying about how a computer is smart enough to detect our presence and as such is allowed to spy on us wherever we are.

The artwork allows for some lower form of interaction where the audience only gets to see themselves on the screen and react to their face being blown up in size. Audiences can also paint the screen with their face, as their blown up face will freeze in frame after a while. The audience thus gets to either react negatively by pulling back, or engage more with the artwork to see what they can do with it.

Audiences have to come to terms with their face being exposed and enlarged in open public, allowing the audience to consider or weigh their own privacy over the sake of art-making. It also discusses the narcissistic nature of our current society, how we are not afraid to show our faces to the world.

Video of Fizah and my interaction with the artwork:

Work #2: Key of Light by Mr. Beam (Netherlands)

Image taken from
The artwork, taken from a distance

This work is a piano that sits under a lit pavilion, facing a projection-mapped water tower. Audiences get to play the piano, which in turn causes the light in the pavilion to dim, as though it is a concert, and a projection will appear on the water tower in front of the piano in response the the note that is being played. The trees will light up in response as well.

The audiences get to interact with the artwork by first playing the piano. What is interesting is that here, the audience automatically becomes a performer, and is part of the artwork and affects the artwork directly. The piano gives not just audio feedback, but also visual feedback in the form of visuals on the water tower and lights. By combining different notes, the visual feedback changes, and this prompts the performer to try out different ways to play the piano. This creates a feedback loop between the artwork and the performer. Other audiences can watch the performance.

The interaction seems to be intended to allow audiences to visualise music in a way that make them feel powerful, that their actions, no matter how poorly played, still can result in something so powerful and beautiful. The artwork also allow audiences to become a performer rather than just an audience, which also allows them to experience a glorious moment as if they are a concert pianist.

Video of Fizah interacting with the artwork:


I like that most of the artworks are of an impressive scale. However, some are not interactive at all and have potential in being so, which was quite disappointing. It was overall a good experience, although a tiring one (my legs and stomach died cos town food is expensive!)


Concept 1 – Life & Death

A recap to this concept:

  • Life is entangled to Death
  • Life is Superposition, Death is the absolute position
  • Life is a wave, Death is a particle

In this concept, the idea of what it will look like is like one of those paintings depicting the Wheel of Life, the Afterlife, or Hell aka Di Yu or Jigoku.

Jikogu, Image taken from
Buddhist Heaven, image taken from
The Wheel of Life, Image taken from

The idea is to create a narrative using a single canvas, telling a story within different sections of the canvas. A modern example of this idea is this artwork by Lee Xinli:

Image taken from


The moodboard for this concept is as such:

Main pointers for design:

  • grunge-looking
  • old chinese painting-like
  • dull colour scheme for Death, bright for Life
  • Symmetrical, cyclical
  • Bizarre

Individual design elements:

  • Clouds
  • Fire
  • Trees
  • Rivers
  • Cliffs
  • Demons / Monsters
  • Humans (varied)

Main artist reference: 

Zhitong Yu:

Concept 2: Numbers and Gamblers

A recap of this concept:

  • TOTO and 4D lottery numbers are sometimes found in natural patterns around us, as if the numbers within a pattern exist in a superposition
  • Buying 4D usually ends up having the numbers jumbled up (‘jumping digits’ in chinese), which represents quantum leap where the numbers jump around within their position
  • If you are lucky to buy the numbers that are entangled to the winning numbers, you strike

In this concept, I would like to take reference from the Japanese Ukiyo-e style to depict patterns and textures within the elements as well as bright colours and clean lines. The overall feel of the banner should look something like this but with more elements and humour:

Image taken from


Main pointers for design:

  • Clean lines
  • texture-heavy
  • connected
  • colourful

Individual design elements:

  • amulet / charm
  • flowerhorn fish
  • joss sticks
  • flowing water
  • clouds
  • arowana
  • rocks with contours
  • trees
  • Moneki Neko (auspicious cat)

Main artist reference:

KUBO Ayako:

Kazuaki Horitomo:

Other Inspirations


Kurzesagt video – Wormholes

Kurzgesagt really inspires me with their beautiful videos, but unfortunately I’m going for a different direction in this design so I’m not using these as my reference.

Moneki Neko Collection by multiple owners:

When I was thinking about lottery, these Moneki Nekos came to mind. They are so cute but I don’t know how to integrate them into my design.

I first saw the cats here:


Zhitong Yu:


Kazuaki Horitomo:

Ukiyo-e man with fish:

Ukiyo-e man with snake:

Ukiyo-e surfing man:

Moneki Neko Collection:

Fish pattern (colour pencil):

Fish pattern (lines):

Ukiyo-e fishes:

Wheel of life:

Jigoku paintings:

Jigoku paintings 2:

Taoist amulet:


Heaven Mural:

Heaven 2:

Lee Xinli:


Supernatural Entanglement

What is Quantum Mechanics?

