Category: Process

interactive spaces: intrusive spaces // digital project [idea, process and final]

Idea

I think I have a lot of explaining to do, considering how different my project has become since the mid-term analogue version of it.

After many consults with the two professors, I changed my idea completely. I was told to look back at my concept: the idea of having a personal space intruded by someone else, some other thing. The being becoming uncomfortable because of this intrusion. Then I was told to go back and think about it.

I thought a lot about it. I came up with several observations, over the one week I was told to do so. Here were some of my observations, and ideations.


times when my/someone’s personal, private space has been invaded/compromised

  1. mother complained about having a gym-mate that could not stop asking about invasive questions
    1. “What’s your weight? What’s your husband doing?”
  2. having negative thought processes most times of the day
    1. voices/thoughts that prevent productivity/sleep
  3. sleep paralysis
    1. dark shadows, being unable to move but they get closer
  4. sitting on the bus and having someone jab their shoulder/butt into your space
  5. your friend who wants to look at your phone/laptop and asks what you’re doing

potential ideas:

  1. some voice that keeps asking very personal questions. maybe starts to question existence??
    1. was inspired by the one project with the two heads that talk to each other
    2. alternatively, a voice that talks about potential harm coming to participant’s way → still relatively intrusive and something I experience to a milder degree (e.g. people are out to hurt you, kill you, computers have minds of their own etc.)
    3. Initial idea of how it can be implemented:
      1. Have to cover ears so the voice “speaks to you clearly”
      2. OR have them always heard, kind of like angel and devil in most stereotypes
    4. Or have a “being” that asks about your day in the most intrusive ways
      1. Kind of like a pet but not really
  2. creating a dark space similar to a tent maybe, and projecting human-like shadows (to mimic sleep paralysis)
    1. participant “sleeps” in tent, and there are projections of things moving towards you during every flash of light??
    2. if they move it moves faster?? idk
  3. the annoying kid that keeps getting into your space:
    1. constantly poking shoulder, voice saying “hey, hey, hey”

As you can see, I was very lost. I had a lot to think about, and there was so many things I could have done. But I was very lost. I did not know what to do at all. But one thing that I felt most deeply for was having intrusive thoughts. I mean, I think about it all the time, because they are my thoughts. I cannot get rid of them. Intrusive thoughts ruin people and they’re the most uncomfortable thing to have on your very being, unless there’s some third-party forces/the supernatural we’re dealing with here. I thought it was a pretty good start.

So I decided to work on that. And at first I was like, oh darn, do I have to try to squeeze in months of learning processing and arduino into like three weeks? But I realise I could do things as long as they are digital. And Prof Kristy reminded me about Janet Cardiff’s audio walks.

So I wanted to do a project where I would create a video tour within ADM, with a voiceover that asked questions that were more and more uncomfortable.


Process

My to-do list:

  • Schedule each week’s progress
  • Route
  • Actors
  • Narration
  • Storyboards

Things I considered:

Route: Create a route around ADM that the person will have to walk to. Do they walk into rooms? Do they walk up and down stairs?

consider that a lot of places might not be accessible to people (if they have to tap card), wait for things to happen etc. → so lifts and rooms are a bit harder

start → sunken plaza (near staircase to canteen 2) → basement → walk down the corridor → vending machines → walk up the stairs to the lounge → lounge → walk to the lobby and have a moment there → walk upstairs via stairs → stay at the bridge to the other classrooms → go down the corridor to the handicap toilet → have a seat → leave → back past the bridge to the 3rd level, and then to the fourth

[after 29/10 check] too long, it took 11minutes just to reach 3rd floor, and even then I was already rushing. Might be too long an experience/too rushed

Decided to stay within basement and level 1!!

START → sunken plaza (Maybe stay longer) → indoor basement, corridor → vending machines → walk up Stairs→ lounge → down stairs→ left past the doors to sunken plaza → END

Actors: Think about how actors will interact with the video? Are they going to be present during the actual day of interaction when participants move around?

Decided to not use actors because everyone is busy. ):

Narration: what kind of poetic narrative and thoughts should go into this? How much intrusion is there? theme: your inner voice who speaks to you, narrates a situation

Decided to use own voice.


