(4) Machine-Made [Construction]


Exploration of the banner construction through digitally arranging motifs. I made use of Illustrator to create a series of compositions.

The following shows the series of compositions:

Compositing was fun, but after a while every composition looked the same. I decide to rest my eyes before finally choosing one composition.

Media Art Nexus Wall

I updated the dimensions accordingly for the Media Art Nexus Wall.

Also, as Professor mentioned previously, the nexus wall is not able to show white pixels very well. Thus, while exploring the banner for the wall, I decided to add more monochromatic colours to my composition, as follows:

All in all, these are my progress thus far.

To be continued.

(3) Machine-Made [Exploration]


(Mechanical) Machines Selected : [ Wind-up Train | Wind-up Robot | Typewriter | Alarm Clock ]

(Electronic) Machines Selected : [ Macbook Pro | Computer Mouse | EPSON Scanner | HP Printer ]

Medium #1 (Charcoal + Oil)

Initially I wanted to use crayons for the medium, This is mostly because I wanted to utilise the usage of the microwave oven as a tool to create the pattern. However, my outcome was far from satisfaction. Moreover, the use of colours for the crayon did not resonate with me. I have since scrapped the usage of microwave oven for my pattern.

I decide to look back at the concept as a whole. I realised that the utility of mechanical and electronic machines can be classified according a timeline of each inventions. As I began to look back, I traced back the inventions to the period of Industrial Revolution. Naturally, I thought about ‘coal-carrying’ steam trains and inventions of manufacturing greased-up robotic machines. 

Thus, I chose charcoal and oil to be one of my mediums.

Exploration #1 (Wind-up toys)

I looked at Youtube to see how I can utilise charcoal and oil to be my medium.

Trying out:

Following the Youtube tutorial, I crushed charcoal and mixed danish oil in slowly until I got a pretty good consistency. (Initially I added linseed oil, which turned out to be too thick and resulted in a clump of wasted charcoal)


Making use of the wind-up mechanism, I used a wind-up train and a wind-up robot to create the first series of pattern.

The results were fairly acceptable. The generated patterns are as follows:

Exploration #2 (Keyboard and Mouse )

Whilst creating the first composition, my hands were stained with charcoal and oil. I decided to utilise the scenario and placed a tracing paper on my Macbook keyboard and Mouse. Therefore while using the Macbook, I was creating more patterns.

Capturing the usage of keyboard

Results were as follow:

An interesting observation is that I made use of the backspace button a lot. Anyway the resulted motif may be difficult to incorporate into the pattern.

Status: Archived 

Medium #2 (Typewriter | Macbook Pro)

I am intrigued with the parallels between Morse Code and Binary Code. The mechanical language of the morse code versus the digital language of the binary code. I decided to invert the creation of both languages with the opposite tool.

Thus, I made use of the mechanical typewriter to create the binary code of the word “beep” and I used the laptop to create the morse code of the word “click”. 

First, I translated both morse code and binary code through the use of generator.


Results were as follow:

(More motifs exploration in the next post)

To be continued.

(2) Machine-Made [Moodboard]

Initial concept, “beep_”

An exploration of a symphony created through human interactions with electronics. such is to utilise the qualities of the auditive qualities of the “beeps” and “clicks” that comes with a button press, alarm or an indication. My plan was to make use of the very electronic devices to create patterns. However, there are a lot of limitations involving this direction as the auditive feature of electronic devices are not easy to be translated into patterns.

Rethinking concept.

Deciding to take a step back and reconsider my concept, I did a mind-map to help me conceptualise.

I focused on the aspects of capturing the snippets of “clicks and beeps” of such machines; at the same time retaining the ideals of creating patterns through the usage of the machines.

Working on both the analogue and digital mediums, I segregated the machines into “Mechanical” Clicks and “Electronic” Beeps and worked upon finding the necessary machines to create my pattern.

New concept,”Machine-Made”

An exploration of creating a symphony of patterns generated from the auditive feedbacks through the act of utilising the machines. Using a mixture of analogue and digital medium to create pattern, selected machines are based upon its ability to generate mechanical or electronic feedbacks.

“beeps and clicks”

Onomatopoeia words that are “purely man-made” as nothing in nature can imitate the sounds created from machines. Inducted into the Oxford dictionary in 1929.

Parallels observed: Typewriter and Macbook Pro

”morse code and binary code”

Morse code is a language created from machines through sound signals.

Parallels observed: Morse code and Binary code

Reference Artists

1. Nathier Fernandez in collaboration with Daniel Castano [Drawing (Conversations)]


2. Emon Toufanian [Collage]


Construction Moodboard

To be continued.

