Category Archives: Project 3: The library – Final Artwork

Project 3: Library Installation

Hello! For the final 4D project, we were assigned to create site specific installation work in the ADM library. It was a pretty tiring project but I’m glad I managed to produce an art piece!


Like how I start with every other project, I analyse the brief and hope to attain ideas from it. To me, it was understood that I had to create something that enhances a specific role/function of the library, while being a ‘site of surprise’, making it look entertaining enough for people to be interested in interacting with it.

Perhaps my creative juices of the semester was running out but I was really clueless when delving into this project. It was challenging as we had to include the 4D aspect in our works – photo motion, video, sounds, or objects. Sadly, I did not have any major inspirations or concepts. I even did a rough planning to better conceptualise the ideas:

After listing down some possible topics, I narrowed it down to what a library is:

    • students mostly come to the library to study
    • maybe also for reading purposes (rarely in a school library)
    • look: modern (study) vs whimsical (magical fantasy)

Therefore I wanted to focus on creating installations that can enhance the reading/studying experience of students, but I not sure how ‘professional’ the works should look. And here’s some of my rough ideas (I still got no clue on what do to)

When I presented these 4 rough ideas to Michael, I personally felt that idea no.1 looked like it can work best as it had a clearer message – “creating a good ambience for students to study.” Although my final idea had changed quite a lot, it was derived from this idea!

So for my original idea, I wanted to create a interactive table board at the study tables areas. A motion screen will be attached to the table top, connecting to switches, which students can adjust – music, lighting and screen’s background animation, to suit one’s preference in creating a study environment.

I had no idea why I was so into exploring the tech side of art but it was clearly impossible to do so with my time/money constraints and lack of technical knowledge. I went on to do some research to get some inspirations and voila! I found this post documenting the 2012 architecture festival in montpellier. In one of their art exhibitions, this work piece was titled ‘site surprise, site supernate’ by tri-oh! ateliers:

It occurred to me that by building the light/video/photo/sound ambience in a box! It would be easier to control and not affect/disturb their peers. I thought of suspending the box though the pole structure above the table (light source). However I also realised that if I want to include video motion in my work, how am I suppose to secure all of that in a tiny box?

I knew I had to ‘scale’ it down to being an installation on the ground so I had to find another spot in the library. Since it was no longer near the study area, the theme does not have to be so ‘serious’. By this point, my hanging box idea changed to one that encourages users to lie down and put their head inside, making them rest and experience a different world inside the box. Instead of trying to create a soothing study environment for the students, I wanted them to experience a magical setting one gets from reading books, having a mini step-away from the reality of studying. Which was why I had to find comfortable spot for them to lie down.


In the end I decided on this sofa spot below the staff staircase as it had the biggest space to work with!


There were also many power plugs available, which can help support the high numbers of electronics that I would use in my installation.

I will be planning to create a box unique to the site’s shape. AND FINALLY I GOT MICHAEL’S APPROVAL WOOHOO! However when I submitted the proposal to Michael and the library, I felt that it would be a bit too inconsiderate of me to encourage student to lie on top on the couch as it may will not reflect well on the student’s image as well.. Why was I decided to up the scale and create a box big enough for a student to sit inside.

(sketch up of proposal)

(my ideal presentation)

Title of Artwork: Dreamy Flashback

I chose this name because

1. It is an actual instrumental soundtrack that I like. It is composed by Kevin Macleod

2. I wanted to create a DREAMY aesthetics feel about my work and because I will also be using… (wait for it,) FLASHlights. hehe

Work description (summary):

At our age, most young adults come to the library just to study. But we seemed to have forgotten how the library used to be a huge collection of wonderful novels and books waiting for us to explore when we were kids. This installation is to recreate the magical feeling one gets from reading, having their own little imaginative world. Students are welcome to use it to relax in this space, and have a break from the reality of studying, invoking the joy of reading they once had.

To recreate that fantasy feel, I thought of different environmental settings, which will be shown through a scenic video. The environments include nature, steampunk, aquarium, and galaxy. As you can see, I wanted the projector to be situated at the top, so that the projection can be shone all over the interior of the box, creating the effect that the student is inside the world. I would also be using different light sources to enhance the effects of projected worlds (notice lights 1,2,3 in the sketch).

Construction process:

I wanted to make my box out of cardboard too, similar to my inspiration. I felt that the plain exterior of the box will provide a great element of surprise with the colourful settings that were shown inside the box! And also it was cost-effective.

I managed to get a lot of big cardboard from my mum (THANK YOU!!!)

Before starting the construction, I had make measurements of the couch area so that it would not over-exceed the size limitations. I also had to rent a projector. And and and, I need to stay how grateful I am to this sir that lent me the projector!!! ヽ(˙︶˙)ノ I was originally given the bulky white projector like other people but it was really heavy and I was worried that the projector would not hold up and may fall on the student’s head! After listening to my long-winded explanation and endless pleading, he decided to make an exception for me and lent the smaller projector to me! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING THIS PROJECT POSSIBLE!!!

With things prepared and set, let’s go!

Sorry that there is no footage of me making the box but it was REALLY tiring and time consuming!!! It was even more difficult to work with tapes have low adhesive power, which was why I had to resort to tearing small pieces to tie the cardboard sides together before taping over them down vertically.

(notice the orange circled part)

For the bottom box, I actually spend more than four hours on it I was so shocked that time past so quickly when you’re absorbed in doing work… 

For the square block base, I cut out a door for easy access. For the four cardboard flaps, I cut out two of them to create an empty sitting area inside the box for that people can still conformably sit on the couch instead of the cardboard layers. I left two remaining flaps as I wanted to create better support for the model.

For the interior decoration, I cut out drawings of a bird flying to present the idea of photo motion to fit into the ‘nature’ theme, similar to the effect of this picture:


I used lights 1: fairy light to hang around the interior of the box, creating a sense of dynamic movement in the box and to also guide the user’s eyes to the flow of the photo’s motions. I also did a drawing of a clock gear to fit into the steampunk theme to create to movement of gears turning.

Other lights: I made light 2 this star torchlight that I diy-ed from this idea:

For light 3 – the fish lantern, I first cut out a black circle then poked out random dots (in caring sizes) and triangles to create the starry night effect.


I made the fish lantern by cutting out various fish shapes in a black construction paper then overlay the shapes with red/purple/yellow cellophane papers, as I wanted to create the effect of many colour fishes swimming with the projection background.

For the projection video, I compiled a few scenic views with the themes of nature, steampunk, aquarium, and galaxy. Because when I did not want to bore the person in the box, I chose to create a mixture of scenes instead of showcasing the ‘worlds’ one by one. The sounds that I used in the mix were also a mixture of sounds from different ‘worlds’ as well!

I experimented with using sounds that were not directly related to the scene of the videos but rather to play with the possible sounds the scene could have made. E.g. the popping of bottle caps to show different bicycles riding past instead of the pedalling sounds. This helps to better transit the scenes. If you listened attentively, you will noticed that the background sound used in one scene would be the ‘melodic line’ of the next scene. I aimed to create a continuous video loop so that there will be an enhanced dreamy effect.

Check out the video below!

some were some of the projections made – galaxy themed with the star torchlight shining on them.

For the securing of the projector, I was struggling so much because I had to rest it on a new ‘roof’ that i built on top of the square block.

As seen from the above picture. The square base was quite secured (bye arrow). The projector however, had to be on top of the blue box so it could project downwards on the walls of the square block. The ‘1’ orange circe is the box containing the projector, while the ‘2’ orange circle is a plank to cover up the box, providing enough darkness for the projection to be seen more clearly. Although the plank was later on replaced by another box so that there a more consistent dimension in the box.


I cut out holes from the bottom for the projector’s wires and projections to fit through. The projector was originally tilted to with a tissue box. However the tissue box kept collapsing from the weight of the projector and in my final presentation I had to end up submitting the height with my duct tapes.


Of all the wires were brought the bottom side of the square block and attached to an extension plug.



It was really unfortunate, BUT IT WAS RAINING SO HEAVILY THAT DAY. Because of the scale of the box and the cardboard material and how there were so many electrical gadgets used, it was really difficult to transport my work through the rain.

Luckily for me, Van and Sammi accompanied me during the presentation break time to carry the installation over. For the work to carried over more easily, I had to bend the boxes… (ohm an) The rain also made the stickiness of the tape even weaker.

When we finally reached the library, I had to save whatever I could but it was still really… messy looking.


So yea as you can see, the duct tapes were all loosened up no matter how I tried to stick it back, even with new tapes. The boxes kept falling over as they had become really flimsy. Sighs, I really wished that it could have been cleaner-looking so that the box looks more professionally structured. This was also why I had to changed the location of the box from the couch to the ground, because the box just could not hold in when it was being placed so high off the ground. Even when I tried to secure it on the couch, the pieces kept dropping and for some reason, the projector kept getting disconnected.

In the end, this was what I presented:

Once again, it was really fun watching people interacting with my piece, especially how they were complaining that the box was too small to get in hahaha. Because they were sitting on the floor, they could only either lie down and fit their upper body in it, and get in a crouching position. I felt bad because I did try to present the ‘best’ size possible (big enough to fit most people) that was why I went to take measurements. But it did not seem to work ay.

Anyways, here are some of the pictures of the interactive moments!







Listening to my peers feedback and my own evaluation, I did felt that I could definitely improve in the appearance of the box by using better tapes and planning early to avoid the rain.

They suggested to use the available existing space of the library such as the above pic, by covering the staircase with a black backdrop and shining the projection on the wall. In order to make it seem more like a resting place, I should have included pillows or blanket in it as well!

I have maybe add some whimsical decorations on the outside (also made of cardboard) to attract people into trying and they would immediately know that the box is art-related. The drawings used for the photo-motion effect could have of better quality as well. There were some technical difficulties such as a control how big the image could be project and how the the lights’ designs may change with the intensity in brightness. These are areas worth considering.

But I do think that the video that I created had a visually effective effect on creating the mood. I tried to incorporate all the aspects of 4D that I had learnt over the past year – video, motion making, and sound. It like how well the lights worked with the installation although it was my first time.

Hope that you enjoyed my work and sorry that I was always unfair to my classmates for always being late for my submissions!!! Thank you and hope to see you soon! ^__^