Our Glass Castle: What’s Next? (info dump)

[WIP, but I’ll put the most relevant information first]

Okay so I need an OSS post to collect my thoughts. The most recent updates will be mentioned here.

After 2 weeks of searching for meaning, I discovered that I’ve been straying from my concept. I keep wanting to create something emotionally surprising, but I failed to come back to the original idea which is to create a space that make people act. After a bit of thinking, I realised my concept may lean more towards activism rather than art. After some research, I found “Why Artistic Activism: Nine Reasons” by Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert from The Center for Artistic Activism. Below are a few quotes I found applicable to what I’m working on.

Art and activism do different work in the world. Activism, as the name implies, is the activity of challenging and changing power relations. There are many ways of doing activism and being an activist, but the common element is an activity targeted toward a discernible end. Simply put, the goal of activism is action to create an Effect.

Art, on the other hand, tends not to have such a clear target. It’s hard to say what art is for or against; its value often lies in providing us perspective and new ways to envision our world. Its effect is often subtle and hard to measure, and confusing or contradictory messages can be layered into the work. Good art always contains a surplus of meaning: something we can’t quite describe or put our finger on, but moves us nonetheless. Its goal, if we can even use that word, is to stimulate a feeling, move us emotionally, or alter our perception. Art, equally simply stated, is an expression that generates Affect.

Artistic Activism is a practice aimed at generating Æffect: emotionally resonant experiences that lead to measurable shifts in power.

The ability of artistic activism to surprise us – to show up in unlikely places (e.g. not a gallery) or take on unfamiliar forms (e.g. not a protest march) provides an opportunity to disrupt people’s preconceived notions of art and protest, and their predetermined ideas about the messages we are trying to communicate. Artistic activism creates an opportunity to bypass seemingly fixed political ideas and moral ideals and remap cognitive patterns. Surprise is a moment when hearts can be touched and minds reached, and both changed.

I also looked at different works that is similar to what I want to achieve, some are advertising, some interactive.



Alright. So my current concept would be a 3 part installation.

PART 1: The Collision

In part 1, I want the focus to be on the bird collision. I think people don’t know or don’t feel much about the birds situation as they have not experienced it before.

  1. Participants have to enter one at a time to engage in this work.
  2. The participants enter wearing a device that distorts their vision through mirrors. The view should look like there are multiple images and the center of their vision will be blocked just like how birds see with 2 eyes on the sides of their head.
  3. The participant then walk through a short maze, which includes mirrors that further disorients them
  4. As the participant gets closer to the end of the maze, the ambient sound gets louder, this helps the participant to orientate themselves towards the goal
  5. When they reach the end, they will hit against the transparent acrylic. Simultaneously, there will be a thud sound while an image of a ‘bird’ (plasticine or something) will ‘hit the window’. The environment will turn silent too.
  6. After a short while, the ambient music fades in again. As that happens, LED lights up the acrylic to reveal dots that previously cant be seen due to the dark.
  7. At the same time, the bird corpse will fade into dots which will fill the screen. When that happens, birds’ silhouette can be seen flying around without harm. (unsure thats why i underlined)
  8. Participants then can exit the installation to the right and enter PART 2.

What this is supposed to achieve:

  1. empathy towards the birds in realising the difficulty of navigation
  2. experiencing how it sounds and looks like when a bird hits the window
  3. sympathy towards the bird, enough to want to do something

What will be added after:

  1. more interactions with the space itself, perhaps through a slightly added complication with the maze so as to create a non-linear experience

PART2: The Dead and The Injured

This part is dedicated to the injured and dead birds. After exiting the smack zone, there will be a zone where a projection of videos of people walking into glass, where in the end, the image of a dead bird around ADM is shown. This is a reflection of what happened previously and gives people the context that many birds have died due to such collisions. As they walk towards the projectors, a sensor gets triggered and an injured bird is projected using Pepper’s Ghost method on a platform. The participant is then able to interact with this bird by using a phone placed in front of it. When they pick it up, the phone will explain how one is able to help the injured bird. The bird will also animate according to the instructions (depending on my capability if its doable).

What people should feel:

  1. sympathy towards the dead birds
  2. empathy due to seeing the context
  3. education on how to help an injured bird

PART3: Using the Dots

I am 100% certain it’s the most elegant solution towards this issue. The school have already turned off light at midnight to reduce light pollution which helps night migratory birds. But the school is not taking enough responsibility in reducing the deaths by the windows when the structure mirrors the sky and forest around the school.

In order to make it extra clear about the intention for this part of the installation, my focus will only be on the dots.

The participant will enter this next zone where the first thing they see will be clear acrylic with dots marked on them. This goes along with a brief description on how the dots help us to see it better. (see how this works out)

After that, it will be where they paste stickers.

What participants should feel and get out of it:

  1. I did something to help!

[Process and further research]

input process for:

  1. first iteration which is the shitty 3-window panel thing, feedbacks, improvements. Week 9 was all about thinking of a way to putting tech
  2. second iteration which is the shitty maze, feedbacks, improvements, and actions to take. Week 10 was all about buying and getting materials together.
  3. third iteration which is what I’ll be proposing this tuesday, which will be the final form and I’ll present it while i continue to physically experiment with the different physical elements (on monday) Week 11 was all about
  4. Week 12 will be working on experimenting with the space and see what works


Why Artistic Activism?

Transparent LED embedded inside a glass window for building facade



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