Reading Assignment Reflection

I find this particular article very interesting. To many, games are just games. A mere form of entertainment to pass time. Children find them fun while parents think games are bad influence. However beyond everything games are more than just what we see on the surface. Different games have different appeals, each creating their own little world where players get lost in this immersive experience. 


Background information from article:

Video games became popular in the early 1980s and it is a way in which children, teenagers, and adults encountered the computer. How we interact with computers influences our view of this world and our perspective on ourselves. Many deem games as a bad influence for children because while and after playing the game they act up and seem addicted to the game. By 1982, people spent more money on video games than on movies and records combined. Sherry writes that video games are windows into a new kind of intimacy with machines that is a factor of the new emerging computer culture.



I agree that video games have a kind of hypnotic fascination, it is a kind of “computer holding power” as the author said. Video games can be attractive for many reasons depending on the nature of the game. But one main idea which ties all video games together is that the video games are interactive computer microworlds. Each world has its own rules governing the game. These rules shape the nature of the game and its appeal to players. 

For example, the game “Pac-Man”, which is the first game to be acknowledged as part of the national culture. Such a simple game yet there is so much more to it. Playing the game requires quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination. But what is more important is for players to figure out the rules that govern the way Pac-Man behaves and the pursuing monsters. A game which seems very easy to understand and play, yet mastering it requires a certain level of skills from the player. A good Pac-Man player will know to constantly alternate between offensive(eat energy cookies to eat monsters) and defensive(avoid monsters and eat the dots) to advance in the game. Although too many people Pac-Man might just be a video game, it actually might just be more similar to an intellectual game of chess than we might know. I feel that more than just playing the game, the key to winning and advancing is observing the patterns in the game and finding the set of rules which governs the game.

There are no limits to how a game can appear, the objects(items, characters, setting) can fly, accelerate, turn, change shape and colour, they do/be anything. The only limitation is the designer’s imagination and capabilities(which can always be increased through learning).

Video games are not limited by the rules which govern the real world, such as gravity and reality, hence it allows games to become a more accurate expression of the designer’s intentions and the player’s actions.

One such game which is a good example of how video games are not restricted by the real world is “Pinball”. While the actual game has levers that rust and the machine tilted to a particular slant because of the floor and other varying factors that differs every time we play, video games emit all these varying factors and the surroundings does not affect the game. As said in the article, “It is always the same, reacting almost spontaneously.” Another advantage for games like Pinball is that its video game counterpart records everything. Most importantly, it records the high scores and initials of those who played the game, something which the Pinball machine could not do. In my opinion, this is a huge appealing fact of video games as it allows players to leave their digital footprint behind and gain the admiration and recognition from those who play the same game. Personally, I think that it is a form of motivation to want to be better at the game and it also helps to foster a community with healthy competition among players. And because a video game can be programmed to have a variety of designs, it is possible for the game to respond to the level of the player’s skill – increase in difficulty as one progresses to the next level. On the other hand, a regular pinball machine cannot do this.

Video games provide imaginative worlds into which people enter as participants of the world. Technological advancements have allowed game designers to run wild with their imagination and they can do so much more than before. New graphics allow objects to be more realistic and a game like “poker” could simulate real players with different personalities like that of an actual game instead of just robots.

Another popular kind of video game – one of which I really enjoy are interactive novels. Instead of just watching a story unfold like that in a book or movie, players can now make their own decisions. Choosing the route, meeting different characters and encountering different situations. This kind of interaction creates an immersive experience for the player, giving players the choice of choosing their fate. Games like “Choices” and “Episode” are examples of popular interactive novels where players play as main characters in a story.

One of the most attractive parts of video games today is the fact that games give us a world which we can once only fantasize about.Things like magic and potions, hunting monsters and going on a wild adventure used to be a fantasy, but now through video games people can live their dream. One of my favourite video games which offer this kind of escape from the dull ordinary life that is reality is Maplestory. Not constrained by the rules in the physical world, players can teleport, use magic, tame ancient beasts, encounter weird items that do not exist in real life and go on wild quests. All these are close to impossible in the real world. But because Maplestory offer such an experience, people like me who look towards a life outside of this physical world turn to video games.

