Password: wonderland

When we were first given the assignment brief, I was totally clueless as to how I should go about with this project. But after giving it much thought and looking at it simply, I managed to come up with an idea/concept. Since one of the suggested ideas in the brief was “Dreams” I immediately associated it with it as being whimsical of sorts. That led me to gain inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, one of my all time favourite films.


The roadblock faced was when I remembered we have to show at least three key transformations in the sequence. My initial idea was simply to adapt a miniature concept based out of the film by making it have an “everyday life situation” kind of concept but realised I couldn’t bring out three key transformations.

I was stuck for a while but later on realised that I could achieve it by taking a step further having been inspired by the movie. Instead, I decided reference a famous quote from the movie/book:

“Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice

The six impossible things that she believed in are:

1. There’s a potion that can make you shrink
2. And a cake that can make you grow
3. Animals can talk
4. Cats can disappear
5. There’s a place called Wonderland
6. I can slay the Jabberwocky

I used each impossible thing as the key transitions for my sequence and formulate a storyline out of it, with each impossible thing being tweaked into a more realistic/personal context as follows. They were portrayed in respective frames (according to its order of appearance):

  • There’s a potion that can make you shrink:  I conveyed this idea this through photoshopping a layer of text over the original tagging of the teabag in the font of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the same text on the shrinking potion bottle found in the film.


  • Animals can talk:  For this, I got inspiration from medium techniques like Dadaism and collaging, superimposing open mouths over the animals to make them look like they are talking and also, them being significantly larger than me since I was small in that world.An artist reference used here would be Hannah Hoch (below are some of her works) in comparison to my frames.

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  • Cats can disappear: This was shown through consecutive frames, the first one filled with cats and the next without, similar to a stop-motion.

disappear1 disappear2

  • I can slay the Jabberwocky: Rather than taking the same story idea of Alice slaying the Jabberwocky (the dragon monster in that world), I decided to take on a personal approach of me conquering my fears instead. As I dislike cheese, the monster in this context is a Cheese Monster as created by me. I drew the monster and tried to portray me overcoming the fear of cheese by “shooting it away” using an imaginary catapult. Afterall it’s a dream haha.


  • A cake that can make you grow: This is shown through the final few frames when I return back to the normal world. I felt that the idea of this particular impossible thing could have been further developed in the sense that there could have been frames showing me growing back in size since evidently I shrinked before entering the world that is Wonderland.



  • There’s a place called Wonderland: This impossible thing I would say was this whole short sequence of 90 frames itself which conveyed the idea of an alternate universe existing and that I’ve visited that world, in my dreams.

EXTRA EMPHASIS: I made the duration of these two particular frames slightly longer than the rest so as to place emphasis on the timings. The first frame showing 8.05am and the second 8.20am. I wanted to convey the idea that this whole thing has been a dream. However I felt that this idea could have been conveyed better as I think one would only understand after hearing my explanation, that it couldn’t be interpreted without knowing the context.

Starting frames:
Me waking up to the sound of the alarm when actually it was in my dream that i woke up





Final few frames: 
Me waking up to the sound of the alarm again but this time going back to sleep after checking – the real scenario



Below are some of the images and textures I created and combined to use as overlays over the frames to achieve the overall whimsical and nature theme of the short sequence. The floral ones were watercolour patterns found online. Whereas the others were images from my archive of photos.





TRANSITIONS & PACING: The following few frames shown below were shot with the idea of using them as transitions. The similarity between these shots would be that they are mostly of converging paths and bright flares. And to give the idea that there’s a transition/I’m walking through that path without me being in that frame, I used the concept of pacing by increasing these frame durations to 3 seconds/frame instead of the usual 1 second/frame.




SHOT SIZES: I tried to achieve the idea of me shrinking while the world around me becomes significantly bigger in size through superimposing myself in various environments as a small figure with the help of photoshop. But there were some frames were just shots taken at wide angles/top down to achieve the miniature size with minimal editing required.





Lots of close-ups and wide angles were used throughout the whole sequence for emphasis and to achieve the miniature concept in the other world (Wonderland) after I’ve shrunk in size.

MUSIC USED: For the background music, I chose this particular instrumental track from a Korean drama that I’ve watched previously as I feel that it further helps to bring out the whimsical and magical feel of the sequence.

SOME INSPIRATIONS: Prior to conceptualising and shooting my frames, below were some of images i used as reference to help me get an idea of how I want my frames to look like in order achieve the whimsical feel.




