Concept writeup, Sketches, Etc.

Design concept write up

In the future, global warming desertified most lands on Earth. Humans continue to survive in overheated cities that are covered in dust. Humans wear fully-covered suits to adapt to the dusty and hot environment, while using wearable technology to help them detect and react to the changes in environment.

[INSERT COOL NAME HERE] is a jumpsuit that uses modular pieces of wearable technology to adapted to the hot and dusty environment.

The jumpsuit offers a decent protection through the light, breathable fabric and have enlarged sleeves that allow air in. Environment sensors (Envirosensor) are worn on the arm to track the temperature and pollution levels around the user. Other wearable parts will read the sensors’ data and react according to the changes in the environment. This offers the user a functional and stylish way of navigating through this dystopian world.

Design sketch /draft (Rough)

One of my first few sketches
further development
further development + styling
vectorising so I can create the shapes better
turns out to be super ugly so I reverted back to paper
new look with scarf and new design for envirosensor. Note: The colouring is just for me to visualise the separate parts and is not the actual colour of the garment.

This was when my design was starting to take shape. With some more sketches come these:

Did some sketches of body proportions and photocopied many pieces to start mass sketching.

An even earlier sketch, wayyyyy before I changed the form into something less cyberpunk.

One of the few who can survive making it here on OSS HAHAHA its ugly.

After a few rounds of sketches, I came up with this design. Brown main colour, nylon translucent on the areas that will be attached with tech. But I didn’t really like it still.

Colour testing after visiting Chinatown’s fabric shops and discovering some sick materials. I think I’ll visit again as I still don’t like the colours here. This point was also me discovering a new form which includes the ‘winged’ look. Just some extra flabs on the sleeves on the arms and legs. I liked it. Looks futuristic, functional, and isn’t too weird or flashy.

Added some parts to the coloured piece. Still don’t like the form.

One proper drawing of the new design where I smoothed out the flabs so it looks less popping out.

Another sketch to show the different parts. Again, you can see the Illuminator is erased. Here is also where I discovered a new form for the Envirosensors. I didn’t like the puffy parts of the old sensors cos it looked out of place. I basically just took 2 different designs and mashed them together. I took a step back and just use one of the reference instead and got this. On the right side you acn also see me trying to separate both sensors to different forms so they are more intuitive to know. (the wavy striped one is for temperature, while the coral-like one with holes is for pollutant)

Was kinda trying out sketching the new parts, adding colour to just make them come out a bit more. Still don’t like the Illuminators.

Then I went to Jurong Point for my dental appointment….

This magic happened:

My brain just worked. I drew a new figure. Then for the tech, I simplified the whole Illuminator to just perform its original function: To just light up. The envirosensors have a more defined form and looks like something I can make since I can visualise it. I added a cape (which was an idea I kept thinking about) and a hoodie to complete the look. (Thanks to Jannah for suggesting hoodie!)

So far that’s what I have for sketches. I’ll update with more sketches on the tech and more views and colours for the garment. Hopefully I’ll do what I say I’ll do………

How your design is interacting?

  1. Interaction with data: The data from the sensor changes the LED colours, as well as send signals to the other parts to react according to set data
  2. Interaction with user: The mask uses a pressure sensor to fit itself snug onto the user without pushing onto the user too much.
  3. Interaction between parts: From the data, the parts react accordingly.


  • Arduino nano / lilypad x
  • Temperature sensor x1 (optional)
  • Pollution sensor x1 (optional)
  • Humidity sensor x1 (optional)
  • Light sensor x1 (optional)
  • LED strip m
  • conductive thread (many)
  • servo motors x4 or 6
  • buttons x (for simulations)
  • battery packs (9v) x
  • Pressure sensor x1

I’ll work out the individual electronics uses next post.



Focuses on next few posts:

  1. Tech: All the different parts, sketches, the actual tech I’m gonna use, and choice + purchase + etc., prototypes (maybe)
  2. Material: All the different material choices, colours, links for purchase (or documentations of the locations),
  3. Prototypes: drafting paper to muslin to actual materials. Body measurements. Testing and testing…

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)

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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)

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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!)

Hyperessay – teamLab, The Ultra-Technologists

teamLab founders Toshiyuki Inoko (left) and Takashi Kudo (right). Image taken from

The Japanese collective and interdisciplinary company, teamLab, calls themselves ‘ultra-technologists,’ a statement that suggests their rejection of labels to their roles in the company, but instead an integrated community of creatives working together with a common goal. Started out as a small company in 2001 doing programming for clients, teamLab made it to the international scene after Singapore Biennale 2013 where they were given a special showcase in Singapore Art Museum with their project ‘If the World Changed‘.