NARRATIVE

thing to take note: make sure there are questions that get increasingly more uncomfortable in nature

Questions I can ask:

  • Are you from this school? How old are you?
  • Why are you here?
  • Why did you decide to come here? (Before name question cuz its weird right)
  • What’s your name? Where’s your name from?
  • Let’s be closer friends. Do you have many friends?
  • Did you choose to have friends?
  • How are you feeling today?
  • Are you an indoors or outdoors person?
  • What are you? Are you single?
  • What do you like about yourself/what do you not like about yourself?
  • Isn’t there something better you could be doing?
  • What’s the worst thing you have ever thought of doing to someone?
  • Ever thought of how babies are so fragile, and that if you wanted to, you could break them?
  • Have you ever wanted to leave your loved ones?
  • If the world ended what would your last words be?
  • Would you rather live your life as if there was no god and find out that there is, or live as if there is a god and it turns out there isn’t?
  • When you think of yourself, do you imagine that you are your body, or that you’re in your body?
  • In the light of eternity, how significant is this present moment?
  • If life is so hard, what are you comparing it to?
  • Are you happy?
  • Would your life have been different if ___

FINAL SCRIPT

Hello.

-turn on screen-

You’re new to me.

We seem to exist in the same universe, but unlike you, I am a mere whisper.

Do you see what I see? Think of me as your thoughts. I am you and we share the same view. Look up like how I do.

A beautiful place, isn’t it. I sometimes forget that it is a school.

Are you from this school? How old are you?
I’m interested to know more about you. Why don’t we take this time to be closer? While I am connected to you, and you, to me.

Let’s take a walk, shall we? Follow where I go.

How are you feeling today?

Stop.
Look down.

The water is still. There are usually dead insects and birds in here. I have heard of it happening, seen of it happening right in front of my eyes. Have you? Seen the birds crash into the windows, and drop down to their deaths?

Lucky creatures. Captured by the beauty in glass and to experience death so easily after.

To fly in circles, momentarily lost in spiralling doom before they either live or die. Have you ever felt that?

Turn to your right. Let us go indoors.

[sunken plaza → basement indoors]

Are you an indoors or outdoors person?

Turn to your left and walk ahead to the lockers.

Now it looks like a school, doesn’t it? I think the lockers help.

A place of learning. A place to make friends.

Don’t mind the people. I am here.

I hope you are not in a rush to end this conversation. You have me.

Do you have many friends?

Fate has much to show us. I don’t think fate has ever been unkind. It has been giving, and giving, and sometimes we decide we have had enough of fate. We decide to take matters into our own hands.

Like a vending machine we have the choice to pick.

You see the elevators. Turn right and face the machines like I do.

Stop.

[corridor → vending machine]

…..

You get so many choices. Every action you take is a new chance at fate.

Drinks. Snacks. Sandwiches. A big variety.

Do you get to pick favourites? I like to stick to the same snack when I have to choose.

You pick a button, and it gives you what you asked for. The choice is yours.

It’s so easy, isn’t it?

But what if fate doesn’t give?

What if you don’t have the chance to encounter fate?

How pathetic.

Doesn’t that make your life meaningless?

That’s funny to think about, don’t you think?
Do you have a reason to be here?

What are you?

….

Let us walk past the elevator.

To your right. Walk forward.

Turn left.

Big benches. Bigger tables. They’re filled with people. None of them are your friends.

Weird looks. Life is awful. You want to die.

Turn left. There are stairs. Go up.

….

Effort to keep up with the times. Just like climbing the stairs.

Each step feels heavier than the other. Effort to maintain some semblance of a social life. Missing a step means risk of losing it all, tumbling down.

Ever thought about disappearing for a day?

Ever thought about having a kiss with death?

Or maybe…

Something more intimate?

….

“Kill me”

Such a common phrase here. You hear this phrase way too often, say this phrase way too often. It comes out like vomit, vile and useless, but it makes you feel at least 3 percent better.

Why not try saying it?

Kill me.

Does it take away the weight of climbing?

Well, whatever the result was, we’re at a new place.

A place for lounging. Where people sit and relax with their friends.

A place you would not have seen if you died.

Shuffle over to the left. Stop.

[lounge]

What do you not like about yourself? Tell me.

Do you ever feel like you have to change those parts of yourself? Get rid of the raw, unpolished parts so you could shine better?

Have you ever heard this phrase? Maybe like my voice.

You’re not good enough.

You’re not good enough.

You’re not good at all.