However enticing video games are, we have to recognise the danger of video games that is the fact that it is easy for players to get lost in a simulated world, especially one that is so real. To the point where some people cannot separate reality from a simulated world. Games offer the possibility of creating and working within an artificial world, simulating the behaviour of economies, political systems and society. Games like “Second Life” can simulate the reality so well that some people get lost in this make-believe world. In Second life, players can go to school, find a job, settle down and form a family, commit crimes and basically do things like that in real life. The appeal of such games is the touch of realness it has, yet player need to take responsibility for their actions in the real, because as real as the game gets, it is afterall “just a game”.

All in all, I feel that video games are not all that bad. It is not as bad of an influence like what some people say. We can partake in gaming, but we need to know the difference between a game and the real world. Too much of something is never good, there has to come to a point where we know how to moderate the amount of time we spent on games. However, it is good that games offer us a route for escape once in a while and break free from the rules of the real world.


Art Science Museum Visit


Overall, the museum trip was quite fun and interactive. I feel that regardless of the age, one will definitely enjoy their time there. The exhibition comprises of different installations/exhibitions which are interactive in nature. The few mentioned below are some of my favourites because they are either aesthetic or playful in nature, bringing out the kid in everyone.


Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, Ephemeral Life Born from People

This interactive digital installation feature a community of butterflies flying around people. What is cool is that as new butterflies are born from the people standing in the exhibition space, they also die when people touch them. This work is very aesthetic and beautifully illustrates the cycle of life and death. Another fun fact is that the butterflies all fly to the surrounding works, seemingly connecting the different works together. It was fun to interact with this work as the butterflies seemed so real.

Sliding through the Fruit Field

This interactive digital installations feature a slide where participants and slide down from and a tunnel to crawl through below it. This work creatively tells the story of a life cycle of a plant  in an engaging manner.  Various kinds of fruits and different coloured balls are being projected on the slope. Similar to the popular fruit ninja game, when visitors slide down the slope, the fruits are sliced up and explodes in a beautiful firework. The work is also very educational as it informs us of the different conditions needed for a plant to grow. For example, the blue ball represents water and the yellow ball represents a bee-pollination. This installation is not only educational but also fun at the same time, attracting many children and big children to this installation.

Sketch Aquarium

This is one of my favourite works as I was able to see my creation come to life. This work comprises of 2 parts, the drawing stage and the viewing stage. In the first stage, viewers are invited to sit at this area, set up specially for drawing. Viewers were given 4 different species to colour in – shark, jellyfish, fish and a mermaid. Using the crayons provided, visitors were able to let their imaginations run wild and think of a design for their sea creature. This is a very fun and simple activity suitable for young children and families. I had fun creating my customised jellyfish.

After creating my jellyfish, I scanned the image through a scanner which was connected to the big screen. From there, I saw how a still image became a moving jellyfish in a sea filled with other sea creatures. It was truly a very fun activity which highly engages the viewers.

Inverted Globe, Giant Connecting Block Town

This is also one of my favourite works. Personally, I am quite a big fan of miniatures, so when I saw a room of a mini city, I was really excited. This installation was very cool. Each block acted as an anchor point, when one block was moved, the projection mapping will sense the move and re-map the projected image. Each type of block corresponds to a certain type of architecture or natural element. For example, the block with the roof is a house, so when the house was moved, the projection mapping will re-map the pavements. The rectangular blocks are the train station, so when that type of block was moved, the projection mapping will re-map the railroad. This installation was super fun and engaging. It was very popular and appealed to young children as they are similar to the building blocks which children play with. Personally I really enjoyed this installation. It was exciting to see whenever a new road was mapped. The concept of building a city in a communal setting helps to bring people together and enjoy some good, wholesome communal fun. The fact that the blocks also extended to the side of the walls made it feel like the visitors were surrounded by the city and it created an immersive experience like non other.