Artwork showcased in the Singapore Biennale 2013

teamLab aims to achieve a balance between art, science, technology and creativity by creating interactive artwork using mostly spaces, digital media, and technology like augmented reality to engage their audiences. The idea is to allow for audience participation so as to remove the notion of artworks being static. teamLab strongly believes that an artwork should be interactive, as they believe that the experience of the artwork becomes much richer when there is participation, and that creates a collective experience that is much better than the singular experience static artworks can provide for viewers. By simply creating interaction, teamLab allows their participants to be connected to the artwork.

The teamLab work that I would be studying more in depth would be ‘The Infinite Crystal Universe‘, which is a large-spaced installation filled with rows of digitally controlled LED lights that streams down from the ceiling, essentially using pointillism to create a 3D space filled with ‘stars’ in a universe. The LED shimmers and reacts to audiences by proximity and by the interaction with the app that controls the installation. Ambient music also plays to add to the atmosphere. Within the artwork, one may feel like an adventurer stumbling upon a mysterious yet beautiful space.

The Infinite Crystal Universe, teamLab, 2015-2018, Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, LED.
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At first glance, one can tell how visually stunning the artwork is, perfect for audiences interacting with it through social media posting. The highlight comes when an audience uses a smartphone to control the artwork using an app.

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Through this action, the audience can choose an object to be sent out, which changes the music and allow the object to explode within the artwork into a spectacular LED light show that mimics galactic activities like supernovas. Within this interaction itself, the sender and the other audiences witnesses the spectacle made by the small action of a swipe. As the other audiences realise what they can do, they can start making their own objects and watching their creation blast into the universe and explode beautifully.

At its essence, the artwork encourages interaction through an awesome experience that connects everyone together in the same space, watching the same thing, feeling the same emotions. The artwork evoke a sense of how small we humans are in terms of the scale of the universe, yet one action made by us can impact everyone’s life so greatly. Without audiences, this artwork would not achieve the effect that it was made to express. As such, the artwork is very much in line with teamLab’s ideas of an interactive installation.

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In reference to Roy Ascott’s reading ‘Behavioural Art and the Cybernetic Vision’, ‘The Infinite Crystal Universe‘ exhibits some behavioural art characteristics. Firstly, the artwork allows for control and communication between the digital LEDs and the audience, and amongst audiences. The shift in the states of the LED cues the audiences to contemplate on the meaning behind the art, while also allows the audience to imagine the things they can do, while audiences can signal amongst themselves to teach each other on the artwork’s interactions. This feedback loop within said interactions and relationships, allows for the artwork to be in a constant state of change, keeping the artwork alive. Without the audience participation, the feedback loop would break, and the artwork would not function the way it should be. The artwork is also ambiguous, unstable, uncertain, and open-ended, which allows for a flexible interpretation as well as a flexible interaction. In this sense, the lines between art, artefact, and experience is blurred where audience and their experiences becomes part of the artwork.

John Cage’s ‘Variations V’. Image taken from

We can also see that teamLab also have very close visions with John Cage, which can be seen in his works ‘Variations V‘ where he made use of indeterminacy, chance, and unpredictability in his works to reimagine musical compositions, which is deemed too deterministic. By using chance to control musical composition, John Cage allowed the audience (the dancers) to not just be part of the artwork but also be essential for the artwork to exist. We can imagine the audiences in ‘The Infinite Crystal Universe‘ as the dancers in ‘Variations V‘, where the audience is given a set of choices, but their actions are completely unpredictable, while at the same time they become part of the artwork to make it alive. The artwork operates by chance, and through this controlled chance, audiences are encouraged to experiment with different combinations of objects to send out, and in whole, creates interaction. Although 50 years apart, we can draw similarities in the concepts of interactivity between both artworks.

teamLab’s ‘The Infinite Crystal Universe‘ exhibits both their own collective philosophy as well as important principles that characterises interactive art. Even though they are geographically and chronologically distant from previously studied interactive works, the principles still hold true. However,  there is also an evolution not just in terms of the technology used, but also in the way that people interact with the work. In our current society, social media is very prevalent and as such, artworks are made purposefully simple and photogenic for the purpose of being ‘Instagramable’. Artworks have thus incorporated this property and that added to another layer of interactivity. We have seen how teamLab have also included the idea of connectivity between audience and the art such that it could be easily understandable, which is absent from older forms of interactive art like John Cage’s ‘Variations V’.  As such, interactive artworks are still changing, and with the globalised society, the future of interactive art could become more and more advanced.


teamlab planets tokyo: a ‘body immersive’ exhibition of all-encompassing digital art

5 Minutes With… teamLab!

Interactive Installation Transports Viewers to Dazzling Universe of Infinite Lights