Principles of New Media

Project Dream

       Our final project for Interactive Media is about the human experience of sleep. We chose to recreate and stimulate the stages and experiences of a sleep cycle. Our experience begins with the user entering a dark space with a projector projecting a video with a written story appearing word by word. This situation represents a person the dark room in which people sleep in as well as the dreams dreamt by the person. The dark room also symbolizes how our minds are in a sense a “blank canvas” that our neurons utilizes to paint a picture (or in this case- a dream). As the user gets comfortable in the chair, placing his or her finger on the pulse sensor, the sensor reads their steady heart beat and records it into the computer. Once the heart beat is steady, it triggers the timer that eventually ends with the alarms (rigged to the digital LED clocks surrounding the back wall) going off. As the alarm goes off, this triggers the sound sensors linked to the lights to cause them to flicker and for the video to start glitching. This represents the human struggling to wake up in the morning as the alarm in the outside world rings. The video (dream) is interrupted and the light (morning light seeping into your eyes) are all added to strengthen the experience of the sleep cycle. In order to fully wake up, the user will have to go around the space to turn off all the alarms. Upon doing so, the alarm sound will cease and the lights will continue to stay on; symbolizing that the you have woken up.

       According to Lev Manovich’s report, “What is New Media?”, there are five general tendencies that can be seen in New Media. These tendencies are not mandatory rules and exist on a symbiotic relationship with one another. These five tendencies are Numerical Representation, Modularity, Automation, Variability, and Transcoding. Of the five tendencies, our final project on the human dream experience consists of four tendencies. Numerical Representation, Modularity, Variability, and Transcoding.

       Numerical Representation states that in all new media objects are composed of digital code. This digital code can either formally describe an image or alter algorithms in order to manipulate the image. The process of Numerical Representation takes continuous data and digitizes it into discrete samples that can later be quantified into numbered. In our final project, we use numerical representation in the coding program within Arduino. The code itself is created through a careful compilation of numbers and symbols uploaded onto a system. For example, the heart pulse sensor takes the continuous data of the heart beat and breaks them down to numerical representations as the computer reads and records it. Also the alarms themselves have numbers on them and these numbers serve as an important factor as it triggers the experience. The numerical representation in our project later effects the variability and transcoding aspect of this project.

       Modularity believes that new media projects have the same modular structure throughout the entire object, and that these structures come together without losing their independence. Though the individual components come together to make a functioning whole, these smaller components do not lose their purpose or importance. In a picture, there is subject matter that when separate is still important but together in one image creates a story. Yet, the subject matter is also made of separate elements like color, shape, and size. A color, shape, and size depicted on an image is made up of pixels. New Media can be broken down into smaller and smaller constituents that regardless of their size, do not lose its function. For our project, the smaller components such as the abstract human reactions and interactions with the space, come together to create big picture of an interactive experience.

      Out of the five tendencies, our project does not have automation, as this tendency depends on the operations to continue with little to no human interaction. However, our project as a whole requires human interaction in order to proceed to the next step. We believe that human interact is vital for our experience as this customizes the experience to a personal level. The user and the experience share a more relatable connection with one another. And as the experience revolves around the idea of human dreams, a very intimate sensation, we chose to retain the human interaction.

Yoko Ono “Cut Piece”

       Due to the input of human interaction, our work is susceptible to a high degree of variability. Variability, like the name suggests, states that nothing is permanently fixed and can exist in infinite possibilities. This can be seen in New Media as components can be easily altered or removed, this in turn creates varying versions of the original object. Also, depending on how each person reacts inside the space, creates a different outcome. Whether they chose to turn off the alarm or when their heart rate stabilizes, all creates an outcome different from the previous person’s experience. Variability coincides with Numerical Representation and Modularity as the a change in even one of the numerical representations or components can change the overall outcome of the object.

Jae West, Public Message

       Lastly, our project all contains a hint of Transcoding. Transcoding is the transformation of media into computer data that in turn connects and and influences the culture around it. This relationship can also be seen in reverse, where the culture surrounding the computer can influence the data inputed into the computer and the method of computerization. For our projects case, it is a possibility that because everyone has has their own unique upbringing and habits that their response to loud noise, lights flickering, and the alarm going off will be different for each individual. Also, different people react differently to a dark room, resulting in an increased heart rate rather than a calm and steady recording. Since most of our users will be from Singapore and has assumably been raised in a similar social environment (no major wars or epidemics causing PTSD), there should not be any major variations to the computer data. However, one can never be certain as no two users are alike and can react differently based on the situation.

