Faces Places Review

Before this film, I was unfamiliar with the works of both JR and Agnes. I had known of JR because he had been mentioned a few times before in class, but I had never really taken the time to do research on him, so this film was also my introduction to both the artists. Upon hearing about this film and seeing the poster, I assumed that it would be a typical feel-good story about a friendship between an elderly lady and a younger man, and that the focal point of the narrative would be about how the age gap between them made them different, but I was wrong!

For me, Faces Places was not so much of a documentary and more like listening in to a conversation between two close friends. The film is about Agnes Varda, an 88 year old filmmaker, and street artist/photographer JR, and their travels around France in a bid to document the faces of regular people in regular places by photographing them, printing it and mounting the “faces” onto architecture. Rather than being a documentation of the travels, I suppose Faces Places is a documentary in the sense that it is a documentation of the friendship between JR and Varda, as well as a documentation of the stories of the people whose photos are being mounted in the film.

Watching the film got me thinking about the purpose of large-scale public art, particularly in the case of projection mapping. I had never seen the connection between public architectural art and projection mapping before, because before this I had always associated the former with graffiti and vandalism (yes I’m very Singaporean HAHA). Now, however, I realise that in some ways, painting/mounting a still image onto a large architecture is even more impressive than projecting a video. How do you capture in a single still image, the amount of narrative and emotion that a video could convey?

Another thing that I found interesting while watching the documentary was that I unwittingly started thinking about the differences between French and Singaporean culture. In particular, how people in both countries would react to large scale public arts that involved them. Near the beginning of the film, when JR and Agnes were mounting the first photograph onto the wall at the front of the old lady’s house, when she first came outside and saw the image she was moved to tears. I remember thinking that if this had been in Singapore and someone had printed the face of an elderly lady onto a HDB flat, I think most elderly Singaporeans would be very unhappy about that!

I did find the ending of the film confusing, as I didn’t understand what was going on when JR and Agnes visited the house of her friend and didn’t receive a warm welcome, just a cryptic written message which brought Agnes to tears. It made me curious to find out more about the backstory between their friendship, and I’ll probably go research further into it so I guess the film was successful in piquing my interest HAHAHA

All in all, this film was what I expected and more! It was nice to watch JR and Agnes interacting and their friendship was heartwarming. It also got me thinking a lot about public art and different cultures’ reception to it.

Motion Capture Workshop

When Kristy told us that we would be attending the workshop with Prof Biju, I was pleasantly surprised. Motion capture was something that I had never thought of trying out before, and I was curious to know how it could be incorporated into projection mapping because I always assumed it was strictly used for films and animation.

To help us understand the mechanics behind motion capture projection mapping, Prof Biju gave us some knowledge on how cameras work. While I was confused at first as to why we were talking about cameras, it was in fact vital to think about how they work in relation to projectors because the 2 are actually more similar than we thought (the projector is putting out an image while a camera receives one).

Prof Biju and Naga had set up a projector and some markers, and using these they managed to show us a very simple example of mocap mapping using 3D software. This was pretty mindblowing, I had always thought of projection mapping as something which is static and that the content which is projected on the surface relies solely on the video which the creator has input into the projector. With mocap mapping, it adds another layer of interactivity as the viewer/performer is now able to have some level of agency in deciding what is going to happen in the projection. It’s something that I feel is really worth pursuing as an interactive media artist because it’s a great way to incorporate performance art elements or audience interaction in a way that is technologically current and exciting!

One example of combining motion capture and projection mapping in a public setting is the video above, by NuFormer who does a 3D projection mapping with a character who is animated through live motion capture in order to create a narrative video. I was surprised to find out that this project was done 7 years ago, meaning that this technology is not new so I’m surprised it’s not been more widely done yet! As they have stated in the video, “Each Mocap Mapping is tailor-made and always a unique experience” and I agree with this sentiment. Whether it is for a performance art, audience interaction or for creating a narrative video, the live nature of motion capture means that the video will not be the same at any 2 points in time as it is dependent on the human input of the performers or audiences.

I really enjoyed the workshop and I would definitely research deeper into mocap mapping and try to incorporate it into my future works! Thanks to Kristy for organising and Prof Biju and Naga for conducting this eye-opening workshop!

Final Project

Concept Ideation

When Kristy told us that we were able to do mapping for the CHC building, the scenario given to us was that such artworks could potentially be used for events like the opening of the Yunnan Garden which is currently under renovation. Hence, I had that in mind while doing the ideation for this project. I chose to do the CHC mapping as I wanted to have a chance to learn how architectural projection mapping works, as well as get some practice on After Effects, so it was perfect for me.

