updates on FYP concept

Listen to my presentation here!


Hi everyone, Bella here. Thanks for all the feedback from two weeks ago. I refined my concept base on it and more research. 

So maybe at this stage, it is too ambitious to set prisoners as the target users. As it will be difficult to study the target and test my hypothesis. Therefore, I decided to choose another segment, children. As I mentioned before, playing educational and non-violent computer games in moderation has positive impacts on people such as developing cognitive skills, inductive discovery and problem-solving skills through trial-and-error learning and. Empirical evidence shows the hypothesis that cognitive skills learned in playing computer games can be transferable to other tasks. Also, a Japanese study shows that children play computer games have better sociability as compared to nonplayers. One of the popular concepts claimed that children who play computer games are more isolated, yet research shows that there is no correlation between the playing game and the popularity of children in school. In addition, computer games were used as tools for psychotherapy sessions which were considered as more effective than traditional methods as computer games provide a common ground between the therapist and patients. It provides better assistance in behavioral observation. All in all, the educational impact of computer games is achieved with the immersion effect that allows the players to immerse themselves deeply in the virtual learning environment with the concentration on the goal. The players would pay more attention to learning materials embedded in the game. As compared to other media, such as books, movies, and theater, the computer game can provide a stronger sense of presence because of its interactivity. 

Therefore, base on the studies, my hypothesis for my final year project is that: daily interaction with voice-based avatar games might be able to improve children’s social behavior. Let me break it down. First, I would like to explore the voice interface as natural language is a more intuitive way for humans to interact with the computer. The voiced game will be enabled by text to speech technology. Voice interface makes it possible to tailor the voice character to the user. Based on the similarity attraction theory people find the voice that is similar to their personality more credible. Hence, the voice interface has a lot of potential in persuasion and teaching. Secondly, an avatar is the digital representation of the user. According to the Proteus Effect, people have the tendency to be affected by the characteristics of their avatar, and their behavior shifts in accordance with their digital representatives. So we might be able to use a positive avatar to reinforce positive behaviors. Lastly, this game might be the common ground between parents, teachers, and children to assist teaching and make learning more interesting. 

To conclude, this will be a research-intensive project. The process includes research, design, prototyping, and experiments with the target group. Then, the research result will be used to develop digital education tools for children. The end product will be showcased at the final year project show. If the educational game works on improving children’s social behavior. Then, with the right adjustment, it might have the potential to teach more people in the future, such as the prisoners. 

That’s all for my update. What do you guys think? Please leave your comments below. Thank you!


A Letter from the Future

Singapore Biennale 2019: Every Step in the Right Direction explores the possibility of art, the artist and the audience considering the troubles that the world is going through. Every effort put into the making, sharing, and experience of art might encourage the actions to make the change for better. The exhibition holds the beliefs in the potential of art to turn the table around. Tomorrow is An Island, as inland, a sin land is related to the larger theme of the Singapore Biennale by questioning the future that we are moving towards “ What kind of future(s) can we imagine for our current conditions of precarious migrations, securitized fears and asphyxiated commons? … How can the disruption of nature/culture binaries foster more-than-human entanglements?” The artists from Switzerland and Singapore responded to the questions with their artworks. Similar to the other Singapore Biennale exhibition, we could experience the Tomorrow that artists had imagined in the ADM gallery space Now.

Further, Tomorrow is An Island is a much cohesive exhibition where all the exhibits are interconnected in the space yet having their own charms. The space at the ADM gallery is smaller as compared to the National Gallery and Gillman Barracks. I think the experience at the ADM gallery is more immersive as all the walls are painted green., and the letter by Damien Christinger runs through the walls. It invites the audience to follow through the narrative and immerse themselves in the gallery space. One of the artwork Forest Tales and Emerald Fictions caught my attention at one end of the gallery. It is curated by artist Monica Ursina Jager (Switzerland and UK) whose work explores the relationship between the natural environment and the manmade infrastructures. Forest Tales and Emerald Fictions is a looping 3 channel video installation. The videos walk the audience through the dense skyscrapers, the forest, the mix of both and repeat. The narration is a Singaporean woman talking about her memories of places when she was young, and it plays through the headphone that cancels all the noise around. Finally, the installation questions the forest’s sustainable role in the future of urban planning by layering the visuals to create the co-existing of nature and manmade.

All in all, Tomorrow is An Island and the larger theme of Singapore Biennale both questions the well being of the future world. The exhibitions at National Gallery and Gillman Barracks offer a larger quantity of various artworks while ADM Gallery presented a more cohesive show. I could almost feel the conversations between the artists when I was in that space. 

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

Project planning including tasks such as scheduling, budget, and quality-control strategies; project objectives; and project management goals. It is essential to set the goals at the beginning of the project as they are the purpose of the project management. Reaching the end of the project is not the only goal of project management, because it must ends safely, error-free, on budget, on time, and last but not least meet everyone’s expectations. Based on my experience, managing expectations is the most challenging part of project planning. It is not easy to set the client’s expectations as many might not know how the design process is like. It is important for project managers to speak to clients with empathy. Often, we think that the design agency’s one and only goal is to satisfy the client’s needs. However, teams that feel to satisfy team members’ personal expectations often end up losing their talents. Designers are the main recourses for the design agency to running smoothly. Therefore, having good project planning is not only beneficial to the project itself but also bonding the team. 

Further, I agree that the term effectiveness might be better than efficiency. Effectiveness emphasis on knowing what to do orderly, while efficiency means getting the job done quickly. In order to have a clear picture of what to do in the right order, the author divided a typical design project into the five basic phases: start, planning, design, production, closeout, and defined the six fundamental activities that happen during the phases such as defining, planning, directing, coordinating, monitoring, as well as learning. Coordinating comes in handy especially in the interdisciplinary team. Team members might have very different working styles and different ways of communication. Hence, putting in effort in coordinating could improve the effectiveness of the team, and create a better team mood. Also, I strongly agree that learning at the end of the project is valuable for the team to improve. It is normal to go through rough patches along the way as long as it will not happen repeatedly in the future project. 

Moreover, knowing the two territories, project management, and design tasks is vital as design agencies often face clients across the industries. Doing things without the appropriate knowledge and fail to seek help will lead to waste time, resources and eventually damage the team’s reputation. additionally, I always think the whole project should be an iterative process, however, according to Ramroth (2006) planning and designing the project are iterative activities, while project production, the making of the deliverables is linear. I think by saying that everything is iterative then management anymore will lose its value. All in all, these two chapters provided good guidelines for the novice, yet it will take time and effort to integrate those principles into our own practices. 


In addition to the reading, for the YouTube learners. The video below shows how the interdisciplinary designers worked together under the tight deadline, from research at the site, wild brainstorming. to the prototype production and the process was called ‘Focused Chaos’.

Subtle Activism?

The artwork that caught my attention is The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) by the Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakul. Huntrakul was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1978. He received his BA and MFA in Fine Art from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, USA respectively. Huntrakul is currently having his practice around the Phrakanong area in Bangkok. Further, Huntrakul works around various mediums such as sculpture, ceramics, drawing, and painting, etc. Most of his artworks reflect the visual language and essence of ancient Greek, Japanese and Thai history. His works had been exhibited at Oakland Museum of California, USA, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan, and Singapore Biennale 2013.

Portrait of Dusadee Huntrakul. Image courtesy the artist and 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok. artradarjournal.com

His work The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) is currently showing at the Singapore Biennale Every Step In The Right Direction 2019. Huntrakul was first interested in pottery in 1998 when his late brother brought back the funky ceramic pots from the school in the USA. Then, Huntrakul started to experiment with clay by himself. Years later after going through formal art education, he still prefers fired clay to create artworks that are recognizable yet unknown.

The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) Singapore Biennale Every Step In The Right Direction 2019.
BAN CHIANG UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE, Middle period. Pots were fired and then red designs were applied. dimensionalhearttraveler.com

The Map for the Soul to Return to the Body (2019) consists of 16 pieces of ceramic pots reproduced recently based on the red pottery discovered in 1966 at Ban Chiang Archaeological Site in the Udon Thani province of Thailand. The 16 pots paired with 16 concerning quotes regarding the current affairs such as Universal Healthcare, Universal Labor Rights, and climate change. The history of the Archaeological Site traces back to the early Bronze Age civilizations around 2,000 BCE. The original red pottery has distinctive red decorations, however, Huntrakul left his reproduction unpainted and quietly sitting on the wooden shelves. It seems like it requires the viewers to have certain bits of knowledge of the history to interpretate his work at first glance, yet those issues are well known. I think this work is probably using the past and present to question the future of humanity. As the title suggests that our soul is properly lost in the chase of progression that caused various social, political and environmental issues, and history might be able to remind us of our roots and lead our way back to the right track. 

Unlike other socially engaged arts outside of the art studio and gallery space, his works seem to be more subtle. The viewers’ are probably participating as they actively contemplate the work. As Pablo Helguera mentioned in his book, Education for Socially Engaged Art that:

“The visitor or viewer contemplates the work in a reflective manner, in a passive detachment that is nonetheless a form of participation. The artist Muntadas posted this warning for one of his exhibitions: ‘Attention: Perception Requires Participation.’”

Although there is a certain level of participation, I will not see this as a socially engaged art. It is because I believe in Alexis Frasz & Holly Sidford’s theory that “socially engaged art is the sum of the aesthetic product and an intentional social impact, and the process of developing the work – often in concert with community members — may even be the ‘product.’” Nevertheless, it is a well thought and crafted studio art that conveys clear social messages.

Lastly, in terms of the exhibition space, I would suggest replacing the wood selves with white shelves or stands. The colour of the pot and the shelves are very similar. I think having a white background will isolate the artwork more to create better contrast. If the set up is the artist’s intention, I would like to find out the reasons behind it.






Front Page



“There are More Monsoon Songs Elsewhere”: Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakul on subtle activism at 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok

Dusadee Huntrakul



I would like to bring something fresh to the table to spark conversations and stretch our minds.
















































*the image below is not 100% related to the topic

Response: A critique of social practice art by Ben Davis

The purpose of art moved beyond the boundaries of religion and dictatorship. The social movements since the 1960s gave artists the context to create socially engaging arts. Those collaborative and collective art are affecting the public sphere in deep and purposeful ways. The definition and boundary of socially engaged art always seem blurry, and it is hard to avoid taking place in current political and social affairs in this capitalist society. Many might had taken advantage of this relatively new and unregulated field of practice as Ben Davis mentioned in A critique of social practice art. 

Davis gave examples of National Museums Liverpool cutting thousands of jobs and fill up the gap with volunteers, former finance administrator of the Project Row Houses pled guilty to felony theft, etc. I agree that this world gets really dark sometimes. However, our focus should be on embracing the actions with good intentions, as media changes but human desires remain for better (or for worse). Rick Lowe was not able to save everyone in Houston from living in extremely poor neighborhoods but he took the initiative to commit to his lower-income housing experiment for 25 years. He visualized his vision in literally lifesize. I believe it was not the artist’s intention to build a non-profit to be taken advantage of. I guess this is not news anymore if it is put in the world of for-profit organizations. 

Further, socially engaged art might appear in different forms, such as object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, etc. The making of socially engaged art often appears to be controversial and even dodgy. However, the intentions might be constructively broken down into a few:

1. I just wanna tell the story and hopefully, someone will be inspired and do something aka the storyteller.

2. I will just do it and you can join me if you want aka the doer.

3. I heard that it is possible to make money by doing this aka the money chaser.

4. (I need more time to think about it, maybe you can leave a comment below.)


All in all, it is always risky to start up something new. If startups are allowed to innovate, get funded, fail, be forgiven and praised for the braveness. It might be depressing to read the article, A critique of social practice art, to know that art has been exploited. Nonetheless, there are still many artists and activists who are putting their hearts into reforming society, such as the Ai Weiwei, Ana Mendieta, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Reverend Billy and Church of Stop Shopping just to name of few. Perhaps we should give more understanding and encouragement to those who are constantly trying to make a change with good intentions. It will take much more time and collective effort to save the world but there is no harm to start small.


Response: Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin

The book Designing for the Digital Age was originally published in 2009. Kim Goodwin gave us her definition of design and introduced the concept of Goal-Directed design process for digital design. She pointed out that the term experience design is too presumptuous. I agree to a certain extent that every individual has no designer can determine the exact experience someone has yet we are looking at our target audience as a group of people that shares similar values or interests. I think user experience is the bigger umbrella that consists of graphic design, interaction design, product design, and usability. Kim Goodwin defined interaction design as “a discipline focused on defining the form and behavior of interactive products, services, and systems.”, and she also argues that HCI, human factor, and usability focus on evaluative techniques. Therefore, those evaluative techniques should be part of the design process to create a holistic experience for users while interacting with the products, ultimately, to achieve the goal of serving human needs.

Moreover, technology is progressing rapidly in the past few decades, designers role had evolved as well. There is the rise of new ‘hybrid designers’, such as the designer coder, design entrepreneur, design researcher, business designer, and the social innovator (originally forecasted by IDEO in 2014). Thus, it is hard to define designers with a single discipline nowadays. Also, the Goal-Directed design process seems to be linear, and extensive collaboration only comes in the later stage when the engineers finally join the show. I think it is better for the team to work concurrently especially between engineers and designers. Throughout history, people tend to keep technology and art at the two extreme ends of the spectrum. However, art and technology had actually coexisted since the beginning of the cave painting, and both Gutenberg and James Joyce are artists and engineers. (Johnson, 2002). I think collaboration should start from the very beginning to avoid conflict of interest as it takes time and effort to understand and accept the point of view from the different disciplines.

Thanks to technology, it is possible to have more efficient collaboration among designers, engineers, product manager and all the shareholders with the help of new design tools such as Figma. Figma is a cloud-based UIUX design tool that allows real-time team collaboration. “communicate early and often”, it allows everyone in the team to access the files that engineers can point out the potential technical issue during the initial design face so the designers can react fast to require changes and vice versa. Technology brought us into the era of digital design and also make a better way of working possible. To conclude, Designing for the Digital Age is a good book to get a taste of different design process and see how the design process evolves over the years since 2009. Lastly, it is exciting to be born during this era when the innovation gaps are much smaller so that we can witness how the progress changed the way we live and work.