Before I Die Wall

Singapore Night Festival


(Videos of me/people interacting with the works)

Aquatic Dream By Auditoire & Lekker Architects, co-presented by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency
Light Wave By Max Lab
Before The Word By Pierre Ranzini & Cristina Di Pasquali (FR)

Peace & Harmony

Peace and Harmony was a simple yet impactful interactive art piece. And though it did not have an intricate programming , nor did it have extravagant LED lights adorning it; Peace and Harmony still managed to stand out and catch my eye with its purpose and interactivity.

Peace & Harmony

Peace and Harmony is set in the lawn of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Participants are handed a candle in a paper cup at the entrance and asked to place the candle along the outline of “Peace & Harmony”. Though one of the most basic forms of audience participation, this simplicity is what we need lately. Lately, it has become about the the most innovative, the most technologically advanced, and the most novel; that people have forgotten to appreciate the root of it all. Even the choice of words- peace and harmony, is such a simple yet evocative vocabulary. Peace in the world and harmony amongst the people, are two changes we need right now in our world full of tension and strife.

Peace & Harmony

Lastly, I feel that the choice to use candles to light up the word is much more captivating and meaningful than using LED lights. A candle light is such a fragile flame that even the slightest wind could blow it out. Yet, when this flame is surrounded by more of its counterpart, it becomes stronger and brighter, like soldiers banding together to fight for their nation. The idea of taking a candle and placing it down with a simple wish reflects the practice of lighting a candle and placing it at the alter with a prayer at church. In church, when lighting the candle, we embed our prayers and wishes- the same goes for the Peace and Harmony exhibit. A small part of Peace and Harmony reminded me of the visual impact of the gathered candle lights and the purpose of their gathering during the peaceful protest in Seoul, South Korea.


Ember Rain is an art piece by a diverse constellation of local and international artists called the “Starlight Alchemy”. Their works revolve around flaming extravaganzas and luminous dancing lights, often using themselves as part of the piece.  The artists in Starlight Alchemy consist of versatile dancers to international engineers interested in body mechanics. Their presence at the Singapore Night Festival felt fitting for this years theme, “Bring on the Night”. The challenge mirrors the daring nature of the fire’s flame, and though the challenge is to bring the “night”- Starlight Alchemy chose to bring the light- the heat.

Starlight Alchemy

The interactive aspect of this piece is the bicycle that powers the mechanism that triggers the sculpture placed in the middle of the area. An audience member is allowed into the enclosed area one at a time. The person is asked to pack her own mini ash pouch. This pouch is placed on a contraption that brings the pouch up as you peddle the bicycle, and ultimately drops the pouch into the ember fire. This chemical reaction triggers a flurry of embers that disappear into the night sky.

A sign near the artwork said something along the lines of “this is art, not a race” and whether that was a warning sign to upcoming participants or a hint at the true meaning of the artwork; I felt that it reflected the artwork quite well. “This is art, not a race” reminds people that finishing fast is not always the answer, sometimes it is acceptable to go slower. The mundane bicycle and handmade mechanism prevented the participant from speeding their efforts for the pouch to reach the top. This prevents the pouch from falling off during its journey as well as allows us to genuinely appreciate all the effort needed. The way the embers that disappear into the night sky reminded me of the stars that flicker in the night as well as the transience of life.



Intro to Interactive 1

After a brief introduction to what we will be doing and learning in Interactive 1, we were asked to find two interactive media projects that inspired us. For the two projects, I chose the works by an art duo called “Scenocosme” and another duo, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett.  I could not chose a specific work by each of the two though the works that first attracted me to the artists were “Metamorphy” and “CLOUD” respectively.

“Scenocosme” are known for incorporating natural elements and the influence of energy in their sound and visual installations. Which can be seen in their works like “Akousmaflore”, “Kymapetra”, and “Metamorphy”.

“Akousmaflore” is an installation involving sensitive plants that react to human touch by producing sounds of nature.

 “Kymapetra is an installation involving specific minerals and stones that react to human touch to create specific and unique vibrations in a bowl of water.

“Metamorphy” is an installation involving a transparent veil that symbolizes the elasticity of human skin.


One thing that stood out about the works of Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett is their use of light and colors. Their work focuses on interacting a large community of people, from any age and all backgrounds.

“… and the heart-rending moment where Wayne and I stood back, watching people interacting with the piece…”

The work “CLOUD” has been recreated in many location around the world and spun some sequel installation called “NEW MOON”.