INTER-MISSION , Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery

INTER-MISSION Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery is a performance of Life Circuit by Urich Lau and Teow Yue Han in a setting of seems like a Korean bar in 1943. Life Circuit is an ongoing performative project exploring how video art, music and performance and be weaved together. The overall bar setting is a recreation inspired by Lee Kang-so’s Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery in 1973.

The setting of a bar is one that is very communal and indirectly encourages interaction between the people sharing the same table. The fact that the distance between each tables is very small also helps to emphasise the idea of a shared space. I feel that this setting is supposed to provide a safe space where personal and perhaps private conversations can take place between people. However, while the setting is as such, the performance artist was walking around the area with a video camera attached to his body suit.

He was walking around expressionless and seems to be oblivious to the fact that there are other people in the area. Wherever he faces, there will be a projection of his face on the surface, even when he was facing people.

Soon after, there was another performer wearing a head gear and earphones walking around. The accessories he had one completely blocked out his essential senses like sight and hearing. He had to rely on touch to get a feel of his environment. Similarly, his actions were also very intrusive and maybe even more extreme. Given the fact that he cannot see where is is going, there were instances where he got really close to the viewers unknowingly.

I felt that the nature of the performative act by both Urich Lau and Teow Yue Han had a very jarring contrast to the warm and cosy feeling translated through the setting. It was almost as if they were blatantly intruding on the privacy of random strangers.

On the other hand, the equipments used during the performance was very high tech. I thought it reflected how technologically advanced we are today. Seeing as how Life Circuit explores how video music and performance can come together, I felt that the concepts translated really well in the performance. While they were walking around the space(performance), the artist with the head gear had his sights translated into sound. His head gear was actually a camera which captured his movements and in turn produces sound which sounded like static noises to me.

This then led me to think about how the present societal construct is where everything is so digitalised and advanced. The threat to privacy brought forth by the presence of technology is being highlighted. It is almost as if no matter where we go, we are being surveillance.


Inspirational Interactive Installation

This work titled ‘Put Your Head into Gallery’ was done by artist Tezi Gabunia as part of the Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project at viennacontemporary 2016. This artwork comprises of a series of a replication of miniature museums. There were mainly 4 museums and artists being featured: Tezi Gabunia in the Saatchi Gallery, Peter Paul Rubens in The Louvre , Damien Hirst in Tate Modern and Liechtenstein in Gagosian Gallery.

Viewers were invited to pop their head inside the miniature museum to view the work. At the same time, it almost looked like the viewer’s head was a sculpture in the museum. This work was featured on Art Insider, a YouTube channel which features inspiring art around the world.

The exhibition was very well received and there were audiences from different age groups.

As an artist, Tezi Gabunia has always been interested in the idea of “Falsification”. In his words, “falsification” means to capture, steal, modify and exhibit. Tezi is curious about the human fascination with copies and stresses the idea that everything is a copy of a copy. He claims that he is not an artist, rather, he is an architect because he is proficient in neither drawing nor painting. His main focus is centralised around the idea of “falsification”.



Overall I think that this is a very interesting work of art. Personally I really like miniatures and it was what attracted me to this artwork in the first place. By constructing the interior of 4 different museums, his work was successful in trying to convey the idea of bringing art to the people instead of people going to art. For years now, many museums and institutions have been trying to make art more accessible to the public. Such efforts include public art, art fairs and making museums free to enter. Even though it was a small scale exhibition literally, I feel that it conveyed the idea of making art more accessible really well. The different miniature museums were in close proximity and viewers can easily be transported from one museum to another.

The details in the the museum are intricately crafted which gives the work a hyper-realistic look. And when viewers look into the work, they become part of  the exhibition going on in the museum. It provides a very immersive experience. By presenting each museum in such  unique way, it helps to engage the viewers’ interests and make gallery viewing more interesting, especially for the younger ones.

“Put Your Head into Gallery” is a peculiar yet interesting installation. I am impressed with the craftsmanship of the work. However, my only regrets is that i didn’t manage to see it personally and I wished that the variety of museums and galleries presented was bigger.