Interactive II: R I P P L E (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

Artist Statement

The profound nature of how humans cannot individually exist exclusively without causing the slightest impact on others and their surroundings led to this installation inspired by ripples. Many a times we forget about or are oblivious to our surroundings and the changes we make to them. This installation aims to make visitors stop and realise the differences they make by transporting the viewer into another space that will make you reflect and think about the coexistence between people, the changes we make and our environment.

Final Video:

What is our installation about?

This installation was triggered by the thought of how each person will constantly cause some change to the surroundings. The profound nature of how humans cannot individually exist exclusively without causing the slightest impact on others and their surroundings.

This thought led us to our installation, that is meant to imply a RIPPLE effect. The reason for a ripple is because of how a drop of water can cause a ripple to pass through water. Water is so fragile that when any object that touches it, will create a ripple. That led us to our installation concept.


About a week before the installation was supposed to be up, we decided to do a location recce to see if there was a suitable place where we could build up our installation. We came to the conclusion that we wanted it constructed up on the second floor near the photography room.

While we were there, we started wondering if the artwork would look better or if it would be more appropriate if it is propped up vertically against the wall. This thought came about as we placed ourselves in the shoes of our audience – What will they feel when they enter the installation and have to continuously look upwards? Looking upwards itself adds a different element to the installation. There is a difference between looking up and looking straight. Looking straight will definitely be easier but looking up creates an even more drastic change to the motion of people as they have to slow down and look up to absorb/enjoy the installation also making them more aware of their immediate surroundings, and hence more likely to spend more time in it.

Therefore, we continued our concept of having it suspended horizontally and building starts.


Yellow box: Where we detect any external devices, for our code we need it to detect the logitech webcam.

Green box: The coordinates is use to box out different areas where we want the region to be detected. Where the coordinates work like Box 1, x1, y1, x2, y2 and etc.

Purple box: Different route is allocated to different box, and it will send out a message to the motors once its detected.

Blue box: It will receive the message sent out from the region detected, and it will trigger the individual motor.

Red box: As the region is being detected, only region 5 triggers a background music.

We use Phidget to control the motors and it can hold up to 8 motors. Thus, we use two laptops with the same code.


We had everything planned before we started our execution proper. The papers were folded days earlier so that it will be ready on our actual setup day. We had almost 32 A3 size papers folded into an origami tessellation for us to choose the best ones and have more just in case we tear any during the setup process.

Next, we got all the rectangular Daiso racks zip tied into a block of 16 racks (4 by 4). After this, we carefully pierced holes into four corners of the tessellation papers. This was tough as we needed to be gentle with the paper if not it will tear, as well as ensuring that the holes were as small as possible to be aesthetically pleasing. Next, we had to cut down thick curved wires to roughly the same sizes and manually straighten them as much as we can. After which, we placed the wires into each hole and individually twisted the ends into a loop with a plier. During this step a few papers tore as the wires were hard. The wires were hard and we had some issues cutting them but it was all good when done. Thereafter, we lined the Daiso grids with mahjong paper to cover the ugly looking grids so when the papers start folding up, the audience will not see the raw structure holding everything together.

From here, we decided to arrange the paper tessellations on top of the grid first to decide what the best alignments and layouts is so we needn’t pierce unnecessary holes or mistakes. During this step, we realised that we were not able to fit one paper per grid as the papers were a little too big, therefore, we had to use 3 tessellations for every four grids and this led us to have 12 paper tessellations in the final installation.

Next we had to individually put up the paper tessellations by piercing the metal wires into the mahjong paper and hook it onto the Daiso grids. This was also a crucial step as it would tear the mahjong paper and it would affect the aesthetics of the work. We also had to ensure that each piece of paper tessellation was level to the one beside to make it look as seamless as possible a “ceiling”.

After this we had to place the motors and attach the wires to the phidget to start the motion going. In our mock up, we only zip tied the motor onto the grids. However, due to the small surface area of the motor, it would still keep shifting around. For the final, we cut pieces of cardboard to place the motors on top, essentially giving it a bigger surface area and thus would no shift around. To do so, we zip tied the motor to the cardboard and separately zip tied the card board to the grids.