I think the biggest challenge for me while doing this project would be the storyboarding as well as the editing process. Coming up with 90 frames wasn’t easy especially for someone like me who couldn’t exactly visualise it in frames. Rather, I shot the frames based on the on-the spot feeling that I had.

All in all,  I feel that this project has allowed me to exercise my creativity and to apply most of the concepts i’ve learnt thus far in 4D. For example, various shot sizes to achieve a certain mood and message of a frame or a tone as explained above.

I had fun doing this project nonetheless! 🙂

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Q1.What is your interpretation of the poem? What theme do you think Frost is addressing? What mood does the text evokes? It may help if you re-read the text and reflect.

The poem discusses the potential end of the world, either destroyed by fire or by ice. On a more metaphorical level, intense emotions are what will bring an end of mankind. Ice suggesting sharp coldness that bites at one’s skin represents the intensity of hatred, while fire being ferocious signifies desire and passion. Overall, there is high tension between the two contrasting elements. However, the poem ends without a conclusion of the initial discussion as Frost suggests that both fire and ice are equally capable of destroying the world.

Q2. Without being too literal, what are imagery will you use to express the theme and mood of the text? It may help if you start by working on small section of the text.

We will use water to express the theme and mood of the text. Water is expressive, full of potential and energy. A single drop of water may be insignificant, but a large body of water like a tsunami becomes undoubtedly powerful. Ways in which the water is manipulated creates different connotations to the image. For example in our series of images when water splashes are taken, it expresses the outburst of energy and when a water vortex is taken, there is a sense of chaos present.

We were taught the Signifier and Signified in our third week of class and had to choose and object to illustrate both concepts. I chose an empty drink bottle that was full earlier when I bought it before class. Well here’s what I got:




A direct representation of the object would be as such. In the 1st image, a drink. The 2nd image, a prop in the popular game of “Truth or Dare” among youngsters (more info about the game: and lastly, in the final image, the bottle as something that can be recycled.





Following the signifier, these set of images are the signified. The way they are shot connotes a new meaning to the object. For instance the first image, the bottle is balanced on the palm to establish the sense of gravity. The second image shows the inside of the bottle where the symmetry and geometrical interior design of the object gives it the look of one peeking into the eye hole of a kaleidoscope.  In the final image, the bottle is taken from an illusioned point of view, making it look like it’s a vase holding the stalk of flower. The bottle is actually in the foreground of the image while the stalk of flower in the background.

To conclude, I found the exercise interesting despite having to rack my brain for ideas on how I could shoot the object and give it a different connotation. But it was through this exercise of having to illustrate these concepts (Signifier & Signified) on objects we can easily find around us that made it clearer how something can have new meanings to it when shot in a different context rather than in its literal function.





We were tasked to creatively introduce ourselves using 3 photographs and the concept behind these photos came quite naturally. I thought hmmm creative… why not incorporate something that I enjoy doing, handicraft to introduce myself?

For the first photo, I purposely hid something underneath a random mess of lace in which the item is later on revealed in the last image. With the soft and dainty feel of the lace and something hidden, I was trying to portray my introverted personality.

Following which, the second photo is a direct representation of materials that I usually use with the intention wanting to try out flat lay and I took reference from and was inspired after looking at this website:

And in the last photo it shows me working on a handicraft piece. I reveal myself with a literal representation of my name, the object that was hidden under the pile of lace in the first photo while not forgetting to express my introvertness still by doing a over the shoulder shot, hiding my face from the camera, shying away.





This set of photos revolves around an object that is of significance to me and it would be this patchwork quilt that was handmade by my paternal grandmother who I never got to meet. She passed on the very same year I was born and the quilt was later passed to me from my parents when I was told The Story.

Through the images I wanted to show my feelings for the object (the quilt) and personally I feel that it is synonymous with the feeling of protection. One of the photos compositions being me hiding behind the quilt to portray my fear of thunder and lighting, how I would hide under it whenever it strikes especially since I sleep alone. While the other photo portrays my longingness, me missing my grandmother. I felt that it was a pity that I was not able to meet her.

Recalling the feedback from my peers during the critique session, what I could have done better for this set was by showing the stitches of the quilt rather than taking a full shot of the quilt for the first photo since I mentioned that the quilt was a symbol of love to me as every patch was painstakingly sewn together to form the quilt. I wanted to show the beauty of it.