During my research, I discovered that the plans for renovating the Yunnan Garden were that the school was planning to turn it into a park for public use, rather than just a plot of decorative land in the middle of campus. Going with that theme, I decided to go for an friendly illustrative style of video as I felt it was something which could be appreciated by all age groups, also as I felt this was a style of video I had not really seen on architectural projection mapping before so I wanted to try something different. My image references and inspirations can be seen from my previous post!

To decide what assets I wanted to have, I decided to dig deeper into my research as well as make use of the knowledge I had gained from my 3 years of being a student at NTU. I wanted to incorporate things that were quintessentially NTU, such as the myriad of animals we have around campus, as well as other things that were iconic to Yunnan Garden like the Chinese pagodas and the entrance arch.

I took a visit to the CHC to view the exhibitions there. I didn’t manage to learn a lot about the garden specifically because they were more focused on the history of Chinese in Singapore in general as well as the history of the campus as a whole. However, I decided to take a visit to the CHC library as well and while there, I chanced upon a picture book on the history of NTU which gave me some insights into what life was like for a Nanyang University student back when it was a new uni!

From this, I learned that while nowadays most students wouldn’t even bother visiting the Yunnan Garden (even before it underwent renovations), in the past it was really a hub for student activities and students would go there to relax in their free time between lessons. I wanted to recreate that kind of scene in my composition, showing a lot of human activity and recreation, similar to how people would visit Yunnan Garden for recreational purposes in the past. This also ties in with the school’s aims to promote Yunnan Garden as a place for members of public to visit for recreational activities.

Process & Outcomes

I started off by illustrating the individual elements that I wanted to have, and laid it out in a composition as seen above. This helped me to set the mood of my animations, which was one that I wanted to be fun and cheerful. As mentioned, I wanted to pay homage to the student life at the old Nanyang University while at the same time taking note of Yunnan Garden’s new status as a public park, hence I mixed certain elements from the old Nanyang University (arch, pagoda, rambutan and durian trees) with animals that could be found in NTU today and also illustrations of different people doing various activities.

I decided to do my video in the style of a cinemagraph, so I planned to have the individual assets do subtle looping animations that could then be placed in the video composition to create a scene with different elements to pique viewers’ interests. This is because I had the idea that if this video were to be actually played at the opening event of Yunnan Garden, it could act as a backdrop to the event and be kept running while people went about partaking in activities at the event. Hence I didn’t want the video to be too flashy or narrative so a cinemagraph was a perfect example to use.

I started to animate the individual assets:


This was actually fun to do and I’m glad I chose to try my hand at architectural projection mapping! I couldn’t have done it without the kind help of Reynard and Chris, so thanks to them for providing us with the After Effects template as well as assistance with Green Hippo and mapping the 3d model.

One thing I realised while doing this project was that because we were doing the mapping on a small 3d model rather than an actual building, it meant that the amount of space we had to work with on the model was limited because if the animations were too small it wouldn’t be seen as compared to projecting on an actual building which is much bigger and we could afford to have smaller assets (scale wise). Hence I couldn’t quite achieve what I set out to do in the beginning which was create a bigger cinemagraph composition with smaller assets doing different motions around the building. However this forced me to really think about how I wanted to use the limited space I had, and as Kristy mentioned it also meant that the animations would have been human-sized if they had been to scale so I didn’t mind it as well!

To work further on this project, what I would do would be to go back to the individual animations and polish them a little further so the movements could be more seamless. I would also think of more ways that I could incorporate architectural elements of the building into my video composition.

That’s all for my project! Thank you Kristy and classmates for a fun semester and hope to see everyone around!

Project Pitch

For the final project, I have decided to go with preparing a projection mapping project for the Chinese Heritage Centre for the opening of Yunnan Garden.

I was inspired by this video I have seen many times (as I’m sure we all have) along the walkway towards the Esplanade. What I like about it is the fun and approachable look it exudes, and I feel that it is a style I would like to try to incorporate int architectural projection mapping as the ones I have normally seen are usually based on 3D animations and not exactly illustrative.



For the video, I wanted to go for a more hand-drawn illustrative style of animation as I felt like it has the potential to look more friendly and inviting. I would like to fill the composition up with people doing activities, as according to my research, Yunnan Garden is historically a place which is teeming with human activities on campus.

For the style I decided to go with a more contemporary Chinese/Asian illustration style as an homage to the Chinese roots of Yunnan Garden and the Chinese Heritage Centre.