In summary, each step had to be taken calculatedly and gently because we were handling paper (a fragile material) we had to be careful with the pressure we exerted. Therefore, the night before submission we decided to change the location the place to the entrance of our classroom as we did not get permission to put it up the second floor. Luckily there was a power socket point nearby so that we could plug in our tube lights. The night before all was working well and the motion region was beautiful!

The next day came and when it was our turn to present, one of the phidgets powering 6 motors was glitch-ing and we started getting worried. We checked the connection again and again and it wouldn’t work. So Prof suggested we check using the Phidget application to check each port one by one to see what is happening. From the test we realised that amongst the 6 motors we had different motor models and that created a incompatibility in power and therefore, the display feedback on screen always showed overcurrent or undercurrent. So we inserted the motors one by one to see which motors were the problem and realised there was one that was creating a short circuit. We removed it and so we only had 5 motors working on this Phidget. In all we had 11 motors that were working. That gave us a great relief as all the efforts paid off and the installation looked like what we wanted.

Here is our process video:

Concept Development Posts

Concept Development 1
My Life Presentation
Concept Development 2
Concept Development 3
Concept Development 4
Concept Development 5
Project Description
Concept Development 6


Interactive II: Concept Development VI (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

3rd April (consultation)

After presenting our mini prototype through the video last week. We officially started our journey to start the testing out our project. The problem we faced was the feasibility to move the paper in order to create a movement. Due to the weight and the inability to secure the motors we decided to do a few things. So we had to think about a few obstacles to cross.
They are:
– To test to see how many motors we require to create movement in the structure
– To get the motors to connect to Max MSP via Arduino
– To test out the paper weight and the material needs
– To see if we can control 4 motors with one Arduino

For our first meet up we tested the effect on a smaller paper. Now we upsized it and made it bigger to test and see if it will even move. Our plan is to make it move in a structured way. To ensure that people can see a “ripple” or at least a wave effect. Attached below is the video of the movement of the paper using 4 motors.

To achieve a more drastic effect, we connected the center of the brown paper tessellations to a servo motor with an ice cream stick using a fishing line.

We are quite happy with it as there is an obvious drastic moment created by the center portion being pulled up and down quite drastically. HOWEVER we realised the beautiful drastic movements only looked good from the top view. From the bottom-up view, there was barely any visible movements or change in the way the tessellations work.

We felt that the giant paper structure is not capable of the kind of effect that we are looking for (due to its weight) so we decided to scrape it.

Slight change in idea

We are still going for the ripple effect metaphor and we decided that there must be a better way out there to represent the effect more effectively.

We decided to cut the brown paper tessellations up into smaller pieces. Each smaller piece of tessellation now represents a region. As a whole, the papers would look like one big tessellation. The ripple effect will occur by the camera sensing where the audience is standing at via blob motion region. It will cause the corresponding small panel on top of the audience to shake vigorously. The next circular line of surrounding panels will shake as well with medium vigour, and a third circular line of surrounding panels will shake vaguely. There is now a physical representation of the ripple effect.

After consulting , we realised that we will need to start working on the motion region as well as the motors working. Prof suggested we use Phidgets to control the motors. So for the next meeting we are going too test out the codes and the way we desire for it to move according to where the person is underneath it.

Interactive II: Concept Development V (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

27 March ( consultation )

We showed LPD our videos of our progress so far. The following are the comments:

  1. When down up to a larger scale, it may not work due to the elasticity of the paper and weight.
  2. It will probably need around 20 motors for it tow work… Unless you scale it down a lot.
  3. Maybe it can be a projection of their face or a distorted face
  4. Can even be done in a game that follows the mapping of the paper tessellation, like snakes sliding down the triangle vertices and line.
  5. Or instead of presenting the paper vertically above the people’s heads, the paper can be holstered upright vertically, with a camera reading the movement of the paper after which it gets transferred to a top down projection.
  6. Go another level higher if the whole tessellation can be mapped with the projection visuals accordingly when at rest, when the paper moves, the projection mapping follows along mapping the new changes in real time. LPD tested with his cam and codes by changing the threshold, the computer could easily detect the rifts of the tessellation via light and shadow area, however, MAX could barely detect the folds. We felt that it was quite overly ambitious.
  7. It was also suggested that we may want to think of having the paper tessellation placed horizontally on a table, the audience can interact with it by tugging at the strings.