Quantum Entanglement

Main properties of Quantum Mechanics:

  1. Quantum Entanglement – Two interacting particles can become entangled where both affect each other’s state of spin at the instance of being measured even if they are separated by space and time. A particle’s measurement will definitely result in the opposite result in the other.
  2. Quantum Superposition – Particles are in an uncertain state of spin until it is observed (AKA chimology term: collapse of wave function), in which this case means being measured through the passing of a filter.
  3. Probability Wave – Quantum particles are governed by probability, and its probabilistic nature behave like waves. When conducting a Double-Slit Experiment, results present in a pattern that is a property of a wave entering two slits. This is interesting as something intangible is behaving in a familiar pattern we can observe — a wave.
  4. Wave / Particle Duality – Particles behaves like waves and particles at the same time. Particle — travels in a straight line. Wave — emits / absorbs energy.
  5. Quantum Leap – Electrons exists in a superposition, they are not visible until one finds it. They only exists in a field surrounding an atom. When an electron gets excited by energy, it absorbs it and teleports itself into a higher state, and when it releases energy, it moves into a lower state.


I like to look into the properties of Quantum Mechanics, rather than its application. Look at it raw and turn them into tangible ideas and patterns that easily gives us an idea of what it is.

My research are all from videos as I have grown to trust these Youtube channels that have always given really interesting and insightful discussion on such topics. In this playlist, there are videos from the following channels:

  1. Kurzgesagt – Science, economic, historic, and philosophical topics animated in a visually appealing way that allows us to visualise them easily

    Kurzgesagt Youtube Channel
  2. VSauce – Quirky channel that discusses and explains a broad topic in an interesting perspective

    Michael Stevens from VSauce
  3. Veritasium – Science channel that explains very in depth on science topics (somewhat dry)

    Veritasium Youtube Channel

Youtube Playlist


Concept Ideas

  1. The Entangled ‘I’
    Untitled, 2016 by Gabriel Isak

    In this idea, I wish to explore the idea of the particles in a body being entangled to some objects around the world. I have two sub ideas from this concept:

    • The Other ‘I’In this idea, two person are connected through their entangled quantum states. I’d like to branch further into perhaps a connection between different dimensions within a story about two quantumly-bound characters in different dimensions living their entangled lives. I’ll play with the idea of soulmates and the idea of multi-verses.I am deeply inspired by the game ‘Bioshock Infinite’ which included the idea of quantum superposition as part of a gameplay mechanic.
      Power up infusions that can be found at specific locations in the game ‘Bioshock Infinite’ which is stuck in a superposition between these 3 power ups until the player chooses the power up they want.

      The concept was also inspired by two characters in the game, the Luteces, who are scientists and are actually the same person who existed in different dimensions.

      The Luteces in Bioshock Infinite Game

      – body parts
      – particles (stippling)

    • Other Objects
      In this idea, a person has their particles entangled to many other everyday object, which he chooses to purchase in the supermarket. This idea is inspired by artist Chirashi bomb’s ‘sorry 4 the inconvenience caused‘ zine where an ‘inconvenience store’ exists to cause you inconvenient foodstuffs.

      Chirashi Bomb’s ‘Sorry for the Inconvenience’ zine


  2. Death & Life
    The Buddhist’s Wheel of Life depicts Life, Death, and Afterlife


    • Death and Life are two entangled entities. Properties of Death is the opposite of Life and vice versa. Where there’s Death, there is no Life, and vice versa. A balance, like quantum entanglement.
    • Death (or non existence) is absolute and clear — if something doesn’t exist, it just doesn’t exist. Thus, Death (or non existence) represents the end result of a quantum superposition, just like how when we measure a particle, we become absolutely certain of its location and properties.
    • Life is a superposition. We don’t know where we will go, what we will do tomorrow, what choices we will make. We also don’t even know if we are truly alive (what is the definition of being alive when we are all made of dead things? If one is brain dead but is still kept alive by a machine, is the person still alive?) As such, life is a very uncertain thing and as such represents superposition.
    • The journey between Life and Death is a wave and a particle. We, as an individual, is a particle. But we, at the same time, cause effect upon other objects or people or beings that leads to a chain effect of events — like waves. As such Life & Death is a particle/wave duality.
    • The idea of Life and Death can be quite easily represented using the Buddhist’s Wheel of Life, which depicts the different realms of the world, explaining Life, Death, and the Afterlife.Images:
      – Chinese Vampires
      – The dead
      – Demons
      – The Living
      –  Ghosts
  3. Numbers & Gamblers

    TOTO slip


    • Singaporeans like to buy 4D and TOTO (lottery). Some go out to temples to pray for numbers, some remember their encounters with numbers so that they can buy the lottery with that set of particular ‘lucky’ numbers. People usually look at patterns on fishes or rocks to find numbers, and it is very subjective. As such, I imagine the patterns to be a superposition of numbers, and the ‘luckiness’ depends on the entanglement of the number to the lottery results.
      The Luohan Fish

