Emo Telephone Prototype

Emo Telephone

Group: Joey, Bryan

“I… was always compared to my siblings as a kid. I was never better in my parents’ eyes.”


Meaning & Purpose

Tldr; Technology distances us.

This interactive work is a critique on the reduced consciousness we have of ourselves with others due to our everyday communication through technology. For example, we usually send a ‘LOL” text to others in response to something conventionally funny, but our facial expression in real life is actually a mere poker face. We hide behind our phones to communicate with others and slowly become numb to an actual conversation. What is then something that can cause or trigger a genuine reaction in us? To us, even though communication through technology is convenient and common now, this tends to push individuals further apart rather than allowing for a deeper level of connection. Through restricting the spatial dynamics of two participants, both individuals are required to stay intimate through eye contact while engaging in a communicative activity we find desensitised; which in this case would be talking on the phone. As such, participants shall acknowledge and focus on the physical presence of each other while gaining a sense of self-awareness as they engage in an intimate conversation, ultimately feeling vulnerable, but eventually possibly comfortable.


  • 3x Cardboard boxes
  • Cutter + Tape (For assembling)
  • 2x plastic cups
  • 1x twine string

How it works

This interactive object will act like two helmets separated by a short fixed distance made by the cardboard boxes. Both participants will wear each helmet, and when they do so, they will be facing each other. The slit in each of their helmets will allow them to have eye contact with one another. There will be a hole at the top of the helmets to allow light to enter, so they can see each other and also have a small sense of external spatial orientation. They both then will use an analog telephone made using the cups and string to communicate. They can then only talk about their own self image and vulnerabilities and nothing else. This experience will go on for 10~15 minutes.

How it should feel

Depending on the type of participants, there will be varied results. The ideal results should be a sense of vulnerability at the beginning as they adjust with each other’s eye contact and conversation. As the conversation go, both participants should feel more empathetic towards the other person, and feel more aware of their own vulnerabilities, and as such feel more comfortable with each other.

Interference of spaces between 2 people + How Location comes into play

We try to restrict the physical space as much as possible so both participants can focus on each other’s presence. The restriction of space between both participants forces them to be aware of each other as well as of their shared experience, which is being trapped in a box with little awareness of what is going on beyond their helmets. Adding on to their experience with how they need to share their private moments and how they will be able to see the behaviour of the other person, it will heighten their 5 senses and make them self-conscious of both themselves and of each other. Both participants should be able to feel the distance between each other, yet seemingly brought closer to each other through the intimacy in their gaze and conversation. Location comes into play when both participants have to move in the same direction, the same way, or in the same location. This creates a mutual experience between both parties, giving the impression that they are both going through the same things i.e. the same hardships. They will “always walk together” and accept each other fully. We hope to find a balance between the push and pull of physical and emotional space.

Testing Phase

We gave both participants a topic: talk about their self image and their weaknesses. We gave them only 2 minutes to talk as we want to speed things up and also felt that we don’t want to put our classmates at a spot (it was pretty awkward).

The first 1 minute was spent trying to figure out how to operate the thing. The next 1 minute, both parties struggled to stay with the objective due to the difficulty of operating the low-fi machine. Both parties only made 2 exchanges about their weaknesses before we had to stop.

Here’s the video footage + the discussion:

Testing: https://youtu.be/OLlLlGz0BcE

Discussion: https://youtu.be/xbvaVNqFL8s

I (Bryan) believe that they talked about weaknesses due to it being the easier topic to talk about. Our plans on making our participants uncomfortable worked but it was more negative due to the short amount of time we give which did not allow the participants to open up enough. I also think that perhaps we have to alter the topics as it seems to be too personal.

During the discussion, Kee Yong also mentioned about how uncomfortable he is physically due to the height difference and the box. He also mentioned how the low-fi telephone did not work well as it is not easy to operate it in a tight space. Thus, overall, it was not a very successful test.


What I can think of is:

  1. Change the form of the box. Instead of a solid box, it can be curtains. That will allow more flexibility while performing the same function.
  2. Change the topic. The topic is too personal and can become a negative experience for many people if it is not properly dealt with. The topic should be more open and something that allow each other to have a hearty conversation about. In this sense, we allow both parties to feel the joy of using a telephone rather than dealing with the negative aspects of talking through a telephone.
  3. Use a real phone. As we thought we were going to develop the project further, we intended to switch the low-fi telephone with real phones in future so it eases the entire experience.

