Minimalism Show – Olafur Eliasson and His Room For One Colour

O L A F U R   E L I A S S O N

Wait – Is that LPD? 

Olafur Eliasson isn’t an unfamiliar name to me. I have previously been accustomed to his works, even though to be honest I don’t remember which work exactly was first. But one that stood out is The Weather Project, which was done way back in 2003.

Created for the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London, this site-specific installation employed a semi-circular screen, a ceiling of mirrors, and artificial mist to create the illusion of a sun. Aluminium frames lined with mirror foil were suspended from the ceiling to create a giant mirror that visually doubled the volume of the hall – along with the semi-circular screen mounted on the far wall, its long edge abutting the mirror ceiling. Backlit by approximately 200 mono-frequency lights, the semi-circle and its reflection created the image of a massive, indoor sunset seen through the artificial mist emitted into the room. By walking to the far end of the hall, visitors could see how the sun was constructed, and the reverse of the mirror structure was visible from the top floor of the museum.

I loved this work, how simple yet so impactful it was. I loved how it completely transformed the space, I loved the grandness of it, the size of it. The atmosphere it created, and the environment it created. The way it influenced how people interacted with it, with each other.

People lied down on the floor, watching themselves in the mirror above them. It was interesting how at some parts the audience created something for themselves as seen above. An interaction that would not have existed if it weren’t for this installation.

Olafur Eliasson is well known for his large scale sculptures and installations. He often includes elemental materials such as light, water, and air temperature to engage with the viewer’s perception of space.

In this video, Eliasson talks about the formation of an idea, and likens the space ideas comes from to a treasure room. He talks about how sometimes words can amplify an idea, but sometimes, letting intuition flow in, the idea can be delivered more productively.

As someone who overthinks and is indecisive, I tend to put a lot of words into my work, feeling the need to justify everything so that everyone can understand me and my work, and it is difficult for me to be concise.

The video opened up my thoughts about how ideas can be delivered. The body reacts instinctively, and through understanding it and its host – humans, we can understand the essence of interaction better.

M I N I M A L I S M   S H O W

The Minimalism Show was very enjoyable. There were so many works, and it was intriguing to see so many ways a minimalistic approach was interpreted, by the artists, and then the audience. It was hard to choose a favorite, since I was really captivated by many. However, Eliasson’s Room For One Colour was one that solicited an immediate memorable response from me.

I think it’s fun to explore the museum with no expectations of what works I would be discovering. The element of surprise changes the experience completely.

Upon entering the space, you immediately notice that your sense of vision has been altered, in a very surreal, but familiar way – as if a filter has been put across your eyes.

We are familiar with filters – something that alters the image you see through your camera, most widely used in your phones. This is a common, familiar image that you see through your phone camera. However, this experience was analogue. It was physical. I was suspended in disbelief as I looked down on my grey – yellow skin.

“WHAT IS GOING ON” I couldn’t help but state this out loud.

The intense yellow lights altered our vision this way, and this was a new concept to me, that this could be done. The novelty, the non expectation, and having friends inside as visual subjects enhanced my experience of the space.

I realised that the body is engaged in a way that is the most instinctive, and it is really simple, yet very impactful, and I feel that Eliasson is successful in delivering that idea to his audience.

INT 1 – Memento

Memento

As an international student, I used to rely on memories of my life in Indonesia to identify myself. I recently realised that regardless of how or where, I will constantly go through new experiences and they will become memories that shape who I am today, and these memories are equally as important. Every encounter with another person would impact each other’s lives in one way or another.

My installation aims to act as a metaphor of the human mind. At the start, the installation is akin to a new-born, pure and plain. The audience is invited to spend some time inside and think of a memory that shaped their identity, after which they can leave their mark by tying half a strip of fabric onto the exterior. The other half they can bring home as a memento. As more people come and go, the installation transforms into a colourful assemblage of fabrics. The audience become the experience themselves and by participating, they have become a part of the installation’s memory, a part of its identity, while they bring back a piece of the installation too.

INT 1 – Interactive Art Inspiration Week 6

FLOATING FLOWER GARDEN BY TEAMLAB

This is beautiful! I love how this installation allows for the audience to be completely surrounded by flowers. I think that this creates a unique experience, having the flowers rise to make way for people.

“When a viewer approaches this flower-filled space, the flowers near the viewer rise upward all at once, creating a hemispherical space with the viewer at its center. Although the whole space is filled with flowers, a hemispherical space is constantly being created with the viewer at its center and the viewer is free to move around wherever they want. If viewers get close to one another, the domes link up to form one single space. In this interactive floating flower garden viewers are immersed in flowers and become completely one with the garden itself.”

The flowers are alive and I think this makes a difference because the whole space then becomes a living garden. A new way of experiencing a garden is presented and people can appreciate the beauty of the flowers in a dream-like setting. 

 

NEW MOON BY CAITLIN R.C. BROWN X WAYNE GARRETT

 

New Moon simulates the different phases of the moon by using repurposed lightbulbs and a turnstile. The use of light is very pretty and the imagery of the moon is used aptly. I originally thought that the whole structure is like a huge merry-go-round and the whole frame rotates while the moon stays in place (which would have been awesome), but this is great nonetheless and makes a great instalment both indoors and outdoors. 

Click here for Week 7’s post!

 

INT 1 – Interactive Art Inspiration Week 4

AQUATIC COLORS BY TAKAHIRO MATSUO X AKIHISA HIRATA

I have a love-hate relationship with the sea. I love the waves, the colour of it, its mystical qualities, the animals that live in it. At the same time, I am also super scared by the sea. Especially more so if it’s deep. A traumatic near-drowning experience leaves me anxious if I ever get stuck in a situation where I’m floating in water without being able to see or feel the sea floor. However, still, I find myself in awe of the greatness and power of the ocean.

As someone who is equally scared and amazed by the deep sea, I would really love to be able to see this interactive installation in person. I mean, to be able to go diving into the deep sea without any of its dangers? Yes, please! (Deep sea diving is still in my bucketlist though)

The combination of the luminous jellyfish, the entrancing structures that mimic waves, the darkness of the space, make for an ethereal experience, I feel, from looking at pictures. As the audience walks closer or further to or from the structures, the number of jellyfish appearing varies accordingly. This level of interaction, coupled with the different distances of people and structure at any point of time, creates a beautiful underwater world with organically moving jellyfish. Beautiful work!

 

TIGER & TURTLE – MAGIC MOUNTAIN BY HEIKE MUTTER X ULRICH GENTH

I have no idea what the name of the artwork has to do with the structure at all, but I must say that I am quite impressed by the idea of a walkable rollercoaster. First of all, I love roller coasters. Now that I think about it, I’ve only ever been on one and it wasn’t as exciting as I had expected it to be, but I still have high hopes for the roller coasters I’ve yet to ride on. 

From afar, the public would see it as a roller coaster. However, after closer inspection, disappointment awaits – it’s not a roller coaster, it’s just a funny-looking winding set of stairs! They will then be pleasantly surprised by the novelty of the structure. If only the loop could be walked through by normal humans. That would be amazing.

The simple physical interaction with the structure I feel is a kind of interaction that we take for granted. With advancing technology, we are absorbed in wanting to interact with technology, virtual reality, but I feel that sometimes analog ways of interaction can bring about heartwarming results as we are allowed to use our most natural senses to engage the artwork, and maybe with others too, at that. 

Click here for Week 5’s post!

4D (II) Project 3: Site-specific Storytelling – (Dis)connect Process

I can’t believe year 1 has come to an end! The past semester has been a great learning experience for me. I learnt so much in 4D and I have to say, it really is a journey of self-discovery.

This last project is a culmination of everything I’ve learnt in the past year. In the form of an installation, we were challenged to make use of a specific site in order to construct a narrative (hence the title of the project). We got together and discussed what topic we would like to expand on. 

IDEATION ◊ RESEARCH ◊ PLANNING

We did a lot of sharing on drive, and the bulk of our planning was done there.

This resulted in our project proposal.

The week leading up to the installation date, we did not really do much real preparation. We weren’t confident that out proposal would be accepted, and we were already anticipating on changing our ideas. To be honest, I knew that our installation idea had potential and that maybe Ruyi would want us to change just a few aspects to have more of a storytelling aspect. This anticipation made us discuss more about the storyline and fortunately, our idea was accepted.

With less than a week to prepare, we planned on how we were going to go about doing things. This is where my love for planning comes up and I am just in love with the spreadsheet Hwee Ann came up with. I mean, without it I will just waste my time and go about doing things blindly, so I’m very appreciative of the spreadsheets.


Logistics

Timeline

◊ STORYBUILDING ◊

The narrative is an important aspect to this installation. What can/would happen on the dining table? As I have learnt from the first project, character building is extremely important in creating believable characters, and ultimately, a believable story. We wanted ours to almost become a stereotypical story, but we properly made sure that the family is real.

Hence, we started off with character profiling. (Due to some miscommunication, I forgot to share the updated file with my friends, but here is the combined version:)

Since we aren’t telling the story in the traditional sense of a narrative, we knew that planning was crucial to ensure flow. The way the narrative would unfold is through the phone/iPad screens of the family members (personal narratives) and through a background audio (combined narratives). This way, we are not only showing the story by itself, but also showing it through the eyes of each character. This we hope could shine light on the characters’ personalities and give a closer look into their lives.

Again, we did it in excel to properly sync everything.

Originally, I felt that the installation should play for longer, at least 5 mins. However, after discussion, I realised that my teammates had a point about having the audience’s attention kept in check. A shorter video would mean the audience wouldn’t get bored easily.

Along the way, Debbie came up with an excellent idea of having a projection on the table that would show viewers the activities each character is going through on their respective devices. This was what I had in mind initially, but dismissed because I’d have no idea how to do it. However, once Debbie said that she has done projection mapping before, I was so elated because it would be a really cool and interactive effect! This was also to facilitate easier viewing for audiences who are in the room but are not using the goggles.

Afterwards, we realised that we didn’t have enough time to properly sync all the apps appearing on the projection table. Moreover, the table’s size didn’t allow for our ideas, otherwise they would appear too small so we scrapped the idea and decided to just show the conversation unfolding in chat bubbles. This was also to identify the characters sitting in which position on the table.

 

◊ EXECUTION ◊

 

With all said, we split the work. I focused on creating the goggles, Debbie did the projection mapping on the table and Hwee Ann focused on recording the phones/iPads usage, and editing the videos together. Check their process posts out to find out more from their side!!

Hwee Ann
Debbie

They did a really really good job on their parts and although I was hoping to help them out more on the editing side, I faced more challenges on making the goggles than I anticipated. However, I really loved how each of us brought our own strengths and experiences to the table and this I feel is the main reason why we work well with each other and could accomplish this much work in just over a weekend! I am so proud of what we have gone through.

For the goggles, I started making them during one of our meetings. I planned and started making the stands for the devices while Debbie worked on the animation and Hwee researched on how to record phone screens.

For the goggles, I had a specific idea in mind how it would accommodate the audience’s viewing pleasure and comfort. We wanted the viewers to be completely blocked off from their surroundings when looking at each screen, so I thought that simple trapeziums weren’t enough. Hence I designed a googles-attached scope… thing.

And I’m quite happy with the results! 

At first I think that Hwee Ann and Debbie expected for me to finish the goggles way faster (which I think so too), but thankfully, they understood when I faced some challenges and trusted me with the creation of the goggles. Thanks guys!


Another thing we did was sourcing the props for the installation. The ultimate musts were the table, chairs, dinnerware and goggles/stands. With the goggles done by me, and dinnerware provided by Debbie, we decided to source for tables and chairs in ADM so that it would be easier to set up.

Wonderful tables all around ADM, but this baby hidden underneath stacks of paper in the drawing room was the winner:

We found 3 chairs that were perfect with the table. And for the baby chair, thanks can 2. 

Other chairs that didn’t make it through elimination. Better luck next time, folks!

Immediately, we tested projection by covering the table with white mahjong paper and tilting it to gauge the distance needed between the projector and the table.

Since we had a normal sized projector, we started thinking of ways to mount the projector on the ceiling. We were quite innovative and thought of using a mirror to reflect the projection downwards while the projector is horizontal. However, after some testing with Hwee Ann, we realised that the size would be a problem. After Facebook calling Debbie who was at home working on the After Effects for the projection, we decided to try and hang it up anyways.

For sounds, Debbie went to visit her friend Celeste, who has a family and is currently pregnant! She recorded their voices as the mother and father, and Debbie herself acted as the teenager. We also recorded all the ambience and background sounds in school. From chewing sounds, to footsteps, chair dragging, and cutleries clinking. Overall, I think that Hwee Ann really did a good job in combining the sounds recorded to create a realistic dining room sound.

With the sound recording done and the mixing of the main background audio, it was easier to edit the individual videos and projection based on it so that everything would be synced.

Needless to say, it was hard work to put up the projector. We tried to be ingenious by hanging the projector in a bag with raffia strings, but right when we managed to get the projector in, it DIED on us. And the bulk of our set up was just to get the projector up. 

We changed strategies and with a newly loaned projector from Nevin, Mark, Brian and Nasya’s group (thanks guys omg), we tried using the mirror method, which worked because this projector’s projection was larger! Truly a blessing in disguise. Afterwards, the bulk of the work was reediting the table projection to fit the table and to edit the videos and sounds.

The projection had to be edited to fit the table set up. (And yay here are how the finished goggles look like)

After a long night during which I died for maybe an hour or so, we managed to pull through and while Hwee Ann and Debbie finished up the videos, I sourced for more things from the drawing room to set up our space. I felt that there was too much empty space since the table had to be under the projector, so I made use of existing furniture to create a living space. 

      

Us transporting props from the drawing room to 2-19

Here’s a behind the scenes of the set up:

Check out our final product in my final post!

Here are the screen recordings for the devices:

Baby

Dad

Emily 

Mom

Table Projection Mapping


◊ REFLECTION ◊

I feel very accomplished and am really happy that we pulled through this project.

On hindsight, we could have started earlier and went on with some parts of the project while waiting for the consultation with Ruyi, so that there were concrete things to comment on. We could have also improved more if we did this.

However, I also feel that we did a really good job despite the stress and pressure. We acted calmly, planned well, and overcame each hurdle step by step together. I also feel that we’ve conquered the installation and managed to address each aspect of an installation, from changing the audience’s perception of the space to taking note of how the audience interacts with our installation. I also feel that we have really put what we learnt this semester to good use. From crafting a believable story through character profiling, pursuing topics that relate to us so that we can tell authentic stories, to sound design and placing importance on the relationship between audience, artwork and artist.

I’m really thankful for this semester. I’ve learnt a lot about my weaknesses and what I have potentials to improve on. I’m also very inspired by my classmates’ works and I’m motivated to do better and better. Thanks to Ruyi and my classmates for a very fulfilling semester in 4D! I hope to use whatever I’ve learnt this sem for the future!

4D (II) Project 3: Site-specific Storytelling – (Dis)Connect

Set in the humble dinner table of a simple home, (Dis)Connect is a story of a modern family, who in their attempt to be connected to everyone else, instead forgets the most basic, important unit of connection: themselves as a family.

Combining sound design and projection mapping, our installation invites the audience into the personal and combined lives of a family immersed in new day technology.

Does technology connect or disconnect?


I’m really proud of my team for having produced this installation despite the challenges we faced and the short timing we had to fully execute our plans. I learnt a lot from this project, not only from what we had to do but also from my teammates. Without them, it wouldn’t have worked out! Many thanks to them!

For more about the process behind this installation, check out my process post!

4D (II) Exhibition Review 1 – Lock Route

I visited Gillman Barracks a couple of weeks ago, and just a heads up, the pictures here are taken from the internet and from the artists themselves, because I lost my phone and therefore couldn’t take any pictures myself cry.


◊ LOCK ROUTE ◊

There are quite a lot of exhibitions going on at Gillman Barracks and the one that stood out was the public LOCK ROUTE, which is accessible 24 hours a day. There were 16 works by 15 artists/collectives, and they were spread across the outdoor area of Gillman Barracks. 

Curated by Khairuddin Hori, LOCK ROUTE is inspired by the 24 km march taken by ‘graduating’ army recruits in Singapore. It also makes use of Gillman Barracks’ history of being of former military use. 

It is really interesting to see the outdoor works and I love the interactive qualities they have. Many families were also there and there were plenty of children running around and playing with the artworks or looking at them with wonder.

Spread over a large area, it is actually quite time consuming to visit every work, so for some of the works, I simply had a short look. I will write about some of my favourite ones (and include pictures of whatever I can find on the internet!)

Ok so first up here’s a random video I found on Youtube that shows all 16 works (although not very clearly)

I’ve always had a fascination for large-scale artworks, so “Land of Shadows” by Cleon Peterson really captured my attention. 

gillmanbarracks.com


luxuo.com

I love how minimalistic the style is, how the white building is being engulfed by the black figures, and how they were wrapping around the walls. It makes me think of possibilities of stories behind it, why do they look like they are fighting, what are they doing? Are they trying to protect the house? What is happening?

I also like the fact that it can conjure up such a response from me despite how simple it is. Moreover, the style is unique to the artist, just as Keith Haring’s human figures are iconic.

“Constellation of One” by Kirsten Berg also caught my eye.

both from ajugglingmom.com

Set against a natural backdrop, the mirror geometrical sculpture indeed looks out of place. It was fun to look at, as the many convex mirrors, along with flat ones, reflect an interesting view of the surrounding. The shape itself also makes me think of whether it is from outer space and induces a child-like wonder in me. (Especially with all the kids making funny faces around me)

“Kampung Singa” by Sheryo is a structure that allowed for people to go in, there was a small cosy space inside with plants hanging from a ceiling that allowed some light to pass through.

mommychuck.com

arthop.co

mummychuck.com

“Goyang Cukur” by indieguerillas also caught my eye. Apparently, during some sessions, real barbers would be there to give haircuts! I didn’t witness this, but I imagine it’d be a fun experience. I also like the colourful nature of the work and the cacophony of materials used in the sculpture/installation. I noticed that the human puppets are reminiscent of Indonesian wayang kulit puppets (shadow puppets), and it turns out that the artists that make up indieguerillas are from Indonesia!


Looking at everything, I’m not really sure if LOCK ROUTE had a specific theme or any reason why Khairuddin Hori chose to exhibit them together, but I had fun walking around to discover artworks that were around the corner, or going up small hills to look at the works in closer detail.

A particular takeaway from this exhibition is the interactivity. I’ve always liked interactivity in artworks because personally, it engages me more and makes it more memorable, and this was a memorable exhibition indeed. Interestingly, I think that I had more fun there because many kids were present. Them having fun around the artworks brought the mood up and made me enjoy the artworks more too.