We mentioned another idea of weaving, since interconnectedness can be represented by the idea of weaving. After explaining the idea and how the work would look, LPD felt that there was barely any interaction between the audience and the work, and that to make the motorised weaving machine from scratch was too difficult.

Things we did for the rest of the class time

We decide that it was paramount to try it on a larger sized paper, as what LPD said in point 1 made sense. We went to get brown paper (it was thicker due to the larger GSM weight than the A4 paper we’ve tried) to test. As of now, the colour and opacity is not of importance as our biggest problem might just be the weight and how it affects the way the paper tessellation moves.

Before folding, we decided to go for the flatter tessellation instead of the ones we tried that had more 3D form as we felt that it would draw away from our main concept of the ripple.

The following are the two larger tessellations folded. They are of the same pattern, however the difference is the size of the triangle foldings. We prefer the smaller foldings, as it looks more interesting as well as having greater structural integrity.

Interactive II: Project Description (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

Eventually everything connects.

The installation explores the connection between everything. Starting from the food chain of animals and plants to the family tree of  humans. We are all connected in one way or another. The weird feeling of how we have distant relatives who could be around the world or even how we are very emotionally linked to our animals is intriguing.  Some might say that feeling connected is a basic need of human as we have a sense of belonging to another. We feel like we have someone who would be there for us in time of need.

Therefore, a panel will be suspended above visitors and it will take the shape of a continuous origami tessellation panel. The reason for the continuous tessellation is to express the interconnectedness between the tessellations. Motors are attached to the panels to create a motion on the panel as people walk under it. Furthermore, the motors will be activated only when people are under it. The movement of the motor creates a movement in the intricate origami fold.  This movement triggered by people under it explains how without realising, many a times we are causing other things to happen. For example by throwing a seed of a fruit on the grass patch a tree accidentally grow or even talking loud affecting the person beside you. Furthermore, visitors will be able to interact with panel through the projection on the panel that will track their motion and create a trace of an image around them as they move under the panel. This is to enhance the idea of the ripple effect.

Interactive II: Concept Development IV (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

Trial 2

Using the A4 folded paper tessellation we have done earlier, we wanted to see the effect of projecting a visual on it. Our intention is to do a top down projection of ripple effect. From a side view, it would look like this – the projector will be on top, then the layer of tessellations, then the people walking underneath it.

But first, we need to figure out if the projected ripple visuals can be seen from underneath the tessellations, or will it obscure the visibility of the ripple projection due to its structured shape. Hence we tried by doing a test projection. We felt that it was quite successful as when looking from the “underside” of the paper tessellation, we can see the changes in colour as the ripple projection is being played.

Trial 3

Next we moved on to test try how the paper would behave when hooked up to servo motors. In the first try, we placed the paper tessellations horizontally, with its 4 corners tied to the supporting structure. Only 1 corner has been attached to a servo motor pulling the paper in a up-down motion. We felt that the effect was quite minimal.

In our second try, we placed the paper tessellations vertically, with Jin Yee holding onto one vertical side. We attached a string from the center of the opposite vertical side to the servo motor. There was a pulling motion and teh effect was quite obvious. However, we are unsure if this might work out when the paper is of a larger scale as well as the effect of it be held up by strings to hold up the weight instead of a “stronger” hand.

In our third try, similar to the second try but we changed it from vertical planer to a horizontal planar. Here, the paper can barely hold the weight of itself. When the servo motor pulls the string taunt, the paper becomes flat, but when the servo turns and the string relaxes, the whole paper tessellation flops.

Interactive II: Concept Development III (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

13th March (presentation feedback)

For our first presentation we presented on the idea of using two rooms to represent two individual person and how they would affect each other without realising the other’s presence.  The idea was to get Person A in cocoon A to play with the sound and get person B in cocoon B to play with colour and from this we wanted to glitch cocoon A’s visual with cocoon B audio.

Feedback from the first presentation was despite the idea being interesting, the purpose of the 2 cocoons seem unclear or redundant – What was the need for that and why not just program the audio to be random? Also, if one person is affecting another what was the purpose of splitting them if they  are not going to know that they were affected?