TASK 3: MY WORLDTask3_01




The final set of photos came about with the idea of wanting to give the audience a glimpse into my everyday life, a 360-view of the surroundings and sights around my HDB estate. Especially since I grew up in this HDB estate for 10 over years and I walk by these areas everyday as I go to and fro from school or when going out and these areas in particular are meaningful to me.

The first spot –  The corridor  I walk down everyday without fail. Something unique about my level’s corridor is that it’s the floor with the most number of potted plants. My neighbours, even my family included are avid “gardeners”. They would sometimes exchange their plant seedlings and all, it’s a really nice gesture.

The second spot – The open area at the lift lobby. As my block is structured in a way that the balcony of the apartments are facing each other, it creates a triangle open area whereby when the sunlight is able to enter and cast light on the walls of the block. I felt that it was a beautiful sight and wanted to capture it. It brought out the architectural beauty of the block.

The third spot – The HDB void deck. In this photo is one out of the three void deck cats that moved in several years ago and every day without fail, there will be this lady who comes by with her red trolley and cat food to feed these cats. The lady is captured in the background, off focus. So happen it was their feeding time that day as I was going around to get shots for the assignment. Caught the “The Golden Hour”! 🙂

The final spot – The Resident’s Corner which I would walk past everyday without fail on my way to the bus stop as I make my way to school in the morning/afternoon. Usually in the mornings, around 10am, there will always be this same group of aunties that gather here for their daily chit-chat session which I found really amusing. They are really friendly and would greet me every time I walk by.

I enjoyed photographing for this task the most as these are places around my HDB block that I walk by everyday but only got to realise the beauty of these spots when doing this particular task.



Photo Cr: Xuan Fei


Presentation layout for in-class critique session

Here’s the documentation of the photos displayed on the wall along the hallway during the critique session yesterday and to sum up the project, some takeaways.

Through feedback from by my peers and Lei, I think I could better improve on layout especially for Task 3 by having the open area photo placed at the top to balance out the colours of the other images as that particular photo was very jarring in a way that made it stood out from the rest. Suggestion given was that I could have made it the first photo of the series to create a smoother top-down viewing in terms of contrast.

Paying attention to tactility and that my photographs focused a lot on textures – This was something that I did not realise recurring across my photographs until Lei pointed it out to me, linking that it’s probably got to do with my love for handicraft.  Guess the observer sees one the clearest haha…

All in all, I really loved how this assignment allowed us to get to know each other better through the photographs we took. There’s a story behind each and everyone’s photos and probably my biggest takeaway from this project would be how photographs are magical. They’re able to tell a story like they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Till today, I’m still amazed by the power of photography.


Preliminary Reading
What struck me most was the choice of subject focus of the artwork – haze.  It’s something that we can relate to closely since it’s a rather prevalent issue in Singapore every year. I feel that the use of silver gelatin to portray the haze pollutants was an effective approach as it looked similar.

Secondary Reading
Through further research, I realised that this work of Ang Song Nian is more abstract as compared to his other works which were seemed to be more figurative. Also, I feel that Ang’s works mainly focuses on addressing environmental issues, showing the relationship between human and nature. The idea behind his artworks are all similar.


Preliminary Reading
The thing that struck me the most about the work was the minimalistic approach to the way haze was presented. Even though it was a little too minimalistic for me, the work became much clearer after reading the short writing about it. And though it is not initially obvious, the realisation that the pieces of paper represent different days of the month gives the work a much deeper meaning. Personally, I think that this is a unique approach to documenting the haze in Singapore.

Secondary Reading
After more research on Ang Song Nian, we realised how he tends to create work surrounding man’s interaction with the environment. However, he tends to take a more figurative approach towards this theme with photos showing forests or objects people own. Unlike those other works, he uses a more abstract approach in Hanging Heavy on My Eyes. Instead of directly depicting the haze in Singapore, he chooses to use different shades of gray show how bad the haze was that day. It is really interesting to see him explore and experiment with different styles.


Preliminary Reading
At first look, I didn’t know it was a calendar. However after reading the description, I think that Ang is very creative to use a calendar format to represent the days and the intensity of hue to represent the amount of haze in the air.

Secondary Studies
After researching more about the artist’s work., I realized this piece is very different from his others. He features physical objects like ladders, old television sets, plants, etc. in most of his other works. However “Hanging Heavy On My Eyes” uses only gradients to create a print. The execution seems abstract, but the meaning is very straightforward. Although the medium used is different, the concept behind all his works is still the same – human presence affects the environment.