Month: September 2019

project 1 // “i can’t possibly s*** here!”

For project 1: analogue, I decided to go with my toilet sorter idea. To quickly recap, I wanted to look into the psychology of how someone would pick a toilet cubicle, and the project made people pick dirty toilets as a show of “movement without the body being there”.

I felt that there was more to it than just movement, and that toilet-picking was really something that I find rather amusing, and tried to think about other ways that toilets were good representations of human behaviour.

I found this piece of work done by a Hong Kong artist, showing a similar versus system between Chinese and Hong Kong culture.

Retrieved from

As seen above, these are all comparisons between two countries, be it the way they write, behave on public transport, and well, use the toilet. It showed a lot of behavioural aspects between two countries just from simple illustrations, and I wanted to think about how by showing toilets instead, what kind of behaviour would people show and perceive these toilets?

My analogue project will basically look like this:

Two stacks of paper will be printed with different toilets. This will still work similarly to the project I have mentioned previously, where there will be an eventual “winner”. But along with this I have added an additional element.

Participants must do the following:

  1. Tear off the toilet cubicle they prefer.
  2. Flip to the other side where there is a quick survey.
  3. Give the reason for picking that toilet, and to also rate the toilet based on how satisfied they would be with using the toilet.
  4. Drop it into the box provided, so that I can collate the result winner of the day.

This not only gives participants a chance to pick, but also to reason why they picked their option. They also get to rate the toilet that they have picked, based on satisfaction, cleanliness, whatever they wish to rate it on. This is based off how we have little tablets in fancy toilets to rate how the cleanliness is like.

So why rate toilets that are already obviously dirty? While it is probably redundant to ask for a rating from toilets that are probably all inherently dirty, it would be to question the psychology of choice, and also, the paradox of choice.

The paradox of choice talks about having anxiety over too many choices. In fact, if you do research on the psychology of less choices, you get a lot of articles talking about how less is probably more. The reason why choice is always such an important thing, in marketing for example, is that it gives consumers the perceived control that they feel is necessary when making decisions. I thought it was a pretty interesting read into things, given that I was just mostly talking about toilets and their cubicles, but it reads into that as a question to participants: Which toilet would you pick? You only have two choices. But are either of these choices really worth it? Am I, as the person giving you the choice, really giving you a choice between the two? Is there a state of control? Are you really happy picking the toilet you have picked, when evidently, both are dirty? These questions can only really be answered by the individual, and probably based on their level of immersion and comfort.

INTER-MISSION [reflection]

Happenings | Disappearance at the Bar Gallery, felt like a trip to another world. And I do not mean in a good or bad sense, but rather, just an odd one. I had brought a friend from outside of school along to witness the performance, and upon arrival, spent the majority of it trying to point out things that were happening, with zero context to anything beforehand. I had been hoping that the piece would be self-explanatory when I arrived, but it was the opposite, and an hour was spent trying to guess its complicated message. Were we trying to call upon aliens with the soundwaves? Were we questioning technology based on how static works?

Dude walking around with his tons of static-causing items. On the right is the installation “Disappearance”.

To be honest, I did not even realise that the tables were supposed to be an artwork.  I thought it was just a fancy decision to put them there as a place to rest, and perhaps have a bit of a snack. It was only until class the following week that I realise it was based off an exhibition by Lee Kang Soo called “Disappearance” in 1973.

“Unlike other performance art pieces at that time, Disappearance was completed with the participation of the audience. It was an artwork that overturned the boundary and position of the artist and the audience.

While exchanging glasses between the two of us at a lukewarm bar without any customers except for us, my gaze stayed on the wooden table and chairs. It seemed as if I was listening and seeing the sound of many people and an illusion full of smoke from cigarettes. The traces of rubbing off countless cigarettes on the table and chairs, burnt marks made by hot pots, and incessant mopping by the worker at the bar – all these seemed to make noises together. But all of this disappeared at once. I was there, and my senior was sitting in front of me, but we were there and not there at the same time. I could not prove it precisely. I could not be my senior sitting in front of me, and he could not be me. The bar I was experiencing could not be the same as the place he was encountering. Where were we?”

Referenced from

By buying the chairs and tables of said bar, he had wished to recreate the bar experience, the intimate experience of drinking with his senior, to the gallery in 1973. He basically wanted anyone to sit there for the art to work, an opportunity for the audience to share a memory that was private, from a specific, intimate place.

So in what way was this related to INTER-MISSION and Happenings? How did they co-exist in the same space? I look into INTER-MISSION’s about page to better understand their motive in creating art. They call themselves “an art collective dedicated to discourses of technology in art”, inhabiting the gap between technologically engaged artworks, artists and audiences. They also build “transnational networks to promote sustained dialogue and engagement with media practices, encouraging collaboration, reflection and participation in our ever-changing technological environment through interactive performances, etc.”.

I started to think a little deeper into this, maybe they were finding the ghosts of Lee Kang Soo’s imagination? One of them had been holding tons of recording or sound-making things; the one with the mask. He had also started walking around, putting his arm up to the audience at the Bar, which in response would cause more static noises to come out of his headphones. It felt odd, but being a fan of dumb supernatural shows, static was often used in this context to look for ghosts, in order to communicate with them. Was INTER-MISSION searching for this intimate memory? Was INTER-MISSION maybe instead questioning this intimate memory? Who knows?

One of the dudes with a camera to his face, which is projected out onto any surface in front of him.

There were also several projections displayed, each changing repetitively and quickly in succession, of different angles of the Bar, and of a live setting in Tokyo. I guess it could potentially be talking about being able to actually experience an intimate setting in today’s world with technology. The Bar at the Gallery would have been very different there. Was the Disappearance now a different meaning interpreted from what Lee Kang Soo had put together decades ago? Was the visual manipulation of these screens a rising question about how technology should be viewed, likewise with its loud static audio? Was the other dude with the camera projection of his face walking around to find some kind of entity, or maybe the purpose of this whole performance?

I looked up INTER-MISSION’s other works, to better understand their message as a group. They often used the same techniques to perform, in reference to their collaborative audiovisual event during IAFT 16/17 but with each performance came a different visual, while the sound… Well, it could be different, since it was not the same place after all. (I cannot tell for the life of me. My ears are bad as is.)

With each piece came a different context, depending on the environment they were in, despite them performing. But from Happenings, I gained a different perspective when given an idea what “Disappearance” had been about. There was a lot to question about the art, and with the performance came a new perspective opened for me. I had googled Happenings and found another performance at NGS, by several performing artists.

“My fellow artists and I found ourselves performing within a bar made almost 50 years ago, for an audience living in modern times. It presented an untrodden path that led to a joyous journey for everyone involved. After the performance, as we stepped out of the bar, we realised that a new door had opened for us.”

Referenced from

It was an interesting look from another artist’s perspective, how they had perceived the art piece and collaborated within that space. It was like entering a different world, time; an alternate universe if you might, in this space. I feel that maybe INTER-MISSION might have felt the same, being in different spaces with different chemistry, and it is something that their work looks into. So while I did not fully understand their piece when I was there at NGS, I guess it was in a way, an arbitrary piece, that I could still interpret bits and pieces of and had my own personal takeaway. It was an amusing experience to say the least, and had many questions, and I do wish to see them talk more about it in detail if they ever would.

Critical Vehicles [reflection]

Krzysztof Wodiczko talks about his art in context of their background. A lot of the time his critical vehicles were mostly working in context with the environment that he has put himself in.  “Each of them was specifically developed to operate on a particular, often shaky, psycho-social terrain.” He talks about his works like a medium, a person or a thing that carried things, displayed or transported vital ingredients and agents of the society he has perceived it as, and to represent “a turning point in collective or singular consciousness.”

One can certainly tell that Wodiczko had a very skewered perspective on how the world worked, or at least, he was cynical and doubtful a lot of the times about politics of a country. It helped shaped his work, considering how he talks about how much he has moved around from place to place, and how each work would only work in where it came from, as an experience Wodiczko has shaped from being that space. He talks about being a nomad, and how sometimes nomads were probably more aware of the terrain they have decided to come into, than the locals of the land. Which was what a passing vehicle would really do.

He also pokes at art without its substantial value. In a sense, I felt really called out. “Life must not be a refuge from full ethical responsibility nor indulgence in the pseudo-existentialism of one’s own depoliticization in an attempt to preserve one’s dignity and keep one’s hands clean”. I understand this, to live life carelessly without caring about the nature and state of the place one was in, I assume, was naive. He talks about the delusion of freedom quite a bit, and things like brainwashing; you could really tell that he was a huge fan of politics, and to call out democracy for all it has truly done besides what it is seen from the surface.

“Democracy is ill, silent suffering, and we must heal it, make it whole, of the wounds from hundreds of years of forced muteness and invisibility imposed on so many of its subjects.” He then states he wanted to heal the numbness that threatens the health of democratic process by pinching and disrupting it, waking it up and inserting the voice, experiences and presence of those others who have been silenced, alienated and marginalized. He was taking space, and giving you a new perspective. This then brings back the previous week’s reading about Relational Architecture. To be able to take a space and put a new perspective on things is something that Lozeno-Hemmer does. To take a space and give new meaning, seems to be something that Wodiczko wants to do. He takes message into the ideal of a man-made object, and then questions it.

Illuminating Embodiment, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Relational Architectures [reflection]

Upon having to reflect on reading after reading, I have started to see the relation to some of keywords and topics. In this reading, there was talk about architecture being built for, and experienced by bodies, and how Lozano-Hemmer’s work challenges the supposition that buildings control bodies. It was similar to the reading Space and Place, which talked about space being relevant to the body, and how a space is kind of configured to work certain ways, and to have certain affordances. It was also similar to how Peter Zumthor’s Atmospheres were a lot about feelings and emotions, aside from the physical complexities that came with architecture.

Then there was the addition of technology, in addition to the way one could perceive architectures and spaces among bodies. “Bodies, buildings, cities and technologies are conceptually and functionally interconnected.” I felt like it was an important quote that talks about any sort of space to be honest, given the day and age we were in. I would have said “interactive, or not” but really, most spaces were already supposed to be interactive in being able to afford different things. To be in a space is to interact with it, but to create interactivity through artistic forms is something that Lozano-Hemmer talks about.

“Relational architecture”. Lozano-Hemmer talks about wanting to transform the dominant narratives of a specific building or urban setting, by “superimposing audiovisual elements to affect it, effect it and recontextualise it”. From my understanding, it’s to make a place believable. A space does not have to be physical walls and ceilings, but virtually made as well. Through the use of technology, a space can be virtually created, and in a sense, “simulated”. But as I read on, Lozano-Hemmer talks about not liking life to be reduced to a simulation, and in fact, creates anti-monuments for dissimulation. So to be honest, I don’t really get it. Can we not create a simulated space to create a new experience? Or was he talking about creating these experiences by perceiving them differently?

Moving on, the article goes on to talk about Lozano-Hemmer’s Body Movies: Relational Architecture 6 (2001), which makes use of shadows and public interaction. There were numerous discoveries made upon moving from location to location. Guesses were made based on location culture, but were often wrong. Where people were expected to be more rigid and strict, they started to play with their shadows. There was so much to play around with the interactivity of shadows, and how humans would think of their bodies as stable entities. This again brings back the concept of how bodies were interrelated with its surroundings and technologies.

“Interactive digital art requires the bodily participation of the viewer in order to manifest and behave.” Without the body, there is no interactivity, and no ability for response or change. It makes sense, of course, because how else were we supposed to perceive things of a physical space without being there? But of course, the participant must also be willing to play their part, which is a key point in Lozano-Hemmer’s designs of relational architecture. For something in a machine to change and be perceived different it has to be act upon by the human. This is how body, building, and technology has to work together.

Siah Armajani // a reflection

Upon entering the exhibition, I was not really expecting what I saw. Was I allowed to touch anything? Why were there pencils sticking out everywhere? Why is everything wood? What is going on? What the heck is a tomb shaped like that? This is a reading room? Can I read these books here?

There were so many questions, but if I had to put a thought as my first impression, was that it mostly looked like a kampung. The simple shapes, the wood, the specific green that screamed old. I would have thought that these were all pieces meant to be outside, but it was mentioned to be for a reading room. Again, unsure if we could go into these spaces, these tree house looking boxes, and was itching to do so just because lack of childhood, until they told us we could.

Aside from the nostalgia and outdoorsy-ness however, it didn’t make sense that they were for the outdoors. Realised the ceiling was full of holes, so it wouldn’t work as a shelter for the poor soul caught in the rain, or even shade away from the sun.

It was really from being in the spaces, sitting on those chairs did I really start understanding how they worked. The tour helped me understand it better as well. A space that was inviting, but also uncomfortably so. To read for a long period of time is a commitment, and one could not be too comfortable when reading. Everything felt like a sharp edge, you had chairs that could only turn 90 degrees and not diagonally to the tables, hard wooden backings, dark green and brown surfaces, weirdly shaped book holders, and yet, they felt ideal as spaces for reading. If I was made to read I would have gotten comfortable on my bed, and promptly fallen asleep, achieving nothing. This on the other hand, was a whole system of rules and directions, and in a sense, it gave me motivation to read, to act upon these rules and to achieve what was asked: reading.

The longer I was in this space, the better I understood it, and the more at ease I felt about it. Reading Siah Armajani’s manifesto helped me understand his thoughts for creating these spaces as well. For example, he talks about “public sculpture as not a artistic creation alone, but rather social and cultural productions based upon concrete needs.” He fulfills this purpose with the reading room, with how it is styled with basic material that indicates his culture, and directed in ways that socially affect people.

On the other hand, I was rather intrigued by Armajani’s video works. The fact that they were created years ago with his basically-oversized calculator, was very impressive. Simple with their messages, some of them created optical illusions, and I was really impressed by Line.

In conclusion, while I’m no expert in contemporary art, and really didn’t take away anything from his actual works, I did learn a few things from his manifesto, simple rules to think about when creating spaces. I think his art reflected what he felt of spaces, and I think it’s memorable to have his own rules reflected onto his art.


2 ideas // interactive spaces

Toilet Sorter

When given the brief, I was mostly unsure about how I could show any sort of movement and at the same time, provide a sense of interaction between audience and art piece. I spent a lot of time moving around spaces while thinking about this, tracing my own steps and just by being in spaces. One of the spaces that I was actively thinking in most of the time was probably the toilet.

As someone with a terrible stomach, I spend a lot of time sitting in a cubicle, and it could be what is often known as the second home. You have a toilet at home, you have a toilet outside, same thing.

But it is not a thought often shared by everyone, and even I, as a person who frequents toilets, have preferences. I would call myself a toilet connoisseur if there were such a thing. Mostly because I enthuse about toilet paper textures, lighting, space, cleanliness, TP top up frequencies, you name it. I even have favourite cubicles within spaces I frequent and no, I’m not sharing it. One of the most important aspects to a Good Toilet is probably cleanliness, out of the many other factors. It is observed that a dirtier cubicle would not be used. I would say there is even a whole psychology to it that I’m not too fond of going through in detail. But here’s the gist of it:

You find three cubicles: one with a wet floor, one with no TP, and one with tissue not flushed, but the seat is obviously way cleaner than the other two. What do you do? What I’d normally witness is someone grabbing their own TP from any other place to use the one with no TP, followed by someone using the wet floor cubicle and then nobody enters the remaining one, not even to try to see if flushing works. It usually means someone has been there, but probably not many. See? You can tell!

So back to my 1st idea: creating a series of used toilet cubicles for people to choose. Think of it as a statistics thing, a psychological test if you might. It will basically work like a sorter, which is basically a popular online “game” where one decides on their favourite objects/characters (mostly of TV shows and games). For example:

Retrieved from Also I am sorry for anime men.

The participant picks between two different objects in a “battle”, and the system sorts it all out until there is a final winner.

For my idea, I wish to create a screen, preferably big and extremely daunting, with two sides similar to what is seen above (just without a tie or undo choice). These two sides will showcase images of toilets with Threatening Auras, so for example, we’ll have 2 images of 2 different toilet cubicles, and participants have to decide what sort of space they will prefer to do their business in.

images are taken from twitter @scarytoilet (Toilets With Threatening Auras)

Assuming this is placed near a toilet, where most people only visit once, they walk towards the washroom, and then leave to go about their day. They will see this screen, decide on a toilet by stepping on a spot for longer than 5 seconds and leave.

The chosen toilet will remain, and a new toilet image will appear to be the next contestant. This continues throughout the day, with different participants choosing a preferred toilet. If many people decide to try out the sorter, results will show a winner toilet. That will be the toilet with the most people choosing, or “going to”. In addition, there will be runner-ups, since sorters act as a poll when they attain enough results. Alternatively, the poll does not achieve any sort of result, which shows that nobody stopped by.

This shows the movement of people in two different ways: which types of toilet which will be Most Visited, and whether this toilet sorter is even looked at to begin with. It’s something more provocative in nature, and probably disgusting, but I think it is something we all think about subconsciously. Either that or I think too much about toilet culture, more than the average person (please prove me otherwise).

Call Out Cult (COC)

We live in a generation where the internet is essential to our everyday living, and a lot of our social interaction and news comes from the internet. When I was a kid my parents would always nag about putting myself online, because eventually someone was either going to find out where you live, or dig out your dark secrets and have them thrown out to the rest of the world for them to see. And they were very right because “call out culture” became a huge thing in the 2010s. There is probably a different term for it for similar things that have happened in the past, but it is a common term used now, usually because of social media.

According to Wikipedia, call-out culture “is a form of public shaming that aims to hold individuals and groups accountable by calling attention to behaviour that is perceived to be problematic”, and this is usually on social media. There is also a variant of said term, called “cancel culture”, which is “a form of boycott in which someone who is deemed problematic is ‘cancelled’.” Often times it is the result of naive mistakes, or decade-old tweets. Here’s an example of how exaggerated it can be:

The people who instigate call-outs often “pull out receipts”, mostly consisting of screenshots of problematic content, or links to threads of said problematic content. Sometimes it goes as far as to doxxing (having private information published on the Internet), and often times these people who instigate call-outs believe they did nothing wrong.

So for my second idea, I thought about the idea of “airing dirty laundry”, and was very inspired by art that used clotheslines, such as this series of installations by Kaarina Kaikkonen.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

To call someone out is to basically air their dirty laundry, to trace out every single footprint they have done to be hung up for all to see. So my idea was to basically have a clothesline with call-out posts put up using pegs. Participants can hang up call-outs to someone they know, it can be as ridiculous as not liking your mother’s cooking, or something serious in the political setting. Everyone’s call-out posts would be placed on the clotheslines, and for anyone to view. Receipts can be written as well, to solidify your statement.

While there is no visible body nor movement in the artwork, it provides a history of call-outs, and these all tend to stay for a long time, and can only be made by humans. I would also think of it as a sort of installation that would make anyone either ridicule how dumb some of these call-outs would be, and question the culture of calling others out for their own selfish desires.


Future You


Retrieved from

An interactive piece that I found interesting is “Future You” by Universal Everything. It is a digital interactive installation that “replicates” the human, into a sentient synthetic form. This form is mostly blob-like in nature, and whenever a different participant stands in front of the installation, the “reflection” changes, showing a new synthetic form, to represent this new participant.

While the installation is relatively simple in its interactivity, it converts one’s being to another form, giving one a sense of new, or uncanny identity. This can be perceived as a mask, or a projection of how one would be in the future.

The artwork is presented in Barbican’s AI: More Than Human exhibition, as the first thing that the public sees when they first enter. It acts as an introductory piece  to the exhibition that focuses on artificial intelligence and its predicted future, an interactive reflection of the future self. To me, the piece feels like a portal to a new future where one’s form is no longer “human”, but given a futuristic version of themselves to fit into this new world where AI might play a more important role than it does today.

Retrieved from

The screen acts as a mirror, the reflection  captured by a camera facing the participant. The camera detects various parts of the human body, and follows a rigging system attached to a variation of the reflection, then projected onto the screen. These reflections then mimic the visitor’s movements. These reflections start off as primitive, and then learn to adapt from the movements of visitors, creating a more “superior” version of themselves. Through this evolution, it generates a new visual response for each visitor, and apparently there are 47 000 variations.

Retrieved from

From what I have observed in the videos documenting audience feedback, many visitors were very interested in the project, as it was a very personal and unique experience to each and every one of them. A lot of them participated willingly through exaggerated body movement, children and adults alike.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

The given context made a huge difference to how the project would be perceived. As someone who was aware that the context of it was an installation in an exhibition about artificial intelligence, I perceive it as a piece of work questioning this identity of artificial intelligence as it mimics life. However, should it be placed in a different context, it could mean something else entirely, or simply not have any meaning attached to it, and just be fun-driven. The ability to interact with it in a space curated about artificial intelligence gives it a sense of importance and message, I feel, that cannot be replicated in a different environment.

Peter Zumthor – Atmospheres [reflection]

A lot of what has been mentioned by Zumthor, to me, basically talks about creating a “feeling” through a space, not only to him but also to anyone who passes by. The idea of atmosphere was to provide places of support, a place to live in, similar to that of haven. He constantly talks about how atmosphere can move him, and I agree. Sometimes I walk into a big space, and look up, and in a sense, I feel like I’m transported into a different dimension. He mentions first impressions, to be able to perceive a space immediately, and react to it accordingly depending on what we feel about it, and I feel that this is what most created spaces have to be aware of. Bringing back an older reading (Space and Place by Yi Fu Tian) they talk about spaces like lecture halls, rooms, various spaces having direction, and I feel that it is the same here, things about atmosphere and direction are intertwined together.

Zumthor goes on to talk about things such as body, material, sound, and while they sound technical, they were all essential in creating the experience for anybody who goes in and out of these places. Materials reflect, literally, and they also change how the sound works in the place. Some places are lit well even without electrical lighting, some are dim and gloomy. He talks about buildings which look dull, and in result, makes people either feel dull, or maybe it could potentially be a calming place for someone. It depends on the context. Sound, on the other hand, change in every space too. Sometimes there is a silence so deep you hear a ringing, sometimes places are just inherently noisier or bounced echos easier. It changes how people feel about things. Sound plays an important role in invoking emotion, and a lot in nostalgia. Zumthor mentions his mother’s noises in the kitchen and it making him happy. People can get positively or negatively triggered by different noices. Certain noises are more associated with certain places, be it home, or the outside, or a cathedral.

All in all, I have reflected on how there were so many things to creating a space, besides being able to hold something, or someone, or have it designed in a way that was mostly practical and not affordable to the people who go in it. How someone feels, sees, hears, physically in this space manipulates how they eventually feel about it. Atmosphere is not always consistent, nor is it only emotional, but can be manipulated by how a space is created.