22nd March (consultation)

Therefore, we started to re-thinking about how we could better represent our idea as well as have a more immersive feel by involving participants. Therefore we came up with another presentation (click here) presenting some ideas we thought would represent our concept .

So we finalised the way we wanted to present the idea.

Our idea: was to to show how one person affects another  (interconnectedness) . Therefore we wanted to use the idea of the Ripple to represent the concept of interconnectedness. Metaphorically, the Ripple Effect shows how one action can cause literally a ripple or chain effect, this shows how interconnected we all are.

Therefore we came up with four ideas to explore this:

  1. Speaker balls
  2. Metal tubes (wind chimes)
  3. Lily pad inspiration (lalang)
  4. Woodblocks

During our consultation we presented the above ideas. We were very stuck in our concept development and these are our idea creation process. During the consultation, we were told to evaluate our 4 ideas according to 3 criteria: feasibility, originality and aesthetics.

We were originally leaning towards doing the lily pad ( lalang ) idea. However, it was not that feasible due to the many motors involved and even then, it might not be able create a convincing movement. We were stuck again. We did not want to make something that already existed and we were really very lost with our idea. Our concept was finalised (interconnectedness—> wave—-> ripple effect) and we just had the problem of representing it.

Our plans for the upcoming class on the 27th March

We plan to discuss with LPD:

  1. the blob effect
  2. The possibilities to controlling more than one motor with motion region tracking
  3. We also plan to discuss with him using origami to explore the idea of interconnectedness.

For now we have met a few times and explored the possibilities of creating a large sheet of Origami and that we tested out different types.

Paper folding reference

Different ways of folding we tried 

Reference Video

– Check out the next post for more updates –

Interactive II – Concept Development II (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

For our first test we were attempting to find patches that will aid us in motion tracking as we would like a trail of images to follow the hand movement of visitors. We used the test motion2 patch to play around and realised that not all sensors were detecting the movement. As went through in class, the sound is created from the difference of the frame from the previous frame to the next frame. However, the bottom to sensors were not working. Therefore we decided to try to clear the background to see if we are able to have a clearer vision.

In the next video we used a black board to cover the background and ALL the sensors worked! Hoorah!! From here we were starting to analyse the patch and though that it could be due to a large difference in contrast that created the best sensing. However, we wanted to test out more and then we tried using the a white background and realised that our hands did not work. So then we thought further and realised that:
1. Black background-can sense hand
2. White background- cannot sense hand
3. No background can sense white paper

Trial 1

Conclusion: the sensors are sensing the brightest object in the room and therefore we decided to try It with light as it will be the brightest.

1. Black background-can sense with light
2. White background- can sense with light
3. No background-can sense with light

Next, we will want to add more regions and more sounds to play around with the effecting part of the sensor.

Interactive II – Concept Development I (By Margaret, Yuqing & Jinyee)

Initial Idea

To use dance as an avenue to express depression, hurt and sorrow. The idea was to use the technique of projection mapping. It will be a live performance (contemporary art) by our dancer Yuqing and projection mapping will be casted on her using aftereffects.

Max MSP will be used in the form of motion region that will create certain sounds/ glitches in certain regions of her movement. The initial visuals were more in the direction to explore the suffocation and entrapment created by depression. However , we did not carry on with this idea as it did not represent the idea of depression effectively.

Current Idea

Our group consists of 3 beautiful ladies of Jin Yee, Yu Qing and Margaret. We are interested in exploring the concept of the human mind. We liken the mind to a sponge, absorbing everything (be it surroundings, experiences), yet there is a breaking point, our minds are inherently fragile. Therefore, we intend to dwell deeper into the idea of are place in this world and how external forces outside of our minds mould and affect us.

Our final idea is a culmination of two parts. Firstly, an individual crawls into room (A) and pops up through an elevated planar surface at roughly hip height. As you appear in a empty room, you will be confused at what’s going on and will likely flail your arms around a bit as you figure out what you’re supposed to do here or what is supposed to happen here. A motion sensor will detect the movement and produce visuals that will be projected on the elevated plane.
Secondly, the other people enter another room (B) and interact with the interface there. Little did they know, their decisions/actions in this room (B) “affects” the person in the other room (A). This is embodied through the changing sounds in room (A).