The Four Practices? Challenges for an Archaeology of the Screen: Individual Response

In the opening paragraph, Huhtamo states that “the overwhelming presence of screens in contemporary life was not accompanied by any systematic knowledge about their identities”. This sentiment, I feel, is quite true of people in our current society as most people, myself included, do not really see the significance behind screens as a media identity. Rather, we merely see screens as a medium which we use to view other forms of media (videos, games, text, etc.) and nothing more.

Huhtamo explores the historical and cultural significance behind screens by identifying 4 existing media practices (Touch, Mobile, Peep and Screen), and relating them back to screen practice. Today, the lines between these 4 practices are extremely blurred and arguably non-existed due to advanced technologies which provide us with screens and devices that satiate multiple senses and cross between the 4 media practices. However, as Huhtamo states, the 4 practices are not hard constructs that define and divide media practices but rather “give shape to traditions that have authentic historical currency”. Hence, I decided to look back into my childhood during the time before smart devices and widespread internet connections, and look into how the 4 practices are relevant in categorising devices that I used to own and play with, as well as other devices which we use today.


One of the earliest screen-based toys which I owned was the Tamagotchi. I feel that children’s toys are a very good example of early touch media, as many of them would want to include a tactile/interactive element to appeal to children. The Tamagotchi is a very simple example of a toy which has a touch-based element (the buttons) which plays a huge role in being able to interact with the device and make full use of its functionalities.

Nowadays with most phones and tablet being touch-screen with maybe only 1 central button, using buttons to control a device is a thing of the past and I imagine that for people born in this day and age, they might not even be able to fathom that in the past most devices including mobile phones were controlled through button keypads! Which brings me to my next point!


Huhtamo uses the term”mobile practices” to refer to screens/devices which we must move around in order to view, and those which we use while being mobile and moving around, rather than referring to merely mobile phone based devices. For the former kind of screens, I wasn’t able to think of anything like it from my childhood, however it did remind me of what we see a lot of these days with large-scale installation artworks (such as in iLight & Night to Light).


As for the second kind of device, the mobile phones of my childhood, I feel, truly exemplify what it means to be a mobile device. Nowadays while it is true that our smartphones are portable devices that we can carry around with us, it is a device that we would use at any time (not just while we are out and about but also when we’re just chilling at home) because it has everything we need in it. The mobile phones of the past were truly a device that you would use to make calls and send texts only while you were out. Because there was no internet connection and mobile plans were expensive, people generally preferred to make calls from their home landline instead.

As I got older, mobile phones started to have more and more functionalities such as games, music and cameras. The mobile phone pictured in the photo above was one of my favourites, I remember that my mum had it when I was a kid and it was heavily marketed and advertised as being the first mobile phone with a colour screen or something like that! My favourite part about it was that it had a game where you could choose a virtual pet and take care of it. I would always beg my mum to let me have her phone while we were in the car so I could play that game and I remember always being frustrated that my virtual pet would run away because I couldn’t take care of it while my mum was away at work HAHA


To be honest, Peep Media kind of confused me at first because I felt like I wasn’t able to relate it to any devices that I had encountered in my life. After watching the above video by Professor Huhtamo, I came to the conclusion that the devices under “peep media” are generally quite 0utdated and not really things that we would encounter in recent decades.

However, going home over the weekend, I noticed one thing in my home which is sort of like a “reverse” peep device, which is a digital camera peephole viewer which many houses have these days. Instead of the traditional peephole where the person inside has to look into the hole in order to see who is standing outside, the person inside now views the outside of the door via a camera which is embedded into the peephole in the door. I was actually having an interesting conversation about this with my brother, where he mentioned that this is one of the items which we have input technology into where it doesn’t really need it since it works pretty much the same way as a traditional peephole (allowing the person inside to see outside). Which is something that I agree with and I feel we need to think about these days, with “smart homes” and the popularity of IoT devices. How many of these devices actually need to be “smart”, and does adding technology to everything necessarily make it better?


In the reading, Huhtamo does not allude much to screen practice. From my understanding, by screen practice he is referring to screens in general in its most basic form and how it relates to history and society. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, it is undeniable that screens do have a lot of historical significance and they do have a role to play in society, not just the content that is displayed on them.

One example of how screens can be a part of everyday life can be seen right within our own NTU campus, namely the Media Art Nexus. While some people might think it is just a large screen showing random videos, it is something which transforms the entire corridor into an arts viewing space. Rather than being just a passageway for people to walk through, the entire mood and atmosphere in the corridor has changed because of the screen and when entering the corridor it is like entering a whole different room altogether. Because the aim of the Media Art Nexus is not commercial gain but rather to give a platform for students/artists to display their works, it is one of the few public screens I have seen which aims to display art and not just advertisements or marketing materials.