      – Luohan fish
      – Rocks with numbers
      – Strings
      – TOTO / 4D Slips

Artist References

Gabriel Isak

Chirashi Bomb

Kurz Gesagt

Lee Xinli

KUBO Ayako

Kazuaki Horitomo



Quantum Entanglement:




Bioshock Infinite Infusion:



Luo Han Fish:

Untitled, 2016 by Gabriel Isak:

Wheel of Life:

Chirashi Bomb:

Zhitong Yu:

Chinese myths:

Lee Xinli:

Research Critique I

Artwork 1

Image taken from

Daniel Rozin – ‘Wooden Mirror’, 1999
830 square pieces of wood, 830 servo motors, control electronics, video camera, computer, wood frame.
170cm , 203cm, 25cm

The Wooden Mirror is an interactive installation made of 830 wood pieces and motors that moves according to an image captured by the camera which tilts the wood pieces in a certain angle, creating the illusion of depth and therefore the illusion of a ‘reflection’.

“Mechanical mirrors are a platform in which Rozin investigates the borderline and contrasts between digital and analog worlds, virtual and physical experience, or order versus chaos. The first of this series, Rozin’s Wooden Mirror explores the inner workings of image creation and human visual perception.”

Q: Why do you find this artwork or project intriguing?
A: I stumbled upon this artwork on Facebook around last year and was fascinated by how the artist managed to show depth using just wood plates and the shadows they cast, which seems pretty impossible. I find it really interesting as I tried to figure out how technology allows us to make what appears to be impossible, which is to make a mirror out of a non reflective material. I was even more fascinated after thinking through the process of making this installation work the way it does.

Q: What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer?
A: The Wooden Mirror appears counter-intuitive to viewers at first, when a reflection casts on a non-reflective ‘mirror’ is made. Through instilling curiosity within viewers, the viewers would be made to look into the Wooden Mirror and interact with it by moving about and observing how the wooden plates move in relation to their own body movement.

Q: What is the intention of this interaction?
A: Other than the testing and application of a crazy but successful idea, the artwork has allowed people
 to question the potentials of materials, such as using a non reflective surface to create properties of a reflective surface. It also suggests to us the wonders of technology, in how each plate can be intricately programmed to display a certain shade to create a big image as a whole.

Q: What is the role of the viewer?
A: The role of the viewer is perhaps just an observer of the artwork’s effects, despite being actively engaged in the artwork when a viewer happen to walk in front of it. The viewer interacts through the act of just moving around and looking at the artwork. This generates a feedback to the artwork, allowing the artwork to keep changing.

Q: Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience?
A: The creator has the primary control, ultimately, in terms of how he set the stage to make the wooden plates move in response to viewers (eg. he could have made it hard for viewers to discern their own image). However, the creator decided to make the artwork as it is now, and as such, the audience has more control over the outcome in term of how they directly affect the images portrayed on the Wooden Mirror.


Artwork 2

Image taken from

Institute for Media Innovation (IMI) Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore – ‘Nadine’, 2013

Nadine is a social robot modelled after Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalman. She is considered the ‘most realistic female humanoid social robots in the world’ at that time. She was created to assist people with special needs, and she can read stories, show images, and communicate with her user. She is also able to answer questions in different languages, simulate emotions in her gestures and her expressions, make eye contact with users, and can remember all the conversations she had with people.

Q: Why do you find this artwork or project intriguing?
A: My first encounter with Nadine was during the Human+ exhibition some years ago and was deeply intrigued by it. It was fascinating to me how technology is so advanced for a robot to exhibit (or simulate) social behaviours. 

Q: What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer?
A: The viewers can ask Nadine questions and respond to it, creating a flow of conversation. This back to back conversations creates feedback loop between Nadine and viewers. The viewers can talk about many different things like the weather, ask about Nadine, etc.

Q: What is the intention of this interaction?
A: The main purpose of the interactivity with Nadine is to assist people in different ways. She can be a receptionist, or an assistance to people with special needs. But within the Human+ exhibition, the interaction is perhaps to awe viewers in how smart a robot can be and imagine the future where quality and advancedness of robotics can be useful to humanity. 

Q: What is the role of the viewer?
A: The role is to just ask Nadine questions and talk to Nadine and reply. The viewer is also perhaps made to  think about what to say, and think about pushing the limits of the robot.

Q: Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience?
A: In this case, I’m quite uncertain as Nadine is programmed to learn. As such I think perhaps both the project (Nadine) and the viewers have control over the outcome of the artwork, which is their conversations, while the creator only have the parameters for the interaction set beforehand (like gestures, things Nadine will talk about, etc).



Q: Come up with 2 thoughtful questions in your essay that will benefit the class with regards to this week’s topic on interactivity.

  1. Interactive art can be something that can respond to our actions. In this case, would you think that an interactive artwork could one day kill someone? Do we need regulations in interactive art in future?


  2. Imagine a future where robots co-exist with us. Would an interaction between a viewer and an advanced robot similar to Nadine be considered as a performance? A normal conversation? Or something else?