Before coming up with a proposal and a solid idea to execute as a group effort for this final project for 4D II we are asked to do individual research on works on either video/sound/performance art and analyse the respective artists and their works, how some of them might be controversial. I am leaning more towards the exploration of using sound for the final art installation project.

Before searching up some examples, I searched up the meaning of sound installations and got the impression that it is a time-based art which sometimes can involve the element of visual to help support/complement the installation as a whole or change it to become a video art installation altogether. With the intention to explore the idea of using sound for the final project’s art installation, below are some that I’ve found interesting and possibly usable as references and inspiration.

I couldn’t really find much sound art installations that were deemed as controversial but my personal take on this would be that the whole idea of a sound art installation itself is actually controversial. Reason being that if you were to take in a sound art installation that is purely made up of sounds only, sure it’s meant to evoke a feeling in the consumers through the listening experience however the sounds are subjected to one’s perception as it’s pretty abstract. And because of that, artists that work with solely sound for their installations are able to get away with touching on controversial ideas. Unless the work includes the other elements like visual in the form of a video/image accompaniment where the audience gets an even clearer idea of how they are supposed to interpret the installation piece.

Haroon Mirza

Here’s one sound artist that has faced a little controversy though with his work I suppose – Cross Section of a Revolution (2011) which has two films being juxtaposed. One on cultural tradition and the other, a political movement and accompanying the installation is an electronic sound that gives a sense of anxiety to the work as the whole. Looking further, one is of drummers at a ceremony in Kenya and the other is about a man in Lahore making a speech about terrorism.

Quoting an article by theguardian on his work:

Mirza recorded his drummers at “a stick-fighting ceremony where the groom has to fight for his bride. My attention shifted to the drummers, who provided the driving force to the ceremony.” They drum on plastic bottles, anything that comes to hand. “A subtext,” he says, “is the place of music in Islamic culture. In some Islamic cultures, music is forbidden. An underlying theme to my work is a criticism of religious faith, and the dogmas involved in religious faith.

Easily when there’s culture/religious faith involved in a work of art, there’s bound to be controversy involved, people questioning the work as it could be sensitive to the identified groups. In this case, the people of that religious faith. It could get a little touchy with how the artist portrayed his topic through the installation piece.

John Cage

Taking a look at his famous or rather infamous piece 4′33″ (1952), this work of his probably fits the idea of performance art more since there’s a subject involved during the performance but I’ll be looking more at his interesting take on the use of sound in this piece.

Cage’s intention with the piece was to have the composition be made up of sounds present in the environment encouraging people to listen to the sounds around them but the impression they got in return was that they were subjected to silence because there was an a pianist present but he did not play anything after taking his place on stage. The sounds of the piece were actually made by the whispers that came from them which became louder as they grew more curious about what was happening in front of them.

Cage’s intentions eventually sparked controversy about the piece since the audience thought they were treated to silence for the whole performance duration of 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

Susan Philipsz

Next looking at how sound art has developed over the years, the public has definitely become more receptive about it possibly thanks to Susan Philipsz who was awarded the Turner Prize in 2010. One of the most controversial awards around because of its history, the questioning on how some past awardees works could’ve possibly been that good to actually have a meaningful effect on the reputations of well-established artists because of their actions and approach.

Philipsz primarily works with sound and her works often consist of nothing more than an empty gallery and a recording of her own singing and sometimes she would build soundscapes into unusual locations i.e. playing a entirely unrelated recording at her selected site for the installation. Nonetheless, her receiving the award helped sound art gained increasing exposure and is now in a better state of reception.

Lowlands Away (2010) is one such example of Philipsz’ style as mentioned above. She recorded three versions of this particular song which is of a man drowned at sea returning to tell his lover of his death and it was first performed under three bridges over the River Clyde in Glasgow and later on in an empty room at Tate Britain.

Jim Green

Leaning away from the controversial side of sound installations and looking at the idea of having an environment as part of a installation just like Cage’s intention with the use of environmental sounds,  I came across sound artist Jim Green who does it rather well.

For instance with his work below, Talking Fence (2010). How the installation functioned was when people walked past the installation site lined with fencing, activated by a sensor, it would trigger the fence to talk and interact with the passersby giving them compliments they walk by. Below’s a documentation of the installation piece and the responses from the public were great.

While browsing through more his works I chanced upon another of his installations which was amusing and brilliant – Laughing Escalator (2004). What I get out of this earlier dated work of his is that it has  the same intention like his later piece, Talking Fence above which aims to encourage greater interaction from the public with his works and bring across the connection with everyday life.

What I like about these two particular works of his is his attempt to make relatable and approachable to the public with that light-hearted and amusing touch to it. Keeping this in mind, it’ll be interesting to explore the idea of making our final installation art work based on something that the audience can resonate with.