Because of its location, there are definitely many people who walk past MAN on a daily basis but they might not realise how much more interesting and meaningful screens like MAN make their daily lives.

To conclude, before this reading, I myself did not see how screens are a significant tool in society, and how they are the result of many historical media practices which we might not even recognise as screens as we know them. Screens are more than just a platform for viewing, but rather they have the power to shape how the media is viewed and regulate the audience’s interaction with the media. With current popular technologies like projection mapping, almost anything can be turned into a screen and it will be exciting to see how this plays out in the future, to find out and to experiment for myself as an artist on how the idea of a screen can be further developed and changed as technology advances,

Light to Night Festival Review

I visited the festival with Mavis, Jinyee, Felix and Clarita after our field trip to the National Gallery!

The Resident
National Gallery Singapore (Supreme Court Wing, facing The Arts House)

This was the first exhibit in Night to Light that I came across and I almost missed it because it was in such an inconspicuous location! I didn’t see the signboard for this projection hence I didn’t know it was a tribute to William Farquhar (it would have made more sense if I had known because Farquhar was known for his botanical drawings that he often commissioned). But I quite enjoyed it anyway, the symmetrical composition was very pleasing to watch and the plants were very beautiful.


Through Her Eyes
National Gallery Singapore(Supreme Court Wing)


This piece started off as a black-and-white projection with text and the later part of the video was very colourful and vibrant. The 2 parts were extremely contrasting and I was a bit confused at first because I thought they were 2 separate artworks. However, since it’s about the history of the Supreme Court building, perhaps this contrast was intentional to show the contrast between then and now. Personally I liked the later half more because it was more vibrant and more easily visible!

I think due to the light pollution from external sources, the black and white projection wasn’t really visible so I could only see the text and I didn’t know there were supposed to be images until afterwards when I went home and saw the website. A lot of the details of the projection was lost due to interfering light from the sports field opposite.


Secrets of the Sand, Written in the Stars, Snapshots in Time
National Gallery Singapore (City Hall Wing)

This was situated right next to the previous exhibition (Through her Eyes) and as such, at first I thought the 2 of them were a single artwork and was confused as I tried to view them at once as a singular art piece which didn’t work! Again, this was barely visible due to the interfering light but I managed to gather that it was a story about the history of Singapore from the images that I did manage to see. Some of the details of the video were very intricate and such such very hard to see because they didn’t show up well on the building facade, and also because the projection was so huge and we couldn’t stand far back enough to view the entire thing because there were activities going on in the field behind us. Because of this I felt like I preferred only the front part of the video which was more of a particle-like animation because it was simpler hence much easier on the eyes.

There was also a white structure at the front of the building facade which had colour changing lights that were choreographed to match the sound of the video. To me it was a bit unnecessary as it didn’t really look cohesive to the projection, so it looked like it was more of an afterthought or a separate art piece on its own. I felt the exhibition could have done without it, or it could have been matched with a different projection instead.


Stronghearts: The People of the Singapore River
The Arts House

I really liked this piece because it was well mapped as well as the resolution was good and it was easy to view due to it being in a more intimate quiet location which was darker as well. This was about the history of the Singapore River and the kind of people we would have found along the river in the past, and it was very simple to understand and straightforward.


Open Books
The Arts House

This wasn’t a projection mapping piece but it was nice to see! It consists of illustrated cardboard cut outs by local artist collective Tell Your Children. It added to the vibrancy of the festival and it’s nice to see support for local illustrators!


Portraits of Performers from the Past
Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall

Coming from The Arts House, we very nearly missed this exhibit because it was blocked from our view by some trees. The animation and illustration style reminded me of the hidden object games that I used to play when I was younger!

Hidden object game haha


Asian Civilisations Museum

This was one of the only light installations that I saw in this festival, and I initially thought it was part of iLight. The concept behind this is quite interesting, the artist was inspired by pick-up sticks so I thought it was interesting how the lights flash different colours at night as the more modern versions of pick up sticks are made of plastic and comes in different colours whereas the traditional ones are made of plain wood with less colour like the installation. Hence I thought it was quite a fitting contrast to how one would view the artwork in the day and night, in the day without the colourful lights it would more resemble the traditional pick up sticks whereas at night it represents the modern version! But that is my own interpretation and I don’t know if the artist intended that!