Humans are all social creatures. We can’t avoid that. Being human means wanting others to like you.

Do your friends like you?

How did you meet your closest friends?

Why are you here?

Are you my friend now?

Let us move. Go back down the stairs.

[go down the stairs]

Let’s go outside. To your left.

Are you an outdoors or indoors person?

Turn to your left.

It sounds like rain.

It feels like rain.

Is it raining now? (Jarring rain bg)

No matter. We still have to continue our journey, rain or shine.

We’re back outside. How do you feel now?

Are you happy?

I hope you’re not.

You must be wondering, is there an end to this cycle. There is, you can take off these headphones. But what if I’m stuck with you?

I don’t think I know you.

You’re new to me.

-black screen-

Hello.

[Loop]


Final Video


Here’s a video of Prof Kristy experiencing the whole thing.


Personal comments:

It was very cringe-worthy recording myself. I also had problems figuring out what kind of tone I wanted to put into my words. I wasn’t an actor by nature so that was already hard on its own, and to put thought to actual words was even harder, but I think it was a good journey to experience as the creator of this piece of work. There was also a lot more that I could put into it, quality-wise. The pacing was probably a little off, and Biju said my draft recordings were actually better in terms of emotional quality. And I felt that my video quality was probably not the best, even though I did take the video several times in an attempt to better time it, and also better audio but hey, we all start somewhere I guess.

It was nice watching the professors walk around with the phone it was a very different experience watching someone try to embody you. I think it was a very experimental piece for me. While I feel like there’s a lot that I could improve on, and that it was generally, very attached to me as a project, compared to what I did for mid-terms, I feel refreshed knowing that I, probably rather literally, stepped out of my comfort zone.

Now all that is left is for it to survive the end of semester showcase. To be honest, it makes me not want to show my face around school anymore, given how much I put myself into my work, but I hope some people won’t find it cringey.

interactive spaces // digital project – ode to loo

After listening to the comments from everyone during mid-terms, I felt like there was a lot I could do to reiterate my original meaning. Here were some suggestions that were given.

  • Having cameras pointed at the individual, have spotlights on them. This is to emphasize on discomfort, where the “attention” is on them. Somewhat comical in nature, and perhaps grandiose to a funny extent.
  • Have the participant’s every move narrated by a voice as they go about their business in the washroom.
  • Have a webcam feed show up both inside and outside the toilet of a particular angle (suggested: feet near the toilet bowl).

Upon consideration, I wondered what other ways I could implement the idea of having the attention on the participant while in the toilet. A friend of mine suggested having the sound of applause when a certain action is done (e.g. the flushing of the toilet) and I thought that was pretty interesting, to have sound used to reflect interactions.

I then thought of: what if someone sat on the toilet, and then fast orchestral music started playing? Something like Flight of the Bumble Bee?

mid-term analogue // reflections

During week 8’s mid-term, I presented my idea of different emotions being evoked while being in the toilet. Before getting approval for the space (a handicap toilet on the 2nd level of ADM), I had wanted to do something that made somebody uncomfortable while they were in the toilet. However, given the limitations that I was only allowed to use the toilet for a few hours within the day itself, I was rather restricted with what I could set up, and I was also concerned about the level of hygiene if I had to make people interact with things within the toilet. I decided to make use of the walls instead, since they were probably more acceptable than using the toilet bowl itself, or the floor.

While thinking up of ideas, I thought about using images to create small windows to an “outside world” which might counter how a toilet is used, since most of the time they are meant to be a private space. I also wanted to look into how different imagery could make a person think differently, and evoke different emotions, resulting in various windows on every wall that depicted different scenes, something I’ve learnt from Yi Fu Tuan’s Space and Place, when he talks about direction.

I made a variety of different settings, planned beforehand, and then pasted them across the walls. The next few images will be what the final product looked like.

Comments I have received during the presentation that I took into consideration to improve the next part of the project:

  • There were too many different things going on – so rather than create an experience where each wall evoked an emotion, it just made people confused and overwhelmed instead.
  • To concentrate on one variable of wanting to make someone “uncomfortable” rather than a variety of other emotions.
  • To use fake cameras to instill the sense of vulnerability.
  • To use spotlights and sensors (when someone sits down they activate the lights, think of lights, cameras, action).
  • To have a webcam show feed of part of the toilet, showcased on the outside.
  • To have the participant’s every move narrated.