Pins & Needles

The soundscape is best experienced using earpiece/headphones 🙂


Inspired by Foley and how the mind works when asleep, Pins & Needles is a psychological soundscape that evokes a sense of anxiety through three kinds of common nightmares painted using sounds. A dreamscape of broken continuity, the soundscape is layered with sounds that stimulate nervousness, the ticking sound provides a built-up and countdown. Or perhaps the suggestion that it is all just a dream – The sound of a clock ticking. A specific sound is used to draw the listener back to reality at the end.


Concept wise when we first got the brief I had zero idea on what to make my soundscape about. I was thinking of doing a sonic portrait since it sounded pretty cool – Making one paint a picture of the person just based on sounds but at the same time I figured it would’ve challenging as the person you have in mind (if taken the personal approach of creating a sonic portrait of your loved one), the sounds would’ve been very personal, unique and only recognisable to you yourself. It could be solved actually if I were to do a sonic portrait of someone famous perhaps… but didn’t go ahead with that anyway.

Still clueless, I just played around with the SFXs available on GarageBand first and put together some free sounds downloaded from . Boy, GarageBand offered some really great sound effects for use! Eventually I came up with something for consult and the idea of an anxiety-invoking dreamscape kind of worked out from there.

Especially after I came across this website that lists the types of common nightmares one tends to get and I got ideas:

Painting scenes of claustrophobia, being chased, and being followed, these were some I had in mind and kind of went ahead with them.

Feedback was to have more layers (foreground/midground/background), to have a focus in each ‘scene’, have more variations (ASMR, Left & Right sounds) as it sounded kinda flat and a bit soft initially.


For research, the artists and video links were really helpful in getting a sense of what soundscapes are about and how we could go about them. I was super fascinated by Foley in particular and while browsing more videos of it on YouTube I chanced upon this TED Talk about sound design and it was a really interesting watch on how sounds can be deceiving sometimes.

One of the Foley videos I chanced upon (below). Foley was the main reference/style used to get the sounds for this soundscape. There wasn’t any specific artist/film that I referenced for my soundscape in particular.

Even Disney films in the past used the Foley technique!


Plenty. Conceptualising was really hard. When we first got the brief I thought, yeah a soundscape would be easy, especially when it was just a minute long initially. I underestimated the difficulty of it. We just needed to come up with the idea and when the right sounds are produced, everything will just work out. I thought wrong. Especially when producing the sounds, there’s a lot of trial and error, a lot of exploration to get the right sounds needed for the soundscape. And also, to avoid producing sounds effects that when mixed together sound tonal (like there’s a tune to it).

For me my soundscape is made up of a variety – Self-produced sounds, sounds from online sources, and readily available sounds on GarageBand, the software I used for mixing the sounds to create the soundscapes some of the sounds I wanted to use were really hard to produce. Sounds that sound like a person’s drowning,  some muffled noises, hollow sounds. Ambient noise wise, it was pretty easy to record, just leave the recorder on and alone for probably 10 minutes, it’s good enough to get some good background noises.

Overall this was a challenging but fun project. It made me more aware and appreciative of the sounds around me. I think my senses have heightened now haha.

Sound Attribution

Those used from online source

Timeline was a little tight for this one. One site visit, following week was group consultation and the week after (last Thursday was presentation day)! But on the bright side, Part 1 of the zine project is down so yay! Here’s the infographic that I came up with based on my assigned neighbourhood area, Outram and more to the ideation process shared below.


How the infographic came about was by translating some of the sightings I’ve spotted during my site visit there into numerical fun facts and also phrases/quotes about the place found through qualitative research and research done online from credible sources. With the intention of making the infographic, simple, straightforward and easy to digest for viewers. Basically it’s an infographic of things unique to Everton Park.

Target audience wise, as mentioned in the previous post I guess it could be for anyone. If it was chanced upon by tourists and fellow Singaporeans who have yet to explore the neighbourhood I hope that it could provide them with a general overview of what the neighbourhood has to offer and at the same time entice them to come visit and explore the place

And as to why I named it Everton Park – The Hip Hood, it’s because the quaint neighbourhood has been called “The Next Tiong Bahru” in news articles because of the cafes around and its quaint charm.


So as shared in the previous post about the buildings and shops spotted, the facts discovered during my site visit, these were the ones that really stood out to me; those I found unique to Everton Park. And thus I decided to feature them in my infographic.

First up, The Pinnacle @ Duxton that’s located just directly across the road from Everton Park HDB estate. As to why I chose it as a place and fact to feature, it’s because of how the presence of the HDB estate feels like a contrast to Everton Park as the latter is an old estate while The Pinnacle is a modern one.

Next would be Ji Xiang Confectionery, the famous traditional handmade Ang Ku Kueh stall of close to 30 years. Funnily, if you mention Everton Park to the adults, first response you’ll get to the place is “Oh, that place that sells the famous Ang Ku Kueh right?” To me, this confectionery store feels like an icon of Everton Park therefore the feature.