Old vs New!


Intersections: The Story of Belonging
Asian Civilisations Museum

I think this was my favourite projection that I saw in this festival, because of the use of symmetry and vibrant colours. It tells a historical tale of Singapore’s origin story of Sang Nila Utama, in a fun and interesting way! It reminded me a bit of the projection which I saw at Wisma Geylang Serai. In front of it there was a canopy structure with scale-like pieces covered over it, not sure if it was part of this artwork or not but it seemed to be the best place to view the projection from so I assumed it was haha.


Overall Reflection

Overall for me the exhibition design and layout was a bit confusing for a few reasons. Firstly, it was spanning over several locations and some of the artworks were very hard to find as there was no comprehensive map of the whole area that we could access online. Because of this reason, we ended up forgoing all the exhibits at the Esplanade Park area as we couldn’t find them despite walking around the entire park!

Secondly, this festival was held in conjunction with iLight festival, and some of the areas were shared between both festivals hence we couldn’t tell if it was part of iLight or part of Light to Night festival. However Mavis pointed out that to a regular person who just wants to view some art at the civic district, it wouldn’t really matter to them to check which festival it is from as to them they are just viewing another artwork. It does make wayfinding quite hard though if someone is trying to view artworks in both festivals at once!

Thirdly, the placement of the signboards in this festival kind of bothered me. Because this festival was heavily based on projection mapping, I felt like they had to take into account that projection mapping is best viewed from a distance. Hence I felt that the signboards should have been placed at a fair distance from the building facade instead of directly in front of it, because the sign board acts as a placemarker to people that they should stand there to view the artwork. Furthermore some of the artworks like the ones on the National Gallery facade were not very friendly to be viewed from a distance due to events or structures that were in front of it hence maybe they could have done a smaller scale projection or chosen a different facade to project the video on.

I feel that when it comes to projection mapping, it is important to take into account the facade that it is being projected on and treat it was part of the artwork instead of just using it as a surface for projection for the sake of it. For some of the art works especially the ones at the National Gallery I feel there was a lack of consideration for the surrounding factors, such as the amount of detail in the building which disturbed the coherency of the video as well as interfering lights.

Nevertheless I did enjoy the festival overall and felt that some of the pieces were really good! It made me really happy to see that with Light to Night and iLight going on consecutively, the Singaporean art scene is really invigorated and exciting. I mentioned to my friend that if a tourist were to happen to visit Singapore at this very moment in time, they would be very lucky as they would have come at a period where there was a lot to see and do. I’m proud to be a Singaporean artist and can’t wait to start creating my own art to contribute to this vibrant scene (:

Wisma Geylang Serai

Since I made the trip down to Wisma Geylang Serai, I thought I would just share what it was like! I went there at 7:45pm on Sunday night and it was pretty crowded and there was a lot of activity going on.

External facade of WGS with some light projection on the exterior

Some Malay/Peranakan cultural objects at the WGS museum

Some Malay/Peranakan cultural objects at the WGS museum

Some Malay/Peranakan cultural objects at the WGS museum

It was a pretty interesting experience! I enjoyed watching the video projection and I think Reynard Anam and Dinah have done a good job! My friend who went with me commented that the demographics of the people at WGS were very different as the people there were mostly Malay, and I think this was a good experience for me to experience some Malay culture since the last time I went to Geylang Serai was quite many years ago.

One thing I noticed with regards to the projection was that although it was quite a large scale artwork, not a lot of people seemed to be watching it perhaps because it was projected on the ceiling hence was a little difficult to watch as everyone was seated directly below it. I guess that if I should ever decide to try out projection or projection mapping, one thing I should take into account is the ease of viewing for the audience!

From “location” to “place” – GeoGuessr

In light of today’s discussion we had in class about what separates a “place” from a “location” and what gives a place its meaning, I just wanted to share about this game called GeoGuessr I have played before which I think aptly shows the concept of how devices are what turns a location into a place:


In this game, the player is assigned a random location on Earth from Google maps and must make a guess as to which part of the Earth this location is. Often, a pretty good guess can be made using observations like road signs, climate or vehicles. Apart from being devices or objects in the place, they also act as markers which tell us more about the place such as what the weather is like, what language is spoken there, and whether it is a developed or rural area. From these observations of the “place”, we as people will use our preconceived ideas/stereotypes of what we think certain places look like and as such assign it to a location that we think it belongs to.

If you are bored and have some free time you can check the game out as it’s pretty fun and a good way to kill time and learn a little about other countries!