PDIV – |13 Reminiscent

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng


The theme for a permanent installation within NTU takes us to explore the sense of smell. The sense of smell is an interesting notion that is discovered, though perhaps underdeveloped. It is primitive – for, in the presence of smell, smell molecules will always trigger. Yet it is subsidiary – due to nature of the other more overpowering senses. The sense of smell is important to dictate the experience of an individual. Such is also a subjective concept that is able to drive an individual a point for reminiscing but only depending on the very individual- alone. All these interesting pointers lead us to ask ourselves, “What if a scent can be amplified to be the defining element of a given space?”

Take a deep breath, and dive into [smell] as an exploration of a permanent installation.

[Click here]

Reminiscent the scent sculpture

Artists’ Impression

Reminiscent is a wooden installation that emits smell through its natural scent. It explores the notion of smell being a primitive, yet subjective sense to a human being. By amplifying smell as the defining element in our installation, we aim to allow the NTU students a point for reminiscing about their journey in NTU through the sense of smell, an experience that is unique to each individual. Reminiscent is constructed through the use of untreated natural cypress wood. Inspired by the Japanese folding screen, Byōbu, Reminiscent exist in the form of six panels. The undulating form is inspired by the elegance of a drifting cloth, visualised through the extrapolation from the 3 keywords of ‘Smell’ – Dispersal, Dissipation and Porosity.

Our installation takes us to the wide open concrete space, Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre.  The natural wood structure gives a complimentary contrast to the man-made structure of surrounding concrete buildings. The use of untreated natural cypress wood allows the natural scent of the cypress wood to actively diffuse to the surroundings. Yet, it is exposed – to the rain, to the moisture, to the touch of people. Over time, these factors will constitute a change in the smell and form of the installation that is only unique to NTU. Much like the people of NTU, Reminiscent is in itself a journey that evolves.

Mock-up Construction

Presentation Poster


PDIV – |12 Smells like Teen Spirit

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

Feedbacks from the previous session

The envisioned hanging structure having the quality that drifts with the breeze of wind is not feasible due to safety regulations and naturally heavy weight of wood | Structure needs at least 3 contact points | Chosen location for structure needs to correspond to theme | Relocated structure to be placed beside Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre due to the high ceiling and wide open space | Chosen sculpture to act as a divider while possessing the quality of scent-diffusing Chosen material locked in at Cypress Wood 



Chosen Location:

Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre

Prototype WIP:



Installation to be hung using ceiling to floor wire kit

Action Plan

Prototype Construction:

CNC Prototype, scale 1:15 (in progress of contacting supplier) | Buying of materials (Wire, Casing, Wood, Acrylic Sheet, foam boards)

Presentation Board:

In progress

be continued.  

PDIV – |11 Smelling Wood

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

From the consultation in the previous week, we had really constructive comments from our Professors. This is what we have developed.


The concept of the membrane is our chosen concept, and also one which have been resonating within both Hong Sheng and myself. In conceptualizing, we initially decided on smellscaping a walkway through the walls. 

In it comes multiple issues due to our lack of knowledge and expertise regarding the technicalities of preserving and flowing a base scent.

 After our consultation, our idea of incorporating our installation to a wall is shifted to an independent hanging installation.  

Below lies our visualisation.

Through the reference of dividers and Japanese Byoubu, our installation lies in the notion of a paper drifting in the wind. We made use of our keywords extrapolated from the words used to describe smell – dispersion, porosity and flow – into a form of smell.

We intend to make use of untreated natural smelling wood as our material, placed within an open air space. By having the wood structure left untreated, the natural scent of the wood can be maximized in diffusing into the surrounding space. We intentionally allow the wood to be situated in an open space for it to be open to weather conditions such as wind and rain. 

The exposure of wind will allow the installation to drift, showing a contrast with the natural sturdiness of the wood material. 

The natural scent of the wood will diffuse to the surrounding. Yet the smell will change with time, through exposure with the surrounding, moisture in the air and the variable students that walk through the space. 


MATERIAL – As the notion of smell is the catalyst of our project, we need to source for a natural wood that has scent. Through our research, we look to the use of the Yellow Cypress Wood for the chosen material. Yellow cypress wood has a distinctive scent that is strong 


yet inviting. We chanced upon the material in the form of a bottle and upon further research, we find out that Yellow cypress wood is a durable softwood that is also suitable for outdoor furniture and we feel that the wood is a suitable material for our installation.

CHOSEN LOCATION – We have chosen the walkway in between the lecture halls at North-spine for our installation.

SCALE – The scale will be determined by the location, and the installation will hang about the body length of a person.