Final Project – Split Chef (Discussion)

that little icon at the top right ruined this picture

We have transcended through time and space to meet up in the third space — Skype. Joel happen to me unable to meet us, so we decided to conduct a skype meeting.

During our skype meeting, we discussed on the things that we have to iron out so we can move on to the final work.

  • We finalised the player roles and what kind of players we want

  • We decided on the kitchen location to be either Hannah’s (our friend) hall, or one of the hall that we are staying in. The backup plan is to actually use someone’s house.
  • Next, we asked if we should have audiences to watch our show, and allow them to comment to help the chef. I think it will be fun and engaging to both the audience, the players, and facilitators.
  • Next, we finalised on the recipe so we are sure of the ingredients to buy and the steps we have to take
  • We also planned out what kind of materials we exactly need to bring and tasked each of us to bring certain items
  • We also ironed out some of the other stuffs that may affect the game

So what’s what we have discussed over this week. We wanted to go straight to playing the game for real, but was unable to find a good time to conduct it since everyone is busy.

I’d say, we are ready for this!!! This weekend, we will bring and make the things we need and prepare for the game on the following Monday! Excited!!!

Final Project: Split Chef (Trial)

Intro on what we are doing

Our team (Brendan, Bryan, Dion, Joel) came up with a cook-off game that uses the third space as a form of communication. There will be 2 players, one will be drawing while the other will be buying the ingredients and cooking.

The two players are connected to each other through Instagram Live, which works similarly to Facebook live. The two can communicate through this third space. The facilitators will be the ones filming for the players so they can do their thing while still be communicating.

Firstly, the drawer will be given 7 seconds to draw the ingredient given. The second player will have a minute to find the item and add it into the basket. After buying all the ingredients, the buyer will go to the kitchen and the drawer will have 15 seconds to draw each step of the cooking process. The second player now will cook the food and the end results will be judged by the facilitators.

Trial Part 1 – The Groceries

So in this trial, Brendan and Dion are the facilitators while Joel and I are the players. I am the one drawing and Dion facilitates me while Joel is the buyer and Brendan facilitates him.

When BBQ sauce becomes Tabasco sauce (like c’mon guys that’s clearly a BBQ pit and spatula)


Lime! The droplets gave it away very easily
Taco wrap that looks like burger bun and Joel got it!!
Seashell pasta that became dumplings but it’s okay because this is a decoy ingredient
Tomato x 1





















Here are some screenshots of what happened. Here’re some pointers I got from this experience:

  • we initially gave the drawer 10 seconds but it was too long. We lowered it to 7 seconds so that it is still a lot of time but not too much.
  • There are some instances where the drawer need to be creative. Example (not captured in screenshots unfortunately) will be the Shiitake Mushroom. I literally drew a pile of shit and a mushroom and Joel instantly got it. It was a funny experience.
  • Joel understands a lot of the ingredients I drew which was very surprising for me! For instance, I drew the taco wrap (pic 2) and it looked like a burger bun to me. But he got that it was taco wrap for some reason. I’m guessing he guessed it based on the other ingredients that he had to buy, since he have experience in cooking. His cooking instinct made us wonder if there are other ways to team people up. (initially we wanted friend vs non-friends, but now we can consider cooks vs non cooks or something like that)
  • Joel sometimes took a long time to find the ingredient which dragged the game. We need to set a time limit for the buyer to figure out what they need to buy and find the item. This can make the outcome more interesting as, if the buyer is unable to obtain the item, the final dish will be off (and more glitched).
  • The connectivity is alright but sometimes it gets a bit pixellated

Overall, being the drawer is a very fun experience. The 7 seconds time limit and the rush to draw something meaningful to the buyer is exciting. Watching the buyer buy the food, is also fun. If the buyer gets something wrong, I laugh. If the buyer gets something right from a bad drawing, I am impressed. I think watching the buyer buy the things is also part of the fun experience as a drawer so it’s fine and not so boring.

Trial Part 2 – The Cooking

I wasn’t around during this part as I had to rush off to somewhere. Zhen Qi is very kind to help take over me so we can continue the game.


Unfortunately I can’t say much as I wasn’t around, but I can tell that connectivity is a big issue. The pantry isn’t well connected by wifi or data, so the live feed keeps getting cut off. I also feel that there is a lot of waiting time for the drawer while the cooker is cooking.

I feel that the drawings are okay, that the time frame given to draw is enough for the drawers to express the instructions properly.

The outcome is delicious (according to the rest of the group members). The Tabasco sauce created an interesting taste, so the glitch wasn’t that unpleasant. It actually enhanced the dish.

Videos of the cooking process: