Category: Interactive I (2018/19 S2)

Principles of New Media

My Interactive 1 project is a group work with Azizah, a button-smashing game called Speedy Ecky Smashy. Our concept is inspired by arcade games like Bishi-Bashi, which is a competition of speed while pressing a few buttons repeatedly. What changes is that we want to talk about the disparity between people with a higher socio-economic status and those with a lower socio-economic status, so in order to do that, our game would be “rigged” in such a way that only one machine can win very unfairly.

1. Numerical Representation

Upon reading the Language of New Media, it states that “all new media objects, whether created from scratch on computers or converted from analog media sources, are composed of digital code“, which basically means that it is a numerical representation. This is mostly through the computer. In our project, we require digital code to make our set up work.

According to the Language of New Media, “converting continuous data into a numerical representation is called digitization“, which consists of two steps. Sampling of data occurs in regular intervals, seen in our project by the button being pressed. Each sample is then quantified, assigned to a numerical value from a range, seen in our project by the LED going on HIGH.

A new media object can go through algorithmic manipulation, making it programmable. This is portrayed in our work where we have to manipulate the code according to how unfair our game is going to be, how many button presses are required to reach a certain level before they get to win.

2. Modularity

When explained by the Language of New Media, it states that modularity allows “all elements to be stored independently, and can be modified at any time without having to change the “movie” itself”.  These objects can also be combined into larger objects without losing their independence. In reference to our project, our code shows modularity, as they can be edited individually without affecting the rest of the code.

Also, the code can be used with any sort of button or input that read things digitally, and likewise, an output that reads digitally. It does not have to be buttons and LED lights all the time. We can also add more output to the entire set up, or maybe even more buttons and it would still work the same according to the code given.

3. Automation

With the first two principles, humans can be removed from a certain part of the interactivity. There are many types of automation, and with our project I feel that there is not much currently, although we can implement more to it. For example, an arcade game will reset over a period of time automatically, for a new participant to play.

Or having the light constantly move when it is not in used, like how it is done here.

4. Variability

Variability is when a new media object can become a different version, often automatically assembled by a computer, which makes the principle of variability closely linked to automation. Variability is not possible without modularity, as the elements have to maintain their separate selves and be assembled into various sequences for variability to occur. I feel that there is variability in the way we can take away or add elements to our project with the help of modularity.

Variations that we can add can perhaps be coins added into the machine dictating the next part of the narrative depending on how many coins are added. Automation occurs when deciding on which machine received more coins, and will label that machine as the “richer, more privileged” individual, and give them a advantage when the buttons are mashed, letting the participant win easily.

This is a project that makes use of several buttons and an arduino, but can be played differently, showing various variations while using the same modules.

The participants can also change the variations of our project by deciding to play all the way, or to find out different ways to perceive the game.

5. Transcoding

Based on the fact that to “transcode” something is to translate it into an other format, the assumption is that in our project a physical form of using buttons is translated into digital code,  and then out through a physical form again using LEDs and sound.

When talking about the cultural vs computer aspect, we as the artist, make use of this code to transform this analogue format. We take a simple game and put meaning into it (disparity).



Project Development // behind closed doors

  1. How does your audience experience your project?
    The audience is put into a space that only has a door. Behind the door they hear noises, vaguely human, but otherwise they cannot understand what is being said, besides the crying of a child and the nagging of an adult. They are allowed to interact with the door, by either knocking (once, twice, frantically) or attempting to open the door (once, twice, rattling), or to not do anything at all. Every reaction (or lack thereof) will change the circumstances, and the audience can react accordingly again (by leaving the room, or continuing the experiment).
  2. Is it for a single person to engage with your project or for multiple participants concurrently?
    It is preferable for a singular person to experience this, as it creates an environment where you are pressured to decide if you want to shake, knock, or do anything to save the situation happening behind the door.
  3. What is the interaction or situation you are creating for your audience?
    To create the pressure of time, or a surreal situation where they are left to make a decision.
  4. What is the intention of this interaction?
    What I intend to bring across is the idea of intercepting a bad situation. Be it a small knock, or a question left lingering, it will change what happens behind the door. It will allow a child to escape a bad situation, or it might rid them of their bad environment entirely.
  5. How does this interaction relate to the concept of “Interstice”?
    This interaction tells urgently of the interstices of time. The gap of time that people create that could help another life. By just being present in a situation, they will aid in buying time, and could possibly save someone.

Research Critique 2 – i Light Singapore 2019

Facey Thing

“But first, let me take a selfie.” These words from the viral #Selfie song characterise our current trigger-happy iGeneration and are satirised by Facey Thing.

Love me,

Facey Thing is a tongue in cheek interactive art installation that contemplates the seemingly innocuous selfie culture and its potential surveillance hazards. The installation is a large screen that displays real time footage from a black surveillance camera on the right. It is intentionally set up in an area with heavy footfall, meaning that even if you choose not to actively interact with the installation, you are still forced to walk by it and engage with it passively as you will be displayed on the screen. This underscores that even if one does not personally take part in the selfie culture, total avoidance of it is largely impossible.

The installation tracks the faces on participants close to the screen. Once the face is engaged long enough, it will be recognised and blow up to ten times the original size. This mocks the inane logic found in spy movies of “zoom in and enhance the image!”. Every time the participant moves, the blown up face will be captured frame by frame. Eventually, it will turn into shades of blue, green and purple and float up to the top of screen and out in various pixelated strips.

Old faces start to blur and float up.




Facey Thing is a fun installation that gets polarising reactions from passersby; some enjoyed seeing their faces enlarged on the screen while others intentionally shielded their faces from the camera as they passed by. As aforementioned, this installation contemplates the potential hazards of the selfie culture. Sharing photos and personal information have become such a norm in our society that the dangers of such a practice is often forgotten and overlooked. Selfies (and the information revealed in its accompanying captions) can be used as tools of surveillance and oppression, a theme explored in the dystopian novel 1984. However, just because they can does not necessarily mean they will. The art installation also mocks the overt paranoia and fear about surveillance. “Zoom and enhance” is still impossible with current technology and even if you are being passively monitored, you should not be too worried unless you are doing something illegal, like murder.


Overall, this is my favourite interactive art installation at iLights and it made me ponder the balance we have to achieve between celebrating life and memory-making and not revealing so much information that a stalker could potentially find me.


Shades of Temporality

Painting a wall can be fun, especially the result of it is a surprise. That is the experience when you interact with Shades of Temporality, an art installation version of a kinder egg. The installation starts off as a blank, normal wall. Participants can use one of the giant paint rollers to ‘paint’ over the wall. While pressing on a button on the paint roller, the ‘paint’ is projected on the wall in real time wherever the top of the roller was. The artwork is cleared via an iPad on the side.

Button at the bottom of paint roller. Hold onto it while painting!

A tourist trying to write “Heart Singapore” but I think they ran out of space.

The paint is patterned and constantly moving and changing. This not only makes the artwork very dynamic, but also adds in an element of fun and surprise as you would not know beforehand the patterns and end result.



Shades of Temporality is a stunning installation celebrates artistic freedom. There is no pressure for participants to paint the wall ‘right’ or in a specific pattern. Furthermore, as there are many paint rollers available, it also encourages people to collaborate with one another in creating an art piece. As the artwork can be easily erased with just a tap on the iPad, Shades of Temporality emphasises the impermanence of art. This temporality is not necessarily negative as it allows us to focus and enjoy the present, and once the art is completed and cleared, to start afresh with nothing holding us back.

My art piece!

Research Critique 1 – Understanding Interactivity

Retrieved from

The first artwork I have chosen is made by Masaki Fujihata, known as Beyond Pages (1995 – 1997).  In this piece of work, the audience enters a space that sets a scene of a dark room. There is a physical desk that one can interact with, that has a digital screen that projects a book. The audience member is made to sit on a chair. To interact with this book, one must use the pen provided, which triggers the turning of pages and the manipulation of images within said pages.

Why do you find this artwork or project intriguing?
As one interacts with the book given to them with the special pen, the images change accordingly. For example, an apple when tapped, will produce a biting sound, followed by the imagery of it being bitten into, exposing its insides. This gives the sense of it having been eaten despite it being in a ‘different realm’, which I find very interesting.

What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer?
The viewer is absorbed into the scene, such as one is absorbed into a book when reading. By interacting with the images on the book, it would either manipulate said images, or cause a reaction by an object nearby.

What is the intention of this interaction?
As Jeffrey Shaw says: “Beyond Pages definitively and convincingly shows us that our information spaces are no longer bound within their traditional wrappers (book, stage, screen, canvas, etc.) – instead they can manifest themselves as ubiquitous presences that move between and link together the totality of things in a new imaginary of being.”
This explains the title of the artwork, “Beyond Pages”, where a book is not conformed to its pages, and can exist as more than its paper self.

What is the role of the viewer?
The viewer has to be present in the chair, and interact with the piece using the designated pen. They react to the piece according to their own experiences, watching as a lamp lights up through a light switch present in the book, or a clock speed up when a hourglass is turned.

Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience?
The creator plays a bigger role in creating the piece, as every interaction is pre-programmed to work a certain way. However, the audience plays a definitive role and the viewing of this artwork. The interaction does not have to be done linearly for the desired effect, but it is up to the viewer to decide what way they wish for the piece to do. This allows the viewer to experience their own thoughts and feelings about the artwork, and for them to have their own opinion on what they might think the artwork might be about.


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The next artwork is Scott Snibbe’s Falling Girl (2008). It is an immersive interactive narrative installation that allows the audience to be part of a story about a young girl falling off a skyscraper.

Why do you find this artwork or project intriguing?
The artwork tells a narrative, while also being interactive.

What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer?
As the young girl falls, she reacts to people who are in the skyscraper. These people are seen as silhouettes in the apartment windows, who are of the audience captured by a camera. The viewer is allowed to do anything they wish in front of the wall which would then be projected in a designated window, which the girl reaches out to.

What is the intention of this interaction?
The installation is part of a series known as “Visceral Cinema”, in which the language of film is translated into meaningful narrative interactive experience, where one’s emotions are evoked while also being aware of their own body’s experiences.

What is the role of the viewer?
The viewer’s body plays an intimate role in the narrative, and they are rewarded with a sense of presence within the film. The shadows all act as neighbours witnessing the falling of a girl. This compels them to better understand the work, and to watch it to the end where by the girl eventually reaches the ground.

Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience?

The creator has greater control over the outcome, as the experience is rather linear. Within the piece itself, there are periods of time which none of the viewers can interact with, as it is part of the story that has been planned beforehand. The ending remains the same no matter the number of viewers. Only the experience of the audience changes based on their perception of the piece, along with the aesthetic of the artwork depending on what the audience does.

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Come up with 2 thoughtful questions in your essay that will benefit the class with regards to this week’s topic on interactivity.

  1. Where does interactivity start and stop in a linear interactive narrative?
  2. How can one allow the audience to have greater control over the outcome?