ATTACHMENT – The attachment of our installation will need to be determined by the material, and also the number of attachments for each of our 4 panels. TBC

Mock-up Construction

We look to constructing our mock-up for a better visualisation of our concept. TBC

To be continued.

PD-| 9 Smell Progress

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

(apologies for the late progress post)


We began conceptualising the form of smell with our concepts. As we consulted Professor Ker Siang, we realised there is a mismatch of ideals among our 3 concepts. 

As our intention is to capture scent by triggering tactile trajectory, concept 2 and 3 have a clash of idea as both concepts feel too curated in a sense that there is no other purpose of the installations aside from its form, and the trigger of tactile interaction is lost, as the installations feel too foreign for the people to interact with it.

Concept 1 is the closest to our intended target, thus we decide to develop on the concept.

Also during the consultation, the idea of a ‘membrane’ of which a poetic notion of having each individual pass through a ‘membrane’ is being discussed, with the idea of ‘hanging planes’ hanging at the front of a given walkway. As such, every individual has to push past the planes in order to go into the walkway. 

The concept is really radical in the placement of the installation, in which it blocks the airflow of the walkway,  thus separating and allocating a set vicinity to trap the scent.

However, there is a number of drawbacks to this concept. One is such that it forces the users to interact with it, and the trapped scent may very well be nasty due to the nature of humidity of the Singaporean weather.

Thus, both Hong Sheng and I feel that the concept can be further refined.

Smell Development | Research

In the midst of our development, we realised that in order to create our installation in the way we intend to, the use of a base smell is inevitable. As such, we find ourselves faced with 2 huge obstacles.

Firstly, we have to curate a base smell to be placed in within our installation. We will need to create a base smell for that, and we need to justify our base smell.

Secondly, we know that the technicalities regarding the curation of a base smell are not within our expertise. Therefore, we looked at more research based on smell installations that are curated. From these, we try to understand how we can allow the scent to be encapsulated within our installation.

Smell me by Martynka Wawrzyniak


Smell me is a smell self-portrait of Polish-born Martynka Wawryniak. Her installation was curated at the envoy enterprise gallery in New York, in 2012.

Through a year-long research collaboration with a crew of students at Hunter College to collect her scent – of which consist of sweat, tears and hair oil. As such she had to work closely with the research students for a year, of which consists of many laboratory research and tests. 



Smell of Fear by Sissel Tolaas


Smell of Fear is a 2006 smell installation by Sissel Tolaas. It is an installation that curated the smell of twenty men suffering from severe phobias, from twenty different parts of the world.

As part of the curation of the smell, Sissel Tolaas collected the scent of these twenty men at the moment their phobia kicked in, and then is simulated in her laboratory in Berlin called Re_searchLab. Using nanotechnology, the sweat molecules were recreated and micro-encapsulated. This allowed the molecules to be kept within the neutral smelling blinder of the exhibition, and will only be activated by touch. 

As poetic as these 2 installations showcased, both showcased a huge basis of the scientific process before they derived with their outcome. We feel that we do not have the necessary expertise to create the smell within our installation. Therefore, unfortunately,  we feel that we can only base our installation on a conceptual hypothesis.

Moving Forward

However, all hope is still not lost. We looked to local perfumeries to gain bits of knowledge, as well as to solve our crisis.

Jetaime Perfumery

Jetaime Perfumery is a local perfumery firm who has created scents of Singapore, into bottles of perfume entitled Singapore Memories. Jetaime Perfumery also has an upcoming Smell Museum opening in Singapore.

We have enquired with them to seek advice and perhaps look into the way they create the smells. Having already reached out to them, we have not gotten a response yet.

Phoebe the Perfumer

Our ever-helpful friend Grace (thank you!) told us of her acquaintance, Phoebe who is a perfumer. We reached out to her to inquire some knowledge. Below is the summary of our conversation with her.


Client wants to launch a new line of product which requires a new fragrance.

The client will approach fragrance houses with a fragrance brief

The brief will include information on what the product will be, target market, where it will be sold, kind of feel it will try to evoke, colours and mood board, or even an existing perfume for inspiration.

Teams within the fragrance houses will be assembled to work on the brief.

Key figures: 

Perfumers (create formulas, decide what ingredients to use)

Evaluators (Smell what has been created, compared to the brief, evaluate fragrance on actual heads to see if fragrance works according to the brief given.

Perfumer decides the quantity of ingredients to put into the fragrance. Musks (eg. Galaxodite) are used in perfumery as base nodes, for longevity and depth.

The top 5 in Fragrance Industry is Givaudan, IFF, Symrise, Firmenich and Tasksago.

Much to our surprise, which also demonstrated our lack of knowledge in the pursuit of our tackling field, the Singapore industry also actively pursue perfumery to create scents in products. 

As we develop our concept, we look to try to work on the technicalities to the best of our abilities.



Smell Connotation

Back to developing our concept, we decided to extrapolate the notion of smell into form. We did this by extracting a number of words pertaining to smell. 

In the end, we came out with 3 keywords: Dispersive, Porosity and Flow.

Dispersive (adjective) describes the nature of smell, diffusing into the surrounding air. Porosity (noun) describes the human nature of looking into a vent to justify the origin of the smell. Flow (verb) describes the journey of the smell molecules. 

We created a small survey of which we tested our peers to draw with the 3 keywords.

Some interesting aspects of the survey are that the majority of our peers drew flow as a line stretching from left to right. 

Other interesting aspects include: Casey also drew out of the space showing the dispersive action, Darren showed the flow from bottom to top and Jeremy drawing a funnel.

We thank all of you, and we look to develop in the form of smell for our installation.



Concept (a) – Frame

The frame concept is inspired by the idea that a particular scent denotes a particular space. Our concept lies in the Our chosen placement is the open space at Northspine, outside the lecture theatres. 

Our idea is to create a location where NTU students can congregate through the ambiguous form within the installation. Inspired by Verner Panton’s Visona II, we want our space inside to be made of memory foam that lingers with our base smell. Placement of an open space allows ventilation and diffusion of the scent to the surrounding.

Concept (b) – Membrane

Inspired by the idea of smell molecules passing through a membrane. Our chosen placement is the tunnel walkway at north spine.

For this concept, we look into the curation of smell into a visual form. As this concept plays with the height of the walkway, we want our installation to fill the extent of the wall. We strive to create the visual aspects of smell through our chosen keywords, and in using memory foam, we look to create a 3-dimensional art installation, while at the same time defusing our base smell into the vicinity. 

Looking forward, we want to look into finalising the visual form of smell, and to create a render of the installation. We also want to create our base smell.

That’s all for now. Cheers.


PD-| 8-1 Announcing Smell

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng


As previously mentioned; despite being primitive, smell is subjective, personal and under developed in human beings.

The presence and absence of odor cannot be compromised, you either smell it or you don’t. Though the tolerance of the strength of smell is adapted through the cultural capital of the individual, one cannot reject smell (sans hyposmia and anosmia people).

We justified our main aim in utilizing sense of smell as an installation that is idealized to emit through dependence on the very people that interact with it.

More Research into Smell

We looked upon more research to give ourselves a better understanding into the uncharted territory of smell.


Mystery of the Sense [Smell]


The video listed above talks about smell in  pertinence to the human body. One interesting perspective from the video is the human race’s tendency to “shy away from the person’s scent (natural odor); yet creating odors to lure someone special (perfumes)”.

The video also explains the biological sequence of how smell is collected and triggered through the olfactory bulb within the system of a being.

Perhaps due to the date filmed (1995), many interpretations were rather biased, but the video still provided us necessary information of how the sense of smell can be described.





by Marcel van Brakel, Wander Eikelboom, Frederik Duerinck

(book is coated with a fragrance that lingers when you read the physical book)

SENSE OF SMELL is an international co-creation and research project. The ideas of smell is being interpreted more artistically and more emotionally.  

Through really artistic works, Smell is re-represented and re-interpreted in various artistic directions such as installations, artistic exhibitions and products.



Smell expert Sissel Tolaas breathes deep and then follows her nose in Melbourne


This article is shared to us by Ker Siang (thanks professor!). The article follows Sissel Tolaas who was behind controversial art experiences such as recreating the sick smells of World War I.

One particular quote that caught our attention by Sissel from the article is:

“Every nano-part of this planet emits a smell – there is no such thing as a ‘clear’ smell,” Tolaas says. But the world is full of false smells, which mask the true, natural odours that we deem to be repulsive. “We live in a world that sanitises, deodorises, masks. Certain smells need to be there, but … reality is covered up on so many levels – so many commercial products cover up what is really out there and mask it.”

-Sissel Tolaas , 2016



All in all, the researches done were to give us more impetus in tackling the subject matter of smell. We looked at both the scientific and artistic notion of smell. Through these, we have more inspirations for our deliverable.

Ideals of the Poignant

‘Poignant’ defines both a pungent stench, as well as the arousement of strong mental sensation.

We feel for the word as it expresses similar direction in  which we are projecting towards our outcome.

We want our outcome to evoke a emotion through the scent collected to the people of NTU.

To justify the fundamental of smell as primitive form, our subjects has to create a notion of intuitiveness in interacting with our outcome, therefore our idea lies in utilizing the capture of scent through the human notion of  tactile trajectory.


More to follow in the upcoming post.