The next thing that sighting that caught my attention would be the 2 wall murals found on the other side of the Everton Park HDB estate across the road (Everton Road) on the walls along the alley and walkway of the private housing apartments. Particularly because there is 2 and also how the murals evoke a sense of nostalgia too as shared by the artist through a sharing session I got to attend about 2 weeks back. They were painted based on his experiences as a child growing up and fun fact, he used to stay around Everton when he was younger for about 20 years!

What stood out for me most about the neighbourhood was how the place had a nice mix of old and new businesses around, the most unique. As shared, shops are lining the perimeters just below each block and it can be a old business and then a hip cafe located just side by side. Some were even hidden from sight close to the lift lobbies and letterboxes. These were some of the things I featured in the infographic put together.

For my initial idea, I got inspiration from a vector image I found online while searching for building illustrations to use for the infographic. I chanced upon this layout of the interior of a house apartment with different levels and thought it’ll work great as boxes for the various information to include for the infographic and at the same time making the whole infographic resemble a HDB flat since my focus was on the Everton Park HDB estate.

The above image on the left was the vector I chanced upon and on the right, the initial design I came up with for the infographic to share during consultation. Feedback received from Joy and my peers was that the roof-like architecture as layout did not suit the architecture appearance of Everton Park. Instead, they suggested that I could incorporate some iconic architecture elements of the estate into the house layout of the infographic which would be explained further later on.

Below are some of the vectors I’ve created or traced out and vectorised to include as visuals for my infographic. How the vector illustration of The Pinnacle @ Duxton came about was interesting. I had intended to trace out the whole building, adding the details and all but realised that the box I allocated for the infographic fact didn’t allow the space and the building would’ve looked way to complicated. Also since it would be tiny, the details would’ve have gone to waste. Thus I settled for the HDB estate name sign located at the side facing the traffic junction.

The vector illustration for The Pinnacle @ Duxton

As for the 2 wall murals I traced out murals from the photos I took on site, image traced them on illustrator to give it a finished vector illustration look. What could’ve been done better based on feedback received after the presentation/critique session we had for our infographics last week was that these two had a stark contrast in comparison to the rest of the vectors/illustrations in the infographic. Suggestion was to perhaps add a vector wall as the background as these two vectorised mural had a lot of detail and depth to them, it being adapted from its original image.


As for the references and inspiration I had for my infographic, below were those I eventually got inspired by (in my previous post I actually shared a few but these were the ones I eventually took reference from). The ice-cream one in particular, for its typefaces and arrangement of text. The rest were more of inspiration for layouts and colour palettes to use for the infographic. Ultimately I was going for a vertical looking kind of infographic.

And as mentioned earlier, taking Joy’s and my peers’ suggestion of looking into incorporating the unique architecture look of Everton Park into the infographic I went to examine the architectural details of the place and added railings, chinese-looking patterns to the landings etc. of some of the floors to make it resemble a flat at Everton Park more. Below are images of the architecture details of the place that I analysed and incorporated into my infographic.

As for the colour palette I thought, why not make the infographic even more “Everton Park-like” so I picked out the colour scheme of the HDB estate as seen below.

That was the initial colour scheme I went ahead with especially with the first design but after much contemplation and shifting around of layouts and all, I realised that the original intended colour scheme might not really go well with the layout. Thus I went to play around with the shades and hues of the colour scheme, toning down some and also adding some new colours applying colour harmonies such as complementary and analogous to make the infographic stand out and look more aesthetically/visually pleasing.

The comparison below: Initial & Final. It turned out rather pastel looking which I was rather happy with as it was almost similar to the colours I was inspired by by the infographics found on Pinterest.

Left: Initial colour scheme | Right: Final colour scheme


Initially, I was unsure of what to make my infographic about or how I wanted it to look like. I did consider making it very statistical based as with all the typical infographics – numbers and more numbers but realised that Everton Park itself, you couldn’t really get hold of accurate numbers. Searched online, there weren’t any websites that provided the numbers either. I could’ve gone to town council for the figures but in the end I guessed it would’ve been too much of a trouble, I think it’ll take forever to get the stats I want since we don’t have the authority and wouldn’t be of priority. Also there would be too many “levels” to clear too, too much email corresponding. The content in the infographic would’ve turned out rather boring for my intended target audience.

I think things turned out for the better though, seeing to how my infographic turned out. I’m pleased with the outcome :).

This project has been going well so far, the first part being this infographic we had to put together. As draining as it was creating the infographic, I really enjoyed the process. I really missed the digital side of creating back during poly days, good to back on Illustrator. I especially can’t wait to put together the final zine for Part 2 of the project, have been loving the publication/editorial side of things of late. Till then!

Update: Here’s the link to Part 2 of the project – The Final Product aka the zine